I found this recipe in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook by Thomas Keller, where they’re described as fun, whimsical witches hats. I fell in love with the idea of them and thought a batch of adorable witches hats would be the perfect Halloween recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the directions about how to make the shape of a hat with marshmallow and I got carried away with the fun of piping, so mine don’t really look like hats at all (except for the one below that looks like the Hogwart's Sorting Hat!). But they’re delicious, and that's all that matters.
After making these, I did some research into chocolate covered marshmallow cookies and learned that apparently there’s this thing called a Mallomar. It’s a very popular seasonal candy that I’ve never heard of (but I live under a rock when it comes to candy and pop culture, so bear with me). This recipe is basically a riff on the Mallomar, and I have feeling the homemade version is better. The marshmallow is light and airy and it’s covered with a layer of rich dark chocolate. The speculoos cookie base is spiced, crisp and essentially the same as those addictive airplane Biscoff cookies. The flavor is subdued once covered with the vanilla marshmallow and dark chocolate, but the cookie adds a touch of warmth and seasonal flair to these cute desserts.
This recipe will likely make a few extra cookies, though that depends on how you pipe the marshmallow and if you’re going for a sleek witch hat or if you get carried away with the piping and go for the multi-tiered marshmallow extravagance. Either way will be perfect, and you won’t be upset about having extra cookies— they’re just as delicious on their own.
a few notes on the recipe:
I modified a few of the quantities in the cookie recipe to make them a little bit more realistic
I used the marshmallow recipe from Ottolenghi's Sweet cookbook because it's a more simplistic technique and it uses powdered gelatin, which I find to be more readily available than sheets
the high butter content in the cookies requires it to be well chilled before rolling out, and if necessary, re-chilled before cutting and baking. it's best to make the dough the day before and let it fully chill
watch the cookies closely after about 8 minutes in the oven! they go from perfectly light brown to burnt very quickly
dark chocolate marshmallow speculoos
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp cake flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp clover honey
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tsp powdered gelatin
2/3 cup cold water
2/3 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tsp light corn syrup
scraped seed of 1/2 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
about 2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate, melted, for coating
Place the all-purpose flour in a medium bowl and sift in the cake and whole wheat flours. Break up any lumps of flour remaining in the sieve and add them to the bowl. Sift in the baking soda and cinnamon. Add the salt and whisk together.
Combine both sugars in a small bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. Using a fork, stir in the honey.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar mixture and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrap the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there.
Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together into a 4”x 6” block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat (this helps prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled). Roll out to just under 1/8” thick. If the dough has softened, slice it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut into cookies.
Using a 2 1/2” cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and arrange them on the prepared sheet pans, leaving about 3/4” between them.
Bake the cookies until golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through baking. Set the pans on a cooling wrap and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
Place the gelatin in a small bowl, cover with 3 tbsp of the water and set aside.
Place the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla seeds (if using) and remaining water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has melted, then increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture turns a very light amber color and starts to thicken (you are looking for it to eventually reach 262°F on a candy thermometer).
Keep a close eye on the sugar as it's simmering, and when the temperature reaches about 248°F, place the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form, then continue beating with the machine.
When the sugar reaches 262°F, remove it from the heat, add the softened gelatin, its soaking water, and the vanilla extract (if substituting for vanilla bean seeds) to the sugar mixture and stir to combine. With the electric mixer running, slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and thick and the bowl of the mixer is completely cool; about 15 minutes.
Immediately spoon the marshmallow into a piping bag and begin to assemble the cookies (below).
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the cooled cookies on another cooling rack, leaving at least 1” between them. Holding the marshmallow piping bag vertically about 1/4” above the center of a cookie, pipe the marshmallow so it covers the cookie to within 1/2” from the edges, the pull up on the pastry bag to form a cone. Repeat with remaining cookies and marshmallow. Set aside for about 30 minutes to set, meanwhile melt the chocolate (and temper it if you're feeling fancy).
Spoon some of the melted chocolate over each hat to coat the marshmallow and cookie evenly. Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate sets.
depending on how you pipe the marshmallow, there may be a few plain cookies left over
plain cookies can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days
once topped with marshmallow and chocolate, the cookies are best served the day they’re made.