Today’s recipe is from Houston Classic Desserts (Classics Series).  I was having people over on short notice, and I wanted something different.  I’d gotten the book a few days before, and flipped through it, looking for something that didn’t take all day in the kitchen, but was a step up from my usual cookies.

And I can’t ever resist a sandwich cookie, and these looked really, really good. 

The outsides are a particularly peanut butter-y – two whole cups of peanut butter! – and some oatmeal, but they’re otherwise a standard peanut butter cookie recipe.  I really enjoyed them, and I’d make them again just to eat as peanut butter cookies.

They get scooped onto a baking sheet:

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And flattened after they’re baked.  I was tempted to put the traditional fork marks in them, but I didn’t.  Anyone who got within ten feet of them could smell the peanut butter, so I didn’t think it was necessary.

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One side of the filling is marshmallow fluff.  The other side is peanut butter, a bit of butter, and powdered sugar.  I was tempted to use crunchy peanut butter, but I was worried that it would get stuck in the piping bag.  Next time, I might sprinkle a handful of whole nuts in the middle, too.

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Assemble.  Eat.

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They’re good.  I’m not a huge fan of marshmallow fluff, but these were good.  I’m make them again – maybe one of these days, I’ll just throw an entire party based around sandwich cookies!

( see the recipe )

Root Beer Marshmallows 

Marshmallows may be the easiest candy I’ve ever made. 

They don’t require precise temperature control, hours of stirring, or split-second timing.  All you need is a stand mixer and some patience.

I’ve done regular marshmallows quite a few times, but never tried flavoring them.  Then I saw a link to various flavored marshmallow recipes, and I had to try this one.

It’s from Garrett’s Table, and it’s not really much different from a standard marshmallow recipe.  Some of the sugar and corn syrup are replaced with root beer syrup.

The recipe said to simmer down 2 liters of root beer until it was reduced to 1.5 cups.  That’s a lot of simmering.  Before and after:

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I started with it on medium heat, but it was taking forever.  Even on high, it took nearly an hour to reduce all the way down.  Next time, I’m going to skip this step entirely, and just buy the flavored soda syrup you get for a home soda machine.

Once you have it reduced, bloom 3 packages of unflavored gelatin in some cold water in your mixer bowl.  Add sugar and corn syrup to the reduced soda, and bring it back to a boil.

Then comes the patience:  set the mixer on low, and very slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixer.  You want to pour it as slowly as you can – it should take several minutes at least.  I used a pan with a pour spout on the side, but you could also use a glass measuring cup, or even some sort of heat-resistant squeeze bottle.

When you’re done, turn the mixer to high, and don’t mess with it for 10 minutes.  It will slowly start whipping up like whipped cream or egg whites – don’t stop it, don’t scrape down the bowl, just leave it alone.Root Beer Marshmallows

While it’s whipping, prepare the pan.  I greased a 13×9, then lined it with parchment paper, then greased the inside of that.

At the end of 10 minutes, you should have something that looks like egg whites around the "soft peak" stage.  Add the extract – he called for root beer extract, but I didn’t have any, so I used a tablespoon of vanilla and a few drops of root beer oil (a very concentrated candy flavoring).

Pour it into the pan, then spray a piece of plastic wrap with pam, and press it on top.  Put the pan in the refrigerator for a few hours.

When it’s time to cut them, peel off the plastic wrap, and lift the parchment paper out of the pan.  You can use a buttered knife to cut them, but a pizza cutter also works well.  I didn’t think they needed powdered sugar, but if you do, sprinkle some on top.

They come out tasting just like a root beer float – the root beer flavor really works with the creaminess of the marshmallow.  And when you share them, people will say, "Wow!  You can make marshmallows at home?".

( see the recipe )