Malted Chocolate Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
Trail Snacks With Lentine Alexis
By Lentine Alexis
The only thing better than a day in the backcountry is a satisfying project in the kitchen and these Malted Chocolate and Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies are a full send. With three distinct components to tackle–shortbread cookies, homemade marshmallow, and chocolate ganache–the recipe may look like expert terrain, but these childhood-inspired treats are easy to tackle, if you take things step by step. The recipe below calls for a few pieces of special equipment and one secret ingredient that infuses the cookies with malted milk ball flavors. The effort is absolutely worth it for these dunkable, twistable, playful cookies. Plus – homemade marshmallow is the party-trick you’ll want to pull out of your hat, again and again!
Malted Chocolate Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
Makes 16-18 sandwich cookies
For the cookies
- 2 cups (255 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (45 grams) malted chocolate powder, such as Ovaltine or ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus ¼ cup malted milk powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), at room temperature
- ½ cup (110 grams) coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the ganache topping
- 4 ounces (115 grams) 70% dark chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 milliliters) heavy whipping cream
- Flaky sea salt for finishing
For the marshmallow
- ½ cup (100 grams) evaporated cane juice
- ¼ cup (60 milliliters) maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons powdered gelatin
- ½ cup cool water, divided
- A stand mixer or hand mixer
- Parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- Small 2” round cookie cutter
- Candy thermometer
1. Prepare the cookie dough
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, malted chocolate powder, and baking powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, combine the butter, coconut sugar, maple, and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the flour mixture and heavy cream, then mix on low speed until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to a work surface and pat into a 1-inch disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Wash and dry the mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Make the ganache topping
Place the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a small, heat-proof bowl.
In a small pot, heat the cream gently over low heat until it just barely begins to steam, do not boil! This will take 3-4 minutes. As soon as you see little bubbles forming around the edge of the pan in the cream, remove the pan from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Allow the chocolate and cream mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then gently stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Set aside in a cool place away from heat.
3. Bake the cookies
Position oven racks near the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350°F.
Once the dough is chilled, unwrap and place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Place the second sheet of parchment on top and roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Peel off the top layer of parchment and use it to line one of the baking sheets. Line a second baking sheet with parchment.
Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out cookies and transfer them to the lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1 ½ inches apart. Press scraps together, and fold the remaining parchment over the dough. Reroll and cut out rounds–you can reroll the dough up to 2 times.
Transfer the baking sheets with the cookies to the oven and bake until the cookies are set and the tops lose their shine, about 12 minutes, rotating the pans and switching racks halfway through baking.
Allow the cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes before moving the cookies to racks to cool completely.
4. Make the marshmallow filling
Altitude tip: If you live above sea level, your sugar solution cooking temperature will be lower. To find the temperature you need to cook your sugar for marshmallow success, subtract 1°F from every listed temperature for each 500 feet above sea level. For example, at a 6000ft elevation, the sugar syrup in the next step should be cooked to 228°F.
In a small pot, combine the sugar, maple syrup, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Stir to incorporate and cook over medium-high until the sugar dissolves and the temperature of the syrup reaches 240°F, about 5 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment–you can also do this with a hand mixer and a bowl, but it will take a little longer. Sprinkle in the gelatin and gently stir to moisten the grains. Allow the gelatin to bloom, about 3 minutes, while the sugar mixture cooks.
Now things start to move fast:
When the sugar reaches 240°F degrees (or your altitude-appropriate temperature) turn the mixer with the gelatin on low, and immediately add the sugar syrup in an even stream into the bowl. Do not delay–you don’t want your sugar to overcook. Carefully increase the speed of the mixer to high (so as not to spin hot sugar all over yourself and your kitchen) and whip the mixture until the meringue is thick and doubled, and the bowl is about body temperature– about 5 to 7 minutes. You’ll know that your marshmallow is ready when it’s glossy, thick, sticky, and voluminous. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag, seal the top by twisting, snip the end, and set aside. Do not store in the mixing bowl – your marshmallow will set and be unspreadable for your cookies.
5. Assemble your sandwich cookies
Gather the ganache, cooled cookies, and marshmallow. Pipe a 1-inch mound of marshmallow on the flat side of half the cookies, leaving a 1/8-inch border. Allow to set for 2 to 3 minutes, then sandwich the marshmallow with another cookie. Top each cookie with a bit of teaspoon of ganache and spread over the surface. Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt. If the ganache is completely cooled and set at this point, you can stir and spread it like frosting, or loosen it up a bit – see the tip below.
Once all the cookies have been topped with ganache, allow the ganache to set slightly, about 5 minutes, and top each with gold leaf accents or luster dust, if using. Allow the cookies to set before serving, about 15 minutes.
Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!
Pro tip: The marshmallow in this recipe must be made immediately before assembling the cookies, but the chocolate ganache can be made ahead and stored refrigerated in an airtight container To use, bring an inch or two of water to simmer in a small pot. Transfer the cold ganache to a small heatproof bowl. Remove the water from the heat and place the bowl of ganache on top of the pot of hot water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Stir until melted and loose, then use as suggested above.
Lentine Alexis is a former professional endurance athlete & classically trained chef. The former Culinary Director at Skratch Labs, she uses a real-food philosophy to create recipes for athletes and everyone looking to eat well and adventure better. Find more recipes and info on her upcoming cookbook for athletes at lentinealexis.com, or follow her @lentinealexis.