In Full Bloom

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

Expressions of love take all forms, from gifts of chocolates and flowers to a simple warm embrace. This sweet little valentine treat has it all–pillowy homemade marshmallow petals encased in a chocolate bud that, when served atop steamy hot chocolate, blossom into full sweet flower. And to really guild the lily, this confectionery bloom bears up a small chocolate gift from its heart, visible once the petals open.

Is it difficult? A little. Does it take patience? Of course. Is it worth it? Unconditionally! That’s love.

And the marshmallow blossoms are pretty wonderful, too! They seem a little fussy at first, but are really quite forgiving. Bringing that small unexpected moment of pure delight to someone’s eyes as they watch the petals open is well worth any amount of time and trouble this fairly humble recipe may cause. They’re also certain to be some of the best tasting marshmallows you’ll ever come upon. So if you have a certain someone in your life with a penchant for sweets, try out this swoon-worthy version of a valentine flower and take time to fall in love with the moment–in full bloom.

Marshmallow Blossoms

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup ice-cold water

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 packages unflavored gelatin

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

10 small truffles or chocolate chips

½ cup chocolate chips, melted

Hot chocolate, for serving

In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1/4 cup water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. In the work bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2/3 cup water and 2 packets of gelatin. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the syrup until incorporated. Turn the mixer up to high and whip for 12-13 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and keep mixing, one minute more.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, grease with butter, and sprinkle with half of the powdered sugar mixture. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the sheet pan and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Dust the top generously with the remaining powdered sugar mixture and let the marshmallows firm at least 6 hours or overnight.

Melt ½ cup chocolate chips and pour into a silicone mini-cupcake mold. Pour out the excess to leave a thin layer of chocolate in the mold. Alternatively, place a teaspoon of chocolate into mini-cupcake paper liners and use a spoon or small brush to coat the sides with chocolate. Place the molds into the refrigerator to set.

Use a scalloped cookie cutter dusted with cornstarch to cut flowers out of the marshmallow. Use a paring knife to make small slits, separating the petals while leaving the center intact. The more petals you cut, the more fragile the flower, but the more impressive the “bloom” will be. Place a truffle or chocolate chip in the middle and wrap the petals up around it, overlapping them like a tulip. Dip the base of the marshmallow bud into a little melted chocolate, then place it inside a chocolate cup. Let set completely.

When ready to wow and woo, make up a nice bowl-sized mug of hot chocolate. Place a marshmallow flower bud atop the steaming hot chocolate and watch it bloom!

Recipe adapted from Heather Platt, PopSugar Food, inspired by Dominique Ansel