Have you ever had legit escargot, the French dish? I have had the unfortunate experience of eating that “delicacy” on more than one occasion and always came away with mixed emotions. On one hand, the plate arrives and you’re like “aw, snails!” but then you notice they are sitting, like tiny anvils, in some type of garlicy wine reduction. You feel like if you wait long enough they will do the snail thing and start creeping outta their shells, one pokey eyeball at a time, but they don’t because…well…they’re dead! You are given odd-looking dental instruments with which to crack open their crispy shells so you can pull their slimy bodies from within and then you are expected to put that blobby bit of snail flesh in your mouth. Its just weird for me, too much happening at once and I’d imagine exactly like chewing on a garlicy booger…so on that note, let’s get cookin’!
Things I love about Caramel Escargot:
1. Its nothing like actual escargot!
2. As far as food gifts go, I dont think it gets much better then this! Imagine packaging these cuties with say, some tortoises? You could go for a whole crawly-things theme! I don’t know about you but reptiles and mollusks always make me think of food gifts.
3. 95% of you have probably never seen these before, which makes them exclusive and cool and totally pinnable. Oh, look what I found: [pinit]
4. Marshmallow and caramel were meant for each other. If you have ever tried this combo then you know. I cant say that the marshmallow really lends anything to the flavour, you are really only tasting caramel and chocolate, but the texture, oh the TEXTURE! It fulfills all the texture-y desires you never knew you always had. You absolutely HAVE to try it.
5.(oooh an extra point this week) One batch of this stuff makes an absolute ARMY of snails, so don’t be put off by the process! Your efforts will not be in vain! AND it’s really fun to make AND the scraps are fabulous AND so are you, you can totally do this!
1 recipe caramel candy, which you get HERE
1 recipe homemade marshmallow, which you get HERE.
Chocolate for dunking
(See? Its easy! You already know how to make all that stuff, you just need to put it all together!)
How I Do It: Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper. Make a recipe of caramel candy and pour it evenly amongst the three cookie sheets. I don’t measure to be exact, I just divide the batch via eyeballing and its all good, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should spread itself out in the pan but help it along with a silicone spatula if it doesnt. Also, if you don’t have three cookie sheets you can use two (everyone owns at least two, right?), it’ll still work but they will just be thicker. Throw those in the fridge (or wait for them to cool on the counter, I’m just impatient) and then get to work on the homemade marshmallow. Make a batch of that and then you are done with anything that could be considered tricky!
So now you should have three cooled cookie sheets of caramel and a batch of marshmallow in the mixer. Take some clean paper towel (notice that I specified the paper towel be clean? Yeah, there’s a reason for that…) and give the top of the caramel a good wipe. A really really good wipe! The stuff tends to be greasy and we need the marshmallow to stick, so I will vigorously rub the stuff until I feel some friction. Then I get a fork and mess it up real good! Vandalize that caramel! You don’t want to go all gang-member and be stabbing/gouging it, you are looking for more of a girl-fight with lots of scratching. You can even scratch your initials into it or hearts or the words “melissa iz cool” or “melissa rulz” or something like that, which is what I usually do.
Once its all squeaky and scratched up, starts spreading your marshmallow on top. I use an angled spatula and just plop and spread, plop and spread. I don’t worry about going right to the edges, we didn’t grease the pan and we aren’t powdering the marshmallows so it’s probably best not to, cause they are sticky little bastards. And then you are done for now! That marshmallow needs to sit a minimum of four hours to overnight, so put them somewhere where they wont catch lint (remember we aren’t powdering the tops, we want the marshmallow to be sticky) and go put your feet up while you look at this amazing photograph of what you have done/will be doing:
You have a lot of freedom with this next bit because your snails can be as big or as small as you want them, depending on how wide or thin you cut the strips and how many times your roll them around. Remember, size isn’t important, its how you do it! *chuckles to self*. But here is what is important:
– It is important to roll these on a piece of parchment. The candy itself is not delicate, you can really manhandle it, whip it around and stuff, but its super sticky and will adhere to the counter in a second if you let it. The marshmallow sticks to wax paper too so work on parchment.
– It is important to roll with the caramel side up and the marshmallow side down. If you roll with the marshmallow side up it bulges out as it gets compacted, bulge-y snails are not desirable.
-Its important to rock while you roll! Put some music on, get your kids involved (if that kind of thing doesn’t make you crazy) and have fun with it! Its ok if no two snails are alike or if one gets deemed the ugly escargot! These will be eaten and the next time they are seen will not be pretty! Take a pic of the best one and post it on Facebook, then everyone will just assume they were ALL that pretty (that’s what I do).
After they are rolled, dunk the little body-bit and bottom in some chocolate (this was surprisingly the most tricky part for me, practice on the ugly escargot) and leave them to dry. And that’s it!!!!!!!
These guys are just too darn cute and SO much tastier then their savoury counterparts! I cant think of a better confection to have ended the Caramel series :)
Thanks a bunch for those who have been following for these last couple of weeks, we really had fun putting this together and hope you learned something, primarily that caramel is not scary-hard and complicated! I am definitely taking something from this experience, unfortunately in the form of “more to love” around my middle (why cant I gain it in the boobs, whats up with that?!?) but it was worth it.
So I’ll see ya next week? You didn’t think we were gonna end this Thursday thing did you?! Cause we’re NOT! Caramel may be over but there is a whole world of sweets to share! And Frances is just getting warmed up on her food photo skills, didnt she do a fab job? You should tell her so HERE!!!
Extra sticky x’s and o’s,