"A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift."

Laurie Colwin

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tarted-up treats

And so the day came when I wanted a no-brainer to take with me to a Melbourne Cup barbeque.  It was my day off and I was too far away in the land of the Letharges to make anything, but I didn’t want to buy anything, either.   That’s how it goes when you have too much pride in your cooking and you’re a bit of a cheapskate.

Enter what Wikipedia calls "Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats", but which go by many names around the world:  Chocolate Royals here in Oz, Tunnock’s Tea Cakes in the UK, Mallomars and Marshmallow Supremes in the US, and Chocolate Whippets in Canada among them.  I was going to tart two dozen of these “little nippley things” (as someone at the barbeque called them) up.

Now.  In aforementioned tarting-up, I have to mention that – to the dismay of my professional cookery teacher decades ago – I don’t do garnishes.  Or rather, I only do garnishes that contribute to the dish and/or unify the components in some way, and nothing else.  That’s why I chose the two things in my pantry that I felt would contribute in flavour, contrast and texture:  sea salt, and toasted coconut flakes.  

Things I could have used but didn’t because I deemed them silly and irrelevant:

* Coloured sprinkles
* Flowers from my garden
* Cupcake decorations
* Dust from my vacuum cleaner.

So tart up these treats whichever way you want, but remember that just because the melting surface can adhere just about any non-goopy topping, that doesn’t mean it should.  What I’d keep in mind is that these treats are intensely sweet to begin with, so not-so-sweet toppings are best.  The sea salt flakes and toasty coconut made these very delicious, and they were just inhaled in record time.  Although children loved them, everyone agreed that the toppings made these bikkies a very adult treat indeed.

This is as melty as the treats should get.  A few seconds under the grill, and no more, or you will have deconstructed chocolate-and-marshmallow puddles on your hands.

This isn’t a recipe, just a technique, so just FYI, you can blast these with your trusty blowtorch in you like, you crazy pyromaniac, you.

Dark (not milk) chocolate-coated marshmallow treats (see above for various names around the world)
Sea salt flakes
Coconut flakes, toasted

What you do:
1.  Preheat the grill or salamander (broiler) to high.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper, and place your treats on it, bottom side down.  Place under grill or salamander (broiler) for just a few seconds, until chocolate begins to melt.  Now – when I say “a few”, I mean, like, three seconds.  Watch them like a hawk!
2.  Remove pan from grill and immediately sprinkle treats with sea salt flakes or coconut flakes to taste.  Place in ‘fridge to set before serving.

Yumbo McGillicutty!


  1. Yes, they are delectable mallomars here - and I will never enjoy one again unless it has sea salt and toasted coconut! I would consider dust from my vacuum because it is cost effective but you're right - it wouldn't add to the dish.

  2. I so miss Chocolate Royales! I used to careful eat the chocolate shell off the top, then the marshmallow, and finally dunk the remaining biscuit base into my cuppa! Thanks for the memory flash!

  3. These look absolutely amazing! Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

    ~Melissa Placzek

  4. Thanks, Melissa! I hope you try them: they make you feel pretty smug and clever for very little effort.


So! Whaddya reckon?