Mad Caps Recipe
6 ounces good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, tempered (see note)
One 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Creamy Caramel Coating, cooked to 235 degrees
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Temper chocolate in a small bowl or microwave container. Holding a marshmallow by one end, dip it into chocolate, covering bottom and about 1/4 inch up the sides. Shake it and scrape excess chocolate off on edge of bowl as you lift it.
Place marshmallows, chocolate-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining marshmallows. Work quickly so chocolate doesn’t harden before you are done.
Refrigerate until chocolate is set, 5 to 15 minutes. If properly tempered and fully set, they will
adhere slightly to parchment but will lift off without leaving a mark. Slide small palette knife under each marshmallow first to release it. Any leftover chocolate can be reused.
To dip marshmallow tops in caramel: Caramel should be thick and fluid, but not runny. If too cool and stiff, heat in microwave or over low heat, stirring occasionally, until barely warm to touch. Grasping chocolate end of marshmallow with fingers, dip top half about 1/2 inch into caramel; shake gently to remove excess.
Set marshmallow, caramel top up, back on baking sheet. (If caramel drips down sides of marshmallow, it is too warm.) There should be a stripe of white marshmallow between chocolate and caramel. Repeat with remaining marshmallows. If caramel becomes too stiff, gently rewarm. Serve that day. There will be leftover caramel, which can be reused.
To do ahead: Make Creamy Caramel Coating up to 1 week ahead and refrigerate. When ready to dip marshmallows, warm caramel over low heat, stirring, or in microwave for less than 1 minute. Makes about 40 Mad Caps.
Note: Chocolate that is being melted to work with must be re-tempered (bought chocolate has already been tempered for appearance and handling). Tempering is simply melting, cooling and stirring. An easy way to do it is to reserve about one-third and melt the rest in a microwave or double boiler until smooth. Finely chop the portion set aside. Stir chopped chocolate into melted chocolate; continue to stir occasionally and gently, until all lumps are melted and chocolate has cooled to touch (test with skin just below your lower lip).
Work quickly once chocolate is tempered; there is a small window of opportunity. If chocolate becomes too cool, it will thicken and be difficult to work with.
Creamy Caramel Coating
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Fill a bowl — large enough to accommodate bottom of saucepan you are using — half full of ice water.
To make caramel: In heavy, medium-size saucepan, gently stir together 1/2 cup sugar, the water and lemon juice. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down sides of pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, undisturbed, occasionally washing down sides of pan, until sugar starts to color around edges. Gently swirl pan to even out color and continue to cook until mixture turns light amber. Immediately remove pan from heat and, at arm’s length, gradually stir in heavy cream; it will bubble up.
Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the salt, corn syrup and butter to mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel dissolves and butter melts. Wash down sides of pan again with wet pastry brush and increase heat to medium-high.
Insert thermometer and cook until temperature reaches 235 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.
Plunge bottom of pan into bowl of ice water for few seconds to stop cooking. When bubbles subside, stir in vanilla. Use immediately or pour into heatproof container. Let cool, cover and refrigerate.
To make ahead: Creamy Caramel Coating keeps for up to 2 weeks, covered and refrigerated, because the cream has been boiled briefly at high temperature. Reheat in microwave, checking frequently, or over low heat on stove, stirring occasionally, until fluid but still thick. Makes about 2 cups.