♫ When the goo comes to cover the ground ♫ And the counter. And my hands. And everything my hands touch. Worth it though, I think.
Let me explain. Recently I was invited to a baby shower. I couldn’t attend, but I thought it would be nice to send something. Having spent more time than I care to admit looking at baby shower tat on Etsy, I was close to giving up. (I briefly considered Pin the Sperm on the Egg but didn’t think it was quiet appropriate for a party that my mother would be attending!) Then I remembered my latest obsession: marshmallows. I discovered deliciously light, fluffy marshmallows from Delish Melish at a food festival last year, and have been a regular customer at their Farmleigh food market stall. My favourite is peanut butter and dark chocolate. I decided to order a box of marshmallows and meringues for the baby shower, but briefly thought it would not be possible in the time frame. Luckily for me Delish Melish pulled it out of the bag and the marshmallows went down a storm at the party, but in the meantime I’d considered making my own.
I revisited the idea of making my own this week, and that idea morphed into something much better: Wagon Wheels! I think most people remember eating a Wagon Wheel at some stage as a kid. My parents rarely bought them, so it was a real treat when they did. The last time I had one, a couple of years ago, I realised that they’re actually not that good. They’re overly processed and sweet and just not for me. This homemade version, though, is definitely for me, and well worth the effort.
My father insists that Wagon Wheels are made with shortbread biscuits, but I remember a biscuit with a bit more substance than that. I decided to go with Paul Hollywood’s wholemeal biscuit recipe. He uses them to make Chocolate Marshmallow Teacakes, which are pretty similar to Wagon Wheels, so they were perfect.
The marshmallow was a bit more difficult. I did a lot of research and the measurements (and ingredients at times) varied massively. I knew I wanted a marshmallow that would set enough so stay put, but not so much that it would be rubbery. My other concern was that I’d be left with too much marshmallow. I took my inspiration again from Paul Hollywood’s teacake recipe. I figured that the measurements would give me enough marshmallow without too much left over. I was wrong. I could open a marshmallow shop. But the addition of gelatine and liquid glucose gave a lightly set marshmallow that was almost perfect. I think I’d use only 2 egg whites in future and leave the rest of the ingredients as they are. The 3 egg mix is perfect for Wagon Wheels, but the leftover marshmallows are a bit too light and airy. They set perfectly though, and they’re delicious, so I can’t complain.
The most controversial part of the Wagon Wheel has to be the jam. I hated the jam version. I didn’t see the point. Why would you ruin perfectly good marshmallow with jam? But for some reason my grown up self couldn’t imagine making them without the jam. I took the easy way out and made a simple sauce with raspberries and icing sugar.
The result? Success! The crunchy biscuits paired perfectly with the soft, gooey marshmallow, and the slightly sour raspberries cut nicely through the sweetness. I was cautious with the filling though, and they could definitely take more.
100g wholemeal flour
100g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
3 tbsp milk
These are the measurements I used. You could half this and have more than enough.
3 egg whites
100ml water plus 115ml for the gelatine
1 envelope of gelatine (approx 12g)
1 tbsp liquid glucose
Icing sugar to taste
150g dark chocolate
150g milk chocolate
Start by making the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix the flours, salt, baking powder and caster sugar together. Rub in the butter until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the milk until your dough comes together.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface. It will seem dry but it shouldn’t be a problem. Use a 3 inch straight edged round biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Gather up the leftover dough and roll it out again. You should get 16 biscuits from the dough. Put the biscuits into the fridge for 10 minutes before baking. Bake them for 10-15 minutes until they’re hard and dry.
While the biscuits are baking, make your raspberry sauce. Purée or mash the raspberries. Sieve the raspberries to remove the seeds. (I hate seeds!) Add icing sugar to taste. Heat the sauce in a pot until it has reduced to a thick syrup. Set aside to cool.
Once you have your biscuits baked and your sauce made you can start the marshmallow. Add your sachet of gelatine to 115ml hot water and mix well. Put the sugar and 100ml water into a pot and bring to the boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved and then reduce the heat. You want the syrup to reach 118°C-120°C so you’ll need a sugar thermometer. Confession: I couldn’t get a sugar thermometer on time so I used my infra-red thermometer! It has worked fine for tempering chocolate in the past, and it was fine here too, but ideally a sugar thermometer should be used. As the temperature of the syrup starts to climb, whisk your egg whites to a stiff peak. When the syrup is ready, quickly stir in the gelatine and then slowly pour it into the egg whites, whisking all the time. Whisk until you have a thick mix that can be piped. This will take 10 minutes or longer.
Spread the raspberry sauce onto half the biscuits, leaving a border. Pipe the marshmallow on top of the sauce. Press the other biscuits lightly onto the marshmallow and put your naked Wagon Wheels into the fridge to set for about 20 minutes.
Melt your dark and milk chocolate over a simmering pot of water. Place the marshmallow-filled biscuits one at a time in the chocolate. Using a fork, turn the biscuits until they’re completely coated in chocolate. Lift them out with the fork and gently shake them up and down to get rid of any excess chocolate. Put them on a baking tray lined with parchment to set.
These delicious, rich biscuits will take time to make, but they’re so simple and impressive. They’re not as messy as you’d expect either. (Although I did use every spatula in the house!) And most importantly, they’re worlds apart from the shop-bought version. That’s a win in my book. The only problem is that I have Nathan Carter’s Wagon Wheel stuck in my head, and my husband (who made these Wagon Wheels with me) has threatened divorce if I don’t stop singing it. Worth it. Enjoy!