Chocolate, marshmallows and nuts. Lo and behold, the original candy bar was made with cashews, but feel free to use whatever nut you like (I used pecans). The recipe starts with a base of fudgy brownies. Simply add the suggested quantity of whatever nuts you like during the batter preparation. Also, note that the marshmallows are used in three ways: in the batter, added after baking and also used as decoration. The ones baked into the brownie melt somewhat and add a chewy marshmallow texture that enhances the unique quality of this cake ball. These are dense and rich – for those with a major sweet tooth.
Image: Dédé Wilson
Adapted from Cake Balls by Dédé Wilson (Harvard Common Press)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup sifted natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup toasted chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or cashews
- ½ cup miniature marshmallows
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups miniature marshmallows, divided
- ¼ cup chopped extra nuts (of whichever type you used inside the brownie)
- 1 pound semisweet chocolate, such as Callebaut or Ghirardelli, finely chopped
- 23 miniature fluted paper cups (optional)
- For the Brownies: Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F. Coat the inside of an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on top of the stove or in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt until combined. Allow to cool for a minute or two, so as not to cook the eggs. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour, nuts and marshmallows and fold in by hand just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 12 to 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows many moist crumbs. Do not over bake. Cool in the pan completely on a wire rack. The brownies are ready to use. Alternatively, double-wrap the pan in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day before proceeding.
- For the Assembly: Crumble the cooled brownie and combine with 1 cup of additional marshmallows. You will have to be firm and use your hands for the best results. You might find a squeezing action is needed with this hefty cake ball in order to form it into rounds. Roll into Ping-Pong–size cake balls. Refrigerate briefly while you melt the chocolate and prepare the pan. This can be done 1 day ahead; store in an airtight container.
- Line one rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil; set aside. Chop the remaining ¼ cup of marshmallows and set aside with the ¼ cup of nuts; these will be for decoration. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip the balls one at a time in the chocolate, encouraging any excess chocolate to drip back into the container. Place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pans. Sprinkle a few marshmallow pieces and nuts on top of each cake ball while the chocolate is still wet. Refrigerate briefly until the chocolate is set. Trim bottoms, if needed. Place each cake ball in a paper cup, if desired. Place in a single layer in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.