If you are somehow under the impression that dedicated teachers are harder to find than last night’s homework assignment then you haven’t met Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write. Not only does she teach French full-time to elementary school boys but as an educational and fun extra-curricular activity she runs Les Petits Chefs cooking classes for those interested. Much to our good fortune, Mardi regularly posted on her blog throughout 2010 about their culinary adventures in their mock-up lab kitchen.
She has a very full agenda not only as a teacher and as student herself studying for her PHD, but also as a very accomplished blogger and photographer. What started as a *time filler* between her MA and PHD in 2009 has led her to grace the pages of The Mushroom Channel.com and Food Network.ca as a featured contributor, being a featured publisher on Foodbuzz and having herself published in Foodies of the World. Squeezing in time between blog posts, her 365 Photography project, classes and report cards Mardi and husband Neil appeared on Dinner Party Wars on the Food Network this past season and she herself entered the Project Food Blog Challenge with 1,999 others. Mardi was one of only a few Canadians contestants to make it as far as round eight of the ten! It has been a very busy few semesters for this world traveling teacher and blogger yet through it all, she has remained dedicated to providing her readers with a beautiful and informative website. Life may be hectic for Mardi but it certainly is not boring nor is it lacking of tantalizing recipes! If you’re lucky, you can catch this busy lady on Twitter @eatlivtravwrite. Today she graciously takes some time to share this interesting story and recipe with you.
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First of all, I would like to thank Paula for undertaking this huge project in 2011 – what a wonderful (and delicious!) way to use our skills in the kitchen to raise awareness about cancer. The inspiration for my “Faux-vo biscuits” is a little long-winded, so bear with me!
Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen my tweets and from Mexico and will have had a sneak peek of some posts to come through the pictures I tweeted. A few of you might remember my delight at finding Wifi on the bus from Mexico City to Morelia, only to be triumphed moments later when I opened my “bus snack bag”, consisting of some healthy things and these:
Oh yes – could they BE more artificial? I think not. But I LOVE stuff like that! Plus, when you’re on vacation, you have to sample the local fare, right? In actual fact, they reminded me of a classic Australian biscuit (that’s a cookie for you North Americans) – the Iced VoVo. Behold:
To be honest, the Iced VoVo is not that great – it’s so much prettier than it tastes. The Acoiricis was delicious – a lovely sugar cookie base and puffy marshmallow coated in coconut. I couldn’t stop thinking about them (and errr… eating them, for “research”). I wondered if I might try to make a cross between the two cookies – a sort of new and improved Iced VoVo. I started googling around to see if I could recreate them and came across this description on the Arnott’s website:
First registered as a trademark in 1906, Iced VoVo biscuits have become one of Arnott’s most famous biscuits. An Iced VoVo is a lovely biscuit topped with two strips of pink fondant and a strip of strawberry jam, all sprinkled with coconut – a symphony in pink!
A symphony in pink! What better treat to create to raise awareness about women’s cancer? I couldn’t resist…
For the base, I used Michael Ruhlman’s sugar cookie recipe from Ratio. You can use your favourite basic sugar cookie recipe. I didn’t have a rectangular cookie cutter so I just used a butter knife.
For the frosting, I didn’t just want fondant or royal icing – I was a bit obsessed with making a marshmallow-based topping. Marshmallows are on my list of things to make this year but to be more true to the original VoVo, I instead made a marshmallow icing. I piped it on, then sprinkled unsweetened coconut on top (they don’t need any more sweetness, believe me!) and then piped the centre stripe of raspberry jam also.
(for about 20 small sugar cookies)
100g mini marshmallows
40g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp powdered pink food colouring
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
(about) 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
(about) 1/3 cup raspberry jam
Melt the marshmallows, food colouring and butter over medium heat until completely melted and smooth. Combine the marshmallows and butter in a small pan and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Sift the icing sugar over the marshmallow mixture and whisk until completely combined. Place in refrigerator for about 5 minutes until frosting has thickened a little.
Place marshmallow frosting in a piping bag with a small tip. Pipe two strips of frosting on either side of each biscuit. Sprinkle coconut over the top. Shake off excess coconut. Place jam in a piping bag fitted with a small tip. Pipe the centre stripe of jam on the biscuits. Place in a cool area to set.
I was pretty happy how these turned out – a symphony in pink indeed! These were actually an experimental batch and I will be making them again, now I know they work, to donate to a local cancer hospice. I am sure they will be enjoyed and appreciated in all their pinkness!