Midwest Made is my lovely pal Shauna Sever’s new book and it is all that, and then some. I mean there is an entire chapter devoted to “Counter Cakes,” a cake category that I did not even know existed, but that I will now be embracing 120%. Not only do I want to make practically every recipe in Midwest Made, including Donut Loaf, Next-Level Crispy Treats, Danish Kringles, Buckeye Bars and Homemade Frozen Custard, but I’m pretty sure you will too. Shauna’s book is a love letter to her new/old home, the Midwest. After more than 10 years in California, Shauna has moved back to the suburbs of Chicago and commemorated that move, as it were, with a cookbook that celebrates all the best Midwestern baked goods and sweets. And I, for one, am quite pleased she’s done so.
Shauna and I met about a billion years ago (okay, almost 5) when we were each launching a cookbook — her third book, my first book — and were connected sorta/kinda via our mutual friend Matt Lewis of Baked. We have always shared a love of old-school baked goods. Thus when I received a copy of Midwest Made from her in the mail, I knew immediately that I wanted to make her Angel Fluff, as it is as old-school sounding a recipe as you can get, if you ask me — and this, despite the fact that I am now obsessed with all of her cakes of the “counter” variety. But here’s the thing, Shauna’s Angel Fluff is the treat I decided to tackle first because the recipe could not be simpler and simple is my fave, as you probs already know. Moreover, I had never heard of angel fluff before seeing Shauna’s version, and when I read the (short) ingredient list and saw that I’d be folding mini marshmallows into whipped cream, along with shards of a freshly-baked thin and crispy sheet pan cookie, I was sold.
Now, there is no question that if you are not a marshmallow fan, like an enthusiastic fan, then angel fluff is most definitely not for you, but if you are, welcome to your new favorite easy peasy dessert. The steps are these: You make a thin, buttery cookie batter and spread it on a cookie sheet and bake til crisp. Once cooled, you crumble it into pieces, and fold it into whipped cream, along with some chopped up mini marshies. (Shauna suggests you cut the marshmallows because the cut-surface of the mallow melds with the whipped cream more easily than the un-cut surface.)
After a stint in the refrigerator, the cookie pieces soften as they absorb the whipped cream, and the marshies and cream do a bit of melding, as described above, and voila: angel fluff is born. It is almost icebox cake-like in its taste, texture and feel which I, of course, love (see my Icebox Cake recipe book for why), and save for the fact that rather than layering the cookies and whipped cream, you have mixed them together in a bowl, I might even think of this dessert as “an angel fluff icebox trifle?” Or pudding per se? Anyway, there’s something wonderfully icebox cake-y about it, not to mention something wonderfully delish — “vanilla marshmallow icebox cake in a bowl,” okay? With maybe a dusting of cocoa powder for a little bite and some color, if you’re feeling fancy, which I always am. Pick up a copy of Shauna’s book, if you have not done so already, and please make me a counter cake — I’ll take any of them — as soon as you are able.
Angel Fluff with Marshmallows, Whipped Cream and Crispy Cookies
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ten-ounce bag mini marshmallows
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar and salt. Beat on high until light and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat again. Add the flour and baking powder and fold to combine with a rubber spatula.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth it out with a small offset spatula, until it practically covers the paper lining. Bake until golden and crisp about 25 minutes (I found this took longer than the time (15 minutes) that Shauna allotted).
- Let cool to room temperature while you cut the marshmallows into quarters with a kitchen scissors. Tedious, as Shauna tells us, but worth it.
- Clean the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment, and whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Crumble the cookie and fold in to the whipped cream, along with the chopped up marshies. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder and some slices of strawberries.
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