Happy Back to School Week for most of you!

I am sure you have your shiny new notebooks, pencils, rulers and laptops lined up and ready to virtually hit the books. In the midst of all this change, I am offering a throwback favorite (all the way from the 1960s) that will hopefully make you think of sweeter times and fuel you through the start of the school year.

Everyone loves the iconic Ding Dong and here is my take on the classic. I make mine with a twist: In place of the marshmallow creme, I use Stuffed Puffs marshmallows.

Have fun re-creating this classic!

Ding Dongs

Equipment:
Mixing bowls
Electric stand mixer or very strong arms
Biscuit cutter or cookie cutter
Baking sheet or cutting board
2 8-inch baking pans (greased and floured)
Small saucepan
Pastry brush or knife

Ingredients for cake:
1 ounce semisweet chocolate (Note: Using high-quality chocolate that contains 60-70% cocoa will give you the rich and firm ganache that we want to cover our Ding Dongs.)
½ cup hot coffee
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
14 Stuffed Puffs marshmallows
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

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Ganache:
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into half-ounce pieces
1 cup heavy cream

Let’s get going!

Cake:

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease (with butter) and flour two 8-inch baking pans.

2. Chop up your chocolate into small pieces. Place chocolate into a bowl and pour your hot coffee over it. Stir mixture a few times until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

3. Take a large bowl and sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, beat egg until thick and then add in buttermilk, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture, continuing to beat until everything is well combined. Add your sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

4. Pour the batter equally between the baking pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

5. Allow pans to cool. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and gently shake loose the cakes.

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Filling:

1. Pour heavy cream over marshmallows and heat marshmallows either on hot stove or in double boiler or microwave until marshmallows have doubled in size and are releasing small air bubbles.

2. Remove from heat and whisk until marshmallows and cream form a thick and smooth mixture. Let cool at room temp.

Ganache:

1. Place your chocolate in a bowl (glass or stainless steel works best).

2. In a small saucepan, bring your cream to a boil.

3. Remove from the heat and pour the heavy cream over the chocolate. Allow it to stand for five minutes and then stir until completely smooth.

Assembly:

1. Cover a cookie sheet or a cutting board with plastic wrap. Set aside.

2. Use a sharp biscuit cutter or small round cookie cutter to cut small circles of cake out of the layers.

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3. Cut out a cone portion of each cake, making sure that you don’t cut through to the other side. Remove the cut-out piece. Fill in the hole with your melted marshmallow filling and cover up the hole with the scoop of cake you initially removed.

4. Place your Ding Dongs on the baking sheet (or cutting board).

Using a pastry brush or knife, spread your ganache on the cakes and allow to set until firm.

Enjoy!