Tuesday October 12, 2010
City Slicker S'mores for secret eating
I love making marshmallows.
I think it nothing short of culinary alchemy. Water and sugar boiling into a thick syrup, then turning into a bowl of fluffy white clouds, and finally setting into a smooth, satiny pillow of marshmallow.
One of my favorite parts comes when I’ve lifted the giant marshmallow from the pan and dusted it over with powdered sugar. I love the feel of that huge marshmallow: perfectly soft, silky, and so much like a Tempurpedic mattress that I have a long running fantasy wherein I fall asleep atop a giant marshmallow.
I know. I need therapy.
And then, once cut, who could resist those chubby little cubes?
Why eat some other stuff, indeed.
But the greatest property of the homemade marshmallow? Their square shape, once toasted, melts perfectly to the very edges of a graham cracker for the ultimate S’more.
S’mores are one of my favorite autumnal traditions, but sadly I haven’t stood before a bonfire in at least three years. We don’t even have a fireplace in our house. Toasting marshmallows over a gas flame (or, more shamefully, a candle) gets the job done, but with none of the magic that makes a s’more more than the sum of its parts.
So, I came up with a solution. If I can’t toast my marshmallows over a smokey flame, what if I make them with the smoke built in? Which lead me to making Smoked Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.
Yet, using these deliciously smokey, homemade marshmallows actually made my S’mores worse. Suddenly, the graham crackers weren’t holding up their end of the bargain. The mismatch in quality and flavor totally ruined the experience, like expensive cheese on grocery store baguette.
Obviously, I needed homemade graham crackers.
You can find a good recipe for them online without doing much exploratory clicking. It seems the Culinary Mitochondrial Eve may originate with Nancy Silverton’s recipe dating back to at least 2000 with the publication of Pastries from the La Brea Bakery. Ten years later, Alton Brown has a spookily similar recipe (perhaps there is a legitimate connection between them?).
It’s pretty much Nancy’s recipe, converted to weight measurements, with the addition of “graham flour” (a type of whole wheat flour that has been milled a certain way to result in an especially fine textured flour) and some tweaks that up the brown sugar while reducing the molasses.
So, using the basic ratios set forth by those Graham Ancestors, I set out to concoct a gluten free recipe. This has a lot to do with not wanting to leave my gluten intolerant friends sidelined as everyone else chowed down on s’mores.
As per my tirade in Matchy Matchy Matcha I think that gluten free baked goods have to taste awesome to both the “average Joe” and the gluten intolerant alike. So here is a BraveTart approved, gluten free recipe for Honey Grahams.
After baking and mixing away, once I had sufficient quantities of both homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, Rosco appeared. Go figure.
In trying to figure out how we wanted to shoot said goodies, we played around with a lot of ideas, all while quoting various Homestar Runner Fluffy Puff Marshmallow commercials. (“Made from the best stuff” and “I’m going this way!” being our favorites.)
Then it hit us. “Stack ‘em to the heavens!”
As Marshie notes in the Fluffy Puff Malloween Orange and Black Flavored Marshmallow Commercial, “they fit on top of each other. Stack ‘em to the heavens!”
So, we did. And then poured chocolate ganache all over them.
Afterward, we played S’mores Jinga, and disassembled the tower one delicious piece at a time.
If you’d like to make your own tower of S’mores, or just a normal configuration of S’mores, you’ll need:
I’ve always found an entire bar of chocolate in a s’more too much. It never gets melty all the way through. So I like to melt my chocolate and then spread a layer on the bottoms of all the graham crackers. Then, pop ‘em in the fridge until the chocolate sets up.
That way, there’s chocolate on the top and bottom, and both layers are thin enough to get all melty style from the heat of the toasted marshmallow.
Use a gas flame, candle, blow torch or broiler to toast the marshmallows all over, and S’more away.
Is Hershey’s everyone’s go-to s’mores chocolate, or does anyone else favor dark chocolate instead? To me, a classic S’more has enough sugar to put my teeth on edge for a week. I need the dark chocolate to tame it down. What’s your s’more chocolate of choice?
And, also, am I the only person totally obsessed with Marshie, even eight years after his debut? I love his demented, somewhat sinister approach to the shill.
14 comments and counting
Oct 13, 2010 · 8:57 PM
Thanks for the comment on my blog! I love your site – beautiful food + pics…perfect! Can you believe I’ve only had s’mores with milk chocolate. I’m a lover of dark chocolate, why have I never done that?!
· Courtney @ Ice Cream & Wine · http://icecreamandwine.blogspot.com
Oct 15, 2010 · 10:43 AM
How mysterious! You’d better bust out some dark chocolate bars and amend that! Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to make your carrot fries tonight!
Oct 19, 2010 · 9:44 AM
These Must Be Tried.
Stella, your commitment to making beautiful gluten free pastries cheers me so. But it may end my couple of years of pretty much ignoring dessert!
· Rona Roberts · http://www.savoringkentucky.com
Oct 19, 2010 · 10:04 PM
I can’t imagine ignoring desserts for a couple of minutes, let alone years! Sorry to knock you off the wagon, but I hope you do get around to trying them! In town, you can buy all of those flours at the Dong Yang market on Clays Mill (behind Burger King).
Oct 20, 2010 · 12:58 PM
or hide some ‘neath your pillow, for sleepy time!
May 22, 2011 · 4:21 PM
I’m thinking, I’m planning, how am I going to get this done? When am I going to get this done….We flame cook over an open fire pit at least once a week and “s’more” at least twice a week. That is a lot of graham…a lot of mallow, but it must happen.
· Apron Appeal · http://apronappeal.com
May 23, 2011 · 9:39 PM
Apron, dear, you can never have too much graham or mallow. I’m jealous of all your open flame cooking! We’re lucky to get it done once a week in the summer. How much fun. Let me know if you make s’mores!
Sep 05, 2011 · 8:35 PM
@hummm!, but of course!
Feb 25, 2012 · 3:37 PM
these photos are crazy good! i am making these graham crackers ASAP
· susan · http://www.theurbanbaker.com
Feb 25, 2012 · 9:40 PM
@susan, thanks!! My pal Rosco knows his way around a camera, that’s for sure.
Jun 08, 2012 · 1:02 AM
Stella, I thought you might be alluding to HSR with the Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes entry earlier, but Marshie confirmed it. Gorgeous food and stunning photography aside, you are the coolest pastry chef in North America. (If that isn’t a thing already, it is now. Because I said so.)
Jun 09, 2012 · 12:24 PM
@Margie, ahahaha, yes. My regular work uniform includes many a HSR t-shit, Trogdo, Teen Girl Squad and the red one with a white star. Thank you for the kind words!! I feel like I should kneel and you can knight me with a whisk. XD