Can you tell that we’re excited for summer? Once we had the idea to make homemade marshmallows and graham crackers for S’mores we couldn’t even wait until May to make this nostalgic campfire classic. We live in a condo so we had to ‘roast’ our marshmallows over our electric cooktop but the flavor was the same and making the marshmallows and graham crackers from scratch is so worth it. Honestly, I thought the marshmallows would be harder…mostly because I had heard that there was some sort of marrow involved?!? This is not the case…there’s really nothing more than unflavored gelatin and sugar in a variety of incarnations (granulated sugar, corn syrup and confectioner’s sugar.) The only problem with making homemade marshmallows is that they’re hard to stop eating! We may have eaten so many s’mores that we won’t want anymore for the rest of the summer…or at least until May.
Most wine pairing books advise pairing sweet foods with sweet wines. This can be true but I felt that a dry but juicy red would be best to pair with our s’mores. This wine has hints of caramel, roast coffee, oak and tobacco. The rustic and earthy nature of this wine seems to complete the campfire experience of the s’more and the flavors enhance each other perfectly…more successfully than a sweet wine I think! My point is…don’t always follow your wine book! Just go with the wine that you think will be best and if you’re wrong you won’t make the same mistake again!
Imperial Stouts (and to some extent, plain stouts) are my go to dessert beers. Something about the roasted malt flavors that are present in most stouts mixed with the extra sweet maltiness of an imperial beer and the stomach warming high alcohol content make them perfect to enjoy with a savory dessert or even as a tasty dessert themselves. This made an imperial stout the perfect pairing for our homemade s’mores which has a similar approach to contrasting flavors: rich, earthy, and crunchy graham crackers with bitter and sweet dark chocolate and sweet gooey marshmallows. Taking a sip of an imperial stout after a bit of a s’more intensifies the bitter notes of the dark chocolate and then finishes with the sweet malt flavors that match the marshmallow and graham cracker. Peg Leg was an average imperial stout with all the right flavors but just not the right proportions. The sweet malt was a bit too sweet and even a little salty (But I guess you could expect that from a brewery called Heavy Seas?) and the roasted malt just wasn’t quite strong enough for me.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment nearby ready to go.
2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7-8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
3. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
4. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal or glass baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
5. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Makes about 24 3” x 3” squares
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS. whole wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons milk, I used almond milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
3. Roll out the crackers: Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a rough square. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut the dough into 3” x 3” squares using a ruler to mark off your squares. Using a skewer or fork, prick the dough to form three dotted rows down the center of each cracker.
4. Place the crackers on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.
5. Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.
6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.