Introduction: Inside-Out S'mores
We all love the taste of S'mores, don't we? The graham crackers, melted chocolate, and toasted marshmallow create an awesome combination! The only problem is the mess of eating one. The cracker breaks in all the wrong places, losing precious chocolate and marshmallow. That's why I decided to turn these delicious desserts inside-out. Now, instead of sandwiching the marshmallow, the chocolate and graham crackers are located INSIDE. The best part? It's made with common ingredients, just like the original.
This isn't just any S'more though, because we're using homemade marshmallows. Actually, making marshmallows at home is not as difficult as you might think. You could cheat and use store-bought marshmallow creme, but why would you? Marshmallows used to be fine candies in Europe, on par with chocolate truffles. We should restore them to their former glory, but in a distinctly American way. Let's get started!
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
1 package (1/4 ounce) gelatin
1/3 cup ice water,
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey (or light corn syrup, but I like the flavor of honey)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup (2 oz.) mini chocolate chips
2 rectangular graham crackers, roughly broken
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
This recipe makes about two dozen one-inch cubed marshmallows. This recipe scales easily, and you can also change the ratio of marshmallow to chocolate and graham crackers to your liking.
This is what I'll be using, but you can use whatever works for you. I've included some alternative suggestions.
Stand mixer with whisk attachment
(Alternatives: hand mixer; for your own sanity, DO NOT use a whisk)
(Alternatives: any pot with a thick bottom and a lid)
(Alternatives: dyed-alcohol candy thermometer; DO NOT use a bi-metal meat thermometer, it's too inaccurate)
Glass baking dish with lid
(Alternatives: any straight-sided pan will do, if it doesn't have a lid, use aluminum foil to cover)
(Alternatives: anything not made of wood; wood sticks to marshmallows like you wouldn't believe)
(Alternatives: a pizza cutter)
Step 2: Blooming the Gelatin
We first need to perform a step called "blooming." This allows the gelatin to more easily dissolve later on. Simply empty the packet of gelatin into the bottom of the stand mixer's bowl and add in half of the ice water (that would be 1/6 cup or 8 teaspoons).
See? That was pretty simple for a first step!
Step 3: Making the Syrup
Now, we have to make a sugar syrup. Put the sugar, the honey, and the remaining water in a small sauce pot. Place over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then, STOP STIRRING. Don't touch it! The honey (mostly glucose and fructose) helps to prevent the granulated sugar (sucrose) from crystallizing, but the agitation from stirring causes seed crystals. We don't want those.
Put the lid on the pot for a few minutes. The trapped steam will condense on the lid and wash down the side of the pot, dissolving any remaining crystals. Then, remove the lid and insert your thermometer.
We are looking for 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the soft-ball stage. If you don't have a thermometer, you can use the cold-water test found here . As soon as the syrup reaches that temperature, remove it from the heat immediately and go on to the next step.
CAUTION! The syrup is really dangerous. Not only is it really hot, it's really sticky too. Be careful and use heat protection whenever necessary.
Step 4: Making Fluff!
Your gelatin should have bloomed already. Turn on the stand mixer to its lowest setting. Then, slowly pour the syrup into the bowl. Try not to hit the spinning whisk, because that could fling the syrup back onto you. Once the syrup is completely in the mixer, turn it up to high speed. If you're using a hand mixer, you may want to have someone help you with this step.
Beat on high (speed 8 on my Kitchen Aid) for about four minutes, or until tripled in volume. The marshmallow should look like a medium-peak meringue. If you beat it less, the marshmallow will be softer. Beating more makes a stiffer marshmallow, whichever you prefer. While you wait for the fluff to whip up, go on to step 5.
Once the time is up, turn the mixer back down to low and add in the vanilla extract, the chocolate chips, and the graham crackers. When everything is well incorporated, turn off the mixer and move to step six (quickly!).
First, you may encounter hardened sugar when washing the pot you used for the sugar syrup. Simply fill the pot with hot water and the sugar will quickly dissolve.
Second, to help clean off the whisk, slowly lift it out of the marshmallow mixture when turning the mixer off. The spinning of the whisk will help fling off some of the goo.
Finally, if you plan to scale this recipe, the amount of time in the mixer changes.
Step 5: Preparing the Pan
As you may have guessed, homemade marshmallow creme is REALLY sticky! It has the potential to get all over the place, so we just need to take some precaution. First, if you have long hair, tie that back. Marshmallow creme in long hair is a painful thing.
Now, let's prep the pan. Sorry I forgot to nab a picture before I put in the marshmallow creme, but you can get a good idea of what it's supposed to look like from the sides. Coat the pan generously with nonstick spray. Make sure you get the corners too! Unfortunately, this isn't enough. Mix together the powdered sugar and corn starch. Place about two tablespoons of the powder into the pan and cover tightly with the lid (or aluminum foil, if that's what you're using). Shake the pan to coat everything. Retrieve the excess powder.
You could also cover the pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper, but I find this method to be a lot more troublesome. Plus, you're going to need the powder mixture for later anyway.
Step 6: Forming the S'mores
Using the prepared spatula, scrape the marshmallow creme into the waiting pan. Be sure to act quickly, because the mixture starts to set as soon as the agitation of the beater stops. It may look kind of funky at first, but you can always tap the pan on the counter to smooth it out a bit. As you can see in my photo, it's pretty difficult to get it completely level on top, but don't worry! These are homemade, so they don't have to look perfect!
Once the mixture is in the pan, dust the top with the remaining powdered sugar and corn starch and cover the pan loosely with the lid. Let it sit somewhere cool for at least four hours to dry out.
Step 7: Final Steps
Once the four hours are up, turn out the enormous marshmallow onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice up your S'mores into whatever size you'd like. There should be enough excess corn starch and powdered sugar to coat the remaining sticky sides of the confection. If there isn't, you can always add more.
Once cut, you can stash these in an airtight container for up to three weeks... not that they're going to last that long!
Try these for yourself and you'll see why they're so good. The homemade marshmallows make all the difference! Plus, these are so much more convenient. You only have to pack one thing to bring camping, not three separate packages. Plus, toasting them over the fire is just as much fun! You also get to eat the entire S'more right off the stick =)