Make it. Eat it. Love it.
Crackling flames of fire dancing in the night that warm faces and bring friends together on beautiful summer nights and cool fall evenings. The yellowish orange flames, always mesmerizing as you gaze into the large pile of wood ablaze in front of you. Bonfires are one of those things that no matter what your age is you enjoy it all the same.
As a child, bonfires symbolized summer nights at camp. Sitting around the fire by the lake, singing and watching the flames dance into the night sky. As I got older bonfires meant going out to the beach with friends, sitting around the fire under blankets, playing guitar and dancing, hoping not to get caught and kicked off the beach. Bonfires now mean sitting with good friends and good food. Sharing stories and laughter.
S’mores, like bonfires, never tire with age. The two go hand in hand. A bonfire is never complete without your face becoming sticky from the gooey marshmallow you just roasted over the open fire, sandwiched with chocolate between crunchy graham crackers. The name s’more really does symbolize everything this campfire treat is. You cannot help but saying ‘some more’ as soon as you eat your first one.
When Katherine over at Katherine Martinelli pulled out a little bag filled with a homemade s’more for me, I was in awe that she not only made her own marshmallows, but she made her own graham crackers too. Amazing. She gave me the inspiration and push to create my own and that is just what I did.
As intimidating as making your own marshmallow seems, its not quite as complicated as one may think. With only a few ingredients and a lot of mixing, homemade marshmallows come together rather quickly and once rolled in powdered sugar, taste just as good if not better then those from a bag of Jett Puffed marshmallows.
Homemade Marshmallows (adapted from epicurious and Martha Stewart)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.
In a large mixing bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and set aside to soften.
In a saucepan heat sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil.
Cook WITHOUT STIRRING! until a candy thermometer registers 245F
Remove pot from heat and pour mixture over the gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
With an electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until mixture is nearly tripled in volume, thick and white, about 10-12 minutes.
In separate mixing bowl with beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they hold stiff peaks.
Add egg whites and vanilla into sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
Pour mixture into baking pan.
Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top.
Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least four hours.
Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board.
With a large knife cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes.
Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface and roll the marshmallows through it.
Marshmallows are only 1/3 of what make s’mores so amazing. We cannot forget the gram crackers. Normally the thought of graham crackers would land me in the grocery store buying a box of Honey Maid, not in the kitchen trying to make my own. However in Israel there are no boxes of Honey Maid. In fact, there are no boxes of anything that resembles Honey Maid. Oh to think of these poor Israeli children that have no idea what they are missing out on!!
Graham crackers turn out to be as easy to make as any other cookie really. I used a ravioli cutter to make the shape, a sharp knife to scratch the pattern on top and the tip of a chopstick to make the holes. They were perfect.
Homemade Graham Crackers (adapted from 101 cookbooks)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup honey
5 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Sugar for dusting tops
Cinnamon for dusting tops
To make the dough, in a mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
Add the butter and with an electric mixer, mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla.
Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture and using the electric mixer, mix on low until the dough comes together. It will be very sticky.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour.
Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap and shape into a rectangle, about 1-inch thick.
Wrap dough and chill it until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F ad line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Once dough has chilled, Divide in half and return one half to the refrigerator.
On a floured work surface roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut dough into 4-inch squares. I used a ravioli cutter!!
Place the graham crackers on baking sheet.
Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Score a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, (careful not to cut through the dough) and a horizontal line in the middle of the vertical line.
Using the end of a chopstick (or you can use a toothpick) make small holes in the dough to form two rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the vertical line.
Sprinkle tops of graham crackers with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through.
Cool on wire rack.
To assemble s’more, take one marshmallow and toast over an open fire using a stick or skewer. Place a square of chocolate on one graham cracker, top with toasted marshmallow and top with another graham cracker.
*You can place the whole thing in a toaster oven as well and toast until the marshmallow becomes soft and gooey.