Here’s another show-off dessert for summer cook-outs and bon fires. I think of s’mores as a bon fire snack for kids. The gooey, sticky, sweet dessert of hot summer evenings by the fire. The fun for adults is to practice your golden brown marshmallow roasting skills. I have mad marshmallow roasting skills.
These though, involve other skills. Homemade peanut butter marshmallows. Dreamy dark chocolate. Chewy grahams made from scratch. These s’mores would pair great with a nice cabernet sauvignon around the fire. These are grown up a bit.
If you’re felling particularly generous, you can share them with a kid.
I absolutely love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. For this version of the s’more, I made peanut butter marshmallows. Even if you’re on the fence about marshmallows, the homemade variety are just delicious. They can be flavored in a vast number of ways and are pillowy soft.
While homemade marshmallows are softer than store-bought marshmallows, they’re also less sturdy. While they can be gently roasted over a fire, they do melt and fall off the marshmallow roasting sticks far more easily. If you happen to have someone in your family that tends to set the marshmallows ablaze, resulting in a scorched, rather than golden brown roast, I would suggest the indoor, rainy day method of marshmallow roasting.
The indoor, rainy day method of marshmallow roasting arose after I witnessed a chef in a restaurant kitchen finishing off his creme brûlée with a giant torch, the kind purchased from a home improvement store. I was immediately finished forever with those little wimpy kitchen torches (that barely can brûlée the sugar on 1 dessert, let alone multiples). Forget the imprecise method of your oven’s broiler. The secret to a perfect brûlée is a giant torch and some MAP gas.
This thing works in seconds. The rainy day version of these s’mores are every bit as delicious. (Maybe even more so!)
peanut butter marshmallows
adapted from Ina Garten
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup water, divided
1½ cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
Combine gelatin with ½ cup cold water in a stand mixer. Stir with the whisk attachment.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, ½ cup water, and salt in a large pot on the stove. Cook over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove the syrup from the heat.
Pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture in the stand mixer on low speed. Be careful not to splash yourself with the hot syrup during this step.
Turn the mixer on high speed and whip until white and very billowy, about 10 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and peanut butter. Whip one minute more.
Pour the mixture into a pan that has been very generously dusted with powdered sugar. Allow the marshmallows to set up for 8 hours or overnight.
To cut, generously sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and peel away from the edges of the pan. You can use cookie cutters for fun shapes. Kitchen shears or a large, long knife also work well for this process. It will get sticky. Keep dipping the edges of the freshly cut marshmallows into powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to everything.
homemade graham crackers
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp coarse salt
7 Tbsp cold butter, cut into large cubes
⅓ cup honey
5 Tbsp milk (more fat is better)
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
Mix flour, sugar, soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse. Add butter and pulse on and off to incorporate. Don’t over mix. The mixture will resemble a coarse meal. Whisk the milk, honey and vanilla in a measuring cup. With the food processor on, pour in the honey milk mix and continue to mix just until incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface. The dough will be relatively sticky. Cut with cookie cutters in whatever shape you desire.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. I prefer to slightly undertake these crackers. When under-baked they’re the consistency of a nice, soft cookie.