I have sought seasonal inspiration from across The Pond this week in the form of S’mores. If you are on social media, I am sure these campfire treats won’t have escaped your attention. I have seen them in all different forms, ice cream, cakes, biscuits…the list goes on.
In their original form, they are made using two Graham Crackers which sandwich a campfire melted marshmallow and a square of chocolate. The filling then melts together into a hot, toasted, gooey amalgamation – what is not to like!?
Biscuits, chocolate and marshmallows – this sounds like a brilliant autumn treat to me, so I decided to have a go and create them myself.
First up I made the marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are a heavenly thing, so much nicer than the shop bought confectionary, that they are almost a different beast. They are not complicated to make and once you have made them, you will be hooked!
450g caster sugar
9 sheets of leaf gelatine
1tbsp liquid glucose (available in most supermarket baking isles)
2 large egg whites
1tsp vanilla extract
(Icing sugar and cornflour for dusting)
Lightly oil a 20 cm square baking tin with a flavourless oil, and dust with icing sugar and cornflour.
In a medium heavy based saucepan, put the sugar, water and liquid glucose and put on a medium heat.
Place the gelatine leaves into a shallow bowl and cover with 140 ml of cold water and leave to soak.
Check the heat of the sugar mixture. It needs to be heated to 127ºC, using a sugar thermometer to keep an eye on it. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
Once the sugar mixture reaches 127ºC, carefully add the softened gelatine leaves and the water they soaked in. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful when adding! Leave to one side.
With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. When this has been achieved, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites in a steady stream, whilst still whisking. Then add the vanilla extract. Whisk the mixture on a high speed for 15 minutes, or until the mixture is glossy, thick and holds its shape on the whisk.
Spoon the mixture into your prepared baking tin and spread it to the sides so that it is level on top. Leave for at least an hour to set.
When it is ready, dust your work surface with cornflour and icing sugar, then tip your marshmallow out on top. You may need to use a knife to help ease the marshmallow out.
Then cut the marshmallow into even cubes. Store in an airtight container that has been dusted with cornflour and icing sugar. They will keep for about a week.
Next up is the Graham Cracker, again another new discovery for me. These lightly sweetened, whole grain biscuits are well known in America and Canada and I suppose our nearest alternative would be a digestive biscuit. As I wanted to experience the real deal, I thought I would make them instead! There are lots of recipes online, so have a quick search if you would like to make them too.
Now that the marshmallows and biscuits are done, it is all about the assembly and melting. As I said at the beginning, these biscuity treats are usually heated over a campfire and are a nostalgic tradition for many. With bonfire night coming up this would be a great opportunity to try them out. If, like me, you can’t wait that long for a bonfire, then they can also be heated in the oven.
Heat the oven to 180ºC and then lay the biscuits bottom side up on a baking sheet. On one half place a cube of chocolate (I used 70% dark chocolate, but milk chocolate works well too) and a marshmallow cube on the other half. Place the tin into the oven until both the chocolate and the marshmallow begin to melt. Remove from the oven and then sandwich the two halves together. If you want to get even more of that amazing toasted marshmallow flavour then blast the edges with a blow torch!
I wish these had been part of my childhood, they are brilliant! I hope you are inspired to give them a try – let me know how you get on.
P.S. You will have plenty of marshmallows left over (never a bad thing). Keep some for next week as I will be sharing some more seasonal recipe ideas and marshmallows are involved, hooray!