KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Summer is all about s'mores. Executive Pastry Chef Victoria Swanson of Ameristar Casino says there's more to the delicious treat than what we've been doing for years. From the graham crackers to the marshmallows, Swanson shows how you can make the staple from scratch.
1 ½ cups, plus extra for dusting All-purpose flour
1 cup Whole wheat flour
½ cup Wheat germ
½ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup Light-brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Honey
3 packages (1/4 ounces each) Unflavored gelatin
1 cup Water, cool, divided
1 ½ cup Sugar
1 cup Light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, as needed, to sprinkle on top
2 cups Good quality dark chocolate
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
Directions for Graham Cracker (make day of):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine flours, wheat germ, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
- Place butter, brown sugar and honey in mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl down as needed.
- Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture. Mix until combined.
- Turn out dough onto floured surface. Roll out until about 1/8 inch thick.
- Dock dough with fork at regular intervals.
- Using pastry wheel or pizza cutter (or knife), cut into desired sizes. Average graham cracker size is about 3 x 1 ½ inch.
- Place cookies on parchment lined cookie pans. Chill in freezer for 20 minutes, or until firm.
- Bake in oven, rotating halfway through, for approximately 8-9 minutes (for 3 x 1 ½ inch crackers, smaller ones may take less time).
- Let cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Can be stored in air tight container for up to 3 days. Unbaked cookies can be stored in freezer safe bags for up to 7 days.
Directions for Marshmallow (make day before):
- Combine the gelatin and ½ cup of the cool water in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Briefly mix and set aside.
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and ½ cup of the cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
- With the mixer set on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high and whip until it is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, (approximately 4-8 minutes, depending on your mixer) add vanilla and mix to combine. The mixture should be cool enough that you can spread it into the pan without burning your fingers, about 95 degrees.
- Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9x13” greased pan (glass or ceramic are best). Use damp hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallow.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting. Use a greased knife or cookie cutters to make squares or other shapes. Dipping the knife or cutters in cold water before cutting helps reduce any stickiness.
- Store in air tight container, layers separated by waxed paper or parchment. Can keep for up to two weeks.
Directions for Ganache (make day before):
- Place chocolate in heat safe bowl, set aside.
- Heat cream over medium high heat until just boiling. Immediately pour over chocolate. Let set for two minutes
- Stir chocolate and cream until completely combined. Immersion blenders work well, but be sure to use a deep sided bowl to avoid splatters.
- Let ganache cool at room temperature. It is ready to use once spreadable.
- Any leftover ganache may be refrigerated and used within a week. Ganache left at room temperature must be used within two days.
Spread ganache on backside of graham cracker, place marshmallow on top, place additional graham on top of marshmallow. Enjoy! No need to toast marshmallow, but it does make it tasty.
-While ganache is still very liquidy, place marshmallow between two graham crackers and dunk halfway into ganache. Let set on parchment covered cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator until ganache has set.
-Use peanut butter cups instead of ganache if you are a peanut-butter lover.
-Reduce the gelatin in the marshmallow to 2 packets for a “creamier” marshmallow. Gooey centers…. Yum!
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