Tuesday, June 8, 2010

If only I had cacao beans...

Day 159.

What says summertime better than S'mores? As far as I'm concerned, nothing! I have wanted to try my hand at marshmallow and graham cracker making for ages, and I've finally gone and done it. Those puffy cylinders at the grocery store and those sugary graham cracker stand-ins can't hold a candle to homemade. Sure, it looks delicious in my pictures, right? But is it worth YOUR time? I believe so. This is such a yummy, rewarding treat.

Be the cool mom on the block. Make your own marshmallows and graham crackers. And find some cacao beans and make chocolate bars. Just kidding.

Sort of.

I found my marshmallow recipe at The Hungry Mouse. Since I'm not in the habit of copying someone else's recipe verbatim, please go visit The Hungry Mouse for the actual measurements. I'll just give you a pictorial tutorial with my suggestions and opinions thrown in for good measure.

My chocolate graham cracker recipe is inspired by The Prepared Pantry. I changed it up a bit so I will list my recipe here. See The Prepared Pantry for original specifications.


Here we go.

First, you will want to make your graham cracker dough. Stir together the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat graham flour (you can substitute whole wheat instead. graham is just a coarser grind)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Set it aside for the moment. In your mixer bowl, beat 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted sweet cream butter until it's creamy.

Beat in 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Next, mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 large egg.

Slowly stir in the dry mixture. You should end up with a firm, sticky dough. If it's too wet to make a ball, add a little more graham flour to the mix.

Move your dough to the fridge and let it chill for several hours to firm up.

Now it's time to start your marshmallows.

First, you mix your gelatin with your cold water in your mixer bowl and stir it up really well.

Don't smell it. Don't do it.

Next you prepare your pans for the marshmallow to set in. This is a very messy process so wear an apron and keep a cloth and broom handy. Sift powdered sugar onto your desired molds. I used a 10" square dish and a 9x11" rectangular dish. In retrospect, two 10" squares would have been better. My marshmallows would have been higher.

prepared pan for marshmallow fluff to turn into marshmallows

Then, it's time to make the sugar syrup. You'll need a tall pot, a whisk, a pastry brush, a bowl of cold water, sugar, corn syrup, a candy thermometer, and salt.

The Hungry Mouse says that you will need to brush sugar crystals from the sides of your pot. I never experienced much of that at all. Anyway, you will whisk together the water, sugar, salt, and corn syrup.

Then you need to clip on a candy thermometer. I have never owned one of these until this week. Trust me. Use it. What I thought was firm ball stage based on my perception was actually nearly 60 degrees colder than it needed to be! Use a thermometer. Here's mine:

Bring the sugar syrup to a boil and keep it there, on high heat, DON'T STIR, just leave it alone, until it reaches 244 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes longer than you think.

Remove it from the heat. Now, go see your gelatin. Stir it up. It will be dry-ish and chunky.


Put your splash guard on your stand mixer's bowl. Slowly pour the sugar syrup into your gelatin, with your mixer on low speed.

Even though you've now added your sugary goodness to the gelatin which you have not, to this point, sniffed,
DON'T SMELL IT. For the love of Pete, DON'T SMELL IT. You'll regret it and doubt your final product. Don't smell the stuff.

Now, set this to mix on medium-high for a full twenty minutes. Amazing things will happen. But for now, get back to your graham crackers.

Go get your dough. Divide it into three pieces to make your work easier. Roll each piece out onto parchment paper, to 1/4" thickness. Use a pizza cutter to cut squares/diamonds, but leave them all connected while they bake. Prick each piece with a fork several times. Slide your parchment onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about ten to twelve minutes.

Let them cool. They will still be soft when you take them out of the oven, but they'll harden up as they cool. Once cool, break them into pieces and enjoy!

Don't eat them all because we're making S'Mores, remember? Right about now, your marshmallow goo should look like pretty, shiny, puffy, white marshmallow fluff!


Instead, add your massive amount of vanilla extract (1/4 cup!) and beat it again for five more minutes.

NOW you can smell it. Go on. I know you're dying to smell it. Pour your fluff (well, scoop...or plop, or whatever) into your prepared pans.

This is a messy, messy process. You need lots of hot soapy water when you're done.

You think this is bad? you should have seen my fingers!

Now, dust the tops of your molds with powdered sugar and leave them alone for the night, uncovered, on your counter.

The next day, unmold your marshmallows. Use a sharp knife to cut around the edges of your pan. Lift the marshmallow up and out and only a clean surface for cutting. I cut mine into squares, You can do whatever you want. Dip the cut edges into more powdered sugar so they don't stick together.

Voila! Marshmallows!

Since I can't do it all ;) I bought some high-quality chocolate for my S'Mores.


For more yummy recipes, visit Blessed with Grace for Tempt my Tummy Tuesday!


Jenn said...

Chris and I were just talking about homemade marshmallows this weekend! I saw a Martha Stewart episode once where she reprimanded her guest for using store bought marshmallows! lol These look like a lot of work, but sooooooooo very good!!

Michelle said...

They were time-consuming, but not at all hard, and not much hands-on work. :) You should try your hand at them! Picky Eater wants me to make colorful ones for her birthday (She's having a Messy Party).

Andrea said...

Awesome!! I've made graham crackers before & marshmallow has been on mt short list, too :) I've never seen one that uses unflavored gelatin, only egg whites. Which is sweet cause I have a bunch of unflavored gelatin I can use up :) They look deelish!

PS I've often threatened to get cacao beans so I can make my own chocolate, too :) I so want to blend my own, it would be so much fun!

MOM said...

Oh my! Yummy!

MonsterMama said...

Those Look beautiful! Thanks for stopping by, now let me go check out your recipes :)

SmartShopaholic said...

Those look yummy. Just stopping by to say hi. I already follow.

Melissa said...

I just wanted to come in and let you know that I absolutely love your blog. I never comment, but I follow religiously. I find myself cooking so much more now, and often have to fight the urge to take a picture of my creation. LOL!

Michelle said...

Melissa, thank you so much. :*) It means a lot to hear comments like yours. I appreciate you taking the time to write to me, and thank you for being so supportive. If you ever want to share your pictures, you're welcome to!! I love success stories! all_home_cooking (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

OH, wow! I've heard that homemade marshmallows are the best, but I've never attempted them. YUM!

Thanks for sharing!
Have a great day!

heather said...

id love to try the graham crackers b/c i LOVE chocolate...but not sure im ready for the marshmellows yet although i am sure that they taste awesome!

M @ Betty Crapper said...

You know everyone who makes this is going to smell it, simply out of curiosity. I know I will.

I don't buy store bought sweets. Homemade always tastes better and never has ingredients you can't pronounce.

Michelle said...

I know, M, I know. But at least you can't say I didn't warn you. lolololol

Simply Life said...

wow, I love smores but have never seen them homemade - impressive and it looks soooo good!

Debbie said...

Come join me for the inaugural edition of What's On the Menu Wednesday. I'd love for you to link up with Mister Linky. Thanks.

Gigi said...

Stopping by from LBS Tea Party...your photos are beautiful and the smores look yummy! My own blog is part food blog and I am trying to make more things from scratch as well. I just made homemade ice cream sandwiches a few weeks ago and they were fabulous!

Hutch said...

Here from the LBS Tea Party and You had me at s'mores! They are a summertime favorite of mine :)

Michelle said...

Hi Gigi & Hutch! Welcome! I'm glad you've stopped by & hope to see you again soon!

Pamela said...

Visiting from LBS, I have never made my own, but I do like to bake. They look good, and who deos not like smores...

JMJE said...

I love smores so much that I make them in my own oven sometimes. I have never thought to make my own marshmallows though. Those look awesome. Stopping by from the Lady Bloggers tea party.

mychau. said...

From the Lady Blogger Tea Party! This looks soooo yummy! Following your blog :).

Annie Joy said...

From the Lady Bloggers Tea Party -- Love the concept and appreciate the detailed photos. I'll be back to visit! Thanks -- Annie Joy

Amy Walker said...

WOW!!! S'mores from scratch..this is incredible!! I'll have to try this when my husband gets back from Haiti!
Definitely following you! LOVE this blog!!!!! Thanks for finding me!!!!
~Amy @www.thecheapandchoosy.blogspot.com

Haniela said...

I love homemade marshmallows. Yummy. Have a great weekend.

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