As summer winds down to a close, we’re all eager to make the most of our favorite warm-weather traditions. When it comes to dessert, there’s nothing that says summer fun like a batch of DIY s’mores. In honor of National S’mores Day, I’m sharing my go-to recipes for fluffy marshmallows and cinnamon graham crackers, plus some of my top tips for making them special—with or without the campfire.
- Indoor s’mores are just as fun. Simply use a stovetop gas burner or hand-held kitchen torch to toast.
- Keep it simple. If you don’t have time to make every component from scratch, just make one! (I recommend the homemade marshmallows.)
- Or get creative. Try mixing and matching different marshmallow flavors with milk chocolate, semisweet, dark or white chocolate bars.
- Know your audience. For kids, good ol’ Hershey’s is the classic pick for a reason. But for adults with more discerning palates, splurge on higher-quality chocolate bars; it will make all the difference.
- Skewers are all around you. Twigs, bamboo and metal skewers, or even leftover wooden chopsticks from your Chinese take-out will all work well for toasting marshmallows over an open flame.
- Make a big batch. Prefer to do the marshmallow toasting in a single batch? You can brown marshmallows under your broiler for a couple of minutes on piece of aluminum foil, then spread the gooey goodness on graham crackers. (A great option for those without a gas range, kitchen torch or grill!)
Yield: Makes about 84 one-inch cubed marshmallows
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 5 teaspoons (2 envelopes) powdered gelatin
- ½ cup plus ⅓ cup cold water
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla, almond, peppermint, lemon, raspberry, coconut or orange extract, to taste
- Food coloring, as desired
- In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch together. Set aside.
- Lightly coat a 9” x 9” baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, pressing the film directly onto the base and sides of the pan. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mix evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan, reserving the remainder for later use.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup cold water, and let stand to soften.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites on low speed. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook the granulated sugar, corn syrup, remaining ⅓ cup of water and salt over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 245° F, about 12 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture over the egg mixture.
- Add the softened gelatin to the mixer, and whip until combined. Add the flavoring and food coloring, as desired. Increase the speed of the mixer to high, and whip until thick, glossy and tripled in volume.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mix evenly over the top of the marshmallows. Chill marshmallows, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.
- Invert the pan onto a large cutting board and gently peel away the plastic wrap. With a large knife, kitchen shears, or a pizza wheel, trim the edges of the marshmallows and cut into desired shapes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mix over cut marshmallows and toss to coat on all sides.
CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS
Yield: Makes approximately 30 crackers, depending on size
- 2 cups graham flour
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into ¼-inch cubes
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cinnamon-sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Place the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the molasses, milk, and vanilla extract and process until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Press the ball into a ½-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Position two racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F
- Unwrap the chilled dough, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out to ⅛-inch thick and transfer the rolled dough between parchment papers to a baking sheet.
- Gently remove the top sheet of parchment paper and cut the dough, using a pizza cutter and ruler as a guide, into 2-inch square pieces, or desired shapes. Trim and discard any excess dough. Using a fork, poke holes into the cut dough in desired pattern. Leave the crackers on the pan and bake until the edges just start to darken, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven; if using, dust with cinnamon-sugar before cooling. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheet completely. Once completely cool, carefully break into individual pieces.