Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fantasy S'mores

The Setting: An unusually gorgeous day in South Bend, but still too cold to do much playing outdoors.

The Soundtrack: Dripping water--no clue as to its source.

Steaming up the oven: Sweet potatoes for Oia. We're gonna give solid foods a go.

The Scenario: Call it trite, but I am obsessed with S'mores. I am also highly fond of the whole bacon-and-chocolate, savory-sweet thing--I know, I know, it's so overplayed it's been on the menu at Denny's. But that doesn't make it any less delicious, now does it?

For a while now I've been dreaming about what happens when these two worlds collide in an all-natural, made-from-scratch kind of way. It's time to make dreams come true.

Let's meet the players.

The Grahams: Homemade Honey-Butter Graham Crackers. You know how graham crackers are usually lower in fat and better for you? Well, these are pretty fattening. Sorry. However, they do contain mostly whole wheat four, so they have that going for them...which is nice.

The Chocolate: Vosges Mo's Milk Bar--a splurge to be sure, but so, so good. This milk-chocolate-bacon bar was the inspiration for the fantasy in Fantasy S'mores. I used to buy the pork-spiked chocolate on my lunch breaks when I was coping with work stress and pregnancy cravings and imagine it melting between layers of hot, toasted marshmallows and crispy, golden grahams. If you can't find (or don't want to buy) this chocolate, here's what you do: Dice up a slice of bacon, fry it till it's nice and crisp, let the fat drain off on a paper towel, and distribute the bacon in an even layer in a parchment-paper-lined loaf pan. Melt 2-4oz of milk chocolate and pour over the bacon. Sprinkle sparingly with finishing salt (if you desire) and let set. Now you have a hand-crafted milk-chocolate bacon bar.

The Marshmallows: Homemade Maple-Brown-Sugar Marshmallows. Follow this recipe, but swap out 1/4-cup each of the corn syrup and white sugar for 1/4-cup each of pure maple syrup and brown sugar, respectively. I was a bit conservative with this swap. Next time I'll do all brown sugar and 1/2-cup each of corn syrup and maple...or see if I can get my hands on some pure maple extract. Cut the marshmallows into 2-inch squares, or the size you desire.

Marshmallow Making

The Execution: You surely know how this goes campfire-side, but (thanks to my awesome stepsister Becky who read this post and decided to give me a creme brulee torch for Christmas) here's the way I do it indoors:

Place one of the grahams on a microwave-safe plate, top with a square or two of chocolate, and microwave for 20-25 seconds to soften the chocolate.

Place a marshmallow on top of the softened chocolate.

Use a creme brulee torch to carefully melt/brown the top and sides of the marshmallow.

Press a second graham on top of the marshmallow, allowing the melted goo to squish out just a bit on the sides.

Enjoy--with or without your favorite scary stories or campfire songs.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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