Monday, February 11, 2008

I *heart* S'Mores

I really do. So, when I saw that people were making them completely from scratch (sorry I can't find the link and can't remember where I saw them!), I had to try it. I made my own graham crackers and my own marshmallows. Let me give the recipes and tell you about my experiences.

Homemade Graham Crackers

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 c hot water, approximately

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour till coarse. Add sugar, soda, cream of tartar, egg and enough hot water to make dough that can be rolled like pastry. Roll 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on a board sprinkled with a little white flour. Cut into 3 inch squares. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on rack. Brush tops with butter.

This is the recipe I decided to use. I got it from the Hodgson Mill website. The graham crackers were certainly easy to make. Pretty much the same as any cookie. I did forget to take the butter out of the freezer and I had to use a shredder to "cut" the butter into the flour. I decided I actually like doing it that way better and will try that technique again some time. The end result wasn't what I expected. They did not taste like your traditional graham cracker. They were more like those fancy thick wheat crackers - sorta a cookie sorta a cracker. Make sense? The kids LOVED them. I decided to cut the crackers into heart shapes since we are so close to Valentine's day.

Although I may make the graham crackers again, I don't think I will call them graham crackers.

On to the marshmallows.....
A while back I found a recipe for marshmallows. I decided they were way to hard. That was before I had a KitchenAid. Cooking is easy if you have the correct tools. I used a Martha Stewart recipe and I must say the end result was quite delicious. The kids loved making them and loved eating them even more. Here is the recipe and picks....

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let it stand 30 minutes.

Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust an 8 x 12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out.

As you can see, I also cut the marshmallows to match the crackers. After I made them I packaged them with some cute mini chocolate chips. They were so cute. I put them in the fridge until I got around to mailing them. Two days later I removed them from the fridge and testing one. YUCK!!! The marshmallows had turned hard and chewy. The "crackers" were soggy. I let them warm up and the crackers tasted gross (maybe from the butter you brush on!) and the marshmallows were still rubbery. The whole thing ended up in the trash. I am sorry. It is awful I know. Imagine how heart broken I felt over it. So, those of you that would expect a Valentine from us may not get a little surprise this year (remember the caramels from last year?).

Just a note....I had a ton of marshmallows left over and had put them in a ziplock bag in the cabinet. They are still yummy.