Sunday, October 10, 2010

Making S'mores from Scratch: Homemade Marshmallows and Graham Crackers



I have great news!  I have advanced to the fourth round of Project Food Blog!!!  Thanks SO much for you all your votes, and I hope you will continue to support me during this round!  Voting is officially open, so check out my entry on Foodbuzz and vote here!  

This thrilling news means that I have another post for you this Sunday that is part of the competition.  I hope you all enjoyed my Luxury Dinner post from last week, but this time I wanted to focus on something a little more lighthearted and fun.  And honestly, can you think of anything more fun than s'mores?  I can.  S'mores made with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers.  Oh yeah.  These are the real thing, no jet puffed pillows or plastic enclosed crackers here.  

When I decided to go camping this weekend, I knew the trip could not be complete without sweet graham crackers, rich chocolate, and sticky, gooey marshmallows for s'mores.  So make sure you keep reading all the way until the end of this post, so you can check out some serious flames as we toasted the marshmallows over our campfire.  No plans to go camping anytime soon?  No worries, there is no shame in toasting these babies over your grill or gas burner on your stovetop.  In fact, I completely support any methods that allow you to enjoy a delicious s'more; just make sure you don't burn your house down in pursuit of marshmallow goodness. 

To tell you about my experience of making these marshmallows and graham crackers, I am going to do things a little differently this time.  While I usually regale you with kitchen tales and general ramblings, and then share my recipes  at the end of my posts, this time I will be walking you through step-by-step how to complete each recipe.  There are loads of photos and helpful tips, so making marshmallows and graham crackers on your own should be easy-peasy.  And let me tell you, the graham crackers were good, but the marshmallows were out-of-this-world.  Truly, they are nothing like the ones you can buy in the store, and I will definitely never buy them again!  If you want a printable recipe, I will be adding to this post by the end of next week.    






____________________________________________________________

The Perfect Homemade Marshmallows
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients: 
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

Step 1: Grease the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch rectangular baking pan, and sift enough powdered sugar over the pan to coat the bottom and the sides.


Step 2: Add 1/2 cup cold water to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), and sprinkle gelatin over.  Let stand to soften, and mix to make sure it is all 'wet.'


Step 3: In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, mix corn syrup, sugar, and 1/2 cup cold water over low heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved.  Then, increase the heat to medium/medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil, and do not stir it.  Heat this way until a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer measures 240 degrees Fahrenheit.  This may take 8-12 minutes depending on exactly how high your heat is, but be sure not to overcook it, or heat it too high.


Step 3b (do this while your sugar is boiling): In medium bowl, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks.  You should not do this with your stand mixer, unless you have two bowls (remember, your gelatin is in the bowl already).  I did this with my immersion blender with the whisk attachment, but you would also use a hand mixer, or whisk by hand (flex those muscles!).  Set egg whites in fridge until ready to use.


Step 4: After your sugar mixture has reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat and pour it over the gelatin mixture in your stand mixer.  Stir until all the gelatin is dissolved (the consistency will be thick and the color will be brownish).  Then beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and at least tripled in volume, about 6 minutes in the stand mixer.  Add the egg whites from step 3b and vanilla into the sugar mixture, and beat until just combined.  Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and sift about 1/4 cup confectioners sugar over the top.  Let stand until firm, at least three hours, although I let mine sit overnight at room temperature.  


Step 5: Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the marshmallow.


Step 6: Turn pan over onto a cutting board sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, and use your fingers to loosen one corner of the marshmallow from the pan.  Let the rest of it drop from the pan by gravity onto the cutting board.


Step 7: Using an oiled, sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the marshmallows into cubes 1-inch cubes.  Sift the remaining confectioner's sugar into your baking pan, and roll the cubes in the sugar to coat all six sides.   


Step 7 con't: Alternatively, you can also cut the marshmallows into even smaller squares (perfect for adding to hot chocolate), or you can cut out cute shapes from the marshmallow using cookie cutters.  I would recommend slicing the marshmallow block in half for this, so you have a slice of marshmallow that is approximately 1/2-inch thick (see photo).  Then coat the side you intend to cut with the sugar before using your knife or cookie cutter.  

Marshmallows keep for one week in an airtight container at cool room temperature.  Although, they won't last that long because they are amazing.  AMAZING.  The most perfect marshmallow ever. 


____________________________________________________________

Graham Crackers
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup honey
5 tpsp full fat milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Step 1: Combine the flour, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to incorporate.  Add the butter, and pulse on/off until the mixture resembles sand. 



Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together honey, milk, and vanilla extract. 


Step 3: Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture in the food processor, and pulse on/off until the dough comes together.  It will be very very sticky (look, it ate my spoon!).  Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and turn the dough out onto it.  Dont try and handle it, you will just make a mess.  Just use your fingers to gently pat it into a rectangle, wrap, then chill until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. 


Step 4: Divide the dough in half and return the rest to the fridge. Sift out flour onto your work surface, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out your dough to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.  Again, the dough is sticky, so I would recommend working as quickly as you can here so it doesn't soften too much.  To cut the dough, I used a fluted pastry cutter, but the a pizza cutter or sharp knife would work well.  (I tried using a cookie cutters, and found the dough to be too sticky to work well.)  Cut the dough into 2-inch squares, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Chill until firm, about 45 minutes in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.


Step 5: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the oven rack in the middle.  Bake for about 13-20 minutes depending on your oven heat.  I give such a wide range, because while mine were definitely done by 13-14 minutes, other commenters on Smitten Kitchen mentioned they needed about 20 minutes.  Remove the crackers from the oven, and cool on a cooling rack.  Graham crackers will keep in an airtight container for a a few days.


____________________________________________________________

Making S'mores

Step 1: Gather a few friends, and go out to a wooded area with green trees and fresh air.  Alternatively, go into your kitchen.  You can do this with friends too.


Step 2: Build a roaring fire (inside a fire ring!  We can prevent forest fires!), or, turn on the gas burner on your stove.

Step 3: Prepare your graham crackers on a plate, and top one half with squares of chocolate.  It is important to have these prepped for when your marshmallow is done toasting.

Step 4: Skewer two marshmallows on a roasting stick, and toast over an open flame, either your campfire or your gas burner.  When the marshmallow is just toasted, transfer it to your waiting graham cracker, smoosh it all together, and enjoy!   


***This is my fourth entry for Project Food Blog challenge.   We were asked to use photography to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial.  For my entry I knew I wanted to do something fun so s'mores were at the top of my list. :)  I hope you think they are fun too, and will want to make your own marshmallows and graham crackers at home!  The marshmallows are especially perfect for the upcoming holidays.  If you liked this post I would love it if you would vote for me!   You can check out my profile on Foodbuzz and vote starting 8AM PST, on Monday October 11th.  Look for printable recipes this week! 

104 comments:

  1. Great job Amanda, that looks amazing, loved the picture and the idea. Now I'm really craving that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wanna go camping with you if your gonna bring such great stuff. My vote is yours. GREG

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just made homemade marshmallows and graham crackers last week! We made our smores with caramel Ghirardelli squares. SO GOOD.

    ReplyDelete
  4. S'mores are one of my favorite treats! I LOVE what you did with this post. Love to make home made marshmallows and graham crackers! You would be amazed at how many people that do not realize you can do this! You definitely have my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post! I've made marshmallows and you're right - they're FABULOUS when done at home! I've had homemade grahams on my list forever! Love this post. I'm going to wait until my little guy can help, but I'll keep this tutorial in mind! (Congrats on advancing! You totally deserve it.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mmmmm what a incredibly creative idea! I've never had homemade graham crackers before and have always been curious as to how they're made. I can't wait to give them a try. And then you went and made HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS!!! I'm drooling, seriously. Can I just say how much I LOVE your entry!!! You did a fantastic job, you're definitely getting my vote. I love you, ok that's a bit too much but you get the idea! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. fantastic photos (and that's the goal this round, isn't it?) Best of luck! Theresa

    ReplyDelete
  8. I totally love this post- there is nothing simpler and more delicious than a s'more and you have taken this to a whole new level!! Great job and you can count on my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, this was a treat. I'm glad you chose a difficult subject. Marshmellows alone would have been an amazingly interesting and helpful topic, but we got graham crackers to boot. Good job! I like this entry!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh wow- what a perfect post!!! I absolutely love it!! The s'mores look amazing- you definitely have my vote (as always!)!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So amazing! Who knew you could actually make marshmallows from scratch! I love your entry and you have my vote!

    Seriously Soupy

    ReplyDelete
  12. S'mores is one of my most favorite treats EVER! I have never tried making my own marshmallows, but now I've got to try. Beautiful photos, Amanda!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fabulous. Simply amazing. You have my vote. Again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. i considered homemade s'mores for my entry but it was so much more fun watching you make them. such a great job! you definitely have my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Really, very well done!! Love the shot of Mr. Honey Bear!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well done, Amanda! You chose to make two things that most people just go out and buy and you didn't make any compromises. The marshmallows and the graham crackers look perfect. Great job. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love the fun idea and beautiful step-by-step pictures! You definitely have my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oooooh, now I'm REALLY sad that I missed the camping trip!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This was great, from start to finish. I especially liked the photo with the honey bear.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You make them look so easy, I may just try them. Fun!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This was a lot of work, creative thinking, excellent photos and fun. You deserve my vote, best of luck! I think I can make marshmallows now, thanks for your inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Looks awesome Amanda! I'm hoping to have s'mores of my own tonight if we can manage to have a campfire, but nothing as fancy as yours! Good luck and you have my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I had some gourmet s'mores in May at Camp Blogaway. They are definitely a different experience than traditional camper fare. Good luck moving to the next round!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Congrats for advancing! I just made s'mores last night with some friends fireside, but had to work with store bought mallows. Nothing like homemade marshmallows huh? Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great Job! I have always wanted to make homemade marshmallows - you have inspired me! Smores are a perfect things to show how to make. Nice done!!! Good luck in round four!

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is such a winner! I'm ridiculously impressed at your motivation to do S'Mores FROM SCRATCH! I enjoyed some S'Mores on our camping trip this sumer but, regrettably, our graham crackers and marshmallows came from the store :( I must admit, the marshmallows still intimidate me a bit (yours look absolutely perfect!), but I think I could give the graham crackers a shot :)

    Congratulations on advancing to the next round!

    ReplyDelete
  27. OH yumm.. I always wanted to make my own marshmallows. How long can they keep for?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Congrats on advancing!! You really took a simple dessert and made it gourmet...very impressive!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well done!! From start to end... loved every shot, and now craving homemade S'mores. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Very well done!!! Your marshmallows are very different from mine. I don't use any egg white in mine at all! I now, though, want to try my hand at homemade s'mores!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great work, that looks amazing and I am certainly craving smores right now!!

    Whit @ Amuse Bouche

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm not gonna lie... I go a little gaga over marshmallos... especially homemade ones. I've never thought about making my own, but after seeing these incredible pictures, I'm going to have to give it a try.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I can say this since I'm not a baker - Are you kidding me??! Not only homemade marshmallows but the graham cracker too?!! Wow - looks wonderful and you've got my vote. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Perfect little crackers and marshmallows! The crackers look so much prettier than storebought, and I know storebought marshmallows can't dream of measuring up to these.

    ReplyDelete
  35. you made this look like so much fun! fantastic job on your homemade goodies. i love s'mores and i know these must taste amazing! best of luck! :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. What a special treat to have homemade smores on a camping trip!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love this! What a cute idea. I adore homemade marshmallows- nothin' like em! But to add homemade graham crackers??? Oh. My. Lord. You're definitely getting my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a fabulous post! Thanks for all the info on making the marshmallows and homemade crackers! I wish I could pull up a chair near a campfire and enjoy those! yum!

    ReplyDelete
  39. The best post I have seen in ages! Absolutely fabulous. I bet it tasted 7x better than normal s'mores, too!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm so happy you made it to the 4th round! These little guys look fabulous.. I've been waiting till it gets chilly to make marshmallows but I'm totally going to use your recipe! :) just voted!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I just quit my day job to go self-employed all the way, and I've been thinking about what to do to celebrate. Since I haven't cooked in months, and I miss it, I'm going to make these beautiful grahams-from-scratch for my little girl. And me. Lovely. You have my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  42. you're awesome and this post is amazing! i'm thrilled you made homemade marshmallows and then smores!! delish!
    now let's get you to the next round!
    -Leila
    @BarbarianTable

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love smores! I love making them with different kind of chocolate & adding toppings like raspberry jam, orange marmalade, toffee bits...sprinkles... oh your marshmallow tutorial was devine. I enjoyed the pics & everything. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love all the photos and the marshmallow tutorial, I have really been looking into making my own! Thanks and good luck

    ReplyDelete
  45. Whoo-hoo! Good for you!

    Seriously, the homemade marshmallows and graham crackers are killer!

    ReplyDelete
  46. This was a delightful post. Your photos and step by step instructions are stellar. Well done, voted!

    ReplyDelete
  47. absolutely endearing post. and it is picture perfect and warming to the heart. Voted.

    ReplyDelete
  48. 1. Those homemade marshmallows were freakin delicious. 2. Your pictures in this post are top notch awesome. 3. I bet your lab protocols are just as detailed, which makes you a great scientist. 4. I'm so excited for the beginning of my hand modelling career! <3

    ReplyDelete
  49. These look so good. Do you deliver ;) ? The images are awesome as well.

    ReplyDelete
  50. WOW, I am so impressed with your post for the contest. LOVELY!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thank you so much both the recipes, perfect. I can't wait to show off my own marshmallows at our next fire night, impressive. I am really impressed.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Yum!I have an intense craving for s'mores now.

    ReplyDelete
  53. This is a great idea! I can't imagine how much better s'mores are with homemade marshmallow and graham crackers. I am def. saving this!

    ReplyDelete
  54. A terrific tutorial! I love that you are making everything from scratch and the step by step photos are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oh, delightful! I voted for you.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  56. I love the heart shaped marshmallows, such a cute idea and different too! Good Luck!
    -Gina-

    ReplyDelete
  57. Very nice...excellent entry and gorgeous photos :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. omg i would have loved to be around that campfire!! voted!

    ReplyDelete
  59. What a cute idea. I would love receiving these as a gift...hmmmm.maybe giving them would be good too. Once again my vote is your sister!
    ~Mary

    ReplyDelete
  60. What a great post! Awesome photos and the subject matter didn't hurt, either! Can't go wrong with s'mores...you've got my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Great post that makes me realize I would be a fool to ever purchase marshmallows again. Thank you for showing me (step-by-step!) through just how easy it all is. A great entry that certainly gets my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  62. I love that you made everything from scratch. It looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  63. I want to pinch your little gingerbread's cheeks!

    ReplyDelete
  64. These marshmallows are beautiful! I bet these were the tastiest smores EVER :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Boy, your camping-mates are some lucky people! Is it weird that I've never had a s'more before? I might have to remedy that situation asap using your tutorial. Your photos are so lovely - good luck this round!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Can't wait to try these, look fabulous. I'm voting for you!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  67. you make marshmallow from scratch! of course you got my vote...

    ReplyDelete
  68. Look at you go, girl! All homemade, that's fantastic. I don't actually like marshmallows, but I want to try to make them now just for the challenge of it. Great post, and it's got my vote (as always!).

    ReplyDelete
  69. You, of course, have my vote! I love your homemade version, they look absolutely delicious1

    ReplyDelete
  70. This post is full of great recipes :)
    thanks so much for the lovely desserts & wish you good luck :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. What a different must it make to do s'mores with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers! And you brought these to go camping? Very luxurious! Great post, best of luck on the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Those look delicious! I sent a little red heart your way - Good luck!.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Just beautiful! Gosh, I need to use my little heart cookie cutter more often. The heart marshmallows are darling!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I would never think of making home made marshmallows and graham crackers. You did such a beautiful job. You get one of my red hearts for making those adorable heart marshmallows.

    ReplyDelete
  75. This may just be the kick I need to get me to finally make homemade marshmallows. Camping will indeed never be the same again!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hooray! These are great tutorials. Now that I have my very own brand spankin' new stand mixer, I will definitely be making my own marshmallows--and I will use your tutorial to help me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  77. Lovely photos!
    I've made marshmallows before (courtesy Alton Brown) but your recipe is different enough that I'm totally going to try it!

    My mom once asked me why I bothered to make homemade marshmallows. She said the stuff you buy in the store tastes like fluffy cardboard. I laughed and said THAT is why I make it at home! It tastes like melty, sugary, puffy, heaven!!

    ReplyDelete
  78. I can't stop thinking of these now -- OMGosh. I've got to make 'em! Your photos are beautiful too. Another vote here of course :)

    Ciao, Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  79. I've had homemade marshmallows a few times, but never s'mores with homemade graham crackers. I don't have camping plans anytime soon, but I may try this when the weather cools down and I want to lean over my stove. Good luck this week, voting for you!

    Lick My Spoon

    ReplyDelete
  80. You're not messing around, are you? haha! Homemade marshmallows AND homemade graham crackers? These are serious s'mores!

    ReplyDelete
  81. i've made marshmallows before, but never graham crackers. bookmarking this page- love this tutorial! -eataduckimust

    ReplyDelete
  82. Congratulations! I love the little heart marshmallows!

    ReplyDelete
  83. Great post with beautiful step-by-step photos that are informative. Love s'mores! Bob Blumer has an amazing s'mores shooter recipe that's delish :)

    ReplyDelete
  84. What? You didn't make your own chocolate??? jk. Had to throw in a little Tom Colicchio there. Gorgeous work, Amanda.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Amazing !!! As always well done. Though I'm not a fan of smores I am a huge fan of the two ingredients separately ! Thanks so much for sharing the recipes and the great step by step instructions I know a certain n 4 yr & 18 old who will appreciate this. Can't wait to see what you have in store for round 5 :)

    ReplyDelete
  86. Hot Polka Dot's MomOctober 13, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    Gourmet smores! Yummy! Brings back fond memories. Woodsmoke and kids with gooey fingers. One of Lindsey's favourite campfire treats.

    ReplyDelete
  87. i'm going camping this weekend, so what could be better than to have homemade s'mores by the campfire? delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  88. I love s'mores!! I love the crunch, the gooey-ness, the chocolate. I love the campfires and company that go along with my s'mores. Lovely photographs! Well done!!

    ReplyDelete
  89. How great do those little marshmallows look in the jar!
    And now I know what Graham crackers and s'mores are too....some mysterious American foods unkown in Australia....
    So thanks! I voted for you!

    ReplyDelete
  90. This is definitely a step up from the microwaveable smores Karen and I used to make at home! Can't wait to try them! Just another reason for you to come home for thanksgiving... :)

    ReplyDelete
  91. We live on a lake and s'mores is a must do when the grandkids visit. Won't they be surprised when I present them with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers?! A beautiful post. Thanks! Am going to cast my vote for you, right now.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Clever idea, and wonderful photos in this tutorial!
    Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  93. This is something I have never made...It's incredible but marshmallows are not very well-known in some other cultures...That's the incredible thing about cooking...it is culture-bounded..Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  94. What a beautiful tutorial showing how to make the ideal snack. I'm voting for you.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Very cute idea. Love those little graham crackers too!

    ReplyDelete
  96. I love the thought of making my own graham crackers. Your step-by-step instructions are so nice-looking...you actually made them look pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
  97. You had me at s'mores :) That beautiful picture of the honey bear sealed the deal. Cheers girl, just voted!

    ReplyDelete
  98. I'm impressed that you made egg white-based marshmallows--they're much more finicky that straight-up gelatin marshmallows. Yours turned out beautifully! We used to make a s'mores dessert at the restaurant and made our own mallows and grahams--what fun:) Very labor intensive for the home kitchen; well done! Your photos are lovely, too. Would love to see you in Round 5!

    ReplyDelete
  99. I thought I might try cutting the marshmallow to the size of the graham cracker and then dip it in a dark chocolate 70% ... yum. I liked your version of the smores....it was done on my birthday...

    ReplyDelete
  100. I just made your homemade marshmallows, thank you so much. I posted my results if you want to check em out :-) Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete