Tuesday, March 8, 2011

S'more Please!

Don't tell me you don't want a bite of this?

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Oozing chocolate...gooey marshmallow..all sandwiched between two crispy cinnamon graham crackers. Oh. Yes.

This was a project that began last week when I decided to make graham crackers on a whim. And when they came out of the oven, I knew I had to make marshmallows to go with them.

The graham cracker recipe came from my favourite cookie book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. The recipe asked for graham flour, but I ran into a glitch as I stood in my local Bulk Barn, with no graham flour in sight. Luckily I whipped out my phone, did a quick search and found out that "one cup of graham flour is approximately equivalent to 84 g (2/3 cup) white flour, 15 g (slightly less than 1/3 cup) wheat bran, and 2.5 g (1.5 teaspoons) wheat germ" (according to Wikipedia). Hmm...that, I can do. With that in mind, I bought the necessary wheat ingredients and headed home.

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I measured the ingredients accordingly to the proportions above, using whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white flour, and made the cinnamon variation of Alice's recipe. The dough turned out really nice in the end, although it takes a bit of patience to roll it out to the desired thickness. They smelled absolutely divine while baking thanks to the addition of the cinnamon. I had to be good and resist them as they came out of the oven. Once cooled, I snuck a taste and they were delicious—better than any graham cracker you could get in the stores. The texture of these crackers are amazing (I think mixing your own graham flour really helps as well) and the cinnamon makes these extra special.

I had contemplated making marshmallows for a while but never got around to doing it. But after one bite of my homemade graham crackers, I knew nothing would do them justice but homemade marshmallows. I turned to this recipe for some help.

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So what consists of a marshmallow? Your average store-bought bag will read "corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, modified corn starch, water, gelatin, natural and artificial flavour, and tetrasodium pyrophosphate" (mmm...sounds tasty...not). You can't get away from the corn syrup. And while we've heard so many bad things about the stuff from nutritionists, it's what makes the marshmallow a marshmallow, and a little in moderation won't kill you. What you can do without though is all those additives so that what you get is a natural-tasting vanilla marshmallow, rather than those sickeningly artificial-smelling and tasting ones you buy at the store.

It's amazing that the marshmallow consists of only a handful of ingredients. I was wary as I looked at my soft-ball syrup, caramel in colour, and poured it down the side of my mixing bowl. Should I have bought the clear corn syrup? But magically, said dark syrup turned into a white, fluffy mass, much like meringue but much stickier, that once set, will become marshmallow.

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Yes, it is a sticky affair (trust me, you will get marshmallow fluff on everything) and requires lots of patience (don't rush it), but it's so worth it in the end. What you get is a light, fluffy, naturally-flavoured marshmallow with a creamier texture than the store-bought kind. Less sickeningly artifical; less sickeningly sweet.

Now get a bit of good-quality chocolate, stick it in between two graham crackers along with a marshmallow, wrap it in foil, warm in the oven for a few minutes until everything is gooey and melted, and enjoy!

4 comments:

canadianfoodiegirl March 8, 2011 at 1:20 PM  

"Luckily I whipped out my phone". Isn't it great to be able to do that now? :D

Those sound so good.

Sheryl March 8, 2011 at 4:10 PM  

Corn syrup that you can get for baking and high fructose corn syrup are not the same thing. HFCS has undergone more processing to increase the amount of fructose, and it's that processing that causes the issues we know about HFCS.

They stuff we can buy obviously isn't virtuous, but it's definitely not as bad as the commercial grade stuff in processed foods. So don't sweat the inclusion of the corn syrup, it's not that bad and makes for a better product.

Bonita March 8, 2011 at 9:18 PM  

Andrea - So amazing! It's a lifesaver. :D

Woo-hoo! Good to know Sheryl. More marshmallows to go around!

Karen Ling March 18, 2011 at 10:10 PM  

omg that does look delish...i luv s'mores...i never tried homemade graham cracker or marshmallows...great post:)

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