S’mores

When I think of Summer, I think of campfires and toasting marshmallows. If you ever have a grill going or a fire going and you don’t have marshmallows someone will always say, “You know, some S’mores would be good right about now.” There are only a few ingredients to a S’more, but their simplicity is what people love the most.

For Father’s Day, we grilled out at the marina. Since it was a cool night, we started a fire. I had all of the ingredients ready to go and we all couldn’t wait for dessert. There is nothing better about relaxing after a warm day, sitting by a fire, and toasting a marshmallow that will yield a scrumptious dessert. Below, I’ve listed the links to make your own S’more ingredients. By making everything from scratch, you turn this treat up a few notches!

S’mores

Ingredients

Toast marshmallows. Place chocolate squares on a graham cracker and then place the toasted marshmallow on top of the chocolate. Top with another graham cracker and enjoy!

Marshmallows

My father-in-law and I were standing around the dock one day and we talked about how it would be great to make some S’mores. I told him I could make some fresh marshmallows to go along with them. When I said that, his eyes lit up! Why not make them from scratch? I do that with everything else. So, I hit the internet to find a tried and true recipe. Who can go wrong with Alton Brown?

I know I have said this before, but you MUST make these. Even if you only do it once, which I don’t think you’ll ever go back to the packaged after trying these, you must make them! The taste is so so so much better and there are some other added benefits. Obviously, no preservatives and health are always important, but you also get some great soft fluff to eat while you make the marshmallows, they melted wonderfully in hot cocoa, and they don’t seem to get lava hot when you toast them. I am guessing it’s because of the lack of preservatives, but you can toast them and toss them right into you mouth. Every year I always do this anyways and then scream as my mouth burns. With the homemade ones, I could hand one right over to my daughter and have no worries of burning.

Lastly, Snow White approves. Who can say,”No” to Snow White :)

Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel (or kitchen shears work just as well!) dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For miniature marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Source: Alton Brown, Foodnetwork

 

Graham Crackers

One of the first snacks my daughter liked to eat, after moving past the beloved Cheerios, was graham crackers. She loved them, but frankly I thought they tasted like cardboard. How funny that I had never tasted a graham cracker that didn’t have a marshmallow and some chocolate sandwiched in between?

Graham crackers from scratch, like most anything, taste so much better. I mean it. So much better! I honestly don’t think I could buy a box again. The only problem I ran into was I couldn’t find graham flour anywhere. Yes, you can substitute, but I wanted the real thing since we would be enjoying these crackers by themselves. Thankfully, the amazing internet allowed a bag to be delivered to my door two days later :)

Now, you can truly enjoy these crackers enough to eat them alone, make a little sandwich out of them, or go ahead and enjoy a tasty S’more.

Graham Crackers

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. (1 1/2 cups) graham flour
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 oz (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 3 oz (1/4 cup) honey
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add the graham flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a food processor.  Pulse until combined.

Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles corn meal.

Add the honey, milk, and vanilla extract and pulse until the mixture forms a dough.

Lightly flour your counter and remove and knead for a few moments, if needed. Roll out into a 1 inch thick disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Roll the dough out to 1/4″ or 1/8″ thick. You can use a cookie cutter, pizza cutter, or a pasta wheel to create your crackers. Use a toothpick or skewer and poke some holes into whatever design your heart desires!

Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes for crackers that are 1 inch in size or about 20 minutes for 2 inch crackers, or until the sides get brown.

Makes about 32 2-inch cookies.

Source: Chasingdelicious, modified from Alton Brown

This is the way to his heart! If he is like my husband, steak almost always wins. A good, well prepared steak will make most any man happy. Best part? It made my daughter so happy as well that it was a very quiet meal. We don’t have many of those in our house so my husband and I joked that it would be worth it to splurge more often!

I was a little hesitant about trying this recipe for my husband. I’ve never cooked a filet, always just letting the professional do it, but then I thought of how far I’ve come with my pan frying skills and decided to give it a whirl. I also wasn’t sure about how strong the brandy or mustard would be, two things my husband usually cringes his nose to. They really complement the steak well and you don’t get a strong taste of either.

This steak is perfect for impressing, but simple enough that you can make it on a Tuesday night.

*Now, a disclaimer about pan frying any kind of steak. If you get a plump steak and want it cooked pretty done, like my husband does, pan frying alone may not cut it. You’ll end up with a really crispy outside. So, crank up your oven to 450 F and toss the skillet in and cook the rest of the way.

**Also, the recipe calls for a nonstick pan, but if you want a great sear for a steak you really must use a cast iron skillet. It also helps since you may need it to be oven safe!

Brandy and Mustard-Glazed Tenderloin Steaks

Ingredients

  • 4 (4oz) beef tenderloin steaks
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp brandy

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of steaks evenly with salt and pepper. Add steaks to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steaks from pan and keep warm by wrapping in tin foil.

Melt butter in pan. Add shallots to pan and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth and mustard to pan and cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in brandy. Return steaks to pan and cook 1 minute on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve sauce with steak.

Source: Cooking Light, April 2008