It feels like the last time we bought cereal was in 2009. Seriously though, we don’t eat cereal here except for the odd box of Kashi that gets used for yogurt parfaits once in a while. Buuuut, when I starting seeing Golden Grahams used in place of Rice Krispies for these s’mores bars on Pinterest, I just couldn’t resist tossing a box into my cart.
And honestly, it wasn’t done without a inkling of shame because I certainly realize the amount of sugar a box of the Grahams contains…and then, oh lawdie, I’d be only adding a ton more sugar to them in order to complete the dessert. And to cut to the chase, I made these bars twice in the matter of 10 days because I wasn’t 100% happy with how they turned out the first time. The large surface area of the cereal must have sucked up extra marshmallow because the bars just weren’t holding together as I would have liked. So the second time I made them, I added more sugar. ::headdesk::
That made them perfect though. Don’t get me wrong, these bars are super sweet and rich but they are definitely worth having just one. The Hershey’s Drops that I used were beyond the best idea I’ve had in ages because really, what is a s’more without Hershey’s? Forget using semi-sweet chocolate chips – it just won’t be the same. Luckily, we were able to give away some of each batch that I made because they are definitely dangerous to have around! So now you’ve got a dessert to bring to the next rainy-day BBQ where real s’mores won’t be in the cards or to make with the kids for a movie day…or frankly, for any other reason at all. You’re welcome.
No-Bake S’mores Bars source: Smells Like Home original as inspired by Pinterest Pins
12 oz mini-marshmallows (about 1 1/4 regular-size bags) plus extra for the top
4 tbsp salted butter
1 box (12 oz) Golden Grahams cereal
2 bags (8 oz each) Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops
Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking pan or glass dish with butter or cooking spray. Also lightly grease or spray one side of a piece of parchment or wax paper (I prefer wax but not everyone has it in their pantries); set both aside.
In a large microwavable bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the marshmallows and heat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until the marshmallows are completely melted and the butter starts to incorporate into the marshmallow when stirred (it won’t combine completely).
With a rubber spatula, quickly stir in the Golden Grahams and 1 1/2 bags of the Hershey’s Drops until the cereal is completely coated with marshmallow. Some of the chocolate will begin to melt but you still want good-sized pieces of chocolate left whole so don’t try to melt it into the cereal mixture.
Carefully dump the cereal mixture into the prepared pan and with the greased side of the parchment or wax paper facing down, firmly press the mixture out into the pan until it completely covers the entire pan and fits snugly into the corners. Scatter a handful of the extra marshmallows and the remaining chocolate over the top of the bars, pressing them lightly into the warm bars to get them to stick. Cover the pan tightly with foil or clear plastic wrap (or a cover if it comes with your pan) and let the bars set up for at least 1 hour before serving. Cut into desired numbers of pieces (remember though, they are rich!). For best freshness, the bars should be eaten within two days.
[Disclaimer: No compensation or products were given for writing this post. This is not a review post of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops. I simply love them enough to share my excitement about them with you.]
I swear I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to stuff something inside of something else. It was too trendy. And then, not trendy at all. (Neither of which I’m actually about, anyway.)
But I succumbed to the pressure of a college kid who just finished finals. A college kid who squeaked with excitement when she exhaled the love she had for these s’mores stuffed chocolate chip cookies in a quick and breathless sentence. I told her that the only conditions I had to making them was that the graham cracker and cookie dough had to be homemade. And frankly, if we had put a little forethought into this, the marshmallows would have been too. She had no issues with my conditions.
S’mores stuffed into thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies. A total diet/healthy lifestyle buster. But damn, it’s worth it. I’ve gone on a few times about how magical my favorite cookie dough recipe is and it just stands to reason that I would have chosen it for these giant creations as well. Yesterday I posted about homemade graham crackers and yup, we used that recipe too. The deeply flavored brown sugar graham crackers were an outstanding choice to use here and they certainly didn’t get lost amid the gobs of cookie. Of course, the marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate bars (is there no better option for s’mores?) melted into everything and admittedly, there were a few nerve wracking minutes of watching the conversion from cookie brick to enormous cookie rounds as all of the components settled into each other in the oven.
But alas, perfection. Gooey s’mores nestled into my favorite chocolate chip cookie. At nearly 6 inches a piece, you’ll probably need a friend to help you finish off these monsters (and at least a couple glasses of milk) but since there is so much cookie to go around, sharing shouldn’t be an issue. Or, I supposed you could just make them smaller for single servings, but where’s the fun in that?
So there. I went there and now I’m sharing it with you. It’s a holiday weekend – go celebrate!
I made my own graham crackers for these s'mores stuffed cookies, but you can certainly use store-bought crackers if you're pressed for time or you know, not crazy like me. You'll need 4 approximately 1 1/2" by 3" pieces which for store-bought graham crackers means half of a graham square. If you decide to make your own graham crackers (go for it!), cut them to fit. This recipe yields 4 gigantic cookies. Feel free to double the recipe or make smaller cookies by using smaller graham crackers and just half of a marshmallow for each cookie.
1 full-size Hershey's bar, divided between each of the prospective cookies
To make the cookie dough: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined - the batter should look a little lumpy. Stir in chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
To assemble and bake: Lay half of the graham crackers out on the baking sheets - two crackers per sheet. Top each cracker with 3-4 pieces of chocolate then top the chocolate with two marshmallow halves, laying them side-by-side. Lay the remaining graham crackers on top of the assemble s'mores. Sandwich the s'mores between two large spoonfuls of cookie dough and using the remaining dough to wrap around each of the s'mores; the result should resemble a small cookie brick.
Space the cookies at least 4 inches apart on the two baking sheets. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until the tops and edges are lightly browned and the edges just lift off the pan with a spatula. (While baking, the s'mores will press down under the weight of the cookie dough and will sink further while cooling. Don't worry if the cookies don't end up completely covering the s'mores - it only adds to the charm here.) Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and cool the cookies on the sheets for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the wire racks and cool for another 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Every so often, a dessert comes around that I consider to be a life-changer. Folks, this here cupcake is a life-changer. On the outside, they look pretty fancy, don’t they? But on the inside you’ll find the most down-home food combination out there: s’mores. Everybody loves them. Nobody ever turns them down. And when talked about, s’mores light up peoples’ eyes. The thought of them made into a cupcake certainly lit up the eyes of a certain 4 year old when we talked about what kind of cupcake he wanted for his birthday party this year! The party was a YMCA swimming party in the middle of December and these cupcakes were the perfect dessert…so reminiscent of summer, don’t you think?
~~~Never in a million years would I have thought that I would find myself in the midst of Project Food Blog Challenge #5. I was thrilled to make it to Challenge #2 and it seems my disbelief continues to grow each week as I move ahead with each challenge. As expected, they are getting progressively more difficult, but this wouldn’t be a blogging challenge if it didn’t get more difficult. I have YOU to thank for helping me get here. Thank you to each and every one of you for your extraordinary support and encouragement each week! I hope I will do this next challenge justice!~~~
When I saw the prompt for Challenge #5, asking contestants “to put your own spin on Pizza“, my heart soared. I heard birds singing. Unlike doing a photo tutorial, this challenge was right up my alley. See, I adore pizza. It’s one of the two foods I could eat every day. It’s one of the 3 things I would take with me if I ever got stranded on a deserted island (the other two being bagels and my cat, Wilma). Pizza is in my blood. It was, without fail, my standard meal for every Friday night dinner growing up. It was my first real job. It’s what I even tweeted about last week. And for the record, I still don’t know how people in CT will wait 40 minutes for a pizza on a Thursday night. In NY, if you hear 40 minutes, you laugh, hang up the phone, and dial your next favorite place on a list of 25 pizza places in the 3 mile radius of your house. Maybe it’s the inherent lack of patience NYers seem to possess but I think it’s more that they know they shouldn’t have to wait so long for such a staple food. And for the record, a 40 minute wait never happens anyway.
All this said, I didn’t think this challenge would be easy. Making a pizza seems easy on the surface but when you’re pinned up against 72 other fantastic bloggers all looking for the next 60 spots, the stakes are a little higher. Just a little. Hundreds (thousands??) of possibilities abound for how to make a pizza. But when Kyle and I sat down Friday afternoon to discuss what to do, we came to an almost immediate agreement. 3 courses: appetizer, main course, and dessert. Here is our menu (all recipes are listed below):
Appetizer Margarita Pizza Grilled mini tomato, basil, mozzarella pizzas
Main Course Clams Casino Pizza Stone-baked white pizza with fresh clams and bacon over a ricotta cheese sauce Dessert S’mores Pizza Stone-baked graham crust with chocolate ganache sauce topped with toasted marshmallows
The appetizer was a no-brainer for us since we love this combination in so many forms. Classic tomato, basil, mozzarella. Even after summer tomatoes are well-passed, it’s still one that works great on a pizza since the tomatoes break down a little with the heat. We decided to grill these mini pizzas. Grilled pizza is a favorite around here and it’s so much easier to do with little pizzas rather than full-size ones. And the slight bit of char on the dough really helps to bring out the dough’s flavor. Grilled pizza is always a winner!
For the main course, I’ll admit that this is kind of out there for most people. But clam pizza is a local favorite here in CT and most pizza places have it on their menus. It’s not a topping, however, that a NYer would be used to seeing, though you would think that clams would be a natural choice for this Long Island girl (Suffolk, south shore) since clams in all forms are almost as much of a staple as pizza is. But in fact, the thought of a white clam pizza made my stomach turn for years even though it’s one of the most popular pizzas sold at one of the most famous pizza places in the country, Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, right around the corner from my first apartment. Kyle has asked me time after time for a clam pizza and I resolutely responded no every time. Until about a month ago. Something piqued my interested and for this challenge, I was ready to make the leap to clams. And it turns out that I LOVE clam pizza! Could it be the addition of bacon (also foreign to NYers)? Or the salty contrast with the savory ricotta cheese sauce? Whatever it may be, I’m in love! And I know this pizza made Kyle happy so that really just sweetens the deal.
Dessert came without argument during our discussion. S’mores pizza sounded outstanding but we wanted it to be a pizza you could pick up with your hands and eat like…well a slice of pizza. It was Kyle’s idea to try making a yeast crust with graham crackers and I just happened to have graham flour in the pantry for graham crackers I’ve been wanting to make forever. We added a bit of each to a yeast pizza dough recipe and hoped it would work. The result was amazing! A graham cracker pizza crust topped with chocolate ganache sauce and toasted marshmallows was the ultimate ending to our 3 course pizza dinner. You couldn’t have had a better s’more from a campfire if you had tried!!
As simple as pizza sounds, the results of new combinations can be extraordinary. Everyone has their favorite but there are so many kinds out there to test out. So the next time you call to put your order in or think about your next homemade pie, try something different – you may just find your new favorite!
Grilled Margarita Pizza source: Smells Like Home original 3 oz pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp basil, sliced into ribbons
1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
2. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Sprinkle work surface with flour and roll out dough into rounds. Prick rounds with a fork a few times.
3. Brush 1/2 tsp olive oil onto top side of each round. Grill olive oil side down for 3-4 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn. When the bottoms have toasted, remove from the grill and brush the top, ungrilled sides, with 1/2 tsp olive oil, then return the rounds to the grill, ungrilled side down. Carefully sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese on each round then layer tomatoes. After 3 minutes, sprinkle with basil and allow pizzas to cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the bottom sides are toasted. Remove from grill, slice, and serve hot.
White Clams Casino Pizza source: Smells Like Home original
1/2 pizza dough recipe, store bought or homemade, rolled out to desired size and thickness
8 oz whole-milk or fresh ricotta cheese
3 oz clam juice
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp dried oregano, plus extra for sprinkling
Pinch Kosher salt
1 1/2 dozen fresh littleneck clams, in their shells
6-8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 strips bacon, cooked until almost crisp and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1. Combine ricotta, clam juice, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and salt in a bowl. If mixture is too thick to spread easily, add a little more clam juice. Set mixture aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, simmer in 1″ water and clams just until the shells begin to open. Drain clams and cut out clams from their shells, taking care to remove the foot attached to the shell and making sure you don’t cut the clams open.
3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone set inside. Allow the stone to heat for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal on the hot stone and also on a pizza peel or large wooden cutting board and transfer the dough to the peel or board. Spread ricotta cheese sauce over the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese, garlic, bacon, clams, and sprinkle with a little oregano.
4. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes until cheese and crust begin to brown. Remove stone from oven and allow the pizza to rest on the stone for a few minutes before cutting it. This will help to crisp up the crust without overcooking the pizza in the oven. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve hot.
S’mores Pizza source: Smells Like Home original, ganache adapted from The Pastry Queen For the graham cracker pizza dough: 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tsp honey
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/3 cup finely ground graham crackers (about 5 squares)
2/3 cup graham flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
For the chocolate ganache sauce: 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp light corn syrup
For the marshmallows: 4 oz marshmallows, sliced
To make the dough 1. Stir together water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Allow yeast to bubble for 3-5 minutes. Add in all-purpose flour, graham cracker crumbs, graham flour, cinnamon, confectioner’s sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed until all ingredients are well-combined and then allow the mixer to knead the dough for about 8 minutes.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll in an oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 30-45 minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface and roll out dough to desired thickness. Prick dough all over with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up in the oven.
To make the chocolate ganache sauce 1. While the dough rises, set a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add all ingredients to the bowl and stir frequently until everything is melted together and the mixture is glossy. Remove the bowl from the pan, taking care not to allow any steam to hit the mixture. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping as the mixture cools. You want to be able to pour the ganache onto the pizza crust so don’t let it harden in the fridge.
To put the pizza together 1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone set inside. Allow the stone to heat for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal on the hot stone and also on a pizza peel or large wooden cutting board and transfer the dough to the peel or board. Carefully move the dough to the stone and bake for 11 minutes.
2. Remove the dough from the oven and pour chocolate ganache sauce on top of dough to about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the crust. Top with marshmallows. Turn the oven to broil and place the pizza back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Watch the pizza carefully so as to not burn the marshmallows. Remove the pizza when the marshmallows are toasted to desired color. Slice with a knife (not a pizza cutter) and serve warm.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy treat that will be a big hit, you’ve come to the right spot. These s’mores pops are to.die.for (and who doesn’t love food on a stick??) and seriously take less than 10 minutes to put together. I was about to spend too much money on specialty truffles at Whole Foods last weekend for Kyle’s Valentine’s Day treat but since I’m always concerned about allergens in the foods he eats, I opted to make a few things of my own, including these s’mores and some chocolate-covered Oreos. There’s not much I can say here about technique because they really are so easy so my only advice to you is to use the best chocolate you can afford. I used Callebaut milk chocolate which I always have on hand. Callebaut is a Belgium chocolate and while some people turn up their noses at milk chocolate this is seriously some of the best I’ve ever tried. It reminds me so much of the fantastic chocolate available in France (and other parts of Europe of course) and makes for a satisfying chocolate fix all by itself. As far as the marshmallows go, you could make your own but I didn’t have the time last weekend so I picked up a package from the Whole Foods bakery and they were definitely more fresh than bagged marshmallows.
It’s possible that I saw these posted on another blog and filed the idea away in the recesses of my brain but I honestly can’t remember where I may have seen them.
source: Smells Like Home (though not an original SLH idea)
7 oz large marshmallows
10 oz good milk chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
lollipop sticks (4 inch)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a heat proof bowl set above a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate. Meanwhile, insert lollipop sticks into the centers of the marshmallows, far enough in so that the marshmallow will not fall off when dipping. Put graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl.
Dip marshmallows in chocolate, covering completely, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Quickly dip or roll them into the graham cracker crumbs and place them (standing up on the marshmallow end) on the parchment paper. Either allow the chocolate to set at room temperature or place them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.