The smell of a freshly mown lawn and the feel of that grass under your bare feet are summer staples. So are treats we can heat over a fire and those that will cool us back down. Warm weather is the time for desserts so messy that they demand to be eaten outside. S’mores and ice cream sandwiches fit the bill—but isn’t it time to upgrade these classics?
With homemade graham crackers and marshmallows, you may find that you love these from-scratch s’mores too much to share (even though this recipe makes a party-sized batch). The graham crackers are slightly soft so they won’t push the marshmallow out the sides on your first bite.
And, yes, it’s easy to pick up ice cream sandwiches from the freezer section, but these birthday cake ice cream sandwiches will change your convenient ways. They also won’t stick to your fingers like the mass-produced chocolate variety; all the goodness goes right into your mouth.
- 5 bars of your favorite chocolate
- 2 cups graham flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (aluminum-free) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed into smaller pieces
- 3 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, molasses or honey
1. Put flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt and cinnamon in food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
2. Add butter cubes and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal.
3. Add cream, vanilla and maple syrup to processor. Pulse until dough forms a ball, about a minute.
4. Remove dough and form into two 1/2-inch disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll each disk between pieces of parchment paper until about 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Use bottom parchment paper to lift graham cracker dough onto two baking sheets; you will leave the parchment between the baking sheet and crackers to avoid sticking during baking.
6. Before placing into oven, use a pizza cutter to slice crackers into desired size but don’t separate them from each other. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating pans midway. Check for lightly-browned surface.
7. Remove from oven when done and recut original cut lines then move graham crackers to cooling rack.
(Recipe from King Arthur Flour.)
- 3 packages (1/4-ounce each) unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup (8 ounces) cool water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (11 ounces) light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar, to sprinkle on top
1. Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cool water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
3. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, 3 to 10 minutes (depending on the mixer and attachment you use; a stand mixer using the whisk attachment will work more quickly than a hand mixer equipped with beaters). Add vanilla towards the end of the mixing time.
4. The mixture should be cool enough that you can spread it into a pan without burning your fingers, about 95 degrees. Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan (glass or ceramic is best). Use your wet hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallows. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting.
5. Use a greased knife, pizza cutter or cookie cutters to cut marshmallows into squares to match your homemade graham crackers. Cut marshmallows slightly smaller than crackers so that they won’t spill over the edge when heated.
Directions for assembling s’mores:
1. Break chocolate into squares. Place on graham cracker.
2. Heat marshmallow on a stick over a fire or stove and place onto chocolate while still piping hot. Top with another graham cracker. Take a bite. Sigh.
Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Quart of vanilla ice cream
Birthday cake cookies:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sprinkles plus more for rolling finished sandwiches
1. Cream softened butter in a mixer 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and mix until fluffy and turning white. Scrape sides of mixer and add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
2. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar.
3. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and turn on mixer to combine. Add next third and repeat. Then last third. Fold in sprinkles.
4. Scoop dough into balls (about two tablespoons per cookie) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate dough balls for 2 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line another cookie sheet with parchment paper and line up dough balls about 2 inches apart. This recipe will make 24 cookies, so you will need to cook more than one batch. Leave uncooked dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. They will still look slightly undercooked but they will continue cooking after they come out of the oven.
6. Remove from oven and let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
7. Once cookies are cool, place 1 scoop of ice cream (about 1/3 cup) between 2 cookies. Gently press cookies together (ice cream should spread to edge of cookies). Roll ice cream edges in sprinkles. Eat immediately, OR save for later by wrapping sandwiches individually in plastic wrap. Place in resealable freezer bag, and freeze until needed.
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