July 5, 2010

Grown Up S’mores

The man or woman behind the S’more is nothing short of a genius.  Seriously, who would have thought to combine a graham cracker, a Hershey bar and some marshmallows?  Whomever they were, they knocked it out of the sweet treat park.

As with most things I bake or cook, a little something thrown in with an alcohol content, always rings my bell.  So when I came across these grown up S’mores in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey:  Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O’Connor, I pounced on a great new dessert.
Seriously pick this book up for anyone, including yourself, with a love of all things sugary and sweet.
This dessert received rave reviews and will be made several times over the course of the impending cook-out season.  The filling is delicious in taste and decadent in consistency, would use this as my go-to filling in almost anything!
A few tips and tricks -  I would use less than the 3 cups of graham cracker suggested, was just too thick for my taste.  Would definitely use the around ground graham crackers to cut down on prep time.
You can use any three liquors you choose that you think would meld well.  I used Four Roses Bourbon, Kahlua and Grand Marnier.  Just make sure you keep to the total of 6 tablespoons.
The recipe calls for Dutch-processed cocoa powder but that darn stuff eludes me every time I look for it at the grocery store.  I used Hershey’s unsweetened powder and it still rocked, so you decide.
Let the  graham cracker and filling set at least for overnight, trust me.  And finally please, please serve immediately after making the fluff meringue, it will not peak for you the day after, as evidenced by these pictures.  But just to show that they did at one time, I included a semi-crappy pic from my phone of the ideal peakage!

For the graham cracker crust:
3 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbl granulated sugar
For the chocolate filling:
8 large egg yolks
1 c confectioners sugar sifted
2 tbl white crème de cacao
2 tbl Kahlua
2 tbl Cognac
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/8 t salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tbl Dutch-Processed cocoa powder
12 oz semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate finely chopped
1 c heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
For the marshmallow fluff meringue:
3 large egg whites
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 t pure vanilla extract
1 c marshmallow fluff
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust:  Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and granulated sugar until well combined.  Press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch metal baking pan.  Bake the crust until it starts to brown and become crisp, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the filling:  Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and confectioners sugar together in a large bowl until they are thick and the color of butter.  Beat in the Cognac, Crème de Cacao, Kahlua, vanilla and salt.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Let cool slightly, then gradually beat into the egg mixture.
Fold the softly beaten heavy cream into the chocolate mixture just until combined.  Spoon the chocolate cream over the graham cracker crust, smoothing it evenly with a spatula.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to serve, make the meringue:  Using an electric mixer set at low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the marshmallow Fluff to the egg whites a little at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.
Carefully cut the S’mores into 15 large squares.  Place each S’more on a dessert plate.  Top each with 1/2 cup of the meringue in a large dollop.  Use a small kitchen torch to carefully burnish the meringue until tipped with golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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