Flatbread S’mores

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In the past, I have professed my love for s’mores. So I was delighted, to the point of squealing schoolgirl, when we had dinner at Bonefish the other week and they had s’mores flatbread for dessert. Both girls, particularly Zoë, were going a bit nuts by the end of dinner. So I ordered dessert to go.

Getting the girls to bed was a bit trying, so I was really looking forward to rewarding myself with dessert. I skipped into the kitchen and found this waiting for me.
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Henceforth known as Bird Poo Surprise

Doesn’t it look like a bird took a giant crap on the plate? Who thought it was a good idea to serve this to anyone? The flatbread was flavorless and chewy and the Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread was lost in a puddle of overly sweet, melted marshmallow fluff. And I really don’t get the tiny little bit of brown. Were they trying to reinforce the bird poo effect by only caramelizing that one spot? Irritated, I sat there nomming on the flatbread, because it was there, and wondered what I would do to make this better. I needed to avenge my mouth and pocket of fat that was headed straight for my ass. I needed gastronomical justice!
It’s a thing, okay?

From the bottom up
The first thing that needed to be addressed was the flatbread. It was too thick, which caused me to have to use a knife to eat the dessert. The only time a dessert should ever require the use of a knife is to cut a piece of cake, pie, etc. The bread was also in desperate need of some flavor. Once the chocolate and marshmallow melted away in your mouth, all that was left was the taste of oil and flour.

Next, I needed the chocolate to not be a pussy and stand up for itself. If you can barely taste chocolate in anything s’mores related, you’ve done something wrong. I also wanted a way to fix the problem of the cloying sweetness.

Finally, the marshmallow. S’mores, in my opinion, are all about a perfectly toasted marshmallow. Get it wrong, and you may as well have an angry German slap it out of your hand into the fire and shout, Wieder!* For me, the marshmallow needs to be complete melty gooeyness encapsulated in brown, crisp, tenuous burnt sugar. Melted marshmallow bursts as you press it between the graham crackers. Shards of the caramelized sugar crunch as you bite into the s’more, adding smokey and buttery notes to your messy dessert.

Did I just write marshmallow porn? I think I just wrote marshmallow porn.
…..aaaaaaaand, after doing a quick Google search, that is apparently an actual thing. ……………. Ahem!

Flatbread S’mores
Cinnamon Flatbread
For the flatbread, I used this recipe. Since the flatbread from Bonefish was so bland, I wanted to make sure that this bread was flavorful, but would also play nicely with the other flavors. I used a roasted cinnamon, which had a robust flavor and an almost spicy quality to it. The thinner the rolled out dough is, the more likely the bread is to crisp up. If the finished product isn’t the desired level of crispness, or even after the bread has been sitting for a few days and needs to be revived, just pop slices into the toaster oven and toast like regular bread. Make sure the dough has come up to room temperature before trying to roll it out. If it’s really difficult to roll it out and the dough draws back in after each roll, it’s not ready. Let it warm up some more and try again.
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Cherry Chocolate Sauce
I decided to make the chocolate component a cherry chocolate sauce. The tart, almost sour, flavor of the cherries help to balance all the sweetness. Bites of cherry also add some texture.

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Ingredients
1 lb fresh cherries
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

Stem and rinse cherries. Place cherries in a pot with a wide bottom. Add water to the pot, just enough to cover the cherries. Over medium-high heat, bring cherries to a simmer, and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover the pot, and allow cherries to sit for an additional 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove cherries to a separate bowl and allow them to cool.

Remove lid from the pot and bring liquid from simmering the cherries to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and allow the liquid to simmer, reducing down to approximately 2 Tbsp of liquid.

Once cherries are cool enough to handle, remove pits. I used a paring knife and cut the cherries lengthwise down the middle, separating the sides. Gently remove the pit by prying it loose with your index finger and thumb.
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To make the sauce, combine chocolate chips, cherry liquid, and heavy cream in a small pot. Over medium heat, melt the chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat once the chocolate is just melted and allow to cool until slightly thickened. You may mix the cherry halves into the chocolate or serve separately.

Vanilla-Bourbon Marshmallows
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I used this recipe for the marshmallows. If you’ve never made marshmallows before, do not be intimidated; it’s easier than you think. A couple things for these particular marshmallows: When the instructions say to mix until you have thick ribbons, this is what you’re looking for.
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Secondly, I would suggest letting them sit for 8 hours or overnight. While the recipe says four hours is the earliest time you can remove the marshmallows, I still found the mixture to be gooey and not entirely set on the inside after 5-6 hours.

These marshmallows are delicious, especially once I set the brûlée torch on them. They are full of sweet, vanilla flavor and finished off with just a hint of spicy bourbon. If anything, my complaint would be that I wished for more bourbon flavor. I do like bourbon flavor, or a well-mixed Manhattan. I tried to taste the bourbon I used straight so I could describe the flavor. Unfortunately, this was basically my reaction.
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Someday I’ll figure out how to embed GIFs.

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Mike wanted to take a picture of the dessert, bathed in bourbon light.

The result? It was scrumptious! I still don’t know that flatbread beats the trusty graham cracker in terms of a delivery method, but it does make it prettier. I practically had to stab Mike to get him away from it once he had tasted it. And really, isn’t needing to stab someone the best indicator of having done something right?

*Again

Chocolate sauce recipe adapted from Food 52.

Sweet potato marshmallows

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Thanksgiving is only a week away, and so I’ve been doing what I can to prepare for the big day. I tend to like to do practice runs for things I’ve never done before so we don’t experience an epic fail on the actual day. So I ended up roasting my first turkey the other night.
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Eating turkey the week before Thanksgiving is a wonderful idea with no possible drawbacks.

Before I made the turkey, I consulted my first go to person when I have questions culinary: Alton Brown. His podcast, The Alton Browncast, is dedicating three podcasts to Thanksgiving. So I relegated Mike to child interaction duty and listened intently on how to make gravy, (it was delicious, by the way.) During the course of the conversation with his producer, the subject of sweet potatoes and marshmallows came up. (By the way, the whole putting marshmallows on sweet potatoes came about because the mass food production industry put out a recipe saying we should do it. So, if you’re one of those offenders, STOP IT!) It was then that the world stopped because I heard these magical words: sweet potatoes in a s’more. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know about my love for s’mores. I took to the interwebs to see what I could find. Of course, it had already been done. My favorite iteration was using a sweet potato waffle fry in place of the graham cracker. But I wanted the crunch and marshmallow containment of the graham cracker. Mike, then, casually threw out the idea of a sweet potato marshmallow. This is why I married him. He’s a genius.

Sweet potato marshmallows

Ingredients

1 cup sweet potato purée
½ cup cold water
¼ cup powdered gelatin, about 4 1/4 packets
½ cup cold water
1 ¼ cups corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Cook sweet potatoes in your preferred method. I steamed them and used the cooking liquid to thin the purée. Place sweet potato in a food processor or blender to create purée, processing until purée is thick, but smooth. Avoid over processing so your potatoes don’t become gummy. Move purée to a bowl and mix in 1/2 cup water and gelatin. If the gelatin isn’t fully integrating, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until gelatin mixes in. Set aside.

Use non-stick cooking spray to lightly coat a 9×13 casserole dish or baking sheet with sides, a spatula, your mixing bowl, and whisk attachment for the mixing bowl. I suggest spraying a bit on what you’re oiling and then using a paper towel to spread the oil and remove any excess.

In a heavy saucepan, mix together 1/2 cup water, corn syrup, salt, and sugar. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Use a wet pastry brush to wipe down the sugar crystals on the side of the pan just above the sugar mixture. Once the sugar mixture begins boiling, stop stirring. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and boil until 255 degrees F.
(If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can still do this, but it will be imprecise and require guessing. Once the mixture boils, it will take about 15 minutes to reach the correct temperature. The mixture will thicken, reduce by about 1/3, and turn the color of ginger ale.)

Once the sugar mixture reaches 255 degrees F, remove from heat and carefully stir in the sweet potato mixture. The mixture will violently bubble up for a few seconds. If the sweet potato mixture isn’t melting into the sugar mixture, gently use a whisk to break up the lumps. Add mixture to your mixing bowl and place splatter guard on your bowl. Slowly increase mixing speed to high and mix for 10 minutes. Mixture will change from deep orange to a very pale orange and mostly fill the bowl. In the last minute of mixing, add the cinnamon and ginger. Pour marshmallow creme into dish/pan and quickly smooth with spatula. Allow mixture to sit, uncovered, for several hours or overnight.
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When you’re ready to cut your marshmallows, sift together cornstarch and powdered sugar into a bowl. Oil a knife or pizza cutter. If you’ve made your marshmallows in a casserole dish, oil a cutting board. Turn marshmallows out onto cutting board and cut into 1 inch squares, or desired size. Toss marshmallows in cornstarch mixture and store in an airtight container with lid slightly ajar.
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Marshmallow prior to cornstarch coating.

I was happy with the way the sweet potato flavor came through in the marshmallow. It tastes like sweet potato without smacking you in the face with it. The spices are enough to give the marshmallow a kick without taking over. The marshmallow is light and sproingy, (it’s a cromulent word.) But how would it taste in a s’more application?
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It was horrible. Best leave all of them to me to take care of. *averts eyes*

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I tried a s’more with both milk chocolate and dark chocolate….for science reasons! While I typically go with a dark chocolate for a traditional s’more, I felt milk chocolate played a lot more nicely with the sweet potato marshmallow. Perhaps a lower percentage cacao would work better if you absolutely want dark chocolate.
(Side note: If you have the ability to buy fair trade chocolate, please do. Here’s why. I’m able to find some at my regular grocery store in the organic crunchy granola section. You can also order it online.)

Please note: these marshmallows aren’t nearly as stable as store-bought marshmallows. If you’re making your s’mores in the microwave, it only takes a few seconds for them to become s’more ready, as I very quickly learned.
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A sweet potato marshmallow saying “Wheeeeee!”, personified.

Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com