Everybody Eats: Don't settle for plain old s'mores, try these sweet s'more desserts

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There are certain words I try to avoid this time of year: Back. To. School.

I have nothing against the start of another school year. It’s my daughter. She’s not a fan. My husband and I eschew saying the “S word” because the (overly) dramatic groan that follows isn’t worth it.

This year, though, I’m on her side. The start of the 2017-18 school year means one less person in my house, as my oldest moves away for college next week. And my baby, who would cringe if she knew I called her that, is beginning her junior year of high school. I hated when grown-ups used to tell teenage me that time goes fast. I hate it even more now because they were right.

I want summer to slow down a bit — and what better way to draw it out than embrace the ultimate summer snack? S’mores.

I have fond memories of making s’mores at sleepaway camp, first as a camper and then as a counselor. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of birthday cake, so one year my mom made me birthday s’mores instead. The marshmallows and chocolate were arranged to spell out my name on a tray, and my family spent the evening crowded around the fireplace.

“The Sandlot” remains one of my favorite movies, as everyone in my family utters the famous “You’re killing me, Smalls!” line whenever we make s’mores. Then there’s the summer we traveled to Wyoming and spent a week at a dude ranch. The kids had the entire staff wrapped around their fingers, making — and eating — several s’mores around the campfire before I called an end to their sugary fun.

It’s not so much the gooey combination of marshmallows and chocolate that I love, but the memories I associate with the snack. S’mores are usually made at a time when life is relaxed. How can you be stressed when you’re sitting around a campfire or a fire pit, toasting marshmallows and laughing at stories you’ve heard a hundred times before?

So yes, I want to hold on to that feeling a bit longer. And when it’s October and I have one kid stressed about midterms and the other homesick — or texting me to send food, I’ll turn to one of these recipes to recapture that easygoing feeling of days gone by.

The sugar boost to get me through whatever we’re dealing with at that time is an added bonus.

Recipes

S’MORES CHEESECAKE

10 graham crackers, divided

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

2 cups miniature marshmallows, divided

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, divided

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Chop 2 graham crackers coarsely; reserve for later use. Finely crush remaining crackers; mix with butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press onto bottom of 9-inch spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar in large bowl until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Stir in 1 cup each marshmallows and chocolate.

Pour cream cheese batter over crust; sprinkle with reserved chopped crackers, remaining chopped chocolate and remaining marshmallows.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours.

Source: www.kraftrecipes.com

S’MORES DIP

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semisweet, milk chocolate, or a combo)

15 jumbo marshmallows, halved

Graham cracker squares

Adjust rack to center position of oven and place 8-inch cast iron skillet, or ovenproof baking dish, on rack. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with skillet inside.

Once oven is preheated, use a pot holder to remove hot skillet from the oven. Place pat of butter in the skillet and use a pot holder to hold the handle and swirl the skillet so that the melted butter coats the bottom and sides. Pour chocolate chips in even layer into bottom of skillet.

Taking care not to burn fingers on sides of skillet, arrange marshmallow halves over surface of chocolate chips, covering chocolate completely.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted to your preference. Use an oven mitt to remove skillet from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with graham cracker squares or sticks. Be careful; dip and dish will be hot.

Source: www.fivehearthome.com

S’MORES BROWNIES

1 package brownie mix

6 graham crackers

1½ cups miniature marshmallows

8 milk chocolate bars, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, break graham crackers into 1 inch pieces and toss with miniature marshmallows and milk chocolate. Set s’more mixture aside.

Bake brownies for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove, and sprinkle the s’more goodies evenly over the top. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool before cutting into squares.

Source: allrecipes.com

S’MORES HOT CHOCOLATE

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon honey or other liquid sweetener

1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs

Mini marshmallows

Light chocolate syrup for drizzling, optional

In small pot, heat milk, chocolate and vanilla over medium heat until chocolate is melted and milk is hot and steaming, whisking constantly.

Drizzle honey on small plate and roll top of mug in honey till just coated. Place graham cracker crumbs on separate plate, then roll glass in graham cracker.

Pour in cocoa and top with marshmallows. Heat marshmallows with brulee torch until browned. Top with remaining graham cracker crumbs and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Source: arismenu.com

S’MORES CUPCAKES

7 whole graham crackers, coarsely chopped

1 cup sour cream

1 box plain German chocolate cake mix

1 package vanilla instant pudding mix

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Marshmallow frosting

1 jar marshmallow cream

3 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 milk chocolate bars, broken into 24 small pieces

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set pans aside. Place 1 scant tablespoon of chopped graham cracker crumbs in bottom of each liner. Set aside. Reserve remaining graham cracker crumbs for garnish. Set aside 3 tablespoons of sour cream for frosting.

Place cake mix, pudding mix, remaining sour cream, water, oil and eggs in large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop machine and scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down sides if needed. Batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in chocolate chips, making sure they are well distributed throughout batter.

Spoon or scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it 2/3 of the way. Place pans in oven. Bake cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with finger, 19 to 22 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and place on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run dinner knife around edges of cupcake liners; lift cupcakes from bottoms of cup with end of knife and pick them out of cup carefully with fingertips. Place on wire rack to cool 15 minutes before frosting.

Carefully remove liner from each cupcake, taking care that graham cracker crumbs don’t fall off, before frosting. Place heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and with metal short spatula or spoon, swirl to spread, taking care to cover tops completely. Garnish with reserved chopped graham crackers and piece of milk chocolate and serve.

To make frosting, remove lid from glass jar of marshmallow cream and place jar in microwave on high power for 45 seconds. With small rubber spatula, scrape cream out of jar and into mixing bowl. Add sour cream and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer, beat mixture on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy and well- blended, 1 minute.

Source: “Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor” by Anne Byrn (Workman Publishing Co.; April 4, 2005)

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