It’s Labor Day weekend, and you know what that means? That’s right- it’s time for s’mores!
For those of you living below the Mason Dixon line, the idea of roasting a marshmallow on a 95-degree afternoon using a open flame is about as appealing standing on the asphalt in your driveway wearing a down vest–and drinking hot chocolate.
Maybe it is the unbearable humidity, or my recent nostalgia for summer camp, or the fact that any excuse to sandwich a toasted marshmallow between chocolate crackers smeared in salty peanut butter is motivation enough, but s’mores are an essentially summer food. Despite the fact that you might have to (currently) sweat when you make them.
That is why this recipe involves marshmallows toasted inside (hallelujah for A/C and a broiler!); homemade peanut butter (whirred together with buttery roasted peanuts and honey); and graham crackers that will make you want to jump outside and start a s’mores caravan. Y’all- these turned out so good. The rich, dense graham cracker with sweet, roasted peanut goodness and melty marshmallow- so worth the sweltering effort.
And besides their taste, one of the best things about s’mores is that they always remind me that fall is on it’s way. Next time I make these I will probably add some chocolate chips to that peanut butter then go online and order a fancy down vest. Fall may be three weeks away. Yes, it’s a sweltering haze of frizzy hair outside. But watch out autumn, here we come- chocolate peanut butter s’mores in tow.
Dark Chocolate S’mores with Salted Peanut Butter*
What You Will Need:
1/2 cup (2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) honey
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold milk
What You Will Do:
1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Cut out two sheets of parchment as large as your cookie sheets.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder.
3. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until evenly crumbly.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and milk, stirring until the honey dissolves.
5. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and toss lightly with a fork until the dough comes together. (This took me a while, and for a bit I thought my dough would remain a shaggy mess. But just keep on stirring with a fork and it will come together! ) Add additional milk, if necessary (I thought I would need this at first but it ended up fine; stir for a bit to make sure you need it before you add it).
6. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Work with half the dough at a time.
7. Transfer one piece of dough to a piece of parchment. Roll it into a rectangle a bit larger than 10 x 14 inches; the dough will be about 1/16-inch thick (Ok, my dough looked a bit more like a misshapen heart rectange. That’s fine! Just make sure you roll the dough out pretty thin- thinner than you will think you need. It should feel like if you lift it, it will tear). Trim the edges and prick the dough evenly with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and parchment. Place the rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets. (Ok, let’s be honest- parchment paper is frustrating as mess if you don’t cut it perfectly. I cut mine long, put my cocoa container on the edge to weigh it down and rolled it out. This was also frustrating because it didn’t work that great either. So just work through it and I promise it’s worth it.)
8. Bake the crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with a pizza wheel or knife. Transfer them to a rack to cool. The longer you let them cool, the crispier they get.
For the peanut butter: The recipe was adapted from the amazing Alton Brown and the Food Network
What You Will Need
2 cups shelled and skinned roasted peanuts (I had an incredible friend who gave me roasted peanuts as a gift that I used here)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
What You Will Do:
1. Place the peanuts, salt, and all of the honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
2. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Process it until it smells roasted and when you look into the food processor the edges of the mixture are smooth. You also might have to scrape down the bottom of the bowl again and blend it for a bit longer to make sure it’s smooth.
3. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. I made a sandwich/distributed this/used it on the s’mores in one night. I mourned it’s passing.
For the marshmallows: These were provided by the wonderful people at the Jet-Puffed factory.
*For the final product: This recipe requires a very simple assembly, but I found it helpful to make the following elements in the following order: 1. Bake graham crackers. 2. Make peanut butter. 3. Set oven to broil. 4. Put marshmallows in oven, and while they are broasting (roasting in the broiler), spread peanut butter on graham crackers. 5. Take hot mallows out of the oven, use a spatula to gently place them on the prepped crackers, then sandwich between two grahams. Let the s’mores party begin!!