I just returned from a weekend at my family’s lake cabin. One of my favorite things to do at the lake is bake with my sister. Of course I love all of the more traditional lake activities such as boating, grilling, bonfires, and golfing, but something about baking with Tinkerbell always guarantees a laugh-until-my-stomach-hurts fiasco. She is particularly clumsy and messy when it comes to measuring ingredients and it is inevitable that we will both look like white ghosts covered in flour by the time we are finished. Oh right. I guess I should explain that my sister’s name is not really Tinkerbell (our parents are not that unkind). When I am with my siblings, it’s as though I have magically become a teenager again in spirit and unfortunately, occasionally in common sense. My husband has diagnosed me with “Peter Pan Syndrome”. He says my sister is my Tinkerbell who sprinkles me with fairy dust and then I never want to grow up. I cannot deny this and while I am unaware of any diagnostic tests used to confirm a person’s affliction with this syndrome, I do not care to find a cure. I am perfectly happy in Never Never Land.
Tinkerbell has recently completed her first year of college and moved into her own house (living on her own for the first time- big girl!). A few weeks ago she asked me if I would make her a cookbook so that she can expand her culinary skills and learn to make some of her favorite things. She is part of my inspiration for this blog. What a great way to teach her to cook from hundreds of miles away.
So on Saturday, Tink and I were in charge of dessert for our 1st barbecue at the lake of the season. I told her to choose whatever she wanted to make and she proposed that nothing was more iconic for summer than s’mores. So we kicked it up a notch and made our own graham crackers (aka g. cracks in Tinkspeak) for these decadent s’mores bars. If these won’t Satisfy your Sweet Tooth, I don’t know what will……..
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey
5 tablespoons milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the dough: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
[Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they’re very well incorporated.] *Remember we were at the lake, and while our cabin has most of the luxuries of a modern home, some kitchen equipment is lacking. Therefore, I used my hands to make the meal which worked out just great if you do not have a food processor, decent mixer or pastry blender available.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract.
Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.
Roll out the crackers: Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the dough into desired shape for graham crackers.
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.
Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Next, we made the cookie dough (recipe adapted from Always With Butter, although there did not seem to be much difference between this and your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe other than the addition of cinnamon, so you could probably use whatever cookie recipe you have on hand).
S’mores Cookie Dough
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 package milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup mini marshmallows, plus 1/4 extra for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 375
- Cream butter and sugar
- Add eggs and vanilla
- Sift together dry ingredients and mix into butter mixture
- Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows
We then laid our homemade graham crackers in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet as closely approximated as possible.
Place balls of cookie dough on top of graham cracker layer and bake for 8 minutes
Remove after 8 minutes and press individual Hershey bar segments into dough and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of mini marshmallows. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, cut and serve.