For the second time in two weeks, I find myself turning to American vintage recipes for this column; it’s fair to say that Americans go in big for this time of year, especially when it comes to sweet treats. First Halloween, and soon Thanksgiving, they’re a people who are not averse to indulging in the sweeter things. Heck, some of them put marshmallows through a potato dish – and don’t think it’s weird.
For this recipe, I’m reappropriating their campfire treat of s’mores for our distinctly British Bonfire Night. While National S’mores Day (yes, that’s a thing) might be in August, these gooey, chocolatey, spiced biscuits are equally suited to drawn-in nights, gloved hands and standing in foot-stampingly cold fields waiting for a fireworks display to begin.
The name ‘s’more’ comes from a contraction of ‘some more’, presumably because that’s what you want after you’ve had the first one. It is a campfire speciality, and as such, scouts and girl guides must have unofficial ownership over it. Its first written incarnation – as a ‘Graham cracker sandwich’ – `appeared in 1920, and ever since the constituents have remained pretty constant: two graham crackers sandwiching a square of milk chocolate and a toasted marshmallow.
Traditionally, they are made with Graham crackers: we don’t really have an equivalent over here. They’re a little like a spiced digestive biscuit, but thinner and looking a bit like a garibaldi minus the fruit. I’ve turned to American baking expert Stella Parks for the recipe. These bake up a little crisper than the supermarket version, but once they’re treated to the oven s’mores method, they’ll soften into exactly the right texture.
In theory, you simply need to toast the marshmallow then build the s’mores, and the residual heat from the marshmallow will melt the chocolate and bind the whole thing together. I found that this was a little hit or miss, so unless you’re enjoying these over a campfire, where the atmosphere is understandably more important than the execution, I’m going to recommend the oven method.
Turn one cracker upside down, and place a slab of chocolate on top, a little smaller than the cracker. Toast a marshmallow on a skewer over an open flame (I do it on the hob). Slide this from the skewer onto the chocolate, and top with a second cracker, the right way up. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and pop it in a low oven for five minutes. Remove and unwrap: perfect s’mores. If you’re on your way to a fireworks display, keep these wrapped in their foil, and they’ll remain melty and gooey for about half an hour.
Makes: 6 s’mores
Takes: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Bakes: 15 minutes
For the biscuits
65g wholemeal flour
105g plain flour
100g light brown sugar
¼ tsp Nutmeg
⅛ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Baking soda
50g Melted butter
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 squares of milk chocolate
6 large marshmallows
1. First, make the biscuits. Mix all the ingredients together until they form a cohesive dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the oven to 180°C. Cut two pieces of parchment each roughly the size of your baking tray. Roll out the refrigerated dough between the two sheets of parchment until it is ¼ inch thick and spreads towards the edge of the parchment. Transfer the parchment to your baking tray and carefully remove the top sheet of parchment. Don’t worry if it rips: you can simply repatch (this dough is very tolerant).
3. Brush the dough with water. Mix together the sugar sprinkle ingredients and sprinkle generously over the dough.
4. Prick all over with a fork – be really liberal here, the dough will want to puff. Using a bench scraper, pizza cutter or just a knife, slice the dough into 12 equal rectangles.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. When you remove them from the oven, recut the lines you made before baking. Leave to cool completely before breaking into pre-cut rectangles.
6. Place a marshmallow on a skewer and put it over an open flame, letting it char and blister, turning it so it cooks evenly. If it catches light, just blow it out.
7. Turn one cracker upside down and place a slab of chocolate on top, a little smaller than the cracker. Slide the toasted marshmallow from the skewer onto the chocolate, and top with a second cracker, the right way up. Wrap the whole thing loosely in tin foil and pop it in a low oven for five minutes.