Oooooh there's one week to go until Christmas! Have you done all your planning? / is there any planning to do? We looked into flying back to New Zealand for the holidays, but quickly stopped looking once I saw how much the tickets were, so we are going to Jill's for both Christmas eve and Christmas day this year, which I am so looking forward to! Last year's Christmas eve dinner was the first time we ever went to her place, and now it's been a whole year and I've wormed my way into the family. Lady deserves a medal ;)
It almost doesn't feel like the holidays though. Yes It's snowed three times in the last four days, and yes Manhattan has their giant baubles and huge tree up, but aside from that it's kind of a weird feeling. I had a momentary window of holiday excitement when I made a wreath at a cookie swap yesterday, but apart from that it's very non-christmas around here and all holy-shit-it's-stressful-gotta-get-all-the-work-done.
So, I have this week to pull my head in. It's a week to go, and I thought what better way to lead up to the week than sharing a week full of recipes that to me, mean christmas. Or at least taste like Christmas. For us, because Christmas is in the summer, nothing really is very cozy and cookie-swappie, but I am determined to embrace that fully this year. I just pulled my Great Grandmother's christmas cake out of the oven, so the week is off to a great start - i'll be sharing the recipe for that over on Bake From Scratch later this week!
The best way to start is by sharing a recipe that I am super proud of - this was not only my first recipe ever in print, but it was the cover girl on a Magazine! Earlier this year, I worked on a co-branded issue of Bake from Scratch, who, along with The Feedfeed, produced an epic holiday cookie issue, filled with all of the cookies from all of the bloggers! You can still purchase a copy of the issue via this link
I brought a Peppermint S'more with a Chocolate Graham Cracker to the party! I started with a simple chocolate graham cracker, which I sandwiched with a peppermint mallow, which had been dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. You can't get more Christmas than that. These would make the perfect holiday baking project, or a little secret weapon to have up your sleeve to win brownie points at a holiday cookie swap. Grab a copy of the magazine if you don't already have it - I have so many of the recipes bookmarked to make, they would be perfect year round. Thank you so much to Bake from Scratch and the Feedfeed for including me!
A few wee tips:
As with all marshies, a sugar thermometer and a scale are going to be your friends here.
Measure the size of your graham crackers before you cut the marshmallow - they may change shape a little in the oven.
Sometimes if i'm feeling extra fancy, I use a microplane to file down the edges of the graham crackers so that they are smooth
I usually prep the marshmallows first and then make the grahams while they are curing!
Prepare your baking dish and the tools you need before you begin to whip the marshmallow - things will move quickly once it is ready, and you want to get it into the tin as quickly as possible.
These can be made ahead - store the grahams and the marshmallows separate, and assemble before you eat for minimum risk of sogginess.
Peppermint S'mores with Chocolate Graham Crackers
- Makes approximately 20 S'mores -
1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (60 g) Cornstarch
28 grams (4 sachets) gelatine
152 g cold water
207g light corn syrup
152 g water
535 g sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp (4 g) peppermint essence
250 g good quality dark chocolate, melted
125 g candy canes, finely crushed in a food processor or blender
Chocolate Graham Crackers
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp (110 g) whole milk
1/4 cup (100 g) liquid honey
1 tsp (4 g) vanilla essence
1 cup (130 g) Whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups (220 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (45 g) cocoa
1 tsp (5 g) Baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (150g) packed brown sugar
7 Tbsp (100g) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- PROCESS -
Grease a 9" x 13" baking tin with neutral oil or butter. Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch and set aside. (This will be used to dust the marshmallows while they cure and as you cut them)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the first measure of cold water, and gelatine. Mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.
In a medium pot, combine the water, corn syrup, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f (120˚c) then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f (100˚c).
Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. Add the peppermint extract and whip for a further 30 seconds.
Working quickly, scrape the marshmallow into the prepared tin using a lightly oiled rubber spatula. Smooth the surface using an oiled offset spatula, or back of a spoon. Use wet fingers to help the smoothing process if needed. Dust liberally with the prepared corn starch and powdered sugar mix. Allow to cure for 3-4 hours.
Carefully turn the marshmallow out onto a board, and dust the entire surface with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mix. Using a sharp knife dusted with the cornstarch mix, cut into 2" x 3" pieces (or the same size as you have made your crackers). Lightly dust the cut surfaces of the marshmallow with the marshmallow dust to help avoid them sticking together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip half of the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Place onto the baking sheet, and place briefly in the fridge until set.
CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS
Combine the milk, honey and vanilla in a small jug.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse briefly to combine.
Add the butter to the food processor, and pulse until the mixture has a crumbly texture. Slowly add the milk and honey mixture, pulsing to combine. Continue to pulse until a dough comes together that balls around the blade of a food processor.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and divide in two. Wrap up one half of the dough while you work with the second half.
Roll the first half of the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper, until it is very thin, approximately 1/8 inch, or 3mm (Roll thinner than you think, as the crackers will rise in the oven). Place the dough, still between the parchment sheets, on a baking tray, and transfer to the freezer. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Freeze for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350˚f (180˚c). Remove the first sheet of dough from the freezer, and peel off the top layer of parchment. Using a ruler and a pastry wheel or knife, cut the cookies into a grid of 2" x 3" rectangles, either re-rolling scraps, or leaving them in place (they make great snacks!) Leave the dough as one piece rather than separating the cookies - you will do this once they come out of the oven. Cut the second portion of the dough while the first bakes, and store in the freezer until ready to bake.
Transfer the cut dough, on the parchment, to a baking tray. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly puffed and set. Remove from the oven, leave to sit for 5 minutes, then go over the cut lines with a pastry wheel or sharp knife. Leave to cool on the tray completely before breaking into individual crackers. Repeat with the second tray.
To assemble, place a Peppermint Marshmallow between two graham crackers. Serve immediately. Store any extra crackers and marshmallows separately, and assemble just before eating. Undipped marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container, dipped marshmallows need to be stored in the fridge.