This time of year makes me nostalgic. As much as Christmas brings forward old memories, sights, and sounds for people, summertime does the same for me. It’s difficult, living in the Virgin Islands, to keep those memories fresh, since it’s warm year-round. In some ways, though, it makes them more present because I long for the joy and relief when winter is over and we can wear shorts and tank tops, swim to the point of exhaustion, and spend a tired evening nursing the first sunburn of the season. Right now, summer to me means stifling heat, swarms of mosquitoes, and the fear of hurricanes.
Don’t get me wrong, the Caribbean is a beautiful place, and, just like anywhere, you take the good with the bad, but there’s nothing like a hot summer day spent in the sun after a long, dark winter.
My favorite summer memories are of camp and camping. I was fortunate, as a young girl, to spend time at two different summer camps. The first one that we went to was a family camp called Reunion. It was through our church, and we all went. The whole family looked forward to it for months. We always stayed in the same cabin, with the same other family, rose early and stayed up late, and spent the days reacquainting ourselves with old friends. To this day, the crunch of gravel under my feet, especially in the early morning hours, or the smell of a campfire in the cooling, first hours of the night call forth in perfect clarity the memories and feelings of those days.
The other camp I attended was also a church camp, but this time it was for the kids only. While some of my favorite family memories took place at Reunion, many of my fondest memories ever took place at “my” camp. It was always just me, my sisters never really chose to go, so it felt like mine, and I cherished it. At the time, my dad was very, very ill, and camp was a time and place for escape, for a short while. My truest friendships were formed at camp, and to this day, those friends hold a place in my heart Â that few other friends ever find.
One of my absolute favorite things about both camps was campfire time.
Every night, the fire was built, the canteen was opened, and we all gathered around. It was better than going to the movies. We’d all buy our snacks – candy, popcorn…even snow cones one year…then we’d congregate in the amphitheater on damp and slightly musty wooden benches set in the hillside, and sing campfire songs until the fire began to die down to soft embers.
Nowadays, those camps still take place every year, and were I still in my hometown, I’d be there. As you know, though, I’m a wanderer now. I do still sit by the occasional campfire, though, and one thing is always there with me: s’mores.
There’s not much camping to be had where I live now. I miss it so much. I’ve always loved camping, and I can’t wait to go again once we’re back in the states. In the meantime, though, I’ve come up with a new campfire-y treat, no campfire required.
These are my oven baked s’mores. They’re soft graham cracker and Hershey’s chocolate cookies, topped with more chocolate, and sandwiched with soft, gooey toasted marshmallows. Can you say yum? Go on. Say it. You should.
Before I get into the cookie, I just have to talk about my little s’more kit here. I love it. I love having everything all together and looking cute, even if it is about to be demolished and devoured. 🙂 Next time you’re around a campfire, take the time to put your s’more fixins together in a cute little kit. It only takes a couple of minutes, and people (kids especially) always love it.
Anyway, though…back to the cookies, huh?
I based the cookie on my favorite chocolate chip cookie, using all of the same basic ingredients: unsalted butter (softened), all-purpose flour, an egg, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and sugar. I wanted to use this basic recipe because I liked the idea of the brown sugar in it. I thought it will enhance the graham flavor of the cookies, and it did.
To make the cookies into the graham cracker part of the s’more, I added about a cup of crushed graham crackers to the batter. I found that five graham crackers sheets more or less equal one cup of crumbs, and I just crushed them by hand. No need to get out the food processor and dirty it…unless you wanna. Aside from being a new ingredient to the recipe, the graham crackers are also a cause for change. Since the crackers already have sugar in them, I needed to reduce the amount of sugar in the cookie recipe I was using. The first batch I made, I removed a 1/4 cup of sugar, but I also reduced the amount of flour, my reasoning being that the graham crackers would replace it. The results were…bad. There’s no other way to say it. They were far too over sweet, even after the reduction, and they definitely needed the flour that I had taken away. In the end, I removed a half cup of sugar and kept the flour the same to get perfect, soft, puffy graham cookies.
Getting started, I was worried that maybe the chocolate wouldn’t hold up to baking. I’ve never used it to bake with before, and I wasn’t sure what would happen, but as you can see, it worked perfectly.
Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, I transferred them to a wire cooling rack where I topped half of them with two squares of chocolate each. I only did half of the cookies because the other half were to be the bottom part of the sandwiches.
For these cookies, I flipped them over on the cookie sheet, so that they were bottom side up. I’ll be adding half marshmallows to the cookies to toast under the broiler, but first I made sure they were in nice straight lines because I have the stupidest broiler ever. It only has one stripe of heat down the center, so I have to position things under it perfectly. Seriously. It’s stupid.
You’ll also see that I used full sized marshmallows, cut them in half, and placed them cut side down on the cookies. A whole, unsliced marshmallow was too big to toast properly, and too bulky to sandwich neatly (although, I think it’s be perfect if you had a real fire to toast over).
Also, notice that I got a bit greedy with the marshmallows. I thought, “I should cover the whole cookie, right? I mean, more marshmallow = good.” Right? Well…yes. And no.
They look pretty tasty and full of toasty goodness when they come out, but once you add the other cookie, it’s just too much marshmallow. I know, I know…too much marshmallow?! But really, it is. Okay, yes. They taste phenomenal with all that gooey goodness, but they are really a pain in the neck to eat. Trust my Voice of Experience when I say, no more than two marshmallow halves (one marshmallow total).
These cookies would be fantastic to take along to a real campfire, in place of graham crackers. Just skip the extra chocolate on top and the marshmallows until you can toast them in the real flames. Then, sandwich them with some Hershey’s chocolate, just like you would a regular s’more. 🙂
Personally, I found that a single half of a marshmallow was the perfect amount for these cookies. Flavorwise, I enjoyed two halves slightly more, but they were still just a too messy. These were perfect. Great flavor, minimal mess.
I wasn’t 100% confident that these would taste like s’mores when all was said and done, but they really do! I love that the cookies are soft inside with a little bit of crisp texture outsid, and a slight crunch at the edges. The melty chocolate on top with the soft, toasted marshmallow inside make these taste just like the real thing…but better. They’re like extra yummy, gourmet s’mores. Next time, I’m making them with homemade marshmallows. Drool.
These yummy little babies only take about 30 minutes from start to finish and they are fantastic served warm. You can make the cookies ahead of time, or even just the cookie dough (keeping it covered and refrigerated until use). These are still incredible for several days after making them, as long as they’re kept in an airtight container.
Whether you’re looking for a make at home s’more or a take along treat, these fit the bill, and they’re all about summer. Enjoy!
P.S. Baaaa bum baa bum bum baaa bummmmmmm (that was my fanfare)! I now have printable recipes!! Yay! 🙂
S’more Cookie Sandwiches [Printable Recipe]
Makes 12 sandwiches
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (5 full sheets) graham crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark, both work fine)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 full Hershey’s bars, coarsely chopped
24 squares Hershey’s chocolate (2 full bars)
6 large marshmallows, cut in half
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, crushed graham crackers, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy and light in color. Beat in the egg until just combined and stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Place 1 tablespoons portions of cookie dough about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until edges are golden brown and center are slightly firm.
Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack and immediately place 2 Hershey’s chocolate squares on top of half of the cookies while they are still hot (these will be the top cookie of the sandwich).
Preheat the broiler. Place the remaining half of the cookies bottom side up on the cookie sheet and place one half of a marshmallow, cut side down, on each cookie. Broil until golden, 30 to 45 seconds. Immediately place the top cookie over the marshmallow and press gently to spread it between the two cookies. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Darla