Theo Chocolate's, here in Seattle, is one of my favorite places to buy chocolate, caramels, hot chocolate, etc. I'm sure you've heard me talk about them many many times. They are amazingly thoughtful in their chocolate making process, they are a sustainable company, all around good people. They make these chocolates called the Big Daddy, where they smoosh together homemade graham crackers, caramel, marshmallows, and the coat them in melted chocolate - pure heaven amiright?. Brent brought me home a pack of three a few weeks ago, and of course, I ate them all before I even had a chance to say thank you.
A small part of me is thankful that Theo's is located way over in Fremont, because it would take me at least an hour and a half to walk there, and I don't have that kind of dedication or commitment to my cravings, despite being pregnant. Occasionally, Brent will bring me home a pack of Big Daddy's, and if I'm over in that area, I'll pick up a few and stash them away, so basically they are relatively rare in our house. I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to try and attempt to make them at home, so that I could share a recipe for folks who may not have access to Theo's - a shout out to all my Canadian friends!
I am giving you a pre-warning, these chocolate dipped caramel S'mores are labour intensive. You've got to make the graham crackers, marshmallows, and caramel from scratch, and then assemble them all together and then dip in chocolate. I will admit that it would be much easier to use store bought graham crackers, marshmallows, and caramel, but then you would just be left withViva Puffs.
Despite the amount of time it took to make these treats, the whole process was really fun. I'm not sure if you've ever made marshmallows from scratch, but you should give it a try. They are pretty easy to make, and it's somewhat like a science experiment. The graham crackers were also really easy to make. The caramels as well. None of the recipes are super challenging, there are just many stages to the whole process, and each stage takes at least a couple of hours to dry/cool/set. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so be prepared to share with friends and loved ones, or if you're like me and have a real weakness when it comes to chocolate, you will eat them all. And not feel bad about it.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED CARAMEL S'MORES
makes 30 S'mores
30 graham crackers
30 pieces of caramel
32 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
For this recipe, I used homemade graham crackers, marshmallows, and caramel (see recipes below). I made them all the day before, allowing them time to cool and set overnight, before assembling the S'mores. If you want to save time, you could always use store bought graham crackers and/or omit the caramel.
Place a wire rack, or two, on top of a baking sheet or parchment paper. Assemble the s'mores on the wire rack - graham cracker on the bottom, followed by the caramel, and then a marshmallow on top.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water, or place the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, stirring until melted. Don't let the bowl touch the water.
Once the chocolate has melted, and is very pourable, pour over the s'mores cookies to coat. Let them cool for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.
Store in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.
HOMEMADE GRAHAM CRACKER RECIPE
recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
makes 30 graham crackers
In a food processor, add the dry ingredients and pulse until combined.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumb.
Add the remaining wet ingredients and pulse until the mixture clumps together.
Divide the dough into two pieces. Lightly flour your hands and the dough. Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, roughly 1/8 inch thick. Try to roll the dough as square as possible. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Place both sheets of dough onto a baking sheet, or two baking sheets if they wont fit, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper, but keep the dough on the bottom piece. With a ruler, and a pizza cutter or knife, score the dough into 2 x 2 inch squares. Trim away the excess edges. Place the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. The longer you bake them, the crispier they will be. I err on the side of 12 minutes.
Remove the crackers from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool, break the graham crackers at the scored edges.
Store in an airtight container.
HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW RECIPE
recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
makes roughly 30 caramels
In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin into 1/2 cup of cold water.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Add a pinch of salt.
When the syrup reaches 210ºF, increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
When the syrup reaches 245ºF, remove from the stove and slowly pour into the whites while the mixer is still running on high speed. Try not to get the sugar syrup onto the whisk. Continue to keep the mixture running.
Using the same small saucepan (while still warm) add the gelatin mixture and and swirl to melt into a liquid. Pour the liquified gelatin into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
In a bowl, combine the potato starch and the powdered sugar. Generously dust a rimmed baking sheet, covering every corner, with a layer of the potato starch and sugar mixture. Using a sifter may be helpful.
Pour the marshmallow mixture onto the baking sheet and spread 1/2 inch thick with a spatula. Allow the marshmallows to to dry uncovered for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Dust the top of the marshmallows with the potato starch powdered sugar marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter to slice the marshmallows into 2 x 2 inch squares. Toss them in the powdered sugar mixture, and then shake in a wire strainer to remove any excess powder.
Store in an airtight container.
HOMEMADE CARAMELS RECIPE
makes roughly 30 marshmallows
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup honey
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, covering the sides, and grease with vegetable oil.
In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, on medium heat, bring the cream to a boil. Add the sugar, corn syrup and honey and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 257ºF, roughly 15 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, 1/8 inch thick. If you have excess syrup, line an additional pan with tin foil, grease, and pour in the rest. You want to make sure the thickness of the caramel is 1/8 inch. Let the caramel completely cool. Preferably overnight.
When completely cool, peel aways the tin foil, and cut into 2 x 2 inch squares.
Store in an airtight container.