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S’more Sandwich Cookies

I love s’mores! Any time someone is even considering asking for a s’more dessert, I emphatically encourage them to go in that direction just so that I can add another s’more experiment to my growing library.

If you’ve followed along on some of the other experiments that use chocolate ganache, you know that I’m still on my journey to finding my process. My trials continued on this bake as well. While the ratios of chocolate to cream were fine, I did not let it sit out to cool so that it would pour as a thicker chocolate layer. Instead, the thin stream of chocolate cascading over the cookies soaked into the cookies and covered everything in a thin brown sheen. I’ve now added, in big friendly letters, a note to LET THE GANACHE COOL next time.

The graham and the marshmallow components ended up being brand new challenges for me. Making homemade marshmallow has been on my baking bucket list for a while and I had just asked a friend for her recipe since her homemade marshmallow tasted amazing! The recipe for the marshmallow comes from a cookbook and I do not have permission to share it. However, it is an egg-free recipe and utilizes raw honey and maple syrup in place of sugar!

The marshmallow was way easier to make than I had suspected and came together very easily. One trick I learned quickly, though, is that the marshmallow creme sets fast! I started plopping marshmallow creme onto the cookies and ended plopping gobs of marshmallow by the end. This round, I used my hand mixer. Next time, I’ll likely use my stand mixer so that I can re-whip the marshmallow while I’m filling the cookies, keeping it on the creme consistency a bit longer.

Marshmallow creme
Whipping up some marshmallow

I’m equally excited about how the graham cracker cookies turned out! I found a recipe on TogetherAsFamily.com for s’more cookie cups. The cups looked like exactly what I was envisioning for my cookie sandwiches. While mixing the ingredients together, I became distracted. It wasn’t until the cookies were in the oven that I realized I had never added the white sugar. The good news is that the graham cookies still tasted great! Graham is such a versatile base that these cookies can and will be used in many different sandwich cookie combinations.

Graham cracker cookies
Graham cracker cookies

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Graham Cracker Cookies

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar (accidentally omitted)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking soda. Stir with wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl and with a handheld electric mixer, blend the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy and combined.

Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Dump in the bowl of dry ingredients, mix on low speed until just combined. The dough will be crumbly.

(Together As Family’s baking instructions are for mini muffin cups. I modified them for a whoopie pie-style cookie)

Grease whoopie pie tins. Spoon or place dough into the bottom of each well. For a thinner cookie, just coat the bottom. For a thicker cookie, fill the well at least half way with dough. Press the dough down flat. Depending on the thickness of your cookies, you should make around 24 total (this makes for 12 sandwich cookies).

Bake for 6 minutes. Look for the edges to be brown (bake slightly less for a softer cookie and slightly longer for a tougher cookie). Let cookies cool in the tin for 15-20 mins before moving to a wire rack. If you try to move them too early, they will fall apart.

 

Constructing the Sandwich Cookie

 

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S’more sandwich cookies before ganache

Scoop a hefty spoonful of marshmallow onto the top of one graham cookie. Spread around to get even coverage. Add as much or as little marshmallow as you prefer. Place a second graham cookie, top down, onto the marshmallow and press down lightly to squish the marshmallow but not break the cookie. Once the cookie sandwiches are all made*, prepare your ganache.

For this round, I did a half milk chocolate, half dark chocolate mix. Either a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream will work well here. Microwave your cream for 30-45 seconds (until hot). Pour the cream over your chocolate pieces and let sit for 2-3 minutes to melt. Stir, ensuring all of the chocolate melts and blends with the cream. (The step I keep missing) Let the ganache sit out for 10-15 minutes to thicken. When ready, either pour the ganache over the cookies to coat or, with gloved hands, dip and roll each cookie into the chocolate. Let sit on a wire rack to set for several hours. When you’re ready to serve or package, slide an uneven spatula under each cookie to separate it from the cooling rack.

*One recommendation that was made was to freeze the cookies for about an hour before coating with ganache. This may prevent the chocolate from soaking into the graham cookie and will help set the ganache quickly.

Serve and enjoy!

S'more sandwich cookies
S’more sandwich cookies. First draft.
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Survival by Chocolate: A Dementor Salve

A quick recap from the last post: I was recently asked if I would donate some goodies to a fund raising event for a local chapter of The Harry Potter AllianceCavendish Brewing Company was hosting a Yule Ball and was interested in treats for their room of requirement as well as pieces for the auction. I couldn’t resist supporting a good cause and coming up with themed bakes!

The second recipe to share from this experience is for my Survival by Chocolate: A Dementor Salve cake. This is pretty simple to put together and tastes amazing! This was an auction item for the night.

Start with a chocolate cake. I made a devil’s food cake but dark chocolate would work very well, too. I baked this one into two 9” rounds.

Then, make a Nutella buttercream. My Baking Addiction’s recipe utilizes a lot of powdered sugar and produces enough buttercream to top a large batch of cupcakes or very generously frost a 9” cake. I still had enough leftover buttercream to mix it with my cake scraps to make three large parfaits! Check out the recipe and notes on the site: https://www.mybakingaddiction.com/nutella-cupcakes/

To really help bring out the flavor of the Nutella, be sure to generously add baked and chopped hazelnuts and top with a chocolate ganache. For the ganache on this cake, I used a 1:1 ratio of heavy cream to chocolate.
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Survival by Chocolate: A Dementor Salve

Bake a devil’s food cake in two 9” round pans. Once the cakes have cooled completely, trim the tops so that they are flat. Save cake scraps for later. Add a generous amount of buttercream to the top of the first round. Make sure the buttercream layer is level. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts on top. Place the second round on top of the buttercream and nut layer. Add buttercream to the top of the new layer. Frost the sides of both cake layers. Work frosting until the top and sides are smooth. Save extra buttercream for later. Pour the chocolate ganache over the entire cake. Decorate with more chopped hazelnuts.

Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 13-oz jar of Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1.5 lbs confectioner’s sugar, sifted
6-8 Tbsp heavy cream or milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and Nutella until well combined, thick, and fluffy (about 5 mins). Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and continue mixing until well-blended.

Add vanilla and 3 Tbsp of heavy cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 3-5 Tbsp of heavy cream (I used 5) until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy (about 3 mins).

Chocolate ganache:
6 oz milk chocolate baking chocolate, broken or chopped into pieces
6 oz heavy cream

Heat heavy cream on the stove or in the microwave. For the microwave, heat for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Cream should be steaming but not boiling. Keep a close eye on it.

Pour heated cream over the chocolate pieces. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to melt the chocolate. Stir using a whisk until the chocolate and cream are well-blended into a rich chocolate sauce. Pour ganache over cake (cake should be sitting on a cooling rack that is over a cookie sheet covered with plastic, parchment, or wax paper to catch the drippings).

Using the leftovers:
Place the scraps left from leveling the cake rounds into a bowl. Add all of the extra buttercream to the scraps. Stir until combined. Spoon mixture into cups, layering with hazelnuts. Top with whipped cream or serve over vanilla ice cream. Serve as parfaits.

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GBBO – Prue’s Chocolate Mini Rolls

Who doesn’t love a good challenge from the The Great British Bake Off? The latest season available on Netflix introduced us to Prue, one of the new hosts, and her

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Prue Leith’s chotoclate mini roll

chocolate mini rolls.

Admittedly, my first attempt at this recipe didn’t follow the instructions to the letter, but I learned a few things and can’t wait to bake more versions in the future until I find the method that I am happy with. No matter what, the trials will all be delicious because this recipe is the right balance of chocolates and peppermint.
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Prue’s Mini Rolls

Cake:
60 g cocoa powder
30 g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp boiling water
6 large eggs, separated
150 g caster sugar (a.k.a. super fine sugar. I only had granulated on hand)

Filling:
150 g butter, softened
300 g icing sugar (a.k.a. powdered sugar)
1 tsp peppermint essence (I used extract. There is a difference in strength but the extract worked just fine.)

Coating:
200 g plain chocolate, 70% cocoa solids (only 60% was available near me and it worked out fine)
200 g milk chocolate
100 g white chocolate

Heat oven to 350F. Grease two 30 cm x 20 cm Swiss roll tins. Line the base of each tin with a piece of greased parchment paper. (I only had a single half sheet pan available. I baked one sheet instead of 2 due to the slight size difference).

Since the cocoa powder into a small bowl, add the butter, vanilla extract, and boiling water and mix together. Set aside.

Whisk 100 g of the caster sugar and egg yolks together until light, thick, and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add the remaining 50 g of caster sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, making a meringue.

Beat one third of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture to loosen the mix. Using a large metal spoon, fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the two lined tins and level out. Bake for 12-18 mins. (My half sheet went for about 16 mins).

Remove from the oven and place on cooling racks. Cover the tins with a damp tea towel and leave to cool completely – 45-60 mins. (In my attempt, I took the cake out of the tin while hot and rolled with a tea towel. This ended up deflating the cake horribly. I do not recommend this alternate technique for this cake.)

For the filling, beat the butter until soft and gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the peppermint essence and continue beating until white, soft, and fluffy.

Turn the cakes upside down onto two sheets of parchment paper (or a tea towel) and peel off the parchment paper on the top. Turn the cakes so that the short end is facing you. Score a line 4 cm on both short ends of both cakes. (I don’t recommend using the scoring method as the cake falls apart.) Spread the peppermint cream over the top and toward the edges.

Starting from the front short edge, roll up the cake, stopping in the middle. Repeat he same from the back until both rolls meet in the middle. Cut down the center between the rolls.

Repeat with the remaining cake so you have four rolls. Trim the ends and cut each roll into three so you end up with 12 mini rolls. Place the rolls, seam-side down, on a cooling rack and chill in the fridge for 15 mins to firm up.

To finish, melt the plain and milk chocolate together in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (a double boiler). Place the cooling rack over a baking tin so it can catch the chocolate and dip, spread, or pour the chocolate over each mini roll to coat. Leave to set.

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (double boiler). Spoon into a small disposable piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe fine stripes across the width of the mini rolls and leave to set. (My white chocolate never got thin enough to pipe, so I spooned lines onto each roll and used a toothpick to make designs.)