Bonbon S’Mores

I have a tendency in life to make simple things complicated.  Take, graham crackers, for instance.  It’s something you usually buy from the store, right?  And then turn into an ooey gooey chocolately marshmallowy summertime treat…

Well, I did that, but I made the graham crackers.  And then I turned them into an ooey gooey chocolately marshmallowy *frozen* summertime treat.

It started just like any baking endeavor begins: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt…

Look carefully in the background and you can see the bird about to approach the feeder!

Oh!  And butter, of course!

The recipe called for a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, which I don’t own. So, I just used one of my trusted wooden spoons.

When stirring alone didn’t seem to work the mixture into coarse crumbs, I had to pull out my pastry blender.  Bet you’ve never seen one like this before!

(It’s the kind my mom had when I was growing up.  One year for Christmas, she gave each of her kids one in our stockings.)

Once I got the mixture to resemble coarse crumbs, as prescribed by the recipe,  I added molasses and water and had to stir and stir until the dough formed a ball.  You know how you always get to that point while stirring where you think it’ll never come together?  That’s what I felt like right about here:

Some of the dough is obviously coming together, but there’s that last little bit of crumbs at the bottom of the bowl that just don’t want to combine.  Gahh!

And then, just like magic, the unruly doughy/powdery mixture becomes a ball and the insides of the bowl begin to gleam with the buttery dough.From here, I had to divide the dough in two, pat it out, and cover it in plastic so it could chill out in the fridge for awhile.

(Oh – as a quick side note: I was making these for a crowd, so I had to double the recipe.  I probably could/should have divided my dough into four so I could later roll out smaller sheets of graham cracker cookies, but I thought it would save time to just do the two large sheets and it worked fine.)

Once chilled, I rolled the sheets out really thinly between parchment paper.

Next, after 15 minutes in the freezer, I cut the dough into 2-inch squares and gave them the classic graham cracker look with several pricks from a fork.

About 17 minutes later, they came out of the oven looking like this:

Mostly the same, but they poofed up a tiny bit and have a little brown around the edges.  🙂

Once cool, I could start breaking them apart by hand.

At this point, after several more minutes in the freezer to chill the squares, I was finally able to start working on the ooey gooey part.  Marshmallow fluff goes on the inside of one of the cookies.

And softened ice cream goes on the inside of the other cookie.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the smaller container of ice cream seen in the background of these photos, one of our guests can’t have dairy, so I made his with a store-bought graham cracker and soy ice cream.  Can you tell which one is his in the picture above?  🙂  (Bottom right-hand corner)

Very gently, but with a firm hand, the two sides of the cookie sandwich come together.  It’s amazingly difficult to get them to stay in place.  I wish they stayed looking like this throughout their 30-minute visit in the freezer.

In case you’re curious, the issue was that the ice cream became soft enough that it seeped out the edges of the sandwich and all over the parchment paper.  The marshmallow creme hardens just enough that the two textures didn’t really freeze together.  Fortunately, even after a half an hour in the freezer, that meant I could still separate the two sides, scoop the once softened and now semi-frozen ice cream off the parchment paper and back onto the cookie.

So, the last (and most difficult) step comes next.

These

became this with just a few minutes in the microwave and a couple strokes of my spoon.

And, then, after some tricky dips and turns in the chocolate bath, the Bonbon S’mores were ready for their final firming freeze.

It’s pretty obvious to tell which ones I did first, isn’t it? 🙂  It gets increasingly difficult to dip the whole sandwich into the chocolate as time goes on because the chocolate hardens a bit and the ice cream begins melting again.  You have to work really quickly!  And, the other trick is to have A LOT of chocolate, which unfortunately means that at the end of the project, there’s a lot leftover that just goes in the compost.

In any case, after years of having cut out this recipe from a random Rachel Ray magazine that I had around, I’m glad to have finally made them and tried my hand at turning yet another simple thing in life – the S’more with store-bought graham crackers – into a rather complicated and time consuming Bonbon S’more with homemade graham cracker cookies.

This ooey gooey chocolatey marshmallowy *frozen* treat was enjoyed by all!

In case you want to try your hand at this, I found that  the recipe is already online.  Just follow this link.  Enjoy!

The arrival of summer

First, a few updates:

1)  The garden has been a success.  We’ve eaten all of our lettuce and spinach and I’ve harvested all of our carrots, which we’re slowly making our way through.

(In the garden bed closest to the house, can you see the gap from where all the greens and carrots were??)  We’ve been eating our peas and strawberries and are waiting on the tomatoes, tomatillos, and squash.  We lost our cucumber early on, I’ll definitely have to replant our peppers if we really want to eat them, and I can’t quite decide if I’m going to start some of our herbs again.  (Our basil never took off – probably because I put it outside too early – and the cilantro bolted.)

Overall, it’s been a really good experience for our first garden.  We learned a lot, and have some good ideas for next year.  We’re still in the midst of a great debate about whether we should use starts or seeds next year.  Any advice??

2) I completed the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1 hour and 59 minutes on June 25th.

!!!

It feels like such a great accomplishment.  I’ve stayed away from running since then since I really did my knee in on the day of the run.  I’m still undecided about whether it’s something I’ve checked off of my bucket list, or if I’m game for another race.  Kyle is really inspired to get back into running so he can do the ½ next year, so that’s tempting to be able to run with him.  Speaking of running with someone – I did end up running with the same guy the entire 13 miles!  I noticed within the first mile that I could always see him from the corner of my eye, so I said, “I like your pace” and we chatted for a bit and then stuck with each other throughout the run.  He was from Germany and works for Brooks (which is one of the companies that sponsored the run).  Apparently, he was one of the few visiting from Germany who actually ran the course.  Most of his co-workers ended up working.  Every time I think about the run, I realize how important he was to helping me stick with it and carry on – especially since my knee started hurting between miles 5 and 6.  You can probably spot him in a few of the photos on this link.  (He’s wearing a black shirt with yellow on it.)  If not, you can definitely see him in this photo taken by Kyle’s mom. It’s a little bit like playing “Where’s Waldo” to find me in this photo. 🙂

I’m glad to have the race behind me and looking forward to staying fit and healthy in ways other than running for the rest of the summer. 🙂

 

Summer officially began for me a few days before the ½ Marathon, but I took a 4-day class the week afterwards, so it didn’t really feel like I was done with school work until June 30th at 4pm.

My biggest accomplishments of the summer thus far are doing tons of yard work and frying myself in the sun at the beach on the first 80+ degree day we had.  (Needless to say, I didn’t return to the beach the next day.  As luck would have it, now our weather has turned and there are no 80 degree days on the radar over the next 2 weeks of forecasts.  In fact, right now, it’s cloudy and misting outside.)

In honor of summer, I’d like to be more diligent about posting on the blog.  I can keep you updated on the progress of our upcoming yard work.  We’re hiring Kyle’s brother, Tyler, to help us with a bunch of stuff next week.  The main project will be putting in a retaining wall along the side of our fence in the backyard.  We’re also hoping to make a patio next to our solarium so we can have an outdoor dining area.  Later in the summer, Kyle is planning to build a shed in our backyard.  My big project will be to continue to weed and prune, which feels like a never ending job, so it’s a good thing I find it rewarding and addictive to work in the yard.

We’re making a trip to Guemes in a couple weekends, I’ll be in MI for a week meeting our newest family member, Reuben, who was born to my sister Katy’s family on May 12, celebrating my parents 40th wedding anniversary and renewal of vows, and having a mini reunion with my college friends as we celebrate our friend, Oven’s, wedding.

Kyle and I will also be taking our first camping trip together for our 3rd Anniversary at Big Arm State Park in Montana.

So, stay tuned.  And – for your sake, we better hope for a few more of these chilly and drizzly days so I actually get to those updates.  Assume I’m at the beach, working in the yard, or cooking something delicious if the blog stays quiet for awhile.

Happy Summer!