As I’m sure you remember, on March 30th I contributed to an online bake sale that was being organized by Sabrina over at The Tomato Tart to benefit earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis victims in Japan. Despite some technical difficulties with her site on the day of the bake sale, we still managed to not only meet the goal that Sabrina set, but triple it! Every single item sold and the Online Bake Sale for Japan managed to raise $8,269 to be donated to Second Harvest Japan! Raising this amount of money is truly amazing. I’m completely overwhelmed by the charity of others; everyone who participated, from the bakers to the bidders, contributed to the success of this bake sale and I am truly thankful for having been a part of it. That being said, if you bid on something for the bake sale and did not win, you can still donate to the cause. Sabrina set up a fundraising site over at Give Forward that will continue to raise money until June 10th. She has set a new goal of $10,000. Anything you could spare would be greatly appreciated as Second Harvest Japan will contribute $1,000 in food for every $100 donated. That means if we manage to raise $10,000, they will donate $100,000 worth of food, which is a staggering amount.
I would like to thank everyone who bid, especially Angele, Karen E., Julie, Karen S., Tali, Kim, and Rose for their winning bids. Thank you ladies for contributing to a good cause! I will be sending out your sweet treats soon. If you were one of my winning bidders and don’t see your name here, that’s because Sabrina hasn’t received your paypal yet. Be sure to send it soon or contact Sabrina at email@example.com.
So, that was the Thank You, now on to the S’mores!
One of the items that I contributed to the bake sale was Homemade S’mores. Now, one could argue that all s’mores are homemade, but I deem these “homemade” because they start with the Homemade Marshmallows recipe from one of my favorite dessert cookbooks Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth. I love this cookbook because it is filled with tons of goodies that truly live up to the title. My only wish is that it had more pictures: I love a cookbook that has a picture to go with every recipe. After I made these for the first time, I decided that homemade marshmallows are a necessity in life; they are just so much better than store-bought. They’re soft and pillowy and just slightly chewy, plus you can cut them into any shape you want. (I prefer stars.) Homemade S’mores are the most requested sweet from all of my friends: I make them for Christmas, birthdays, graduations, random Tuesdays, any occasion I can think of. The marshmallow aspect of the S’mores is a bit labor intensive (you need to use a stand mixer because they have to beat for 15 minutes and the completed marshmallows have to set for 8-12 hours before cutting), but the time it takes is completely worth the end result.
Here’s what you need:
1 cup cold water
3 Tbls unflavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbls vanilla
cornstarch and powdered sugar for dusting
chocolate almond bark
Here’s what you do:
Generously dust a large jelly roll pan with cornstarch and set a side. If you prefer thicker marshmallows, use a 13×9 cake pan. Pour 1/2 up cold water into the bowl of a stand mixture and sprinkle in the gelatin allowing it to absorb all of the water. This will take about 45 minutes.
While gelatin is absorbing, combing the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and let the mixture come to a boil. Cook the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove the syrup from the heat and slowly beat it into the dissolved gelatin with the whisk attachment on your stand mixer on low speed. Increase the mixer to high and continue beating until the mixture is very thick and white but still warm, about 15 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. (You could use a handheld mixer, if you want, but 15 minutes is a long time. Believe me I have tried.)
Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out with a spatula or your hands. It works best if you spray your hands with cooking spray and slowly pat it out. Dust the top with powdered sugar.
Let the marshmallows stand, uncovered at room temperature, for 8-12 hours to firm up. Cut into squares or fun shapes.
In a glass bowl, melt 5 to 6 squares of chocolate almond bark according to microwave directions on package.
Line your work surface with waxed paper and prepare your graham crackers.
One at a time, dip the top of each graham cracker in the melted almond bark, lay chocolate-side-up on the waxed paper, and immediately place one marshmallow on top of the chocolate. Let the s’mores cool until set and store in an air-tight container.