Monday, September 5, 2011
S'mores in a Jar
Everybody knows that s’mores are delicious. Now imagine this: you’re making a s’more, but instead of a piece of chocolate bar, there’s a molten chocolate lava cake in the center. Yep, that really just happened. This is the perfect union of s’mores and lava cake. Trust me, it’s as good as it sounds.
I absolutely love s’mores recipes. I probably save most of them that I come across. This s’mores in a jar recipe from How Sweet It Is really caught my eye. Not only was it a version of one of my favorite desserts, but I thought the mason jar idea was brilliant. In fact, I liked it so much that I had to go out and purchase mason jars just to make it.
I knew this easily portable version of s’mores would also work great for our weekend plans, which included visiting family members that were camping at the lake. (You’ll notice I said visiting other people who were camping. As much as I love s’mores, camping is not something I would choose to do voluntarily.)
I will warn you that this s’mores creation is still a bit of a work in progress. I may still try a few more variables. In my first batch I tried big marshmallows, but found they did not want to completely puff up and melt quite enough. As a kid, I seem to remember one marshmallow taking as little as 20 seconds to expand to approximately the size of the entire microwave, so I’m not sure why this wasn’t working. Anyway, I tried marshmallow crème the second batch, which had a better consistency but was way too sweet. The marshmallow topping will still require some experimentation. It may be something as simple as roasting four big marshmallows and sticking them on top before digging into all the s’mores goodness. These were also so sweet that I would consider making them in half pint jars next time.
The concept for this recipe comes from How Sweet It Is, which is one of my favorite food blogs to follow. That version uses a different recipe for the cake part. I was curious about using lava cake, since that would replicate the gooey quality of melted chocolate in s’mores. My lava cake recipe is from Taste Junction.
S’mores in a Jar:
4- 16 oz jars
Graham Cracker Bottom:
• 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
• ½ stick melted butter
• dash of salt
Put graham crackers into gallon Ziploc bag and use rolling pin to crush. Mix graham crumbs with melted butter. Spray each jar with non-stick cooking spray. Put approximately 6-7 tbsp of the graham cracker mix in the bottom of each jar. I used an ice cream scoop to press it down evenly.
Lava Cake Center:
•4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/3 cup granulated sugar
•3 large eggs
•1/3 cup all-purpose flour
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted & cooled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Beat in flour and salt just until combined, then beat in melted chocolate just until combined. The chocolate can be melted in the microwave if you stir every 30 seconds until smooth. I used semi-sweet since that is what I had in my cabinet. I prefer this recipe with bittersweet, but semi-sweet may seem closer to the milk chocolate of traditional s’mores.
Scoop batter into the jars until they are about half full. I used a ¼ measuring cup and this turned out to be approximately ¾ cup batter for me. Place jars in a baking pan with 1 ½ cups of water in the bottom. Bake until the top of the cake is just set. I baked mine about 15 minutes, but mine was still too gooey. I’m guessing 20-25 minutes would be closer.
Once jars are out of the oven, fill in some marshmallow crème or marshmallows. Place under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes until top starts to brown. For my second attempt, we used marshmallow crème, but placed a couple marshmallows on top just for the appearance.
My biggest concern about this recipe was baking in the glass jars. The last thing I needed was a shattered glass mess in my oven. The first time I tried these, I used a recipe that called for 350 degrees. That worked fine, but then I was still a little hesitant about the lava cake recipe that baked at 400. After doing a little research online, it appeared that lots of people have recipes for cakes or pies in jars.
The Helpers were in curious mode the day I made these. Helper #1 impatiently waited for me to move the jars out of their box so she could commandeer it.
Helper #2 impatiently waited for someone to drop some buttery smelling crumbs within her reach.
Stayed tuned for more versions of this recipe. My husband has suggested a version where the layers are alternated more frequently. For example, there'd be small layers of graham cracker, chocolate cake, mini marshmallows, graham cracker, cake, marshmallows, etc. If any of you have some suggestions, I'd love to hear them!