I have been deep into a fruit & chocolate obsession ever since I did this Galentine's Day party for World Market. I had leftover blackberries and Nutella. Things happened. Things like berry-dipping and spoon-licking. It was at that moment that I realized the enchanting marriage of blackberries and chocolate.
Sometimes I crave s'mores in February.
The combination of graham cracker, marshmallows, and chocolate has a very special hold upon my heart. A hold that does not lessen just because bonfire season is long behind us.
The air was crisp, the week was overcrowded, and I had just purchased the most important dress of my life (yes, the infamous wedding gown), so whipping marshmallow and melting chocolate was undoubtably the proper course of action.
The best part is that you can make all of these components in advance for when the salty-sweet cravings hit, or for when you want to bring a fun, interactive dessert to an impromptu dinner party.
I love making marshmallows, and the idea of a purple-hued blackberry marshmallow ribboned with sweet preserves made my heart flutter.
These marshmallows get their blackberry essence through a combination of blackberry jam and blackberry preserves. While it may seem far more convenient to use only one, there is a reason behind this madness. Jam is often thinner than preserves, because the fruit has been thoroughly broken down. The result is a spoonable, slightly-thicker-than-syrup product, and one that mixes very well into stiff, marshmallow fluff.
Preserves, on the other hand, typically have larger pieces of fruit and are thicker than jam, though this is dependent upon the maker. I chose to swirl preserves through the marshmallows because the jam I was using would have been too thin and would have bled when the marshmallows were cut. Of course, the choice is yours, and if you find a reasonably thick jam, then you could certainly employ that for both uses. Just take into account the thickness and consistency of your product.
Look at that color! A runway-ready marshmallow if I ever saw one.
On to the chocolate, because we definitely did not get our fill on Valentine's Day.
This ganache is spiked with a teeny bit of red wine to give it an extra fruity kick that melds beautifully with our blackberry marshmallows. It's all about the layering of flavors.
I'm a huge proponent of layering, in both the edible world as well as the sweater one. More about that some other time.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my blow torch?
If you have not yet added this tool to your kitchen arsenal, I would highly recommend that you do so. But please do not allow yourself to be sucked into buying a kitchen blow torch. Instead, go to your local hardware store and buy the real thing. You will save yourself quite a bit of cash and you will thank yourself later on for getting the larger tank.
I brûléed the tops of each marshmallow to deepen the flavor and give the marshmallow that gooey, roasted-over-a-fire texture.
I dipped my top crackers in more chocolate (because, why not?), and sprinkled them with toasted hazelnuts and a bit of coarse salt.
We are almost done!!
A perfect s'more that is just as accessible on a rainy, wintery day as it was back in October.
Afternoon snacking suddenly became very fancy.
Grown-Up S’mores with Blackberry Marshmallows & Red Wine Ganache
makes 18 s’mores, with leftover marshmallows
for the marshmallows
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup blackberry jam
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup blackberry preserves
- nonstick spray
Coat a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray and generously dust with confectioner’s sugar.
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine 1/2 cup ice water with gelatin.
In a small saucepan combine remaining water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and place over medium heat - cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and attach a candy thermometer. Cook for 7-8 minutes, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F. Remove from heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture. Once all the syrup is added increase the speed to high. Beat for 13 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and fluffy. In the last minute of beating add vanilla and 1/3 cup blackberry jam.
Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and use a small spoon to swirl the preserves through the marshmallow. Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar.
Allow the marshmallow to sit for 4 hours before removing from the pan. Turn the marshmallow out unto a cutting board dusted with confectioner’s sugar and use a greased pizza cutter to cut into 1-inch squares. Once the marshmallows are cut dust all edges with remaining sugar.
for the ganache
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped roughly
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon dry red wine, such as Cabernet
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate, heavy cream, and red wine. Microwave at thirty second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate is smooth.
At this point, the ganache can be used immediately, or refrigerated until needed. Allow the chilled ganache to sit at room temperature 3-4 hours to soften before using, otherwise it will be too stiff and will break the crackers.
crackers and assembly
- 32 graham cracker halves
- 5 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare two cooling racks by placing them on baking sheets lines with parchment paper.
Place hazelnuts on a sheet pan and toast until fragrant; about 12 minutes. Do not go too far, as they will burn quickly.
Allow the nuts to cool before chopping finely. Place hazelnuts in a small bowl or plate.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at thirty second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate is smooth.
Dip eighteen of the graham cracker halves into the chocolate, only covering half of the cracker. Then, dip the cracker into the hazelnut pieces and sprinkle with salt. Place the crackers on the cooling racks until all the crackers have been dipped. Then, transfer the baking sheets to the freeze and freeze for 10-15 minutes, until the chocolate has set.
Spread a layer of ganache unto each undipped graham cracker half. Top with a blackberry marshmallow and use a blow torch to brûlée the top. Top with a dipped graham cracker half and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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