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Cooking on the grill? S'mores, that serendipitous combination of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow, are a great comfort-food dessert, the perfect coda to a casual meal of barbecued chicken and potato salad. Wrap them in aluminum foil and throw them on the turned-off grill when you sit down to dinner; by the time you're through, the s'mores will be ready: nice and warm, and oozing chocolate and marshmallow.
The following recipe for homemade graham crackers makes delicious, crisp crackers, if you take the time to roll them out and cut them. When you simply roll the dough in balls and flatten it with a glass, the crackers won't be quite as crisp, but they'll still taste wonderful. It's your choice which path to take.
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) King Arthur whole wheat flour, preferably King Arthur Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) honey
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold milk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold water
*This is the shortcut part. Feel free to use regular marshmallows, cut in half around the equator; and chocolate bars, or chocolate ganache.
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Tear or cut out two sheets of parchment the size of your cookie sheets.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it's evenly crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine the honey, milk, and water, stirring until the honey dissolves. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and toss lightly with a fork until the dough comes together. Add additional water, if necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half, and refrigerate till firm, several hours or overnight
Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator.
There are two ways to approach shaping. For the crispest crackers, place the dough on a piece of parchment and roll it into a rough rectangle that's slightly larger than 8" x 14", then trim off the rough edges, to make an 8" x 14" rectangle (approximately). The most important part of this is to roll the dough no more than 1/16" thick, as this will yield the crispest crackers. Use a rolling pizza wheel or baker's bench knife to cut the dough into sixteen 2" x 3 1/2" rectangles (three cuts-to make four strips-each way). Leave the crackers right on the parchment; no need to separate them or move them. Pick up the parchment, and put it on a baking sheet. Prick the crackers several times with the tines of a fork.
If you're afflicted with rolling pin-phobia, roll the dough into 1/2-ounce balls (about the size of a small horse chestnut). Place them on parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets, and use the flat bottom of a drinking glass, dipped in sugar, to flatten them as thin as possible. You won't be able to get them 1/16" thick, but you should at least try to press them to 1/8" or slightly less. Prick the crackers decoratively with the tines of a fork. Whichever method you choose, repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
Bake the crackers for about 16 minutes, or until they're medium gold, and a darker gold around the edges. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the pan for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're just barely warm. If you've made rectangles rather than circles, carefully break each cracker along the lines where you cut them, and cool completely on a rack. Store the cooled crackers tightly wrapped. Yield: about 40 round crackers or 32 rectangles.
Variation: Rather than graham crackers, make linzer cookies; any of the Baker's Catalogue linzer cookie cutter sets come with a recipe. Simply make the cookies up to the point where they're ready to be filled, then fill them as directed below.
To make s'mores: Here's what I like to do. Since my husband is a Marshmallow Fluff fanatic, we always have some on hand, and it's always fresh and soft (unlike "real" marshmallows, which invariably turn themselves into rock-hard little pellets if you open the bag and then don't use them right away). Also, I've become enamored of Chocolate Schmear, a spreadable sweet chocolate that's great for spreading on cookies, dropping into muffins or cupcakes to make chocolate filling... or making grilled chocolate sandwiches!
Spread half the crackers with Fluff, the other half with Chocolate Schmear, and sandwich them together. Place the s'mores on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer while dinner is grilling. Why? Because the chocolate and marshmallow tend to ooze as they sit, and unless you put the s'mores in the freezer, they'll become quite messy as they await their turn on the grill.* Once the grill is turned off, loosely wrap each serving (one or two s'mores) in its own foil packet, and place them on the cooling grill. They should warm nicely as you eat. Unwrap, and be prepared to enjoy a gooey, chocolate-y, finger-licking-good dessert.
*You may also choose to prepare s'mores in advance and freeze till you're ready to use them. Wrap each serving in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to a month. Before serving, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and wrap each serving loosely in its own foil packet. Place on the cooling grill; frozen s'mores will take longer to warm than unfrozen (obviously!), so take that into account.