June 11, 2014


It's finally somewhat quiet for the first time in days. I've spent the last week in a beachside villa, which sounds relaxing if not for the seven other people bustling around. It's been a little crazy here, but it's finally peaceful because everyone is busy stuffing themselves with homemade s'mores.

How do you make homemade s'mores exactly? It's not like you can make your own chocolate, and homemade marshmallows are too tedious for rental home kitchens. Honestly, I'd rather spend a few extra hours at the beach than in the kitchen dealing with marshmallows. What makes these s'mores special is the graham crackers, which I made last week, froze for travel purposes, and defrosted tonight for the feast.

Graham crackers generally aren't that special. The packaged ones are kind of foamy and bland. They're still good, but s'mores taste so much better when you spend some time making your own graham crackers. The crackers really aren't that hard to make, and they have a sweet, buttery flavor with just a hint of cinnamon. There's a shocking amount of sugar and butter (mostly butter; I think the deliciously rich lowcountry cooking is getting to me) for something generally considered healthy, but that's what makes them so good.

One of the ingredients that makes graham crackers graham crackers is graham flour. If you can find it, use it. If not (like me), plain whole wheat flour will suffice. However, it's a pretty crucial ingredient, so don't substitute anything else like regular flour (beyond what else is called for in the recipe), cake flour, or bread flour. I also make a point of using dark brown sugar for a hint of molasses as well as honey for an extra kick of sweetness. I plan on experimenting with molasses vs honey, and if I find anything noteworthy I'll update the recipe.

Although I normally just scoop and bake or slice and bake cookies, these need to be rolled out and cut or else they won't be square and graham cracker shaped. I find that about an eighth of an inch is a good thickness for baking and for s'mores making. Two inches by two inches works for the length and width.

I use either a knife and ruler or a tool I like to call my spinny wheels of death, a.k.a. one of these. It's basically a bunch of pizza cutters attached to an accordion-like frame; you can expand or contract the frame and cut a bunch of strips of the same width. Prices can range from $15 to upwards of $100, but I highly recommend investing in one for times like these. They are also great for cutting strips of pie crust for lattices or marking any sort of bar that you want to cut. Aside from thin doughs, they aren't great for actually cutting things, so I generally just use it to mark where I want to cut with a knife.

But that's enough about the graham crackers. It's time for the marshmallows. As I said, you can make your own; I'm currently perfecting my recipe, and I'm sure there are plenty of recipes and tips available online. However, they generally take a few hours to prepare, and those hours would probably be better spent elsewhere. As long as you can find regular or jumbo marshmallows, you'll be ok.

Cooking the marshmallows is harder than getting them. Sure, you can eat them straight out of the bag at room temperature, but then you miss out on gooey marshmallows and melty chocolate. You could also build a bonfire--or just a small fire--and roast them traditionally. But the weather can disagree and you might not find sticks and the fire might just not cooperate. I'm not an outdoorswoman or girl scout or anything, but fires are hard.

That's why I spent years developing the ideal marshmallow cooking method for indoorsy people like me. It's highly scientific and methodical and should only be used if you are truly a s'mores enthusiast. It's called a broiler, and all it takes is a watchful eye--no fire building skills necessary. Simply line a cookie tray with foil or parchment, plop on a few marshmallows, and stick them under a broiler (I like to use my toaster oven) for a few seconds until toasty and brown. It happens pretty quickly, so you absolutely have to watch the marshmallows until they are done.

Once your graham crackers are baked and your marshmallows are toasted, all you have to do is assemble. I'm sure you know how, but you can always make your s'mores a bit more gourmet. Try drizzling (or dousing) them with caramel sauce or sticking a few slices of strawberries or some raspberries under the chocolate. Or both. Once you perfect the art of indoor (and homemade) s'mores, the possibilities are endless.

1 ½ Cups Flour
1 ⅓ Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
Pinch Cinnamon
2 Sticks Butter, Softened
⅔ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 T Honey

Sift the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and honey together until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Dust a cutting board with flour and roll some of the dough out to ⅛" thick. Cut into 2" squares. Repeat with the remaining dough. Chill the squares until firm, about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 350ºF and line cookie trays with parchment. Place the squares on the prepared trays and prick with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges.

Makes 50-55 Cookies
Recipe Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For S'mores:
Line a cookie tray with parchment or foil. Place marshmallows on the prepared tray and broil until golden brown. Sandwich a marshmallow or two with a piece of chocolate between to graham crackers.


  1. I just tried this and my kids say homemade graham crackers are better than store bought. I did have to add more butter as my mixture was dry. Thank you.