It’s here. It’s officially that proverbial time of year to make something s’more. Why officially? Because I pretty much decided so.
If you’ve been hanging around these parts for any length of time, you’ve probably picked up on my affinity for all things s’more. I’ve made s’more ice cream, s’more doughnuts, s’more sandwich cookies, s’more cake… Seriously, I could write this list forever. I kid you not, FOREVER.
And, let’s be honest, what’s NOT to love about s’mores? Can you REALLY beat chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker? FYI, the answer you’re looking for is no. Just no.
Unless you were going to say chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker alongside a crackling fire in the winter with a mug of hot cocoa. In which case, let’s be best friends?
And speaking of s’mores, and this s’more recipe in particular, (which is AMAZING by the way. Seriously, just ask the neighbors.), let’s talk milestones for a minute. I’ve been working on my food photography for what has felt like an eternity at this point (or, to be more precise, about 2 years). Seriously guys, an ETERNITY. When I started this blog 4 years ago, I could bake… roughly speaking, if we count box mixes as “baking”… but I was no photographer. I’d never touched a DSLR (and certainly not anything more complicated), I had no idea how to style food (one pose works for everything, right guys?), I hadn’t figured out composition and certainly not anything more technical. My photos were the Achilles heel of my blog and they were bad.
Oh. So. Bad.
If you need proof, just go back to the last page of any of the archives. Wait, don’t do that. Just take my word for it. They’re THAT bad.
But I didn’t really think about it (or take my blog particularly seriously) until 2 years ago, at which point I began pouring over EVERYTHING I could get my little (stick) hands on about food photography. I talked to photographers, I read articles and technical books, I studied other food photographers’ photos, and I practiced. Seriously, like practiced, practiced, PRACTICED, practiced.
And you know what? The shoot for this post was the first one that felt natural. The first one that didn’t leave me feeling an anxious mess because HOW DOES ONE PHOTOGRAPH THIS THING?! For once, the styling just came together. It didn’t feel forced, it didn’t feel like an imitation of someone else’s work, it just happened all on it’s own.
The sweating was still profuse, though. Seriously… in this 90F heat… the sweating is ALWAYS profuse!
But it finally feels like, after years of hard work, my photography is finally coming together. So I hope you enjoy these photos (and more importantly, this recipe. Seriously, MAKE. THIS.) as much as I enjoyed taking them!
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 oz salted butter, at room temp.
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 8 oz dark chocolate
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for the graham cracker crust until smooth. Add the brown sugar and honey, and continue beating until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients for the crust and beat until it pulls away from the sides and clumps into a single ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days (depending on how far in advance you make it).
- On a lightly floured surface, work the dough for the crust with your hands until malleable. Roll the dough out on a piece of plastic wrap until it's slightly larger than your 14" x 5" pan. Gently flip the dough into the pan (a second person would be helpful here) and press it into the bottom and sides. Trim away any excess. Generously prick the bottom, and bake with pie weights for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- To make the ganache, heat the cream until almost boiling (this can be done in a microwave if you prefer not to mess with the stove). Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and pour the hot cream over it. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to soften. Gently stir the ganache with a spatula (a whisk creates too many air bubbles) until completely smooth. Pour the ganache into the cooled tart shell and spread evenly. Wrap with plastic wrap pressed down onto the surface of the ganache, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- To make the meringue topping, whisk together your egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer placed over a pot of boiling water (a double boiler). Whisking occasionally, heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch. Move the bowl to your stand mixer, add the vanilla, and whisk on high (using the whisk attachment) until billowy, and the meringue holds a stiff peak.
- Remove the tart from the refrigerator, and spread the meringue evenly across the top. I used the back of a small spoon to create the back and forth pattern on the top, but you can really style the meringue however you like. Toast with a chef's torch and serve immediately.