It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Graham crackers. Marshmallows. Chocolate. It's the holy trinity of sweets. Most of us know this combination as everyone’s favorite campfire snack, the s’more -- but there's a lesser-known version comprised of a marshmallow atop a graham cracker and enrobed in chocolate. This, my friends, is the Mallomar.
More: Feeling inspired? Turn your s'mores into ice cream.
If you haven’t heard of Mallomars before, it’s probably because their availability is limited. They appear on store shelves in the fall only to vanish come spring. I grew up in New York, where apparently the vast majority of them are sold, and had no idea until recently that they were relatively unknown and difficult to find outside the state. That, dare I say, is a serious injustice. If you live in North Dakota, you should be able to enjoy a Mallomar. If you want a Mallomar in the middle of July, then, dang it, you should be able to have one. Guess what? You totally can.
This recipe has a number of steps and may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple as far as homemade marshmallows and melted chocolate go. Don’t have a candy thermometer? No problem. This marshmallow recipe (which is barely adapted from Alton Brown) sets up nicely and you don't even have to worry about heating the sugar to exactly the right temperature. I also don’t bother with tempering the chocolate, as the excess powdered sugar on the marshmallows can make the chocolate coating look less than perfect anyhow.
These aren’t round like the store-bought versions, but you can probably imagine how annoying it is to pipe cooling marshmallow fluff onto little cookies, right? No, thank you. Square is where it’s at. Their shape may be a bit wonky, but it’s a charming, imperfect wonkiness. And they’re just as delicious.
Makes approximately 4 dozen
For the marshmallows
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided in half
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
For the graham crackers
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 graham or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
For the final assembly
24 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Combine the gelatin and half of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, syrup, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Cover and let cook over medium-high heat for around 4 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for another 6 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture begins to bubble vigorously and rise in the pan. (If you have a candy thermometer, clip it to the side when you uncover the pan and cook the mixture to 240° F.) Immediately remove from heat.
Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer and turn on low speed. Slowly pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl and into the gelatin mixture. Once you’ve added all the syrup, increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. (If you haven’t cooked the sugar to exactly 240° F, this may take a few minutes longer. You can tell that it’s cool enough if the fluff doesn’t easily slip away from the whisk when the mixer head is lifted.) Add the vanilla extract in the last minute of whipping.
While the mixture is whipping, combine the confectioner's sugar and the cornstarch in a bowl. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, then add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and shake it all around to coat the pan completely. Return the excess to the bowl.
When the marshmallow mixture is ready, pour it into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula to smooth it out. Dust the top with some of the remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture and let the marshmallows sit uncovered for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Once set, cut the marshmallows into 1 1/2-inch squares. (If you won’t be using them right away, toss them in the remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture and store them in an airtight container.)
Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and honey and then beat in the vanilla. Alternate beating in the milk and flour mixtures until everything is combined.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness, and then cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer squares to the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each. Poke several holes in each square to keep them from puffing up too much during baking. Place the crackers in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
While the crackers chill, preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the crackers are mostly baked but still a tiny bit soft. They will firm up as they cool.
Remove the pans from the oven and set on cooling racks. Immediately place a marshmallow on top of each cracker. (The heat from the crackers will melt the marshmallow slightly and bind the two together.) Let cool completely.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. One by one, dip each marshmallow-topped cracker in the chocolate, making sure to coat all sides.
Use a fork to remove the mallomar, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off, and place it, cracker side-down, on a piece of wax paper. Let cool until chocolate has set.
Store the Mallomars at room temperature for 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Photos by Carey Nershi