Amanda & Merrill

S'mores Semifreddo

September  3, 2010

S'mores Semifreddo

- Amanda

Last week at a beach picnic, my friend Stephen (coffee aficionado, Big Green Egg aficonado, everything food aficionado) told me about a s'mores variation that I couldn't resist trying. He'd read about s'mores semifreddo online -- this one, I think -- abandoned it for being too complicated (home-made graham crackers and ice cream, who can blame him?), and struck out on his own with a pared down version using storebought ingredients and a little culinary improv. As Stephen described his method, I listened like a good blogger, taking careful mental notes.

Shop the Story

This week, I got into the kitchen, but like a bad blogger, I forgot some of the details, like how to deal with the graham crackers and chocolate. I'll get to them later because the first step is so much fun. As Stephen told me, you spread Marshmallow Fluff in a thin layer on buttered parchment, then broil it. Magically, it toasts like a marshmallow in a campfire, but with an even higher toasted bits to soft marshmallow ratio. If you fold in this toasted layer to expose the untoasted parts, and broil it again, you double the ratio once more. Do it! The toasted Fluff gets folded into ice cream like a mix-in and that's your semifreddo base.

Now, for the graham crackers. I would not suggest pulverizing them in a food processor like I did (see photo above), which made them powdery -- and impotent! Just stick them in a plastic bag and smash them up with a rolling pin. Half the crumbs go in the base of a baking dish. You top this layer of crumbs with the semifreddo, then cover the semifreddo with the rest of the crumbs.

Merrill unwittingly provided the solution for the chocolate, because I mooched off of an excellent recipe she'll be posting next week. For her fantastic-but-I-can't-mention-it-by-name-yet dessert, she needed a chocolate coating akin to "Magic Shell" -- the stuff that soft-serve ice cream cones are dipped into that hardens instantly. And she discovered how to make it here on It's a simple ratio: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to 6 ounces chocolate. You melt them together, and that's it. I snagged some of Merrill's magic shell and drizzled it on the semifreddo so it would cool and harden in thin strips. You can splash it on in Jackson Pollock-like spatters if you like, or even just douse the whole thing in magic shell if that's your preferred s'mores proportions. Then serve it at a dinner party, and see who's first to guess its inspiration.

S'mores Semifreddo

Adapted from Stephen Cornick

Serves 8

  • Butter, for greasing parchment
  • One 16-ounce container Marshmallow Fluff
  • 6 graham crackers
  • 2 pints good vanilla ice cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Heat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment and generously butter the parchment. Spoon the Fluff onto the parchment. Wet your hands and pat out the Fluff into a thin layer (see photos below) that nearly covers the baking sheet.

2. Place the Fluff under the broiler (about 6 inches from the flame) and toast all over. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using a spatula, turn in the sides of the Fluff, folding it like a letter, to expose the un-toasted portions. Place under the broiler and toast all over, again. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

3. Put the graham crackers in a sturdy plastic bag, and using either a rolling pin or the base of a small saucepan, pound the crackers into coarse crumbs. Spread half of them in the base of an 8-inch baking dish.

4. Set out the ice cream for 10 minutes. Place it in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (if you don't have a mixer, you can mix it by hand and skip the gym this week). With the mixer on low, mash the ice cream to loosen it a bit. Add the toasted Fluff and mix until just blended but not broken down -- you want there to be chewy bits. Scrape into the baking dish and freeze.

5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and oil in a double boiler, whisking until they're smooth.

6. To serve, spread the remaining graham cracker crumbs on top of the semifreddo. Drizzle the top with as much chocolate as you like! (You may also pass a pitcher of chocolate at the table, which your guests will appreciate.)

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • RaquelG
  • Sagegreen
  • Creative Culinary
    Creative Culinary
  • vurbanas
  • SallyCan
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


RaquelG September 7, 2010
Methinks this would make an excellent S'Mores Parfait - in a gorgeous tall parfait glass or even champagne flutes - layering the graham crumbles, ice cream/toasted fluff mixture, a bit more graham (so that the warm chocolate does not melt the ice cream too quickly), chocolate, and so on.... I would save dollops of browned fluff to top with, and just a drizzle of chocolate. Mmmmmmmmmmm......
Sagegreen September 5, 2010
Yum! I just tried some gluten free grahams that were really good, too......but love the idea of ice cream is really great! It was the ancient Egyptians who first came up with a gooey dessert from the marsh mallow plant many centuries ago, I think.
Sagegreen September 6, 2010
...meant to say "but I love the idea of the ice cream; it is really great." This is brilliantly American! My British relatives all eat Eton Mess, which uses meringue bits mashed into ice cream.
Creative C. September 5, 2010
I have some girlfriend nights and though we all love to cook, nothing will quite wake up the senses like something old that is new again. And this fits the bill! Didn't everyone make s'mores with the Girl Scouts at some point in time?

The only thing I take offense to (well, in a not too offensive way) is the Magic Shell. It is not magic, it is terrible. I was spoiled; when I was a girl, I LOVED something called Gold Brick Sundae Topping; pretty much the original hard shell topping. I will hunt it down (now only available online) but have also used this homemade version for years...with and without the nuts. The big difference? Butter in lieu of oil or shortening. Isn't butter always better?

My recipe is here: and it can be ordered online too at

I can only imagine this with some Gold Brick, with or without the pecans!
drbabs September 5, 2010
Are you from New Orleans? We used to have Gold Brick Sundaes, too! I nearly forgot about that--thanks for the memory and the recipe!
Kitchen B. September 6, 2010
:-). In May, I celebrated my first ever S' a Girls scouts camp out. However, they weren't the real deal, us being in the Netherlands and not in the Unites States of A, so instead of grahams, we use chocolate covered cookies...which while nice, were too chocolatey. The marshmallows and fire were as normal though :-). Then this week past, I got a US delivery with the real ingredients.....and so will be making this semi freddo ASA
vurbanas September 5, 2010
Anything made with marshmallow fluff is the best.
SallyCan September 4, 2010
The photo is lovely, and the idea dreamy, more like a summer pie, but I'm not entirely with you on it. You see, I don't mind making the various components of a dish. Also, served this way, don't you loose some of the tactile element? To me, the glory of the s'more is in the crunch of the cookie, with the soft and melting chocolate, and the hot, oozing marshmallow dripping down your hand, all messy between your fingers...Your dessert does look delicious, though, and I'm sure that I wouldn't object if there were one in front of me!
Oui, C. September 4, 2010
Impotent graham crackers......oh my. This broiling Fluff thing sounds magical, so much so that I fear I may eat most of it straight from the parchment, and blow the ice cream add-in part. I'll have to do this with a partner to keep me honest. - S
AntoniaJames September 3, 2010
Okay, I have this reaction about ten times a week, regarding the Editors/Staff/Brilliant Food-Loving Friends, but now I simply must go public. You are all geniuses! Until about ten minutes ago, I hated Marshmallow Fluff. But with memories evoked of the wonderful toasted meringue-y stuff you get on a S'More, PLUS the most outstanding dividend consisting of a recipe for Magic Shell, and this recipe just blew me away. Being a total non-conformist, however, who also happens to be incapable of following any recipe without making at least one significant substitution . . . I'd grind up some ginger snaps, or better yet, some British biscuits with a bit more character, and ditch the Graham crackers. Thanks for the outstanding, opinion-changing and supremely useful recipe!! ;o)
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
You either have the recipe-following gene or you don't, and both are fine by me. Gingersnaps would be great -- and so funny because the day we shot this, someone also suggested British biscuits. Enjoy!
Stephanie B. September 3, 2010
I love the "fluff and fold" technique.
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
Thanks. Fun to do, as well.
Kelsey B. September 3, 2010
YUM! Totally fun and a blast for everyone at a bbq!
Allison C. September 3, 2010
OMG. Love this. Love it, love it, love it.
drbabs September 3, 2010
Hmmmmm.....I just made a batch of salted caramel-butter pecan ice cream for a party this weekend. I wonder how it would be blended with toasted Fluff, layered with graham crackers and drizzled with chocolate. I'm thinking good!
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
If you make some and send it to me, I'd be happy to let you know.
drbabs September 4, 2010
I was going to--really--but my husband requested something with apples, so I made the winning apple cake recipe...but I will try this soon...i have just the people in mind who would LOVE it.
Kitchen B. September 3, 2010
And your photos/styling rules. rocks. hits all the notes.
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
Kitchen B. September 3, 2010
Guess what Amanda, I just got a delivery all the way from the United States of America. It contained a bag of Graham crackers, Marshmallows and Hershey's chocolate. As they arrived, I was in the process of firing up my bbq to roast some red peppers. Daughter #1, Miss Adventure rounded up her friends and we ended up S'Moring till 2am in the morning, Well. Not actually. Till about 6pm - they were better than the cobbled together Dutch version we had while camping in May.

In a thank you note to the gift giver, I expressed sincere gratitude for induction into American culture and she replied back 'Make a pie with crumbs as the base. I'd heard of that this weekend, so I was going to bring out my petit four tins and get to work. Till this..............Now I know to buy Marshmallow fluff....which I'd always.....turned my nose up at (not looke down on!).

I will have to invite my friend to dinner or for 'dessert' and present her with this. How I love food52.
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
I'm pretty convinced you'll like Marshmallow Fluff -- it's exactly what its name says. However, don't look at the ingredient list.
TheWimpyVegetarian September 3, 2010
What a fabulous idea!!! I love s'mores and did a lot of experimenting about a year ago to make s'mores cupcakes, but this is even better! Oh, and my husband would love to borrow mrslarkin's Marshmellow Fluff Cookbook :-)
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
I would, too.
monkeymom September 3, 2010
I can't believe that I've found the recipe for Magic Shell here. I'm so glad to know how to make a homemade version as my family loves it and I think it is really gross!
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
Credit goes to Merrill, who did the research and found it -- I just borrowed it!
wanderash September 3, 2010
pure genius. i love everything about this!
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
kcg September 3, 2010
What a beautiful photograph! Here I am, in the North Carolina mountains, musing about what I'll cook while we are away for the weekend. I had decided on 'Crack Pie' that I read about in Bon Appetit, but NOW I simply must make this creation of yours! Bravo....
My husband is going to flip out when he sees me buying Marshmallow Fluff... he will be thrilled.
I always know that I'll find something wonderful to cook or bake on this site. I love reading what food52 is dishing out...
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
Thank YOU. What's Crack Pie?
Kitchen B. September 4, 2010
Not interferring but I've recently read loads about Momofuku's crack pie. See this Apparently it is a take on chess pie...'Crack Pie is a twist on Chess Pie -- an old-school dessert found in the "Joy of Cooking," popular because it can be made with common pantry ingredients such as butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla.'
Kelsey B. September 6, 2010
There is also a great article on the Momofuko Crack Pie in this month's Bon Appetit. It looks sooo good....
mtrelaun September 3, 2010
And who can resist the Fluff's packaging? That is some beautiful graphic design.
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
mrslarkin September 3, 2010
Amanda, you are diabolical! Being a Fluffernut, I always have a tub of Fluff in the cupboard, so this will surely be added to the roster of Fluff recipes. Oh, and I feel comfortable enough in this community to admit that I am a proud owner of The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook.
Amanda H. September 3, 2010
Do let us know if this holds up against the gems in that cookbook....
Kitchen B. September 4, 2010
You can download copies of the 'yummy' book of marshmallow fluff recipes