S’mores Ice Cream
Marshmallows + chocolate + Graham crackers x ice cream = Bliss. A few people, including Deb, intimated that my beloved combination of marshmallows, chocolate and spiced crackers might be in danger of becoming passé, which was the first I’d heard of that. I don’t want to quibble with her, because she knows her cocktails, and dumplings. But on the other hand, I guess in the U.S., things get done so often that people tend to overlook how good they are, no matter how many times the combination is repeated. After macarons crested, they settled back down to being normal again. And who doesn’t want to be normal? Come to think of it, I often wonder what they would be like…
While I’m on the subject of normal, or not, I was the kid who liked to torch his marshmallow over the campfire. While the others were pulling their sticks away, lest the puffy pellet on the end get any hint of blackness. And yup, I now know that some say you’re not supposed to eat burnt foods. But since I don’t drive a car, I don’t smoke (second-hand smoke in Paris notwithstanding…), I use free-range eggs, and I even wore the same socks two days in a row last week. (Which was an accident.) So I think it’s okay to have a over-toasted marshmallow every so often. In fact, I wish I had them more often than I do.
Paris has seen a lot of American food fads cross the Atlantic, which have been embraced…actually, some over-embraced, such as caramel corn, burgers, cupcakes, fish and chips, and anything Brooklyn, but S’mores seem to have gone under the wire. It’s odd because French people love guimauves (marshmallows), chocolate, and spiced cookies – so what’s not to like about combining them?
I decided to create my mash-up of those flavors in one scoop of ice cream, which I served up to some Parisian friends. I’ve been intrigued by toasted marshmallow ice cream recipes that I’ve seen. But tasting them, the flavor of the marshmallows gets muted by blending them with the custard base. So I decided to keep them separate, torch them on their own, and gently mix them into the ice cream so they stay separate along with a ripple of deep-dark chocolate fudge sauce.
I reached into my “American” stash here in Paris, a magic place/drawer in my kitchen all filled with wonderful surprises, that I often forget about. Stuff like chipotle chiles, dried sour cherries, molasses, aluminum-free baking powder and tomatillo salsa is in there, because you just never know. And I had a bag of mini-marshmallows stuffed in there, for whatever reason, which was begging to be used.
I often make my own marshmallows, but the store-bought ones come in handy for marshmallow-based emergencies. (Yes, those do exist. Which I guess is the reason that I had them.) And not everyone wants to make every ingredient for every recipe. There was a joke going around “Why buy it for $8 when you can make it yourself with $89 worth of ingredients and $350 in kitchen equipment?” And I have a few other kitchen drawers full of things that will confirm that I’ve been guilty of that myself. Anyone want to buy a crème brûlée iron, the kind you heat up over an open fire?
I did think so. A while ago I had bought one of those mini torches that “chefs” are supposed to use, for making crème brûlée at home. But after ten minutes of waving the dinky flame over the sugar, nothing happening, and I invested in a bigger, and better, model. One that doesn’t require a roaring flame to operate. It makes its own. The only caveat is that it’s very powerful and a few of the marshmallows got charred, which I personally like.
You can, of course, toast the marshmallows to whatever degree you want. I do know that the best way to burn marshmallows to a crisp is to try to photograph yourself trying to toast the marshmallows with one hand, while holding a camera and trying to squeeze the shutter at the same time. Sharp-eyed readers might notice a few here and there in the photos.
I used gingersnaps (spéculoos, in France) because we don’t get Graham crackers in France. And although I can make my own, I was so wiped out from trying to toast marshmallows while taking a picture of them that I went with store-bought cookies. For those who want to make their own, there’s a homemade Graham cracker recipe in my book, Ready for Dessert, that goes with the Lime Marshmallow Pie. Gingersnaps will add a little spicy component to the ice cream, which was rather nice with the almost-expertly toasted marshmallows and perfect fudge ripple that got swirled in ice cream.
My French other-half said it tasted like something for kids. He meant that as a compliment. So you can indulge your inner enfant with this.
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