Happy Monday fellow humans!
The Orange County Fair is here and goin’ off. I have such awesome memories of the OC Fair for as long as I can remember. From being a big-eyed little girl oggling at the lights to being a teenager on the look out for cute boys to now being solely concerned with food… Priorities change what can I say?
For the past 4-5 years I have entered my desserts into the culinary arts competitions at the fair. This year I had decided that I didn’t want to go overboard with entering things that would be too difficult. I am 22 weeks pregnant and did’t need the stress of that, too much! After thinking it over, I chose so do two things that were in my wheelhouse and that I had made multiple times. I landed on my original banana bread recipe and pecan pie thumbprints. And the results… The banana bread and cookies both got 3rd place in their categories! Whoop whoop!!!
As for the last week and baking… I decided that the 4th of July theme really helped me stay on track in terms of choosing things I might not be inclined to make as well as giving myself a time crunch. So, this week I decided to go with a s’mores themed week because it is summer and s’mores is a quintessential summer flavor. I mixed and matched different recipes and made my own up so feel free to use the links to the different parts or read how I did it myself.
1st up was a s’more brownie. Brownies are my favorite dessert and I have been having fun playing with them by adding toppings and bringing them to the next level. So there were three components to this creation.
First, I made a graham cracker crust. 2 sleeves of graham crackers in a food processor (or in a baggie and smashed up), 1 cup of melted butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar mixed all together. I dumped that all into the baking sheet and smushed it down so it was firm.
Second, the brownies. You can make my version of basic brownies, here, or just use an easy boxed mix from the store! I just dropped the brownie batter on top of the graham cracker layer and baked for around 40 minutes but depending on what option you take make sure to read the directions!
Third, the mallows! After the brownies were cooked through I dumped about a half bag of mini marshmallows on top. Depending on the size of your pan you might want to go more or less, just cover the whole top, you want there to be mallow-y goodness. And I put it in the broiler for about 2 minutes. I recommend watching this part, it can turn from while mallows to burnt crisp in less than a blink of an eye. Take them out when you see the golden goodness pictured below. Enjoy!
2nd for the week were s’mores thumbprints. These were SUPER easy and really good!! I made these up on a whim so they could use some help but I got rave reviews from taste testers so Ill post how I did them now.
Step 1: Beat 1 cup softened unsalted butter on high.
Step 2: Add in 1/2 cup white sugar and continue beating.
Step 3: Add in 1 cup graham cracker crumbs and 1 1/4 cup flour, mix.
Step 4: Ball into 1-inch balls and smush down into little round circles with a little well in the middle. Freeze for 20 minutes & bake for 12-15 minutes.
Step 5: While the cookies are still warm you add either halved kisses or chocolate chips to each well.
Step 6: Add mini marshmallows or one regular marshmallow to the tops. Put them in the broiler for a few minutes until the tops begin to brown. This can go from brown to burnt real quick so make sure you are there watching the progress.
3rd for the week were s’more cupcakes! These also had three components to them…
First, the graham cracker crust bottom. One sleeve of graham crackers, 1/2 cup of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. I spooned a little bit in each cupcake tin and Kyle smushed them down.
Second, the chocolate cake. I used a basic chocolate cake recipe by Liv for Cake. It was easy to make and I had all the ingredients on hand. The recipe is for a tiered cake but the amount should make around 24-28 cupcakes.
Third, the Fluff topping. Like I said I am currently 22 weeks pregnant so I am wary of making anything with eggs on the stovetop (like custard, cream or marshmallow). I opted for a pre-made jarred version of marshmallow Fluff. I grew up eating Fluff but it is mainly sold on the east coast and is pretty difficult to find here on the west coast in regular grocery stores. There is a Jet Puffed version, I have not tried it so I don’t know how it compares but I am biased towards my childhood choice. We got small jars of Fluff at World Market for $1.99 each but you can also check out Amazon for a bigger jar.
We added a dollop on top and Kyle got to use a blow torch to make them all burnt and caramelized. YUM! These were my favorite of the week. The cake was especially delicious and moist. All of the different textures worked so well together, crunchy, fluffy and sticky. I ate so much of this cake that my belly hurt but so worth it!
I had such a fun time trying new things in the kitchen and seeing what worked and what needs to change for next time. I would 10/10 recommend any of these bakes. If you have any questions please comment below!