S'mores Tarts

S'mores Tart

Campfires and s'mores compose many of my childhood summer memories. As a Girl Scout growing up, s'mores were our reward after a long day of hiking, canoeing, and cooking dinner over flames at camp. We would sing silly songswith laughter as our melodyand toast marshmallows, stretching out these perfect moments with a just one more, please. I hold these memories particularly close when settling into the summer season.

It is fitting then, especially considering my own experience, that s'mores originated with the Girl Scouts. The first recipe for this dessert appeared in the handbook Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts in 1927. The folklore says that when a girl had eaten one she would always ask for "some more." Over time, the popularity of the treat grew until it became the summer phenomena it is today. The dessert still holds ties to its roots, however. A s'more made over a roaring campfire will always be superior to any counterpart. The smoke, night sky, and good company are irreplaceable ingredients.

S'mores Tart

S'mores Tart

S'mores Tart

S'mores are not often thought of as an elegant dessert (as anyone with a crumb-filled lap and a sticky marshmallow face and fingers would agree). With these s'mores tarts, I wanted to find a little more of that sophistication while keeping the traditional flavors intact. Thus, a thin crust holds in a rich chocolate filling and is topped with an airy marshmallow topping. 

While I still adore a classic campfire s'more, I find them too sweet to eat more than one. With the tarts, I was able to cut back on the sugar by using dark chocolate and covering the tarts partially with the marshmallow topping. Of course, if the classic sweetness is your preference, please use your favorite milk chocolate and drown these tarts in as much toasted marshmallow as you desire. 

S'mores Tart

S'mores Tart

S'mores Tarts feature a rich chocolate filling surrounded by a cookie crust and topped with a vanilla flavored marshmallow topping. The marshmallow topping can be toasted using an oven broiler, but flame torches yield much more control with the finished product. I personally find kitchen torches to be small, disappointing, and overpriced. If you are up for a bit of adventure, acquaint yourself with your pyromaniac side, and pull out a full-size blow torch for these tarts. You'll be glad you did. 

One Year Ago: Mixed Berry Quinoa Crumble
Two Years Ago: Rhubarb Oatmeal, Dill Dinner Rolls, Sparkling Lemon Drop, and Berry Cheesecake Tarts
Three Years Ago: Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins, Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa, Vegan Brownies, and Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Almond Oat Bars, Tropical Vacation Cocktail, Blueberry Granola, and Bizcochitos
Five Years Ago: Blueberry & Raspberry Mini Tarts

S'mores Tarts

Yields 6 small tarts

Tart Dough
8 tablespoons (115 grams) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup (210 grams) all-purpose flour

In a medium mixing bowl, place the butter and sugar. Beat until lighter in color and texture. Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and continue mixing until uniform, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour, mixing until the dough comes together and begins to gather in the bowl. A food processor can also be used to speed up the process, if available.

Remove dough and shape into a cylinder. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). 

Unwrap dough and slice cylinder into 6 even pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each slice into a circle 2-inches larger than the tart pan. Gently place dough into pan, pressing it along the edges. If necessary, additional dough can be used to cover up cracks or tears. Using a rolling pin, roll it along the top of the pan to cut off excess dough. Puncture a couple dozen holes into the bottom of the tart using a fork; this will prevent the dough from rising.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are dry in appearance and touch. Cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Filling
6 ounces (170 grams) milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate, finely chopped (as per preference)
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream *

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.

On the stovetop or in the microwave, heat the cream until near boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth.

Divide chocolate filling evenly between the cooled tart shells, using an offset spatula to smooth the top of each tart.

Marshmallow Topping **
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wipe a large bowl with a paper towel soaked in a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to remove traces of grease. Add egg whites and sugar and, over a double boiler, whisk constantly over hot water until the sugar dissolves. When rubbed between your fingers, the egg whites should feel hot and smooth (approximately a temperature of 140 degrees F/60 degrees C). This will generally take 3-8 minutes, depending on the temperature of the water.

Using a mixer, whip the egg whites until thick, glossy peaks form. This may take anywhere from 8-10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Using a pastry bag, pipe topping over each tart. The tarts may be covered partially (as shown) or fully covered. Alternatively, an offset spatula can be used to spread topping over the tarts. 

For a toasted look, use a kitchen torch (or a full-sized blow torch, as I did) to add the toasted look to the topping. I recommend practicing on leftover topping before starting on the tarts. Alternatively, an oven set to broil can be used to toast the topping. This is a little less precise, but will also yield a toasted appearance.

Store and serve at room temperature. The marshmallow topping may "weep" slightly on the second day, but it does not affect the flavor or texture of the tarts.

* I have also used soy milk (dairy-free) to great effect.

** The recipe yields enough marshmallow topping to completely cover the tarts, if desired.

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

I spent the last week fitting my one bedroom apartment into boxes. Sealed with packing tape and stacked into tall, quivering towers, they fill a small 10" by 10" storage unit, awaiting next month's big move. I am displaced until then, spending time with family and traveling in the interim. With a job offer to teach in another location, it is time to leave the small town life for a bustling city. This change, however, is more bittersweet than expected. Though I resisted it madly in the beginning, this small town of minepopulation 3,000grew on me.  

We put down roots whether or not we mean to; we find a way to feel like we belong.

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

I will miss many things about this place. The two minute commute to work each morning. The two minute commute to anywhere in town. The honor system farmer's market (a table of fresh vegetables sits alone in a vacant parking lot, with a box to collect payment. If only everywhere could be so honest). The smells emanating from the food factory in the center of town (some days, the pervasive scent of dog foodblechbut on the rare days it smells like chocolate or gumdrops, it feels as if Willy Wonka's factory is just down the street). The realization that living in a small town does not mean you live a small life. 

But, most of all, I will miss the people. The welcoming, caring, animated souls who made this place home for the last two years.

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

When I first arrived to this town, I nervously baked up a batch of granola bars, wondering if I had made the right decision in moving here. Oats were (and are) a comfort food to me, familiarity in a world that was both strange and new. It seemed fitting that the last pan to come out of my small apartment kitchen were these oat-filled muffins. They are a means to say goodbye and turn the page on a new chapter in my life.

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins are bursting with blueberries and a bright aroma. Oats, which are grounded down to a flour, give a hearty flavor to the final product. Topped with a cinnamon crumble, the muffins are complete. Serve with a spread of butter or simply eat them plain, both methods will do just fine.

One Year Ago: Mango Margarita, Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread, and Chocolate Espresso Custard
Two Years Ago: Rhubarb Vanilla Pound CakeBoozy Margarita Lime Cake, Double Chocolate Muffins, and Rhubarb Ginger Bars
Three Years Ago: Toffee Chocolate Chip CookiesCoconut Nutmeg Pudding, Lavender Lemonade, Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, and Cherry Almond Granola
Four Years Ago: Honey Peach Boba Tea, Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread, and Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
Five Years Ago: Bittersweet Chocolate Sherbet, Rhubarb Jam, and Tapioca Pudding

Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins

Yields 1 dozen muffins

Blueberry Oat Muffins
1/4 cup (50 grams) coconut oil, liquid state
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (68 grams) oat flour *
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (177 ml) milk
6 ounces (170 grams) fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the coconut oil and sugars until uniform. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients (cinnamon, baking powder, salt, oat flour, all-purpose flour) alternatively with the milk until smooth. Stir in the fresh blueberries. Set aside.

Oat Crumble Topping
2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquid state
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams) old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix together all crumble ingredients until uniform.

Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full of batter. Sprinkle approximately 1 tablespoon of crumble topping on each and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

* To make oat flour, place old fashioned oats in a food processor and process until oats are a fine powder.

Scenes from New York

NYC

Life seized my attention for the past few weeks, but I am back and here for a quick check in. Even though this space has been quiet, I have been running around at high speed. I spent the first part of June traveling around New York City, and I am currently packing up my apartment for another big move (which I’ll tell you about soon!).

The first stop on the trip was Brooklyn for the Saveur Food Blog Awards. It was so wonderful to meet the faces behind the blogs that I most admire. While I didn’t win (and certainly didn’t expect to), the bloggers who did were incredibly deserving—you can check out their blogs here! The rest of the holiday was spent sightseeing in Manhattan and generally acting very much like a tourist (much to my boyfriend’s dismay). I geeked out at the American Museum of Natural History, rode bikes through Central Park, watched the sunset from the top of the Empire State Building, enjoyed the Book of Mormon on Broadway, and walked the streets in search of good food.

Easily the best meal we had was in the tavern section at Gramercy Tavern. The food we had (sea bass and pork loin) was delicious, and the wait staff was the most attentive I have ever experienced.  We also sought out ramen on three separate occasions (I blame the recent viewing of Mind of a Chef) and other ethnic foods that are impossible to find in our small town. I started each morning off with a smoothie from a hidden gem down the street (which I plan to share with you once I perfect it) and made a point to stop at one of the countless bakeries, like Milk Bar and Insomnia Cookies, for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

All in all, it was time well spent. I’ll be back soon to share a recipe with you!

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC
NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC

NYC