Did you know?? Today is National S’mores Day and, as the pioneers of glamping, The Resort at Paws Up is giving this holiday the celebration it richly deserves. In fact, they’re pulling out all the chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows and more—for an entire week. To help honor the ooey-gooey deliciousness of this famous campfire treat, they have invited James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal. She’ll be roasting marshmallows, preparing and serving her own unique s’mores creations for guests. And, she’ll serve as the guest judge for a resort-wide S’mores-Off Competition. To kick off the luxury ranch resort’s new series, Cookbook Live, Segal will “stick” around in the kitchens and at a different camp each night. Guests will get an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at favorite recipes in her widely hailed book, Cookie Love, as well as enjoy a few samples to munch on. More details can be found here.
For those of us who can’t make it to The Resort at Paws Up for the celebrations, Mindy has offered to share her recipe for Graham Cracker and Passion Fruit Whoopie Cookies. Enjoy:
GRAHAM CRACKER AND PASSION FRUIT WHOOPIE COOKIES
(Makes approximately 30 sandwich cookies.)
I love pairing graham and citrus together, and with its bright flavor, passion fruit acts a lot like citrus in flavor pairings. One day I put passion fruit in marshmallows for an off-the-cuff way to think about a whoopie pie filling. The results are these whoopie pie–inspired cookies. They are fun: the marshmallows are piped onto the shortbread like frosting but set up like marshmallows when chilled.
A few prep notes: Before you start the marshmallows, have everything from the cookies to the piping bag ready to go; the marshmallows set up fast. Passion fruit pulp is often available frozen at Latin markets from brands such as Goya. To gild the lily, I dip the tops of the cookies into melted Dulcey or caramelized white chocolate. And, if I happen to have any melted dark chocolate handy, I drizzle a minuscule amount on top, just because.
To cut out the cookies, you will need a 2-inch or comparable round cutter. To pipe the marshmallow, you will need Ateco tip #804.
GRAHAM CRACKER SHORTBREAD
1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
14 graham crackers
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
PASSION FRUIT MARSHMALLOW
1 extra-large egg white, at room temperature
4 sheets gelatin
1 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
⅓ cup passion fruit puree
½ teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces Valrhona Dulcey or Caramelized White Chocolate, melted
Step #1: Make the Shortbread
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and cook until the milk solids have fallen to the bottom of the pot and turned golden brown and fragrant like toasted nuts, 10 minutes or longer, depending on how cold the butter is to start. Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until the butter is solid like shortening at room temperature, approximately 30 minutes.
In a food processor, grind the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Measure out 1 ¾ cups. You may have some left over.
Transfer the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the butter on medium speed for 10 to 15 seconds to break up any solidified pieces of brown butter. Add the sugar and mix on low speed to incorporate. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until aerated, approximately 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
Crack the eggs into a small cup or bowl and add the vanilla.
In a bowl, whisk together the flours, salts, and graham cracker crumbs.
On medium speed, add the eggs and vanilla, one egg at a time, mixing the first briefly before adding the second, until the batter resembles cottage cheese, approximately 5 seconds for each egg. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together. Mix on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds to make nearly homogeneous.
Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 1 minute. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the dough completely together by hand.
Stretch two sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a piece of the plastic wrap. Pat each half into a rectangle, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until chilled throughout, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Let the dough halves sit at room temperature until the dough has warmed up some but is still cool to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
Put a sheet of parchment paper the same dimensions as a half sheet (13 by 18-inch) pan on the work surface and dust lightly with flour. Put one dough half on top.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough half into a rectangle approximately 11 by 13 inches and ¼ inch thick or slightly under. If the edges become uneven, push a bench scraper against the dough to straighten out the sides. To keep the dough from sticking to the parchment paper, dust the top with flour, cover with another piece of parchment paper, and, sandwiching the dough between both sheets of parchment paper, flip the dough and paper over. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and continue to roll.
Ease the dough and parchment paper onto a half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining dough half and stack it on top. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and refrigerate the layers until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a couple of half sheet pans with parchment paper.
Let the dough sit at room temperature for up to 10 minutes. Invert the dough onto a work surface and peel off the top sheet of parchment paper. Roll a dough docker over the dough or pierce it numerous times with a fork. Using a 2-inch round cutter, punch out the cookies. Reroll the dough trimmings, chill, and cut out more cookies.
Put the shortbread on the prepared sheet pans, evenly spacing up to 16 cookies per pan.
Bake one pan at a time for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the cookies feel firm and hold their shape when touched, 2 to 4 minutes more. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet pans. Repeat with the remaining pan. Make pairs of similar-size cookies. Turn half of the cookies over.
Step #2: Make the Filling
To Make the Marshmallow:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg white on high speed until it becomes overwhipped and starts to turn grainy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a 2-cup liquid measuring cup with ice water and add the gelatin.
While still beating the egg white, fit a small pot with a candy thermometer. Add the sugar, corn syrup, passion fruit puree, and enough water to cover. Heat the pot over medium-high heat until the sugar syrup reaches 238°F, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of water added. When the sugar reaches 238°F remove the pot from the heat. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatin with your hands and stir the gelatin into the syrup.
With the mixer on medium speed, pour the syrup in an even stream into the egg white. Whip in the salt. Continue to whip until the egg white has cooled to warm but is still fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Fit a pastry bag with the Ateco tip #804 and fill with the marshmallow.
Holding the pastry bag at a 90-degree angle in the center of each overturned cookie, pipe a “bubble” of marshmallow, leaving a border on the sides. Top each filled cookie with a second cookie and press lightly to adhere.
Put the cookies on a parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerate until the marshmallows have set, approximately 1 hour. The cookies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Step #3: Finish the Cookies
Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Dip the top of each sandwich cookie into the Dulcey chocolate, shake off the excess, and place face up on the prepared pans. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.
The cookies can be served right away or frozen and served within 1 week.