Pastry chef Mindy Segal has made a successful career out of tinkering with, and improving, classic desserts. At her Chicago restaurant HotChocolate (and in her book, Cookie Love, from Ten Speed Press), she rejiggers icons like pineapple upside-down cake and baked Alaska with thoughtful, contemporary updates. So we gave her a challenge: Take the s'more, that beloved summer bonfire dessert assembled from store-bought components, and make it even better. Here's her fantastic homemade version.
For the Marshmallows
- Unsalted butter, for greasing
- 8 sheets gelatin
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup bourbon
- 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
For the Toffee-Almond Chocolate Squares and Serving
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. light corn syrup
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 10 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 3⁄4 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
- Graham Shortbreads
Make the marshmallows: Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper; grease parchment and set aside. Place gelatin in 4 cups cold water until soft, 5 minutes. Using an electric hand mixer, beat salt and egg whites until stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, heat sugar, bourbon, corn syrup, and vanilla in a 4-qt. saucepan until a candy thermometer reaches 245°, 5–7 minutes. Squeeze water from gelatin and stir into syrup until dissolved; slowly stream syrup down side of bowl into egg whites while beating, avoiding the whisk. Continue beating egg whites on high speed until glossy and cool to the touch, about 5 minutes. Spread marshmallow into prepared baking dish in an even layer and refrigerate 2 hours. Dust work surface with confectioners' sugar and unmold marshmallow; cut into 2-inch cubes and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Make the chocolate squares: Line 2 baking sheets with foil and grease; set aside. Heat butter, sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla, and 1 tbsp. water in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium. Cook, without stirring, until it turns dark gold, 10–12 minutes; pour onto prepared baking sheet and cool. Break toffee into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Melt chocolates in a saucepan over medium; add reserved toffee pieces and almonds and stir to combine. Spread into an even layer on prepared baking sheet; cool slightly, then score into 2-inch squares. Cool completely, then break into squares.
Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill; skewer marshmallows with sticks and heat over the flame, rotating as needed, until golden and charred, 2–3 minutes. Place one marshmallow on a Graham Shortbreads with a chocolate square; top with another shortbread and eat immediately.
Correction: An earlier version of this recipe omitted the sugar in the ingredients list. The recipe has been amended to correct the error.