Cooking

S'more than a Feeling

This s'mores ice cream cake combines the best of all worlds
How to Make a S'mores Ice Cream Cake
Photos: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

We're big fans of classic desserts that bring us all the nostalgic feelings here at Tasting Table. (If you haven't tried our Creamsicle®-inspired ice box cake or Samoas®-inspired Bundt, you're in for a real, ahem, treat.) With summer in full force, one old-school favorite is front and center in our minds: s'mores, of course. So we've come up with an homage to this campfire classic and combined it with another childhood staple. Behold our dreamy s'mores ice cream cake (see the recipe).   

First, we mix homemade crushed graham crackers with chopped-up Hershey's® bars and press that mixture between layers of chocolate and vanilla ice creams. Then, we cover the whole thing in freshly made marshmallow and torch it for a frozen dessert that's literally on fire.

We aren't the first ones to freeze s'mores, of course. Four years ago, Cronut king Dominique Ansel changed the game when he introduced frozen s'mores served up on a tree branch at his bakery. "I didn’t grow up eating s’mores when I was a kid in France, and I didn’t learn what [they were] until after I came here to the U.S.," Ansel says. "It caught my eye, how the marshmallow gets toasted in a campfire, how the branch is both a tool for cooking and for eating."

Luckily for all of us, Ansel isn't the only chef creating restaurant-worthy tributes to this classic.

"The aroma and yum of s'mores feels like childhood in the best way possible," Emily Hyland of pizza empire Emily Pizza and Emmy Squared tells us when talking about the s'mores calzone chef Matt Hyland dishes at Brooklyn's Emily Pizza.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, you'll find us in the garden at Olmsted, where chef Greg Baxtrom offers s'mores fit with fresh marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey's chocolate (the only option in our opinion). "S'mores just really remind me of our camping outings that I loved so much growing up," Baxtrom, who still makes them around the campfire with his family, says.

Baxtrom knows that fresh marshmallows take the dessert to the next level, so he has a few tricks for making them at home:

① Try using a mixture of vanilla extract and fresh vanilla bean. The extract gives the classic flavor you expect, while the seeds from the vanilla bean add an elevated punch of flavor and beautiful speckled appearance.

② When you are whipping your marshmallow to cool it down, add a teaspoon of cold water to help make a softer, more pillowy marshmallow.

While our fresh marshmallow is perfect for this ice cream cake, if you want to make ones that are better for skewering and cooking over open flames, store the marshmallows for two days before using them. This way they get just slightly stale and turn firm enough to work with.

③ Once you've mastered homemade marshmallow, the final step in this recipe is torching the finished cake—to your preferred doneness, of course. Whether you like your marshmallow burnt to a crisp or golden brown, investing in a small blowtorch is the key to getting that beautifully toasted topping.

Though, that's not the only way to get some color. Justin Bazdarich, chef of Speedy Romeo in NYC, has been taking over our Instagram feeds with his s'mores dessert finished with a hot metal plate branding the fresh marshmallow. With the intention of adding smoke to the dish, it's the final touch to lend the taste of a campfire to any indoor dessert.

So take on this jumbo dessert project for your next get-together. There's just s'more to love.

  • Mix the crushed graham crackers with finely chopped chocolate bars.

  • Add butter to allow the mixture to set in the freezer.

  • Stir until well combined.

  • In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish lined with plastic wrap, spread the vanilla ice cream in an even layer.

  • Top with half of the graham cracker mixture.

  • Press the graham crackers into an even layer, then freeze for an hour.

  • Spread the chocolate ice cream over the graham crackers.

  • Top with the remaining graham cracker mixture.

  • Press in firmly so the cake is packed tightly, then freeze for another hour.

  • Once the cake is frozen solid, make your marshmallow; be sure the marshmallow is cool to the touch.

  • Loosen the sides of the cake with an offset spatula, then place your platter on top of the dish.

  • Invert the dish releasing the cake onto the platter.

  • Remove the plastic and scoop the marshmallow on top.

  • Start with spreading an even layer of marshmallow to cover the cake.

  • Spread the marshmallow over the sides to completely cover.

  • Using an offset spatula, make a series of swirls before freezing and torching.

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