How to turn campfire favorite s’mores into an ice cream cake
photo by: Joe Keller/America's Test Kitchen via AP
The combination of chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows is irresistible. We wanted to take each element of s’mores and reimagine this beloved campfire snack as a magnificent ice cream cake.
Combining warm, gooey s’mores with ice cream may sound like a mess, but we found a way to add the heat without causing a meltdown. The base of our cake was simple: just a graham cracker crust covered with fudge. The fudge layer provided plenty of chocolate flavor, gave the cake a sundae-like quality, and kept the crust from becoming soggy under the remaining layers.
Between the fudge-covered crust and a generous filling of chocolate ice cream, we spread a layer of sweet marshmallow creme_but it wouldn’t be s’mores without toasted marshmallows, too. We halved large marshmallows so they’d lie flat and covered the top of our cake with them.
After freezing the cake until it was very firm, it took just a quick run under a hot broiler to toast the marshmallows without melting the cake. A ring of graham crackers around the outside provided the finishing touch to this playful dessert.
S’MORES ICE CREAM CAKE
Start to finish: 2 hours
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces, plus 8 quartered along dotted seams
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
3 pints chocolate ice cream
26 large marshmallows, halved crosswise
Combine chocolate, cream, and corn syrup in bowl and microwave at 50 percent power until melted and smooth, about 1 minute, stirring halfway through microwaving. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray and line perimeter with 2 1/2-inch-wide strip of parchment paper. Pulse crackers in food processor until finely ground, about 15 pulses. Combine cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in bowl until mixture resembles wet sand. Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into pan bottom. Using bottom of measuring cup, firmly pack crust into pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Let crust cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 30 minutes.
Pour chocolate mixture over crust and smooth into even layer; freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread marshmallow crème over chocolate mixture in even layer; freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Scoop ice cream into large bowl and, using large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, break up the scoops of ice cream. Stir and fold ice cream to achieve smooth consistency. Spread softened ice cream evenly over marshmallow creme layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ice cream is very firm, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place cake on rimmed baking sheet, discarding plastic, and arrange marshmallow halves, cut sides down, in snug layer over top. Broil until marshmallows are lightly browned, 30 to 60 seconds, rotating sheet halfway through broiling. (Refreeze cake if necessary.) Working quickly, remove sides of pan, discarding parchment, and slide thin metal spatula between cake bottom and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto platter. Arrange cracker pieces vertically along sides of cake. Serve immediately.