Happy almost 4th of July!
We normally spend the 4th (and the GS’ birthday on the 6th) in Rhode Island with his family, but this year we have a wedding up in Syracuse so we’ll be in NY. Luckily my SIL is getting married in RI in just a few weeks so we’ll get our New England fix celebrating them!
Growing up we always spent the 4th out at camp. My sisters and my three cousins and I used to spend the entire day chanting (okay, screaming) “THE FIRE! THE FIRE! THE FIREWORKS ARE HERE!”
Looking back on this as an adult I’m convinced the only way our parents survived our behavior was a lot of day drinking.
We would anxiously wait for it to get dark, build a bonfire, make lots of s’mores, and sit on the dock intensely judging each firework on a 1-10 scale.
So when I mentioned before I wanted to do a dessert on the grill, this one seemed perfect for an Independence Day treat. True to form I made this 1000 times more high maintenance than it needs to be, so I’ll share what I did along with several shortcuts.
Skillet S’Mores Pie
for the graham cracker crust:
6 graham crackers
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
for the brownie layer:
5 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Nutella
3/4 cup all purpose flour
for the marshmallows:
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
for the ice cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
The ice cream takes the longest so I did that first. This is also shortcut number one- just buy a gallon of ice cream at the grocery store.
The marshmallows are next. Again, go for a bag of Jet Puff or even (gasp!) store brand. This was my first time making marshmallows and it was incredibly easy but also unnecessary. In a small bowl, stir the gelatin into 4 tablespoons of cold water and let it sit. In a small saucepan, heat the 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of cold water and the sugar over medium heat until the sugar is melted. Add the gelatin and whisk to combine, heating until just boiling. Pour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add the vanilla. Beat with a whisk attachment on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until thick and white and shiny. Pour in a small baking dish prepped with cooking spray and powdered sugar. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
In a food processor, blend the graham crackers and brown sugar. Add the melted butter and pulse until it comes together like wet sand. Press in the base of your cast iron skillet. Mine is 8″ in diameter, for reference.
Next comes the brownie layer. I’ve used this recipe for brownies before and it’s definitely the best homemade brownie I’ve ever made (I omit the chocolate chips and the extra swirl of Nutella). A boxed brownie would be 100% fine here. Just note that either way you’ll probably only use about half the batter. Spread it over the graham cracker crust.
Once your marshmallows have firmed up a bit and you’re ready to grill, cut them into small squares and arrange on top.
Heat up the grill. I was grilling turkey burgers and onions anyway! Pop it on there for about 15-20 minutes. It will get very melty and probably start boiling a little. I slid my skillet onto a baking sheet to get it inside. Even the most intense oven mitts shouldn’t be used to pull the skillet off the grill and carry it for any distance because it will be HOT. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes.
*Note: I made this for a second time and put it on the main rack rather than the upper level and it burned. So put it on top or, if you don’t have a second rack, just turn the heat down!
Personally I think the best way to attack this would be to scoop some vanilla ice cream on top and go at it with some spoons with people you really like. But in an attempt to be somewhat civilized and get nice photos, I did cut it into “slices” and plate it.
I bragged to the GS for a full 20 minutes after we ate this about how it’s probably the best dessert I’ve ever made and how if he ate it at a restaurant he would be saying it was the best dessert he ever ate. He agreed.
With store bought ice cream, brownie mix, and marshmallows the entire thing could come together in under 10 minutes and I’m sure it would still be great. And more importantly, festive.
Have a happy and marshmallow-y 4th!