Sweet Summer Inspirations

Despite my fervent love for all things sweet, sugary and/or laced with chocolate, my end-all-be-all confection of choice is marshmallows. Not those fancy-pants handmade ones that you can find in posh markets or specialty food stores, rather the marshmallows in the plastic pouches that are usually 'puffed by jets' and found in any convenience store worth its salt. Naturally then I have been a big fan of s'mores ever since this adoration of marshmallows began.

And when racking my brain for summer desserts to cookie-fy, s'mores were a seemingly easy option.

There are hundreds of recipes for reconfigured s'mores as cookies, pies, cakes & bars but I selected one from Gourmet's archives because I have always loved their work and because, well, it sounded simple and smart: take great quality chocolate, pair it with the aforementioned, consistently delicious marshmallows & then place them on top of fresh, buttery graham crackers with a hint of salt. How could this not be good?

Having eaten some (read: half) of this recipe's yield, the only edit I would make is to use a dark chocolate as it's a bit less sweet than milk and some bitter notes would contrast nicely with the other flavors. Additionally, the recipe called for mini marshmallows but I used quartered large ones instead for a more rustic look and because I genuinely feel that the marshmallows' flavor differs with the size.

Once all the ingredients are prepped it simply becomes a layering game: spread the graham mixture (baked), top with chocolate (melted) & the marshmallows.  Broil everything for about 30 seconds and then cool completely (if you have that kind of discipline. I did not).

I decided I would continue on the cookie train and walked around the Ferry Building Farmer's Market for inspiration.  Having grown up [proudly] in New Jersey, I realized our state's summer staple, corn, could be a wonderful complement to other seasonal flavors. Some quick research later, the trusty Martha Stewart collection turned up a great option: cornmeal thumbprints.  These cookies were so fast and easy to whip up that I know I'll be making them frequently.

A quick dough comes together beautifully and fragrant with freshly grated lemon. Then the only time consuming part of the preparation is portioning the dough to shape into balls that you roll in sugar before creating an indentation your thumb and baking. Within minutes you have freshly baked thumbprints awaiting something to fill the cute dimples.

While the cookies cooled, I searched for that something that would balance out the flavors.  I decided that the mixed berry jam that I made last year (yay for preserves!) would be the perfect sweet and tart foil to the cookies' rich batter.

How did they come out? Every single cookie was consumed within 24 hours. So, there's that.