Labor Day is around the corner and the kids are going back to school (although in some areas they have already started). Here in the Northeast, as summer, or what we had of it, gears down, families are taking their last camping trips. We used to do a lot of camping and there was nothing like sitting around the roaring campfire, relaxing, and making S'mores. I had my first S'more as a Girl Scout...way too many years ago to count! I am amazed how the popularity of this wonderfully warm, melt-y, chocolate-y, gooey treat has managed to stick around and become even more popular. There are specially sized graham crackers now, grocery stores have whole displays packed with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars that act as the siren of sweetness.... drawing us in to buy some....make some....go ahead take a bite....mmmm...melted chocolate dripping down your arm...gooey marshmallows sticking to your lips. There is even S'mores cereal for those who are so inclined to like this sort of thing! Well, my camping days are over, and I don't buy the sugary cereals. But I found an interesting recipe in the Sept 25, 2009 issue of All You, that will satisfy those, including myself, who still love S'mores, want to make them at home, but really don't want to go through the trouble of melting marshmallows over a gas jet on the stove (hmmmm...interesting...fire extinguisher handy?). This can be a great weeknight dessert or a special after-school treat. And, this particular recipe has you making your own chocolate pudding and adding graham crackers and marshmallows. Well, what can be better? But in the interest of time, grab the box of My-T-Fine or Jello-O cooked pudding mix and, yes, make your own!!!. Plus you can shave a ton of calories out of this by using sugar free pudding mix, 2 % milk and low-fat graham crackers. I am posting the original recipe, but I plan on using the shortcuts and the healthier version. I know my family, especially the grandkids will love this!
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 whole graham crackers, broken into small pieces
30 miniature marshmallows
In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks until blended and smooth.
Pour remaining milk into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisking vigorously and constantly, pour about 2 cups hot milk into sugar mixture until blended. Pour mixture back into saucepan with remaining milk, whisking well.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and 1/2 chocolate. Stir until chocolate has melted.
Divide pudding among 1-cup ramekins or custard cups.
Place remaining chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for about 30 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until melted.
Place graham crackers in a ziplock bag; seal bag. Use a rolling pin to break up the graham crackers into small pieces.
Sprinkle top of each pudding with graham crackers and 5 miniature marshmallows. Drizzle with melted chocolate and serve warm.
This serves 6, so if you want to have the same amount, only using the boxed cooked pudding, use 2 boxes.