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RECIPE: Chocolate Pecan Pie

August 20th is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day (July 12th is Pecan Pie Day).

Our question: Why eat heavy pecan pie during the summer—not to mention add rich chocolate to it—when there are so many seasonal, ephemeral berries and stone fruits to turn into pies?

Our tip: Keep this recipe from Melissa Clark of The New York Times for the fall, when a hearty, dense pie is just the thing to stick to the ribs.

Don’t be tempted to substitute milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips. Pecan pie is sweet enough.

The bittersweet chocolate specified here is just the thing: intense chocolate flavor without a lot of added sugar.

Two tablespoons of bourbon add just a hint of flavor. Try it; and if you want to add more next time—or some praline liqueur—go for it.

Ms. Clark’s pie has a conventional pie crust. You can also use a chocolate wafer crumb crust.

Pecan pie is traditionally garnished with whipped cream. Given the sweetness of the pie, a dollop of of unsweetened whipped cream, crème fraîche or sour cream is just right.

Don’t like to bake? The easy way out is this excellent chocolate pecan pie filling from San Saba Pecan, spooned into a store-bought crust.
 
 
RECIPE: MELISSA CLARK’S CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE (Photo #1)

For The Crust

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (150 grams), plus more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (preferably high-fat European style), chilled and cubed
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1½ cups pecan halves (170 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (56 grams)
  • ¾ cup dark corn syrup
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (5 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist but not wet.

    2. GATHER the dough into a ball on a lightly floured surface, and flatten it into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

    3. REMOVE the plastic wrap and roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle, on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then the crimp edges. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Chill the crust for 30 minutes. While the dough chills…

       

    Chocolate Pecan Pie
    [1] Celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day with this yummy recipe (photo Andrew Scrivani | The New York Times).

    Pecans In Shell
    [2] The Spanish explorers who encountered pecans called them “wrinkle nuts” (photo courtesy Home Depot).

    Pecan Tree

    [3] A pecan tree. If you live in warmer zones (6 through 9), you can grow your own (photo courtesy Perfect Plants Nursery). You can also grow the trees in zone 5, but they won’t bear nuts.

     
    4. HEAT the oven to 375°F. Line the chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 25 minutes; then remove the foil and bake until it’s a very pale golden color, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

    5. REDUCE the oven temperature to 350°F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Cool.

    6. MAKE the filling: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Cool.

    7. WHISK together in a large bowl the cooled chocolate-butter mixture, corn syrup, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, bourbon and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Arrange pecans over the filling.

    8. TRANSFER to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until the filling is just set when the pan is jiggled, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

     

    Chocolate Pecan Pie
    [4] Another way to make chocolate pecan pie: Drizzle chocolate on top, as in this recipe from Julia’s Treats And Eats.

    Pecan Pie

    [5] Hold the chocolate if you want a standard pecan pie (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    PECAN PIE HISTORY

    It seems difficult to believe give the long history of pecan trees in the Colonial South*; but the pecan pie recipe we know, pecans on a brown sugar base, is a 20th century invention. No recipes have been found dating to earlier than 1925.

    According to FoodTimeline.com, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking did not include pecan pie recipes before 1940.

    While some sources claim that early French settlers in New Orleans invented pecan pie after encountering the nuts (which they called pacane, after the Native American paka·n), food historians have not been able to trace the dish’s origin prior to 1925.

    That doesn’t mean pecan pie didn’t exist, only that there is no record to prove it. Popular national cookbooks such as The Joy of Cooking and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook did not include the recipe prior to 1940.

    Yes, there were pies made with pecans; they just weren’t pecan pies as we know them or called “pecan pie.” References dating to 1886 and 1914 added the nuts to a milk-based custard.

    Then came a breakthrough on the road to modern pecan pie. In 1913, Mrs. Vesta Harrison of Fort Worth, then an unmarried teenager taking a cooking course, won a national competition with her Texas Pecan Pie, made with a filling of sorghum.

    She said the recipe for this pecan pie came to her in a dream. When she told the teacher at her cooking school, a Mrs. Chitwood of Chicago, that she was going to make a pecan pie, the teacher exclaimed “There is no such thing!”

    The future Mrs. Harrison, interviewed later in life, said she responded, “By gollies, I don’t know how, but I’m going to mess up something making a pecan pie.”

    Mrs. Chitwood sent the recipe to the contest in Washington, where it won first prize. So even if there already was a syrup-based pecan pie somewhere in the U.S., it was unknown in Texas, Chicago or Washington [source].

    Following the introduction of the sorghum-based pecan pie, versions were made with molasses.

    Enter Karo Syrup & The Modern Pecan Pie

    The modern pecan pie was born with the introduction of Karo Syrup, in 1902.

    One of the earliest recipes to substitute the sorghum or molasses with Karo corn syrup was by Mrs. Frank Herring, published in the Sallislaw, Oklahoma Democrat American on February 19, 1931:

     
    3 eggs, 1 cup Karo (blue label), 4 tablespoons corn meal, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or less if desired, pastry. Method: Beat whole eggs slightly, add Karo, corn meal, sugar and melted butter, then stir all thoroughly. Line pie tin with flaky pastry and fill generously with mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top, bake in moderate oven until well set when slightly shaken [source].

    Printed on the bottle label, the makers of Karo Syrup popularized the recipe that many people use today. It has similar ingredients to Mrs. Herring’s recipe, minus the corn meal and adding vanilla extract. It doubles the amount of Karo syrup and sugar and triples the pecans. Here’s the recipe.

    The Karo website says that the recipe was created in the 1930s by the wife of a senior sales executive. When the pie appeared on the bottle label and in magazines, it was known as Karo Pecan Pie.

    This unnamed executive wife may well have seen, and adapted, Mrs. Herring’s 1931 recipe. The rest is sweet history; although as soon as we have time, we’re going back to make the Karo pie using the smaller amounts of sugars in the Herring recipe. When a scoop of vanilla ice cream is needed to cut the sweetness of a pie, you know it’s too sweet.

    The History Of The Pecan Tree

    The pecan, Carya illinoinensis (photo #3), is a member of the Juglandaceae family, known as the walnut family of trees. The trees are native to the Americas, Eurasia and Southeast Asia.

    The family also includes the hickory, about 16 species of which are native to the Americas.

    Pecans are native to America. The tree originated in central and eastern North America and in the river valleys of Mexico*.

    The name “pecan” is a word of Algonquin origin that describes “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

    Long before Europeans arrived, pecans were widely consumed and traded by Native Americans. Nuts were an excellent food product for a pre-agricultural society, easy to harvesst and store (and an excellent source of protein and other nutrients).

    The first Europeans to come into contact with pecans were 16th-century Spanish explorers in what is now Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. They called the pecan, nuez de la arruga, which means “wrinkle nut,” due to the deep lines resembling wrinkles in the nutmeats (photo #2). The explorers brought the pecan to Europe, Asia, and Africa beginning in the 16th century.

    Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees, Carya illinoinensis (“Illinois nuts”) in his nut orchard at Monticello, in Virginia. George Washington wrote in his journal that Jefferson gave him “Illinois nuts” to grow at Mount Vernon.
    ________________

    *Currently, the largest pecan-producing states are, in order of tonnage: Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Pecans are grown coast to coast along the southern tier of the United States. The largest pecan orchard is Stahmann Farms in New Mexico.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Glam Your Homemade Lemonade

    August 20th is National Lemonade Day (National Watermelon Day is August 3rd). If the only lemonade you drink comes from a bottle, you’ve never experienced real lemonade

    (We give a waiver to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a line of carbonated, flavored malt liquor drinks in a dozen or so flavors. It’s not lemonade per se, but we’re fans.)

    Bottled lemonade drinks are not only pasteurized, which kills the fresh flavor; but typically use reconstituted lemon juice, which, of course, totally kills off the bright lemon flavor of fresh-squeezed juice.

    Lemonade “made from concentrate” and sold in cartons like orange juice is the far better choice, as are cans of frozen lemonade concentrate.

    But the best choice of all is to squeeze fresh lemons. It takes just five minutes to make a single glass, and you can adjust the sweetening to your own taste.

    While plain fresh-squeezed lemonade is wonderful in of itself, it’s even more wonderful when you add a bit of glamour.
     
     
    FOR A LEMONADE PARTY BAR

    We leave our pitchers of lemonade unsweetened to accommodate every preference.

    For a party, set up a bar where guests can add their own sweeteners—agave, honey, noncaloric sweetener, superfine sugar or simple syrup.

    You can buy or easily make the latter two, which, unlike table sugar, dissolve easily in cold drinks.

  • Make superfine sugar by pulsing table sugar in a food processor or blender.
  • Make simple syrup by heating sugar in water until it dissolves (recipe).
  • For adults, bottles of gin, tequila or vodka expand the options.
  • Provide some of the flavors and garnishes that follow.
  •  
     
    LEMONADE RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

    1. Make Fancy Ice

  • Freeze lemonade into ice cubes: Melting lemonade “ice” won’t dilute the drink.
  • Add a garnish to each ice cube compartment: a piece of citrus peel, a mint leaf, a cherry (dried, fresh or maraschino).
  • Crack the ice cubes into smaller pieces with an ice crusher. Some people own ice crushers or blenders that crush ice; we use a manual tool like this.
     
    Hold the ice cube in your hand and hit it with the crusher end. (NOTE: Smaller pieces of ice melt faster than whole cubes, so if your lemonade is at room temperature, you’ll want to keep the ice cubes whole.)
  •  
    2. Other “Formats”

  • Float: Add scoops of sorbet to a tall glass of watermelon lemonade. We couldn’t find watermelon sorbet, so we tried lemon, orange and raspberry. They all work.
  • Slushie: The same ingredients as a float plus ice cubes/cracked ice, lightly pulsed in a blender.
  • Fruit Soup: For a refreshing dessert or snack, dice or slice any fresh fruits and place them in a mound in the center of a soup bowl. Pour the lemonade (plain or flavored)around the fruit. Garnish with optional chopped mint or basil.
  •  
    3. Flavored Lemonade

    You can flavor the lemonade or set out a “flavor bar” so guests can add their own:

  • Fruit Juice: blueberry juice, cherry juice, lime juice, pomegranate juice.
  • Fruit Purée: berry purée, mango purée, peach purée.
  • Flavored sweeteners: Infuse simple syrup with fruit juice (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry), sliced chiles. ginger, organic lavender, etc.
  • Flavored spirits: Spirits: flavored rum, Limoncello or other fruit liqueur, saké, tequila, vodka.
  •  
    4. Sweeteners

  • For a zero-calorie drink, use non-caloric sweetener.
  • For a low-glycemic drink, use agave nectar.
  • Varying the garnishes makes the recipe “new” each time.
  •  
    5. Garnishes

  • Berry picks
  • Fresh herbs: basil, mint, rosemary, e.g.
  • Wheels or wedges: cucumber, lemon, lime, orange
  •  
    6. One Glass Or One Pitcher

  • If you don’t want to squeeze lemons every time you feel like lemonade, you can do a “bulk squeeze” and freeze the lemon juice in ice cube trays.
  • Or, do what our busy mom did and stir a heaping spoon of frozen lemonade concentrate into ice water.
  • Here’s what you need for a 64-ounce pitcher.
  •  
     
    RECIPES: FLAVORED & SPECIALTY LEMONADE

  • Frozen Lemonade Recipe
  • Lavender Lemonade Recipe
  • Peach Lemonade Recipe
  • Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie Recipe
  • Red, White & Blueberry Lemonade Recipe
  • Sparkling Melon Lemonade
  • Spicy Lemonade Recipe
  • Strawberry Basil Lemonade Recipe
  • Watermelon Mint Lemonade Recipe
  •  
    ADULT LEMONADE RECIPES

  • Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe
  • Fizzy Sambuca Lemonade Recipe
  • Lemonade 485 Cocktail Recipe
  • Limoncello Lemonade Recipe
  • London Lemonade (Gin Cocktail)
  • Saké Lemonade Recipe
  • Tequila Lemonade Recipe
  •  

    Cucumber Lemonade
    [1] Add your favorite flavor counterpoints, from berries to cucumber. Muddle as desired (photo courtesy True Food Kitchen | Facebook).

    Jalapeno Lemonade
    [2] Some like it hot: They can add some jalapeño slices or other hot and spicy ingredients (photo courtesy Melissa’s).

    Lemonade With Zest Rim
    [3] Add a tart-and-sweet rim: lemon or lime zest, plain or mixed with sugar (photo courtesy Saint Marc Pub-Café).

    Rosemary Lemonade
    [4] Garnish with your favorite herbs. We like the counterpoint of basil, mint or rosemary (photo courtesy Fig & Olive).

    Strawberry Lemonade
    [5] Toss berries and herbs into the pitcher (photo courtesy Cocina De Color Lila).

    Blackberry Lemonade

    [6] Summer’s fresh blackberries or huckleberries are another great lemonade pairing (photo courtesy Izakaya Den | Denver).

     

    Watermelon Lemon Cockatil

    [7] Citron vodka substitutes for most of the lemon juice—but we’re not complaining (photo courtesy Haru Sushi).

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON LEMONADE COCKTAIL

    This recipe from Haru uses more citron vodka than lemon juice, but the combination of ingredients is a winner.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 5 fresh watermelon cubes
  • 1½ oz. citron-infused vodka
  • ½ ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (also great in sparkling wines)
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce thyme-infused simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: thyme and lemon peel
  •  
    For The Thyme Simple Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the thyme simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the thyme sprigs. Let steep for 10 minutes; then cool to room temperature before using.

    2. MUDDLE the watermelon cubes in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients ice and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.

    e. POUR into an ice-filled glass. Garnish and serve.

      

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    RECIPE: A Classic & Variations For National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

    August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, celebrating one of America’s favorite pies.

    That are the top 10 pies in America, based on consumption? No one has done that survey.

    Mrs. Smith’s released a survey of their top 10 based on sales, but it only included frozen pies in the flavors made by Mrs. Smith.

    One thing we do know: Look at every list of the top pies in the country and you’ll find these nine (in alphabetical order):

    1. Apple Pie
    2. Banana Cream Pie
    3. Blueberry Pie
    4. CherryPie
    5. Coconut Cream Pie
    6. Key Lime Pie
    7. Lemon Meringue Pie
    8. Pecan Pie
    9. Pumpkin Pie
     
    What’s the 10th favorite? Depending on how the list was compiled, here are some from Top Ten Pies:

  • Chocolate Mousse/Silk Pie
  • Oreo Pie
  • Peach Pie
  • Peanut Butter/Snickers
  • Raspberry Pie
  • Strawberry Pie
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  •  
    Some flavors are seasonal (including berry and stone fruit pies). Peppermint pies come out during the holiday season.

    Some of our favorites, such as Black Bottom Pie, Grasshopper Pie and Tarte Tatin (a French upside-down pie with caramelized apples) aren’t even on the Top 20 list of sweet pies.
     
    TRIVIA: Banana Cream Pie is a layer cake, and cheesecake is a custard pie. Check out the different types of pie.

    THE HISTORY OF LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Lemon-flavored custards, puddings and pies date to Middle Ages, which concluded in the 15th Century. But meringue was not perfected until the 17th century.

    The modern lemon meringue pie is a 19th-century recipe, attributed to Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandy, the French-speaking part(s) of Switzerland.

    It combines a lemon custard single crust pie with meringue, the fluffy topping made from egg whites and sugar, baked on top. Here’s the classic lemon meringue pie recipe.

    August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, celebrating one of America’s favorite pies.

    THE HISTORY OF LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Lemon-flavored custards, puddings and pies date to Middle Ages, which concluded in the 15th century, bowing to the Renaissance. But meringue was not perfected until the 17th century.

    The modern lemon meringue pie is a 19th-century recipe, attributed to Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandy, the French-speaking part(s) of Switzerland.

    It combines a lemon custard single crust pie with meringue, the fluffy topping made from egg whites and sugar, baked on top. Here’s the classic lemon meringue pie recipe from McCormick

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 basic 9-inch pie crust*, baked and cooled
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 5 egg yolks, well beaten (save the whites for the meringue)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  •    

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    [1] One of America’s favorite pies. The classic recipe below is from the American Egg Board, IncredibleEgg.org.

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    [2] Browning in the oven can create an even color, which professional bakers often prefer for its perfect, even look (photo courtesy McCormick).

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    [3] You can brown the meringue as much or as little as you like (photo courtesy My Most Favorite Food).

    Lemon Meringue Pie

    [4] This meringue, from Centerville Pie Company, goes for a shade of mocha.

     

    For The Meringue

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Optional Garnishes

  • Lemon peel curls/twists
  • Fresh mint, whole leaves or julienne
  • ________________

    *Take a look at this Egg & Lemon Juice Pie Crust from IncredibleEgg.org.

     

    Meyer Lemons
    [5] Mini-tip: Before you juice lemons for a recipe, zest them and save the zest in the freezer. Use it to perk up everyday foods like salad dressings, juices, soft drinks, hot and cold tea (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Pete And Gerry's Organic Eggs

    [6] Do organic eggs taste better? Frankly, yes; although freshness also enters the equation (photo courtesy BJs).

     

    Preparation.

    1. PLACE the oven rack in the top third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare the filling: Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in large, heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in the water and lemon juice until smooth. Add the egg yolks; stir until blended, and add the butter.

    2. COOK over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon peel.

    3. IMMEDIATELY MAKE the meringue. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water in one-cup glass measure. Microwave on High 30 seconds; stir. Microwave until the mixture boils, 15 to 30 seconds more. Remove and cover.

    4. BEAT the egg whites and cream of tartar in mixer bowl with the whisk attachment on high speed, until foamy. Beating constantly, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the sugar is dissolved before adding the next.

    5. CONTINUE beating until the whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Beating constantly, add the cornstarch paste, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat in the vanilla.

    6. POUR the hot filling into the pie crust. Quickly spread the meringue evenly over filling, starting at the edge of the crust. The meringue should overlap rim of the crust. Swirl with the back of a spoon to provide waves.

    7. BAKE in the upper third of a 325°F oven until the meringue is lightly browned, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes to 1 hour; then refrigerate until serving. Garnish as desired.
     
     
    TIPS

  • Serve freshly made pie at room temperature, or refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to serve. Let the pie warm up on the counter.
  • For neat slices, dip knife into glass of water, letting excess water drip off, before each cut. This prevents the meringue from sticking to knife and tearing it. Be sure to cut completely through the crust.
  • A hot filling is important. The heat of the filling cooks the bottom of the meringue and prevents it from weeping and creating a slippery layer between filling and topping. Set up your equipment and measure meringue ingredients before you make the filling and work quickly to make meringue before filling cools.
  • To check if the sugar is dissolved, rub a bit of meringue between your thumb and forefinger. If the sugar is dissolved, it will feel completely smooth. If it feels grainy, continue beating.
  • To check for soft peaks, stop the mixer and lift the beater. The peaks left in the meringue should curl at the tips. If the peaks stand straight and tall (stiff peaks), the meringue has been overbeaten.
  • Anchor the meringue. Be sure to attach the meringue to the crust all around the edge of the pie. This prevents the meringue from pulling away from the edge during baking.
  • If beads form on the refrigerated meringue, gently blot them with the tip of paper towel.
  • Refrigerate any leftover pie promptly.
  •  
     
    VARIATIONS TO LEMON MERINGUE PIE

  • Crust: Try a chocolate cookie crust, coconut crust, graham crust, nut crust.
  • Filling: Add lemon zest, lime zest, orange zest or shredded coconut.
  • Topping: flavored whipped cream, plain or flavored, instead of whipped cream turns it into a lemon pie.
  • Garnish: If you have candied lemon peel, use it!
  •   

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Something For National S’mores Day

    This yummy holiday is celebrated annually on August 10th, a combination of graham crackers, toasted marshmallows and chocolate bars, a favorite campfire treat of Girl Scouts since the early 20th century.

    The popular of s’mores has had contemporary home cooks cooking up everything from s’mores ice cream, ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches and pies; to bark, brownies, chocolate bars, cookies and fudge; to s’mores cocktails.

    The high point must be the s’mores kits sold by artisan chocolatiers and marshmallow makers, including homemade graham crackers (so good, that the big brands are like cardboard in comparison—here’s a recipe to bake your own).

    The low point may be Kellogg’s Smorz and Post’s Honey Maid S’mores Cereal, which cons parents into allowing their kids to breakfast on chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker bits.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF S’MORES

    We don’t know who invented S’mores, but the Girl Scouts certainly popularized them. The first published recipe is in their 1927 handbook.

    S’mores around the campfire has been a happy tradition: a stick, a fire, two toasted marshmallows, a square of chocolate and two graham crackers get you a delicious chocolate marshmallow sandwich.

    The combined flavors of toasted marshmallow, melty chocolate and crunchy grahams is oh-so-much tastier than the individual ingredients (or, to quote Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).

    It is very possible that a Girl Scout or troop leader, sitting around the campfire toasting marshmallows, pulled out graham crackers and chocolate, brought along for snacking, and made the first sandwich.

    The name of the sandwich cookie comes from its addictive quality: You have no choice but to ask for “some more.”

    But you don’t need a campfire, or even all of the classic ingredients, to celebrate with S’mores, as you’ll see below (skillet s’mores are so easy, you won’t miss the fire).

    Don’t have a heat source to melt marshmallows? Use Fluff or other marshmallow cream.

    It may be too late to throw a s’mores party on National S’mores Day, but it will be equally welcome on Labor Day or any other day of the year.

  • Here’s the s’mores party we threw last year. It’s a feast of substitutions, the opportunity for everyone to create signature s’mores recipe (add some banana slices, use chocolate-covered grahams, peanut butter cup instead of chocolate bar, etc.).
  • Here’s a template for a s’mores party, from our 2013 party.
  •  
     
    MORE S’MORES RECIPES

    Here are some s’mores recipes with twists that we’ve published, just a smattering of the thousands of s’mores recipes out there.

    Of course, the classic graham cracker sandwich with toasted marshmallows and a piece of chocolate is perfect as is.

  • S’mores Baked Alaska
  • Cinnamon S’mores and a cappuccino cocktail
  • Creative S’mores Recipes
  • Fancy S’mores (banana split, peach, peanut brittle etc.)
  • Grilled Banana S’mores
  • Gourmet Marshmallow S’mores
  • Ice Cream S’mores
  • Skillet S’mores (S’mores Fondue)
  • S’mores With Other Types Of Cookies
  • S’mores Ice Cream Cake, Ice Cream Pie and Cupcakes
  • S’mores In A Cup Or Mason Jar
  • S’mores Cookie Bars
  • S’mores Ice Cream Cake
  • S’mores On A Stick
  • S’mores On The Grill
  • Triscuit S’mores
  •  
    For tomorrow, the actual National S’mores Day, expect more recipes!

     

    Smores Ingredients
    [1] Ingredients for classic s’mores from Dandies, delicious vegan marshmallows.

    Smores In A Jar
    [2] Smores without the mess from Chef Eric Levine.

    Brownie Smores

    [3] A pastry chef’s s’mores: homemade brownie with graham chunks and homemade marshmallows, browned with a torch (photo courtesy Distilled NY.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Create An International Version Of Your Favorite American Sandwich

    August is National Sandwich Month.

    We love sandwiches so much, we created a glossary with the different types of sandwiches.

    It is true that the Earl of Sandwich was inadvertently responsible for creating the modern English sandwich. But what we recognize as a sandwich—bread and filling—likely dates to around 9000 B.C.E., when permanent settlements were established in the Middle East.

    The hunter-gatherers began to plant and harvest grain, which was turned into the first breads: unleavened flatbreads that were baked over an open fire. They were also “edible plates,” holding roasted meat or fish on the journey from pot to mouth.

    People would eat “bread and cheese” or “bread and meat”; they just didn’t call it by a formal name. Check out the (sandwich history).

    Since the original sandwich was Middle Eastern, put a spin on your favorite sandwich today.

  • Plan A: Adapt an American sandwich. Pick any international cuisine you like, and add elements of it to an American sandwich.
     
    Examples: turkey with curried mayonnaise, curried egg salad or tuna salad, jambon de Paris and brie instead of American ham and cheese, tuna salad with feta and kalamata olives (photo #1, recipe below), etc.
  • Plan B: Have a sandwich that originated in another country. Examples: French croque monsieur or croque madame (photo #2), Greek gyros, Italian panini, Venezuelan arepa (photo #3), Vietnamese bánh mì (photo #4).
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    GREEK-INSPIRED TUNA SALAD

    This recipe (photo #1) takes the chief ingredients of the popular Greek salad (horiatiki) and adds tuna, creating “Greek tuna salad.”

    We adapted the recipe from one featured by Put On Your Cake Pants.

    Since local tomatoes are at peak now*, enjoy hefty slices on each sandwich.

    Ingredients For 2 Single-Decker Sandwiches

  • 1 can tuna (5 ounces), drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber (about 1 Persian cucumber)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped (substitute other color)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta†
  • 1 tablespoon kalamata olives, pitted and diced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oil-based salad dressing (red wine vinaigrette or bottled Italian dressing)
  • 2 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Dried oregano to taste
  • Optional seasoning: lemon zest to taste
  • Optional toppings, mix-ins or garnishes: anchovies, capers, pepperoncini, sardines
  • Bread of choice: large pita pockets, crusty loaf, multigrain
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt†
  • 1 tablespoon milk†
  • Salt or garlic salt, pepper and dill to taste†
  •  
    _________________
    *When tomatoes are not in season, substitute 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, mixed into the salad.

    †For a dairy-free sandwich, eliminate the feta and use a red wine vinaigrette dressing.
     
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the tuna, cucumber, feta, and dried dill in a bowl.

    2. MIX the dressing in a separate bowl: Greek yogurt, milk and salad dressing. Add to the tuna mixture and still until combined.

     

    Greek Tuna Salad Recipe
    [1] Greek tuna salad, a fusion of American tuna salad and Greek horiatiki (photo courtesy Put On Your Cake Pants).

    Croque Madame Sandwich
    [2] Croque madame from France: grilled jambon de Paris and gruyère cheese, dipped into beaten egg and sautéed in butter, with a fried egg on top (photo courtesy Eggs Fresh Simple).

    Pulled Pork Arepa
    [3] Pulled pork arepa (here’s the recipe from Serious Eats).

    Banh Mi Sandwich

    [4] Banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich inspired by French baguettes (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

      

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