You may recall from my last post that I was working on an idea for a peach pudding. The test run of the recipe I created didn’t turn out as I had hoped it would, so I tabled the idea for another time.
The next week I headed off to the beach for a vacation with my family, and I guess the idea of creating a pudding recipe was still floating around somewhere in my brain. I have often said that inspiration can come when you least expect it, and that is exactly what happened during my trip.
One of the things we enjoy doing during a beach vacation is taking an evening stroll on the beach to fly a kite and enjoy the cooler air after a hot day. We also enjoy visiting one of the fire pits where we stay after our kite flying. Families often stop by to warm up in the cool evening air, to sit and talk, or to toast marshmallows and make s’mores.
The smell of toasted marshmallows, along with the smell of coconut from suntan lotion, were two scents that kept finding their way into my nose during the week. By Wednesday, I knew that my next blog would feature something using one of those two flavors! By Friday, the thought of trying another pudding that featured toasted marshmallows was in my head, and just like that today’s idea was born.
My first idea was to blend toasted marshmallows into the milk that I would use to make the pudding. I thought that would be a simple and logical way to get the flavor that I was looking for, and it worked – at first. The blended toasted marshmallow milk combo tasted exactly like a toasted marshmallow should.
Happy with the direction in which I was headed, I continued by making a graham cracker crust for the bottom of each pudding ramekin. Once that was in place, I went ahead with cooking the pudding and spooning it over each crust. When I was done, off it went to the refrigerator to cool and set.
As you can see from the pictures above, the toasted marshmallows gave the milk a bit of a brownish/greyish color. With the addition of whipped cream and broken chocolate bar pieces to finish off the s’more concept, the interesting color was hidden away!
The color really didn’t surprise me, but the taste test sure did! Cooking can often lead to some interesting or even mysterious results, as was the case with my first attempt. The mystery in this case was the missing toasted marshmallow flavor. All of the awesome flavor that was in the milk prior to cooking somehow vanished during the cooking process! What was left was some sort of nondescript flavor – not quite marshmallow or vanilla, just some sort of sweet pudding.
It wasn’t necessarily unpleasant, but it totally missed the mark on the flavor I was going for. I walked away with another not quite right pudding, but I was determined to make this idea work and not end up with another tabled project! After taking a day off to consider a new direction, I went to work again.
The idea this time was to make a simple vanilla pudding and garnish it with an intact toasted marshmallow, along with pieces of graham cracker and chocolate bar. The new plan worked, and I came up with a winner! The toasted marshmallow blended well with the vanilla pudding while eating it and gave me the flavor I was looking for. The presentation on my second attempt blew away my first attempt as well – with a few changes, this easy to make recipe looked as good as it tasted.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 s’more sized marshmallows or 10 regular sized marshmallows – toasted
- 2 1/2 graham crackers split into 10 quarter sized pieces
- 15 sections of chocolate bar, such as Hershey’s chocolate bars
Combine the sugar, corn starch and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Add the milk and vanilla to a medium sized pot. Heat the liquid mixture on a medium setting until it just starts to come to a boil. Add in the dry ingredients a little at a time while continuously stirring to ensure that they are well incorporated.
Continue to cook for another minute or two until the pudding begins to thicken. You want it to reach the point where it easily sticks to a spoon without sliding off – you don’t want it to get too thick or lumps will begin to form.
Immediately remove the pudding from the heat and evenly spoon it into 5 ramekins or other small bowls. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or until the pudding is cold and has set.
Just before serving, place 1 s’more sized (or 2 regular sized) toasted marshmallow(s) on top of each dish of pudding, and then stick two quarters of graham cracker into each dish and top with 3 pieces of chocolate.
We really enjoyed this fun twist on an old classic treat. The next time you are hosting a barbecue and s’mores come to mind, why not give it a try? The fun presentation will make your guests think that you put a lot of work into making it, but the reality is it doesn’t take much work at all!
Until next time, I hope you all have a great weekend.