There are always two kinds of kids around any campfire, the ones that like their marshmallows burnt to a crisp and light them on fire, an efficient way to cook so as to facilitate the consummation of as many s’mores as possible, and those that cautiously keep their marshmallow just outside the flames, waiting, turning, watching carefully until the outside is just the perfect shade of golden brown. Which were you?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an adult, it’s that we don’t have nearly enough campfires in our lives. There’s something so beautiful, so peaceful, about sitting around a fire, alone or with family or friends, and watching the flames. No one even has to say anything, but something about the fire always encourages the best conversations.
As a child, I always equated campfires with s’mores, because the only time kids that grow up in the Florida suburbs ever get to see a campfire is when actually “camping.” The parenthesis are because my Girl Scout troop never camped anywhere without running water and electric outlets because our leaders weren’t using a hole in the ground as a toilet, weren’t going without showers, and they most definitely were not going to go without a properly brewed pot of coffee in the morning. Funny story, I vaguely remember ordering pizza for dinner on one of our multi-night camping trips. The Real Housewives of Anywhere had nothing on us.
So it came as a bit of a surprise this past August 10th, National S’mores Day, that there is a serious lack of s’mores recipes on my website. Clearly, this is a problem that we here at Goodie Godmother are taking active steps to resolve, beginning of course, with this recipe. When we went to our creative team and said “Team, we have no s’mores recipes. Why?”, they flustered a bit, and the first coherent reply was “Cheesecake! We need a s’mores cheesecake and the memo must have gotten lost on the way to R&D”. Our creative team has a bit of a problem with accepting responsibility, but they’re a good team, so we keep them. And since a lot of our creative team meetings often involve serious conversations with a toddler and a small dog, there may be some understandable flaws in departmental communication.
- 8 oz graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 c lightly packed brown sugar
- 8 tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 20 oz cream cheese (2 1/2 packages)
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Milk Chocolate Ganache
- 12 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 oz heavy cream
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
To Decorate (optional)
- 1 1/2-2 cups extra graham cracker crumbs to press along the edges of the cheesecake
- Preheat your oven to 425 and line a springform pan with parchment paper along the bottom and sides (sides are optional). Wrap the outside in aluminum foil, and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Pour in the melted butter and continue to stir until the mixture resembles wet sand and there are no dry crumbs. Press evenly into the cheesecake pan along the bottom and partway up the sides. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the cream cheese until light and fluffy, then add the sugar, and eggs. Stir in the vanilla extract and flour and beat on medium speed until just combined and creamy. Pour over the crust and smooth.
- Place the springform pan in a larger pan with enough water to come up the sides of the cheesecake pan about halfway (this is why you wrap the outside in aluminum foil, so no water leaks into your pan!). Place this in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake an additional 30 minutes until the cheesecake layer is cooked but still jiggles very slightly in the center.
- Turn off the oven, crack the door open and leave the cheesecake there 30 minutes.
- When you turn off the oven, make your ganache by combining the chopped milk chocolate and the heavy cream in the top portion of a double boiler, or in a microwave safe glass bowl. If using a double boiler: Melt the chocolate cream mixture in the double boiler, stirring constantly and then remove from the heat and set aside. If using the microwave: Microwave 1 minute at 60% power, then stir. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals at 60% power, stirring after each round, until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside.
- After 30 minutes, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool an additional hour on a rack. You want to bring the temperature down slowly to avoid cracks.
- Once the cheesecake is room temperature, your ganache should be set enough to spread over the top of the cheesecake.
- Allow the cheesecake an hour or so to chill in the refrigerator and set the milk chocolate ganache.
- To make the marshmallow fluff frosting, place the egg whites, cream of tartar (see notes), and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer or a heat-proof mixing bowl. Have your hand mixer ready, or fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
- Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl has no contact with the water. Stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 4-5 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and whisk on high for 5-7 minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks and is white and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the ganache (see video in post).
- Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan (see video for tips), and use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallow topping.
- If desired, gently press extra graham cracker crumbs along the side of the cheesecake for decoration.
* The cream of tartar helps to stabilize the frosting a bit. If you don't have any on hand, add a tbsp of powdered sugar to the egg whites when you add the vanilla towards the end of the whipping process, or just omit altogether.