S’Mores Icebox Cake
So by now you’ve made yourself some Dark Chocolate Pudding and eaten it all, I hope. Want an excuse to make more?
How about a S’Mores Icebox Cake?
S’mores are so quintessentially summer. There’s only one problem with them – they’re generally served hot. I mean, normally that’s not a really problem because that’s what makes them all ooey and gooey and wonderful. But it becomes a problem when you’re trying to feed a crowd on a day that temperatures soar over 100ºF. The very idea of eating anything hot in that kind of weather is enough to make me melt. So for 4th of July I decided to make S’mores in a form that could be served cold.
The beauty of icebox cakes is that you have to make them ahead of time, which makes them ideal for entertaining. All the major components of classic s’mores are in this S’mores Icebox Cake. Rich chocolate. Sticky sweet toasted marshmallow. Graham Crackers. The only difference is that they’re all cold! My favorite Dark Chocolate Pudding gets layered with a marshmallowy cooked meringue frosting and graham crackers. When left to sit in the fridge overnight, the graham crackers soften and become cake like, melding with the pudding and marshmallow.
Ta-da! Cold, creamy S’mores Icebox Cake.
Each bite gets you messy mouthful of chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker that tastes just like a traditional S’more. Serve it to your guests and they’ll be begging you for s’more!
S’Mores Icebox Cake
Makes about 25 1.5-inch square bars
Please note you’ll need to make this cake the day before you intend to serve it! I cut these bars up small because they’re very rich. You may have about 1 cup of pudding leftover – I think you know what to do with that. To make cutting the bars less of a sticky mess, use a non-stick pizza cutter sprayed with non-stick baking spray, reapplying as needed.
Safety Tip: Make sure you take the bars out of the plastic wrap or pull wrap away before torching! Melted plastic does not taste good.
20 whole graham cracker sheets (more or less)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tablspoons cold water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups milk, divided
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped and melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
Prepare an 8×8 square baking pan by lining the inside with foil, being sure to leave some overhang. Add a layer of plastic wrap on top of the foil to hold all of the gooeyness in. Set aside.
Prepare the meringue. Fill medium saucepan with about an inch of water and bring to a simmer. Place sugar, egg whites, water and lemon juice in the metal bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and mixture reads 160°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat and attach bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until a glossy white meringue with stiff peaks forms and the bowl no longer feels warm to the touch (about 10-15 minutes). Beat in vanilla extract. Set aside.
Prepare pudding. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks, 3 tablespoons sugar and corn starch. Whisk in 1/4 cup milk. In a microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate for 1 minute on High. Stir thoroughly. If needed, continue heating on High in 15 second increments, stirring thoroughly between each, until chocolate has melted. In saucepan, whisk together 2 cups milk, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until just before boiling. Scoop out 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk mixture and slowly pour into egg mixture while whisking briskly to temper (avoid cooking) the eggs. Whisk egg mixture back into pudding in pot, and continue cooking and whisking until pudding thickens. Remove from heat. Pour through a mesh strainer to ensure smooth pudding. Whisk in butter, vanilla and melted chocolate.
Start by fitting a layer of graham crackers into the bottom of the prepared pan, leaving as few gaps as possible. (This may require cutting the graham crackers to fit.) Pour about 1 1/2 cups of prepared pudding on top of graham cracker layer. Add another layer of graham crackers, then dollop about half the meringue on top and spread smooth. Add another graham cracker layer and top with another 1 1/2 cups of pudding. Add one final layer of graham crackers and dollop remaining meringue on top. Spread smooth. (There should be 4 alternating layers, starting with pudding and ending with meringue.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Lift cake out onto platter by foil overhang. To torch the meringue, pull away plastic and foil from sides. Torch meringue to desired toasty-ness. Cut into bars. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.