Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).
So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!
The technical challenge for Week 6 is S’mores! Because what is a more classic staple of Halloween than a good s’more? Bonfire, chocolate, marshmallow, crackers, delicious!
The one thing that truly interested me about this recipe is that biscuit. I am used to having graham crackers with my s’mores, but this cracker seemed a little different. I am very curious to try the British way of s’mores!
Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!
There was a surprising amount of ingredients needed for this recipe. Quite a few of them were unique. There were several I had to order since they were not available in my local grocery store.
The biggest “weird” ingredient was wheatgerm. I have never really used this ingredient before and now I have a lot of it… Guess I will have to find some other uses for it!
Prepping the Marshmallow Ingredients
The first thing I wanted to make was the marshmallow. Marshmallow takes about an hour and a half to set so I’d rather make the marshmallow first. Then I can make the chocolate ganache and the biscuits while the marshmallow sets up.
I ended up doing four processes simultaneously. They all needed a little time to work which meant I could swap between each of them. The first was prepping the gelatin. To do this, I put the gelatin in a small bowl with about 1 ½ teaspoons of water. I wanted the gelatin powder to be fully submerged.
While the gelatin soaks, I put the granulated sugar and corn syrup in a pot on the stove. Over a low heat, I warmed up the mixture. First, I wanted the sugar to dissolve. Second, I wanted the mixture to come to a boil. I had a target temperature I wanted to reach. But cooking the sugar took a while.
So, I started whipping up the egg whites and cream to tartar. They needed to be whipped until stiff peaks were reached. I wanted to whip a lot of air into the egg whites because I thought that it would give me that fluffiness required in a marshmallow.
The last process I worked on (while everything else was cooking, soaking, and whipping) was preparing the pan. I cut out a piece of parchment paper and placed it in the bottom of the pan. Then I mixed together a mixture of powdered sugar and cornstarch. This is to help prevent the marshmallow from sticking to the pan.
I then used the oil to coat the pan before I sprinkled the powdered sugar mixture over the whole pan. About half of the mixture can be used but I only used about one-third. This proved to be enough in the long run.
With all of the ingredients in the right form, it was time to add them all together. I had stopped the eggs from whisking once they reached stiff peaks. But I would need to restart the whisk when adding the sugar/corn syrup.
The sugar was still hot, so I wanted to make sure that I cooked the eggs just enough. But I didn’t want the eggs to cook too quickly. Pouring extremely hot liquid into eggs is always a risk. You can still end up with scrambled eggs even if the egg yolks are gone.
After the sugar mixture had been incorporated, I added the gelatin. I wanted to do this while the mixture was still hot. Mainly because the gelatin needs to melt, and the heat will help that happen. The last ingredient that needs to be added is the vanilla bean paste.
I think that paste is used for two reasons. One – it’s more concentrated to it brings more flavor than an extract would. Two – the consistency of the paste melds better with the marshmallow mixture. I feel like vanilla extract would blend as well as the paste did.
Once the marshmallow mixture had become shiny, it was time to put the marshmallow into the prepared pan. I smoothed the mixture out to the best of my ability before setting it aside. It needed at least an hour and a half to set, so I moved on to making the biscuits.
The next thing I decided to make is the biscuits. To do this, I needed a food processor. The first ingredients I combined were wheat flour and wheatgerm. After blending the dry ingredients, it was time to add the rest (except for the milk).
I added the brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and cubed butter into the food processor and blitzed away. The mixture should take on a crumb-like texture, becoming almost sand-like. I had some larger clumps in my mixture because my butter was a little warmer than it should have been.
Then I slowly added the milk to the mixture. This will bring all of the dry ingredients together to make a dough. A very sticky dough. Honesty, this dough felt too sticky to work with. I put it on a sheet of clingfilm and shaped it, as best I could, into a disc. I then wrapped the clingfilm around it and let the dough chill.
The chilling should help the dough set up a little more to be a little more workable. The recipe called for 20 minutes of chill, but I honestly wished that I had let it chill longer. It was still really sticky when it came out of the fridge. But I was trying to follow the recipe to the letter.
So, I rolled out the dough to be 3 mm thick and used a 5 cm cutter to cut out cookie circles. Moving them from the working station to the baking tray felt like an ordeal. Keeping their shape was not an easy feat. A part of me thought I should have rolled out the dough on the baking tray itself.
Then it was time to chill the cookies and then to bake again. The recipe had them bake from fifteen to twenty minutes. I first had them baked for fifteen minutes, but they did not have enough color. Which was hard to tell since the dough was dark. So, I left them in for five more minutes. And they cooked a little too much…
The chocolate ganache was the easiest aspect to make. There were really only two steps. The first step was warming the heavy whipping cream over the stove. I wanted to achieve a warm stage, but I didn’t want it to be boiling.
Once the cream reached the right heat, I poured it over the chocolate. Then I mixed until the chocolate had fully melted. The mixture should be cream-like at this stage. But I wanted a more thickened chocolate, which meant that I needed it to cool. As the ganache cooled and thickened, I transferred the chocolate to a piping bag to help with assembly.
The assembly of the s’more was fairly familiar. I started with two biscuits and piped the ganache onto each one. This was to ensure that there was some chocolate in each bite. Well… that was the intention anyway.
Then I used a 5cm cutter to cut out the marshmallow. I forgot to take a picture of the marshmallow block that was made. I ended up turning it out onto a surface that was dusted with the other half of the powdered sugar. And then I put a marshmallow on the chocolate.
Finally, I sandwiched the marshmallow with the other cookie. But what is a s’more without the marshmallow being toasted? Well, I had a blow torch and I wanted to give the marshmallow color. I might have done a little too much color.
I have mixed feeling about this recipe. The ganache is just ganache so no major feelings there. The marshmallow turned out amazingly! I really found that an interesting process and a delicious outcome.
The biscuit is the main cause of my confusion. I wasn’t the biggest fan. This definitely felt like it had a British touch to it, and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted something with a little more flavor. To be honest, I just really wanted graham crackers.
I do think that I want to try this experiment again but make the s’mores with graham crackers instead. So, I will try again!
What is Wheatgerm
Wheatgerm is a cereal grain that is a by-product of milling when creating refined grain products. It can have three potential benefits in baking. One is flavor, which can become a nutty flavor when toasted. The second is texture, which can bring a crunch to the bake when added in the right way.
The last benefit, and the one which I think was needed for this recipe, is that it aids in binding to liquids when it is partially substituted for flour.
- 1 Electric Mixer whisk needed
- 1 Food Processor
- 1 Rolling Pin
- 1 Piping Bag
- 1 5cm Cutter
- ⅓ Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Corn starch
- Vegetable Oil for greasing
- 2 Teaspoon Gelatin
- 3 Egg Whites
- ¾ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Corn Syrup
- 2 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste
Biscuit / Cookie
- 1 ¼ Cup Whole meal Flour
- 2 Tablespoon Wheatgerm
- ½ Cup Unsalted Butter chilled and cubed
- ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Tablespoon Whole Milk
- ½ Cup Dark Chocolate finely chopped
- ⅓ Cup Heavy Whitting Cream
- In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and corn starch.
- In a 8cm square tin, place a layer of baking paper on the bottom of the tin. Grease with vegetable oil. Dust the tin with half of the powdered sugar/corn starch mixture.
- In a small bowl, soak gelatin in 1 ½ teaspoon of water until soft. The gelatin should be fully soaked. More water can be used but make sure to squeeze any excess water out of the gelatin before using.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks are formed.
- Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Place over medium to low heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to reach 239° Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and add into the egg white (meringue) mixture. Continuously whisk during this processed. Let the sugar mixture incorporate fully (about 3 to 5 minutes or until thick and glossy).
- Cut gelatin into pieces and add to meringue while the mixture is still hot, adding a few pieces at a time.
- Whisk in vanilla extract.
- Scrap the mixture into the prepared tine and let set for one and a half hours.
- Turn out marshmallow onto a surface that has been dusted with the remaining powdered sugar / corn starch mixture. Cut out 8 marshmallows with a 5cm cutter.
- In a food processor, blitz together whole meal flour and wheatgerm. Then add butter, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- At little at a time, add in the milk until a dough is formed. Shape the dough into a flat disc. Wrap and let chill for 20 minutes.
- Roll out the dough until it is 3mm thick (no particular shape). Use a 5cm cutter to create 16 discs. Let chill for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Bake for 15-20 minutes (the biscuits should be lightly darkened around the edges). Let cool for 3-5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to let them cool completely.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium to low heat until simmering.
- Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth.
- Let rest for 45-60 minutes at room temperature. The ganache should reach a pipeable consistency. Spoon the ganache into a bag until ready to use.
- Pipe Ganache onto each digestive biscuit.
- Sandwich a marshmallow between the prepared crackers with the ganache touching the marshmallow.
- Use a blowtorch to get the marshmallow to the desired amount of doneness.