This scrumptious s’mores in-a-jar is best eaten while reading the adventures of the New Brighton Archeological Society. After their parents are lost on an archeological expedition, four children begin to unlock the secrets of their parents’ mysterious lives, discovering a hidden world of mystical artifacts, creatures, and arcane knowledge. Soon they find themselves drawn into a conflict over a great library that has kept two kingdoms at war for centuries. Their adventures begin with a backpacking trip through the forest, a campfire and s’mores.
The writer, Mark Andrew Smith, also our eldest of four boys, is the quintessential Peter Pan of graphic novelists with an innate child-like sense of adventure, wonder and humor. He incorporates fire-breathing dragons, talking slugs, old-style puppet shows, swarthy eye patches, crossbows and dashing sword fights where the bad guy gets tied up as if in an old western movie. There’s no blood and gore in these books, only Matthew Weldon’s sumptuously colored illustrations which transport the reader to fantasy locales.
Book One, The Castle of Galomar, follows Cooper, Benny, Becca, Jossie and a butterscotch-loving goblin named Mitch through the forest and into the bowels of Galomar’s castle. Book Two, The Sword of Azure, includes an epic zeppelin dogfight. Fairies, goblins and magic abound. These books are thrilling for young readers and adults alike. Come capture a bit of your own childhood on this wild ride with the New Brighton Archeological Society.
- For marshmallow cream filling:
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar or arrowroot
- ⅓ cup water
- 5½ ounces granulated sugar, divided (3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP)
- ¾ cup cane sugar syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For chocolate & graham cracker layer:
- 10 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped or shaved
- 2½ cups crushed or ground graham crackers (2 packets of Honey Maid)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (4 oz or one cube), melted
- ¼ cup sugar (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 10-12 wide mouth jam jars or Weck jars
- For chocolate and graham cracker filling:
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, salt and sugar.
- Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the graham cracker mixture evenly on baking pan and toast in oven at 300° F (about 6-8 minutes.) Watch closely because it can burn.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Once cooled, mix shaved or chopped chocolate with graham cracker mixture.
- For marshmallow cream filling:
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle arrowroot on top.
- Beat, increasing the speed to medium-high, until the egg whites start to get light and frothy.
- While the mixer is still running, slowly add 2 TBSP of granulated sugar.
- Continue to beat until firm peaks form, but not stiff. Set aside.
- Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a small saucepan or have a digital thermometer ready at hand.
- Combine water, ¾ cup sugar, and cane sugar syrup in the saucepan and stir.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat. Using a heat-safe spatula, stir frequently while maintaining a consistent boil until syrup reaches 240° F. Remove from heat immediately once the syrup reaches the soft ball stage or 240° F. DO NOT stick your finger in for a taste test. It will burn your skin!!
- Restart the mixer on the second speed and very slowly pour in the syrup.
- Once added, stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. The contents is still TOO HOT to finger test.
- Now increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 5 minutes.
- The mixture will expand and become a glossy white cream that gently holds a shape.
- Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated and desired consistency is reached.
- To assemble jars:
- Spoon at least two alternating layers of each component into each jar, spreading evenly, beginning with graham cracker & chocolate mixture on the bottom, then marshmallow cream, then graham crackers & chocolate again, and always finish with the cream on top. Use a kitchen torch to brown the top if you want to create that campfire look.
- Eat immediately or refrigerate.