Our feature recipe this week is for a grown-up version of everyone’s campfire delight – s’mores. But in Jenn Davis’ recipe from The Southern Baking Cookbook she’s added a twist with peanut butter and bourbon cookies to up the deliciousness even more.
The Southern Baking Cookbook contains a treasury of Southern classics re-imagined with a unique twist. Jenn’s creative use of everyday ingredients and clear, step-by-step instructions make each treat perfect for beginner bakers and pastry pros alike.
No matter where you live, these sweet and savory bakes will bring a touch of Southern comfort to your kitchen!
Peanut Butter & Bourbon S’Mores: Ingredients
Yields 20 cookies for making 10 s’mores
- 1⁄4 cup (50 g) sparkling sugar;
- 2 tbsp (26 g) Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar (Note: Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar is a brand of chocolate sugar with a brownie-like flavor that can be purchased at spice stores)
- 1⁄2 cup (110 g) dark brown sugar;
- 1⁄3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar;
- 1⁄2 tsp baking soda;
- 1⁄4 tsp sea salt;
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon;
- 1 cup (256 g) creamy peanut butter;
- 1 large egg;
- 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract;
- 1⁄2 cup (85 g) semisweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped;
- 1⁄4 cup (28 g) honey-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped;
Yields 24 to 36 marshmallows
- 11⁄2 cups (180 g) confectioners’ sugar;
- 1 cup (128 g) cornstarch;
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) cool water;
- 2 tbsp (24 g) unflavored gelatin powder;
Marshmallow Sugar Mix
- 11⁄2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar;
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) water;
- 2⁄3 cup (160 ml) light corn syrup;
- 2 vanilla beans, scraped;
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) Kentucky bourbon;
Peanut Butter & Bourbon S’Mores: How-To
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two rimmed medium baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
To make the sugar coating, stir together the sparkling sugar and Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar in a small bowl. Set the sugar coating aside.
To make the cookies, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer. Hand-whisk the ingredients to combine them.
Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla to the bowl.
Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, then mix the ingredients at medium speed for a couple of revolutions, until they are well combined.
Reduce the mixer’s speed to medium-low. Add the chocolate chips and peanuts, mixing to distribute them throughout the cookie dough. Don’t overmix the dough.
Using a 1 1⁄2-tablespoon (23-g) cookie scoop, measure out a dollop of dough. Pack the dough together with your hands, then create a round ball by rolling the dough gently between your palms. Then roll the cookie ball in the sugar coating until it’s evenly coated. Transfer the cookie balls to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) apart.
Using the bottom of a flat glass, press down on the cookie ball gently to flatten it. If the cookie cracks around the edges, reshape it with your fingertips, squeezing it gently to form a round cookie. Repeat with the remainder of the cookie dough.
Bake one baking sheet of cookies at a time on the oven’s middle rack for 7 to 8 minutes. The cookies will still be soft and look slightly underdone— don’t worry, they will harden as they cool. If you overbake them, they will be too crumbly.
Place the baking sheets on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then gently transfer the cookies to the racks to completely cool. Firm, cooled cookies will be ready to make s’mores.
To Make the Marshmallows:
For the marshmallow coating, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl.
Lightly spray an 8 x 8–inch (20 x 20–cm) baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment paper hangs over all four sides of the pan but lies flat in the pan’s bottom. Sift a thick layer of the marshmallow coating over the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Set the remaining marshmallow coating aside for later.
Next, make the gelatin bloom by stirring together the water and gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, until it has bloomed, or thickened.
Meanwhile, make the marshmallow sugar mix. In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook the mixture over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook it for 6 to 7 minutes, until its temperature reads 240°F (115°C) on a candy thermometer, which is the soft-ball stage. Remove the saucepan from the stove.
With the stand mixer running at medium-high speed, very carefully and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture. Aim for the area between the whisk and the side of the bowl.
Add the vanilla bean seeds and increase the mixer’s speed to high. Whip the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture has tripled in size. It should be very thick and fluffy.
Pour in the bourbon and gently fold it into the marshmallow cream with a rubber spatula. Spoon the marshmallow cream into the prepared baking pan with a rubber spatula and level its surface with the spatula. Generously sift the marshmallow coating over the top to create a thick blanket on the marshmallow cream.
Let the marshmallow sit, uncovered, in a cool, dry place for 4 hours, or overnight, to dry out and firm up.
Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift the marshmallow square from the pan and place the whole marshmallow on a cutting board. Dust a sharp knife with confectioners’ sugar and cut the marshmallow into squares. Coat the marshmallows with more of the marshmallow coating, dipping the sides of the marshmallows in the coating if you like. Serve the marshmallows with your favorite hot drink, cookies, cake, or pie, or just eat them plain! Store the marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Take a single cookie and flip it upside down. Place a similarly sized toasted marshmallow on the bottom cookie, then top the marshmallow with another cookie. Alternatively, you can use only one cookie for an open-faced s’more.
Reprinted with permission from The Southern Baking Cookbook by Jenn Davis, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Jennifer Davis