When you check your blog roll as often as I do which is probably too often, you sometimes start to see trends in other blogger’s posts. For example cupcakes are always a favorite as are salads and refreshing cool summer time drinks. I’ll be interested to see how things take a turn with fall around the corner and then Christmas. Wow where did this year go to? Another item I see a lot of right now is the s’more. Yes that sticky, gooey, cookie cracker thingy which is always in the camping list of everyone who hits the great outdoors. I suspect that’s why I’m seeing it now as nobody really goes camping in the winter time.
I have seen everything from s’more cupcakes to s’more brownies and even s’more cookies and let me say they all look and sound amazing. I wanted to come up with a s’more to join the revolution already out there but I just couldn’t think of anything which hadn’t already been tackled. I thought I’d run it past my wife just to see if she might have any ideas not really expecting much feedback but I was wrong. She suggested s’more creme brulee, and I liked the idea but wasn’t sure how I could get the layers to show as creme brulee is always in a mold or a dish and never freestanding. The suggestion made me think of the panna cotta which is a pretty strong dessert after a day in the fridge and hence the panna cotta s’more was born. The base is a cinnamon graham cracker crust with the chocolate panna cotta in the middle topped with a marshmallow frosting and toasted for that camping smell and flavor we all know. They were really tasty and the frosting was a new one for me, It was almost like an Italian meringue and it stood up well. Even after a day in the fridge I was still able to pipe it without it collapsing or becoming runny and it was just like a melted marshmallow!
 I will be gone camping next weekend in Big Bear and as much as I loved these panna cotta’s, there’s nothing like the original s’more toasted around the camp fire!

For the crust:
1 1/2 Cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/3 Cup melted butter
1/3 Cup sugar
Mix all together and press into the bottom of the molds. Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 oven and then let cool.

Here’s the recipe for the Panna Cotta courtesy of The Food Channel:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 teaspoons plain gelatin
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or additional heavy cream, I didn’t use the cheese but added the cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Coat four 5-ounce ramekins or 6-ounce custard cups lightly with flavorless oil.
Pour 1/4 cup of the cream into a small heatproof bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over it and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream, the mascarpone, sugar and salt just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Add the gelatin mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until well blended. Pour through a fine strainer into a 4-cup glass measuring cup or a bowl with a pour spout. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins and let cool to room temperature.
Cover the panna cotta loosely and refrigerate until set and thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.
To serve, dip the ramekins one at a time into a bowl of hot water for about 5 seconds, then run a table knife around the edges of the custard and invert onto a chilled serving plate.
Here’s the recipe for the amazing frosting courtesy of Martha Stewart, the yield for this size is enough for two dozen cupcakes so I just halved it and had plenty with some left.
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately. Toast the frosting with a creme brulee torch or super carefully under the broiler but be careful as it burns fast!

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