Before reading this blog, there are two things you should know about me:
1. I love dessert. I love eating dessert. I love making dessert. I love researching dessert (my BlogLovin’ account is simply a list of other dessert-centered blogs). I love experimenting with new techniques and unusual flavor combinations. But all of this is expected of anyone who begins a baking blog. The thing you really need to know about me is, when I do dessert I do dessert. My ideal dessert is something crazy dense, rich, and deeply satisfying. I want something chock full of butter, fat and sugar thats going to sit in my stomach and make me wonder what the hell I just did to myself. So if you are looking for light or healthy or made-over desserts, I commend you for salubrious lifestyle choices, but you simply aren’t going to find many of those here. On the other hand, if you want a hedonistic dessert to bring a party full of people whose waistlines you aren’t looking out for, you’ve come to the right place.
2. I love using alcohol in my cooking: wine in my entrees, beer in my breads, amaretto in my brownies, rum in my blondies. You get the idea. My boyfriend calls me an alcoholic cook. I call him an enabler; he encourages my boozy imagination every step of the way. He even bought me The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker. I must admit, I envy that last name. Though I am still not clear if the title is intended to be a play on words or simply an unavoidable pun. Either way, it’s a great book full of alcoholic recipes with unique flavor combinations. But I digress (it’s a theme, you should probably get used to it). The point that I am trying to make is that I love the subtle yet rich flavors that alcohol can impart to baked goods. Light beers can lend a nice floral bite to breads, while porters, with their bittersweet qualities, make a perfect complement to chocolate desserts. Whiskey and rum pair well with anything heavy in brown sugar as it rounds out the flavors, creating a chewy richness without being overly sweet. Then of course there is wine; adding wine to anything instantly makes it classy.
Anyway, my preface has rambled on enough. Get to the damn dessert already! Alright, I hear you. It’s time for my S’mores Fudge Tarts. When you see this recipe, you may be a bit perplexed. I admit, it is an odd recipe to post right after the above introduction because it violates pretty much all of the rules I laid out for this blog. It does not contain any alcohol, butter, or heavy cream (sacrilege, yes I know). However, it is still dense, rich and delicious (and don’t get your hopes up, it’s not healthy either).
So why would a baker who calls herself a hedonistic lush make a dairy-free dessert, you ask? The story begins with my boyfriend. You see, we are both Biology PhD students and once a year we have a “committee meeting” in which we present our work to a panel of scientists (it’s a big deal, just go with it). Anyway, you never want to go to one of these meetings empty handed. Your committee gets to decide if and when you receive your PhD, so it’s always a good idea to bring in something sweet to put them in a good mood (or just completely distract them from your talk, if need be). My boyfriend’s annual meeting was last week and he asked me (begged me…) to make him something to bring to please his committee. Well, our P.I. (primary investigator, it’s lab-speak for our boss) is lactose intolerant. So this was my challenge: make something small and easy to eat during a meeting (nothing that was loud, crunchy, messy, or involved too much cutting), that was also dairy-free without sacrificing any taste.
Enter S’mores tarts made with coconut milk. Coconut is thick and rich and is a great substitute for heavy cream in this recipe without sacrificing any taste or texture. If you’re not a fan of coconut, don’t worry as it’s imperceptible in this dessert. As the bittersweet chocolate overcomes any coconut flavor, it is simply the neutral base of the fudge.
Well, due to these earth-shatteringly delicious tarts distracting the committee members (it’s tough to ask questions with mouths full of fudgy-goodness), my man got through his meeting and was allowed to continue his PhD work. I jest, of course. My boyfriend is an exceptionally (sometimes irritatingly) intelligent person and a very capable scientist. I have no doubt that he would have flawlessly passed this meeting regardless of the treats he brought it. Though, I’m sure the tarts didn’t hurt. And they are pretty damn good (our boss has already requested a second batch from me).
So I hope you enjoy my S’mores Fudge Tarts. They may not guarantee you academic success, but they are pretty damn delicious.
Dairy-Free S’mores Tart (adapted from S’mores Pie)
Makes approximately 20
- 12 graham crackers (1½ bags, ½ box)
- 1 egg white
- 6 Tb coconut oil
- 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1¼ cup full fat coconut milk (light doesn’t set up as well)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tb vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
- ~1 Tb corn syrup (optional, adds a little shine)
- ½ package mini marshmallows
For the crust
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Grind graham crackers in a food processor or blender to a fine crumb. Mix in egg white, oil. Crumb should hold together when squeezed, but should not form a large ball or appear too wet.
- Press an equal amount in to the bottom of each cupcake liner and tamp down.
- Bake ~8 minutes. Crust will puff up slightly and become golden.
- Let cool completely
For the tart
- Lower oven temperature to 350F
- Pour chocolate chips in to a large heat-proof bowl.
- Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Let sit 2-3 minutes
- Meanwhile, whisk egg and egg yolk in a separate bowl. Whisk in vanilla and salt.
- Stir coconut milk and chocolate chips until smooth.
- Slowly drizzle egg mixture in to chocolate, whisking constantly.
- Whisk in corn syrup if desired
- Pour a little over ¼ cup chocolate mixture over each graham cracker crust.
- Bake 20-25 minutes. Chocolate should appear set but not dry.
- Let cool completely
For the marshmallow topping
- Set oven to low broil. Adjust rack to top third of the oven
- Place 9-10 (or as many as you would like) marshmallows on top of each cooled tart.
- Place tarts in oven for 1-2 minutes. Watch very carefully, as they burn quickly.
- Remove and let cool completely (I like to press down the warm marshmallows a bit when they come out of the oven so they form an even layer)