S’mores slice made with healthy ingredients and modernist foam techniques. Vegan, gluten and grain-free, paleo-friendly. There are three parts to S’mores slice:
Developing Vegan Graham Crackers
Graham crackers get their name from Reverend Sylvester Graham, a Presbytarian minister who developed the digestive biscuits in 1829 made with a combination of whole wheat flour and white flour (now known as a graham flour) to suppress what he considered was “unhealthy urges.” The primary ingredients of any cracker, vegan or not, is starch (flour), fat, and sugar.
For the flour component, I started out with a combination of ground cashews and oat flour. Cashews are not a starch, but they have the highest carbohydrate and sugar content among nuts and seeds, and are the closest choice as a wheat flour replacement. However I found the combination of cashews and oats a little too sweet (both have a milky taste), and in combination with the maple and molasses syrups, too overpowering. I then tested two more versions – sunflower seeds + oats; and cashews + buckwheat. The colour of sunflower seeds and oats crackers were dull and gray, a drawback for its appearance. The cashew and buckwheat crackers fared much butter, a golden brown just like the original graham crackers, with a balanced taste of sweet cashews and earthy buckwheat.
Fat is required to “shorten” the batter. In gluten-containing products, fats inhibit the formation of gluten, or “shorten” the gluten network, to produce a softer, crumbly and tender texture (think shortbread biscuits). However since we are developing a gluten-free cracker, and since cashews are already naturally high in fat, we only need a small amount of added oil in this recipe – just one tablespoon of coconut oil is suffice.
Graham crackers have a slightly sweet flavor, with sugar, molasses or honey being the source of sugar. Cinnamon is sometimes added for a warm flavour. In my version, I tested various kinds of sugar in different combinations – maple syrup, coconut sugar and fancy molasses. The latter two are dark in colour, so you want to keep the amount low to avoid the cracker looking too dark. I found the best combination to be maple syrup and molasses, with molasses adding a hint of malt.
My final graham cracker is cashew and buckwheat based, sweetened with maple syrup and molasses, a bit of coconut oil, and spiced with cinnamon and vanilla. You can dehydrate or bake it; baking it will be more crunchy.
Coconut Meat Marshmallow Fluff (Coconut Agar Foam)
I have written on the chemistry of marshmallow in this post. I used aquafaba previously. This time I am trying out agar-stabilised coconut foam. I will cover the technique in the recipe card.
The coconut marshmallow did not come out as good as those made from aquafaba – it was more dense and unctuous (fatty and kind of slimy), less air pockets, kind of like melted marshmallows. This is why I’m calling it marshmallow fluff. I you are looking for actual spongy vegan marshmallows, I highly recommend the aquafaba version instead.
Raw chocolate ganache
Raw chocolate ganache is made with just two ingredients – equal parts melted chocolate and coconut milk. Make sure your coconut milk is at room temperature or warmed, to prevent the chocolate from clumping when stirring it in.
Now you can enjoy healthy s’mores any time with this S’mores Slice tucked away in your freezer.
S'mores Slice (Paleo, Vegan)
S'mores slice made with healthy ingredients and modernist foam techniques. Raw (or baked) cashew buckwheat graham crackers, agar-stabilised coconut meat marshmallow fluff, raw chocolate ganache.
Cashew Buckwheat Graham Crackers
- 144 g (1 cup) activated cashews
- 56 g (1/3 cup scant) sprouted buckwheat groats
- 4 g 2 tsp golden flaxseed powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
- 54 g (3 tbsp) maple syrup
- 10 g (1/2 tbsp) fancy unsulphured molasses
- 10 g (1 tbsp) cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- As needed, water
Coconut Meat Marshmallow Fluff
- 120 g (1/2 cup) water
- 48 g (3 tbsp) maple syrup
- 2.5 g (1/2 tsp) agar powder (~0.625% agar concentration)
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar or citric acid (optional, to aid sugar inversion and stabilisation)
- 200 g (1 1/4 cup) young coconut meat
- 5 g (1/2 tbsp) cold-pressed coconut oil
- 2.5 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
- 20 g (1 scoop) unflavoured or vanilla protein powder (optional)
- 160 g (2/3 cup) dairy-free dark chocolate (preferably 80% or more)
- 160 g (2/3 cup) full-fat coconut milk (room temperature)
Cashew Buckwheat Graham Crackers (Raw Dehydrated or Oven Baked Option)
In a food processor or mini prep, blend the cashews to a fine flour. Be careful not to overblend or it will turn into cashew butter.
Repeat the same process with the sprouted buckwheat to obtain buckwheat flour. Sift the buckwheat flour to remove any bran; this will give the final crackers a smooth texture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (cashew flour, buckwheat flour, flaxseed powder, cinnamon powder, salt). Mix well until evenly distributed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (maple syrup, molasses, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and protein powder, if using).
Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly drizzle in the wet mixture, stirring as you go. Mix until the mixture forms a sticky dough that can be rolled out thin. If the mixture is too dry, add water a little at a time until the correct consistency is reached.
Roll the dough out to 6 mm (1/4 inch) thick between two paraflexx sheets or parchment paper with rolling pin. Use the flat edge of a dough cutter to shape it into a large rectangle.
Raw dehydrated option. Place the dough in a dehydrator and dry at 46°C (115°F) for 4 hours. Lightly score into cracker-size and punch holes in the dough with a fork for a graham-cracker look. Flip the dough and continue to dry for another 20 hours, or until fully dry and crispy. Let cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. (The raw version is less crunchy and slightly chewy, but this makes it perfect for ice cream sandwiches.)
Oven baked option. Preheat the oven to 135°C (275°F). Bake the dough for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly score into cracker-size and punch holes in the dough with a fork for a graham-cracker look. Rotate the tray and continue to bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until a light golden colour. Remove from oven; it may not feel crunchy at first, but will do when it cools down. Let cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. (The baked version is more crunchy like a classic graham cracker; perfect for eating on its own, or as an ice cream sandwich slider.)
Coconut Meat Marshmallow Fluff
Place the water and maple syrup in a small saucepan and sift in the agar powder and if using, cream of tartar or citric acid. Bring the mixture to a boil at 114°C (236°F) and simmer for 5-7 minutes to allow sugar inversion and dissolve the agar. Stir constantly. If you are not using the acid, you can simply simmer for 3-4 minutes without measuring the temperature.
Place the remaining ingredients in a blender and add the hot agar syrup. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a tray or wide bowl and place in the freezer for 20 minutes until the agar is set firm.
Return the gelled coconut into the blender and blend until smooth, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high. Achieving a strong vortex in the blender may be tricky at first, so use a spatula to lightly push the gel further down. The final product is a coconut fluid gel. Pour the gel into a mold and place in the freezer.
Optional Steps for Even Fluffier Texture
Option 1 - mixer. Transfer the coconut fluid gel to a bowl and use a stand mixer or hand-held mixer and beat it for 5 minutes to incorporate more air. Pour the gel into a mold and place in the freezer.
Option 2 - iSi whip. Transfer the coconut fluid gel into the iSi canister. Charge twice with nitrous oxide (cream) cartridges and shake hard for 1 minute. Store the canister in the refrigerator until ready to use. Shake well again before use. Spray into a mold and and place in the freezer.
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie. When fully melted, slowly stream in the coconut milk. Make sure your coconut milk is at room temperature or warmed to prevent seizing of the chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour the chocolate ganache on top of the coconut layer. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Cut the coconut-chocolate layers to equal size as your graham crackers.
When ready to serve, gently sandwich each slice with two graham crackers. Serve immediately.