RECIPES: A New Way to S’more

Guest blog from Chuao Chocolatier® artisan chocolates.

Hey Belgard fam, it’s your friends from Chuao Chocolatier again! Living in sunny San Diego has its perks, including having beautiful weather all year round. That means even in August, we’re breaking out our s’mores kits and gathering ‘round the fire pit. But, that means that the classic s’mores can get a little… boring. So, in true Chuao style, we made up some SUPER fun recipes for s’mores that are so good you’ll want to s’more all year long, too!

maple donut bar, bacon s'more recipeForget The Diet S’Mores

What could possibly elevate a s’more recipe to an unheard of level? How about a maple donut bar, bacon and our Baconluxious Chocolate bar?  Sweet sticky maple with salty smoky bacon come together in a s’more that is completely out of this world good. We say, forget the diet and indulge!

What you’ll need: maple donut bar, Chuao Chocolatier Baconluxious Chocolate mini bars, marshmallows, cooked bacon.

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Dark Chocolate S'Mores with French breadQueen Bee S’Mores

We couldn’t help ourselves – we had to take ooey gooey s’mores and add even MORE sticky sweetness. The deliciously sweet honey balances out deliciously with soft French bread slices and rich dark chocolate.

What you’ll need: French Bread loaf, Chuao Chocolatier Honeycomb mini bars, marshmallows, honey.

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Breakfast Waffle S'More Recipe With StrawberriesS’More Breakfast Please!

Eat these for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, because they’re delicious any time of day. Sweet cinnamon cereal and creamy milk chocolate are met with sweet, fresh strawberries and crunchy waffle to balance everything out. It’s a s’more worth getting out of bed for.

What you’ll need: Waffles, Chuao Chocolatier Cinnamon Cereal Smooch mini bars, marshmallows, fresh strawberries.

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Oh, SNAP! S'More RecipeOh, SNAP! S’Mores

We went to flavor town with our last s’more creation. Spicy ginger cookies meet caramel apples meet chocolate meet s’mores… meets total deliciousness. We chose to buy our ginger cookies, and we went with a soft cookie instead of a typical crispy ginger snap, but either version is delicious! If you want to make these s’mores even more delectable, add a drizzle of caramel sauce to them!

What you’ll need: ginger cookies, Chuao Chocolatier Caramel Apple Crush mini bars, marshmallows. Optional: caramel sauce.

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Have Your Own Idea for a New Kind of S’more?

Belgard is celebrating fireside s’mores throughout the month of August and would love to hear your fireside stories and original s’mores recipes. Submit your story or recipe at Belgard.com/smores and enter for a chance to win a free Ashland Fire Pit Kit and a $500 gift certificate for Chuao Chocolatier artisan chocolates!

RECIPE: Homemade S’mores
(From Scratch)

Guest blog from Chuao Chocolatier® artisan chocolates.

Oh My S’mores! Chuao ChocolatierWe’re Chuao Chocolatier, a San Diego-based chocolatier known for our innovatively delicious chocolate bars, and we’re excited to share our recipe for Homemade S’mores with the Belgard family. We know the name of this recipe sounds ridiculous – of course all s’mores are homemade. Is there really any other way to s’more? Actually there is! We have a fun portable version of s’mores that you can eat anytime, anywhere, with no flame required: it’s Oh My S’mores! chocolate bar, and yes it’s delicious.

BUT we’re here to tell you about a different kind of s’more – one where the graham crackers and marshmallows are all homemade from scratch.

Oh yeah, we’re going there.

It sounds difficult, especially if you aren’t one to enjoy baking on the regular. But we promise, it’s so delicious that you will never want to use store-bought ingredients again! Plus, it’s so easy. Yes, homemade marshmallows are easy. You barely have to do anything! And you get soft, sticky, sweet marshmallows as a result.

Graham Cracker Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup graham flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tbs ounces whole milk
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  3. Add the molasses, milk, honey, and vanilla extract and process until the dough forms a ball — approximately 1 minute.
  4. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick.
  7. Slide the rolled dough and parchment paper onto a half sheet pan. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and cut the dough, using a rolling pizza cutter into 2-inch square pieces, by making vertical and then horizontal cuts all the way across the dough. Trim off any excess.
  8. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the dough.
  9. Leave the crackers on the pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes or until the edges just start to darken. Remove from the oven, set the sheet pan with the crackers on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  10. Once completely cool, break into individual crackers.

Marshmallow Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • Special Equipment Needed: Candy Thermometer, Electric Mixer

Directions

  1. Combine all three packets of gelatin and ½ cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Allow to sit while you make the sugar syrup.
  2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ cup water into a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise heat to high and cook until the sugar syrup reaches 240º F on a candy thermometer (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.
  4. When all the syrup has been added, put the mixer on high and whip until the mixture is very thick and shiny, about 15 minutes.
  5. While the mixture is whipping, generously (and we mean really generously) dust an 8×12 inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners’ sugar.
  6. When the marshmallow fluff has reached the desired texture, add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  7. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepped baking dish. Smooth out the top, and add either more confectioners’ sugar, or desired decorative toppings. Let the marshmallows stand uncovered overnight until they’re dried out.
  8. Once the marshmallows have dried out, turn the marshmallows out onto a board that has also been dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Cut them into squares and dust with more confectioners’ sugar.

The Final Component: Chocolate

Ok, so now you have your base layer and your sticky, smoky layer. Next you need a rich, melty layer to make everything come together. We have a few pretty delicious options for you (though you really can’t go wrong with any of our chocolate stuffed into a s’more).

Oh My S’mores!Oh My S’mores!: It’s basically doubling down on your s’more game. The most fun part about this is the marshmallows, because they stay slightly soft and chewy, instead of ooey gooey like the blazed up marshmallows. The texture is killer and the creamy milk chocolate makes for the perfect combo.

Sprinkle Dreams: Imaging combining a trip to your favorite ice cream shop with an gooey and delectable s’more, all in one fabulous bite! The sprinkles in this chocolate bar keep things colorful and fun, while the bits of waffle cone and hazelnuts add a delicious crunch that brings the whole s’mores experience together!

FirecrackerFirecracker: Get ready for a totally unique s’mores experience! Rich dark chocolate makes this sumptuous and heavenly, but then a surprising kick of chipotle tickles your throat while popping candy explodes in your mouth. Trust us, you’re going to want to try this one! It’s like a party in your mouth.

Joy-Filled CaramelsJoy-Filled Caramels: This is NEXT LEVEL s’mores. If you want to make your s’mores totally and completely indulgent, throw a Joy-Filled Caramel in your s’more and let the rich, sweet caramel take your taste buds to flavor town.

There are countless other fun s’mores recipes to create with our chocolate – what would you try first? Or is there another chocolate bar you’re checking out? Well don’t be shy, tell us in the comments! And then go ahead and give it a try – you won’t ever regret eating this deliciousness.

-Team Chuao

If you enjoyed this recipe, head over to the Chuao recipe page and try your hand at all the fun and delicious treats we have there!

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COMING SOON:  National S’mores Day is coming up on August 10! Come back to the Belgard blog on that day to celebrate with us, and you’ll have a chance to enter to win a Belgard fire pit.

Holiday Toddies

If you’re planning an outdoor gathering during the cooler months, it’s always a good idea to have some hot toddy recipes on hand. With the holiday season ahead, we’ve pulled together some special toddy recipes that will not only help keep your guests warm, but will add to the festive atmosphere.

SPIKED PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE

Photo: Christopher Testani, Prop styling: Kaitlyn Duross, Food Styling: Chris Lanier

Think of this as more of a dessert than a beverage, but with a little peppermint schnapps to add some holiday cheer. Coconut milk adds an extra splurge of indulgence that pairs nicely with the chocolate and mint.

Ingredients
  • 2 (13.5 oz.) cans light coconut milk
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup peppermint schnapps
  • Optional garnish: peppermint sticks and miniature marshmallows
Preparation
  1. Whisk together the first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat over medium until very warm.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in schnapps.
  3. Garnish with peppermint sticks and marshmallows, if desired.

APPLE-CRANBERRY WASSAIL

Photo: Jennifer Causey, Styling: Missie Neville Crawford, Claire Spollen

For those who like to go a-wassailing, this festive holiday beverage calls for dark rum but works equally well with bourbon. Or, omit the alcohol altogether for a kid-friendly version that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 18 whole allspice
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 (1-inch wide) strips orange rind
  • 3 (1-inch wide) strips lemon rind
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
PREPARATION
  1. Combine cider, cranberry juice and honey in a 6-quart electric slow cooker.
  2. Place allspice, cloves and cinnamon sticks on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together, tie securely, and place in the slow cooker.
  3. Add vanilla bean and citrus rinds; cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
  4. Remove sachet, vanilla bean and citrus rinds from the slow cooker; discard. Pour in rum and reduce temperature to WARM. Cover and serve directly from the slow cooker.

LEMON-PEAR TODDY

Photo: Greg Dupree. Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling.

This hot toddy is on the lighter side and comes together in a flash, thanks to the microwave. A little fresh lemon juice adds a bright top note and balances the sweet pear flavor by adding a light tang.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup pear vodka
  • 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional garnish: thinly sliced pear
Preparation
  1. Combine water, sugar and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until boiling. Stir to dissolve sugar and water completely.
  2. Stir in vodka, brandy, juice and vanilla. Garnish glasses with pear slices, if desired. Serve warm.

SMUGGLER’S COFFEE

Photo: Fredrika Stjarne

Or, maybe it should be called Snuggler’s Coffee, since this double-rum beverage is perfect for snuggling by the fire pit. But the addition of cinnamon and orange zest also adds that holiday twist that makes it work equally well for holiday gatherings.

Ingredients (single serving)
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee, strong
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 once gold rum
  • 1 once dark rum
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 long strip of orange zest
  • Optional garnish: finely grated orange zest, canned sweetened whipped cream, grated Mexican chocolate
preparation
  1. In a heatproof glass, stir the coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir in both rums, and add the cinnamon stick and strip of orange zest.
  3. If desired, garnish with whipped cream, grated Mexican chocolate and grated orange zest.

Images courtesy of Time, Inc.

How to Smoke Barbecue Brisket

(photo courtesy Southern Living magazine)

Brisket is a lean cut of beef that presents a way to inexpensively feed a crowd, making it an ideal choice for tailgating season. Because it is a tough cut of meat, it requires extended cooking (about 6 hours) — which is perfect for an all-day tailgating session. You can also do some precooking in an oven, if you need to reduce the amount of grill time. For perfect brisket every time, follow these steps.

Step 1: Trimming the meat

Buy a brisket between 10 and 12 pounds. If possible, have the butcher trim off any excess fat. If not, trim it yourself. Leave any marbling that is within the muscle itself. Marbling will add flavor and moisture to the meat. But there’s typically a patch of fat that runs the length of one side of the cut, and you’ll want to remove that.

Step 2: the marinade

Marinade your brisket overnight in your favorite marinade. If you don’t have a favorite, try a simple marinade of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and red wine, topped with a liberal coating of garlic powder and onion powder. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Step 3: The smoke

Select your favorite wood (this blogger prefers cherry), and soak the chunks in water prior to cooking. The key is to cook the brisket over indirect heat. Never put your meat directly over the coals. Keep the temperature of the pit around 225 degrees for about 6 hours. Aim for an internal meat temp of 195 degrees. Try to avoid unnecessarily opening the lid while it’s cooking, or you’ll cause the temperature to fluctuate too much.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Let the finished meat rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. For that typical sliced brisket look, slice on the bias in the direction of the muscle grain. Have some barbecue sauce ready, for those who like to dip. To make your brisket feed more people, serve with slider buns.

NEXT WEEK:  Now that you have part of the menu planned, come back to the blog next week for ideas on hosting the ultimate backyard tailgate party.

Fireside Memories & S’mores Recipes

Last month, we reached out to our audience and asked them to share their fireside memories and favorite s’mores recipes with us as part of our National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveway. We had an incredible response and received nearly 1,500 stories and over 600 recipes from all across the nation. It’s clear that spending time with loved ones around a fire is a heartwarming activity for people from all walks of life. Below are some of our favorite submissions. For more stories and recipes, be sure to visit the Outdoor Living by Belgard Facebook page, where we’ll be sharing more of these throughout the month.

Fireside Memories

The only time we got with my dad when we were children was camping. Being around the campfire making s’mores and telling stories was the best because we got a sweet treat, and we got my dad’s undivided attention finally. And mine were always the gooiest!   – Douglasville, GA

Sitting around a fire is one of the few great things I can still remember about my childhood with my grandparents.   -Algonquin, IL

I remember the kids being little and me running around to make sure they didn’t poke anyone or create little fireballs. Kids, now adults, still have fun making fireside s’mores, and I STILL run around trying to make sure they don’t poke each other and create little fireballs!  -Reston, VA

We made s’mores with my grandson on a makeshift fire pit just before my husband was diagnosed with cancer. My grandson’s response was so amazing. He was three.  It was really special to have that first experience with him.  -Trinity, FL

Every year we have a family reunion at our home. Family members fly in from all around the United States for a one-week event where we have a few nights of cookouts in our backyard. And s’mores are part of that on our homemade fire pit.    -North Oaks, MN

My first s’mores experience was when I was nine years old. I was camping with friends and was introduced by my friend’s family. I’ll never forget the incredible taste and experience. It is something that I plan to one day pass on to my children as well.   -Joliet, IL

My favorite memory is making s’mores around the campfire as a Camp Fire Girl, fifty years ago. S’mores have been the best campfire treat for a long long time. So glad they get a special day each year. Now that’s getting your just desserts.  -Pleasant Valley, OR

Our family was in the backyard, around our store-bought fire pit, making s’mores. Our youngest son decided he had enough and told us that he was “going home.” In his mind, we were on a grand adventure, even though we were just in our backyard.   -Jacksonville, FL

S’mores Recipes

A lot of folks suggested augmenting a classic s’more by trading out the milk chocolate bar for other candy bars: Andes® mints, peanut butter cups, Heath® bars, Mr. Goodbar®, et cetera — all of which sound delicious! But here were some recipes that had a little extra creativity.

This is a Trader Joe’s s’more! Take a large marshmallow, carve a small hole and put in these items from Trader Joe’s (whatever amount fits): choc chunks, dried blueberries, dried coconut chips. After toasting that, put between two graham crackers or lemon shortbread cookies.    -Cumberland, ME

This is an adult s’mores recipe that I created and is amazing: Grand Marnier® marshmallows, milk chocolate bar, waffle cookies. The combination makes wonderful s’mores that are not overly sweet.     -N.Mandelke,  Los Gatos, CA

Vanilla graham crackers, chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow. -Cary, IL

We line up four vanilla wafers on a plate, add a small Heath® bar and two toasted marshmallows. We then top it with four more vanilla wafers and press down. Delish!!  –T. Karnowski, Andover, MN

Shortbread cookies, dark chocolate squares, raspberries and marshmallows!  -Grandville, MI

We like to make s’mores cones — Ingredients: Sugar cones, mini marshmallows, crumbled graham crackers, chocolate chips. Directions: fill cones with remainder of ingredients to the top. Wrap in foil and lay on grate above coals for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool.  -S. Miller, Homer, LA

Our favorite way to make s’mores is with chewy ginger cookies instead of graham crackers. Two chewy ginger cookies (homemade or store bought) with a little Nutella® then add a toasted marshmallow. A delicious classic with a little extra ginger twist.  -Ventura, CA

Enjoy!

Next week’s blog: Come back to the blog next week to learn about using columns as an accent in outdoor living design.

Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp Skewers

With watermelon season coming to a close, it seems only fitting to put some melon on the grill for one last hurrah on Labor Day. Grilling watermelon adds a smokey note to the fruit and gives it a slightly meaty texture that matches well with shrimp. This also gives you an opportunity to utilize any fresh herbs you’ve grown this summer. Cooking this dish only takes a couple of minutes, which makes it the perfect appetizer. Before you get started, you’ll need twelve 12-inch metal skewers or eighteen 8-inch skewers. If you use bamboo, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to using them, which will keep them from igniting on the grill.

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for marinade), plus 1 ½ Tbsp (for brushing)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint (marinade), plus ¼ cup torn mint leaves (garnish)
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. red chile flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. jumbo peeled and deveined shrimp (21-26 per pound), thawed if frozen
  • ½ small seedless watermelon (about 2 lbs.), cut into 1″ cubes
directions

Step 1:  In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup oil, the lime zest and juice, chopped mint, thyme, chile flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour half into a small bowl and set aside to use as a drizzle later.

Step 2: Add shrimp to remaining marinade mixture in medium bowl and chill, covered, about 1 hour.

Step 3: Heat grill to very high (550º to 650º).

Step 4: Thread watermelon cubes onto half of the skewers so that pieces lie flat. Brush both sides with remaining 1 ½ Tbsp oil. Thread shrimp onto the remaining skewers, piercing each through its top and bottom to form a C (so shrimp lies flat).

Step 5: Grill watermelon on one side only until grill marks appear (about 1 minute). Transfer to a platter. Grill shrimp, turning once, just until pink (1.5 to 2 minutes total). Transfer to the platter.

Step 6: Drizzle plated skewers with reserved marinade and sprinkle with the torn mint.

Recipe/photo courtesy Time Inc. (photo: Iain Bagwell)