1. When it’s 90 degrees in Wisconsin, spend as little time outside as possible. Really, I don’t recommend any vigorous activity.
2. The second the weather turns, the days drop into the 60’s-70’s and the nights even cooler, spend as much time outdoors as humanly possible. Leave the widows open. Go for a walk. Mow the lawn. Go ahead, read a book on the porch.
3. When this beautiful almost fall, end of summer weather hits, cook everything you’ve been meaning to cook outside all summer long.
For me, that meant s’mores. I have for quite some time been meaning to make marshmallows and graham crackers from scratch. I finally did it. It’s almost cold at night these days, my pumpkins are growing rapidly and the farmers markets are loaded with butternut squash, fall raspberries and tomatoes.
It’s my absolute favorite time of year. I love fall. The cool brisk air, the changing leaves. It’s hands down, the best season. I should probably take this entire season off of work. It’s one of the reasons I stay in Wisconsin. It feels almost magical, like there’s some thin veil between reality and some other world on crisp fall nights.
These nights are picture perfect for campfires in the backyard. And roasting marshmallows. I’m not a huge marshmallow fan in general, but put them on a graham cracker with some chocolate and I’m in love. Store bought marshmallows are disturbing. The ingredients are insane. Marshmallow fluff is even worse. So I made some.
They were easy. I mean super easy. Gelatin (which still grosses me out, but necessary in marshmallows), water, sugar and egg whites. That’s basically it. No skill involved, I promise. This is where I got the marshmallow recipe. The cooking of the gelatin is a little off putting. It smells. Kind of gross. I mean it is after all hooves, and it has a distinct smell. For a while I was convinced the marshmallows wouldn’t turn out. They did. They tasted just like a marshmallow. Plan on making them when you will use them, these aren’t the bag of jet puffed you can keep in your pantry forever. There are no preservatives. They get sticky, and sweaty and stale within a few days.
The graham crackers were a bit more difficult, but not much. Here’s the recipe I used. I made 2 more batches after we devoured the first one. The second batch I made in 10 minutes on my lunch break. The dough is easy to make, it just has to chill. Rolling them out was a bit trickier. I was expecting the dough to roll like any typical rolled cookie dough because, who are we kidding, graham crackers are really just cookies. This dough was more like piecrust. It broke easily and was somewhat temperamental. I found it easiest to let it warm up for about 10 minutes before rolling and then return the cut cookies to the fridge before baking. I also used a square cutter instead of cutting them with a knife like the recipe suggests. It was much easier. This dough would probably make an amazing piecrust in any recipe which calls for a graham cracker crust. I plan on trying it the next time I make one.
These graham crackers will be in my permanent repertoire, the marshmallows may not be. I may not make the marshmallows again for a long time, if ever. I’m just not that into marshmallows. I ate the graham crackers every day for a snack. They were soooo good. They made my house smell like heaven when they were baking.
Try it, you’ll see.
Interesting that you should say that you feel like there is a veil between the real world and “something else.” I believe that is your Celtic blood calling you. The Celts called this time of year Lughnassa (not sure of the spelling.) It culminates with Samhain, or Halloween, when the veil (their word) is thinnest between our world and the spirit world.