Opt for this healthier and tasty s’mores recipe.
By Lauryn Lax
S’mores—melted chocolate and marshmallows squished between two graham crackers—are a nostalgic treat perfect for a fall bonfire, when camping or on a Girl Scout troop excursion. And for many people, they bring back memories of the good old days.
“S’mores,”a contraction of the phrase “some more,” says enough about the treat itself: When you eat one, you want some more, even if you’re 34 and no longer wear a green, patched vest and pigtails.
Unfortunately, s’mores have a way of breaking the 80/20 balance rule (eating healthy 80 percent of the time and eating an occasional treat the other 20 percent of the time), especially considering the three primary ingredients represent refined, processed foods—until now.
In honor of National S’mores Day and our fellow Austin women who care about their health and the fine things in life (like chocolate), here’s our very own cleaned-up version of s’mores. Grab your gal troop and get to nibbling!
Traditional store-bought graham crackers often include unbleached, enriched wheat flour, soybean oil, honey, sugar, soy lecithin and artificial flavor. That’s enough said! Wheat-based products like graham crackers, coupled with hydrogenated oils, like soybean oil, and refined sugar are a gut-health nightmare. The majority of wheat we eat today is a far cry from the real stoneground wheat of the days of old, when it was full of essential nutrients and vitamins.
Unfortunately, by the time wheat makes it to your local grocery shelf, it is about 99 percent man-made, processed, genetically engineered with pesticides and full of components like phytates, lectins and gluten that the body was not made to digest. The regular consumption of processed, enriched wheat is associated with leaky-gut syndrome, immune-system dysfunction, brain fog, skin breakouts, hormone imbalances, chronic disease and more.
For a healthy makeover on these crumbly, sweet crackers, opt for plantain graham crackers. Green plantains are natural prebiotics, fibers and starches that feed beneficial bacteria in your gut, making your gut healthier all around. Prebiotic fibers are essential for helping probiotics in supplements and foods to stick in your gut. Think of them like food for probiotics, and without them, you may as well flush your probiotics down the toilet. Healthy gut bacteria—established by prebiotics like plantains and probiotic foods and supplements—are essential for boosting metabolism and the immune system, clear skin, hormone and blood-sugar balance, brain function, mental health and healthy digestion overall.
Plantain Graham Crackers
2 green plantains
1/2 cup solid fat of choice (duck fat, tallow, lard, coconut oil, ghee, palm shortening)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons granulated coconut sugar
1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. Peel the plantains. Cut each plantain into medium chunks. Add to the bowl of a food processor.
4. Add the fat, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, molasses, sugar and spices.
5. Process the mixture in a food processor until it forms a smooth, thick paste with no lumps of plantain.
6. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet, then place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the plantain paste. Press down to squish the batter until it’s about 1/8-inch thick. Remove the top layer of parchment paper and bake for about 10 minutes.
7. Remove the plantains from the oven and cut them into 2-inch squares.
8. Return the baking sheet to the oven for 45 to 60 minutes.
Store-bought marshmallows offerzero nutritional value and often contain corn syrup, cornstarch, sugar, dextrose, pyrophosphate, and natural and artificial flavors.Studies comparing high-fructose corn syrup to ordinary sugarhave found that their metabolic effects are basically the same, confusing your body’s ability to burn fuel appropriately. High-fructose corn syrup is also associated with long-term liver damage, blood-sugar dysfunction, weight problems and digestion problems. Unfortunately, the average American consumes more than 50 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup each year.
For a healthy makeover, nix store-bought marshmallows in favor of homemade marshmallows or coconut butter. The gelatin in homemade marshmallows is a protein, like collagen, full of amino acids with a wide range of health benefits, including improving skin health, healing the gut lining for those with leaky-gut syndrome, aiding in digestion and blood-sugar control, boosting metabolic function and maintaining healthy bones and joints.
Coconut butter, or coconut manna, is the flesh of a real coconut that has been made into a paste. Unlike coconut oil, which melts into a liquid, coconut butter can be spread like almond butter or peanut butter. It provides brain and metabolic-boosting healthy fats, along with lauric acid, an antiviral and antibacterial compound that boosts all-around gut health and immunity. In most grocery stores, you can find it in the same area as natural nut butter or coconut oil.
1 cup warm water, divided
1/4 cup gelatin powder
1 cup manuka honey or pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavor option (mint or lemon extract, cocoa powder, etc.)
4 capsules soil-based probiotics (optional)
1. Pour half a cup warm water into a mixing bowl and add the gelatin. Whisk it slightly and set aside.
2. Pour the other half a cup of water, 1 cup of raw honey and the cocoa powder (if using) into a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
3. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil while stirring. Once it’s boiling, stir constantly for eight minutes.
4. Whisk while slowly pouring the honey and water mixture into the mixing bowl then mix on medium speed.
5. When the honey mix is added, turn the mixer to high and whisk for another 10 to 15 minutes or until it forms a stiff cream like the consistency of marshmallow cream.
6. Add the probiotics and vanilla for the last two minutes of mixing.
7. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with coconut oil or line it with parchment paper. When marshmallows are whipped, pour them info the dish and smooth evenly.
8. Let them rest at least four hours.
9. Flip the marshmallows onto a cutting board and cut them into squares with a knife.
10. Store them in an airtight container on the counter.
Chocolate, like coffee and red wine, can have its health benefits. However, not all chocolates are created equally. Milk chocolate, like the traditional Hershey’s chocolate bar, has very few benefits beyond tasting yummy for the five seconds it’s in your mouth. Considering most Americans consume an average of 3 pounds of sugar every week and more than 150 pounds of sugar every year, the 17 grams of sugar in a Hershey’s bar, in conjunction with 8 grams of sugar in two marshmallows and 9 grams of sugar in two graham crackers, quickly add up to 34 grams of sugar—much more than the maximum daily limit of 25 grams.
For a healthy chocolate makeover, choose and 70 to 100 percent dark-chocolate bar. Pure dark chocolate boasts tons of benefits that justify eating it, including magnesium and PMS relief, powerful antioxidants to boost immunity and cellular metabolism, enhanced brain function and a rich supply of flavonoids.