Whew! This has been A. Year…And we’re only 7 months in (also, how??). A global pandemic (that we can’t seem to control), a civil rights movement (finally, thank GOD), and killer bees (what ever happened to those?) have all made 2020 one for the books.
I know that 4th of July is supposed to feel super *ra ra America*, but as a black female human living through this moment in our history, I’m not feeling particularly patriotic. So, in honor of this year’s 4th of July, I bring you Hot Mess S’mores Dip. It’s exactly what it says it is…A hot mess of white chocolate topped with homemade mixed berry compote that’s not too sweet to balance the layer of toasted mini marshmallows on top. Served with cinnamon graham cracker for dipping, it’s…Mwah! *Chefs kiss*
The combination together sort of reminds me of mixed berry cheesecake , plus brûléed marshmallows.
Serious thing for a moment: on this 4th of July, as you’re celebrating with family or friends, I ask you to reflect on what freedom and democracy actually means, who really has access to it—and, more importantly, who does not. If you are one of the lucky ones who does, please reflect on what else you can do in your own sphere to make sure that everyone else can too…Anyway, enjoy this recipe.
Why you should make this Hot Mess Mixed Berry S’mores Dip (AKA White Chocolate S’mores Dip with Mixed Berry Compote)
Not only is this s’mores dip the perfect thing to bring to your family’s or friends’ small socially-distanced gathering (the portion size is perfect for a small group), but it’s also a perfect metaphor for what’s going on—so you get a funny punchline that sparks conversation too.
In addition, there are approximately 1.342 million (number may or may not be accurate) ‘s’mores dip’ recipes online and most of them are the same. Not only is this recipe unique, but it’s easy to follow and wooorrtthhh itttt (again, mixed berry cheesecake—need I say more??)
Finally, pretty sure it’s illegal to have a 4th of July without s’mores, but it’s been an exhausting year and who wants to do all that work at a time like this?? Bring this to the party, and the other guests will thank you; you become the hero of the barbecue; you’re welcome.
Pro Tips/Things to Know About This Recipe:
For this recipe, because we’re using a pan on the smaller side, I like using smaller marshmallows so that each person can get more marshmallows per scoop. However, if you are doubling this recipe, or if you only have large marshmallows on hand, cut them in half and use those, cut side down.
The white chocolate is a main feature of this recipe, so as always, I like to use high-quality baking chocolate. For this recipe, I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips, but you can use whatever high-quality white chocolate chip brand you like.
Using ganache instead of plain white chocolate makes for an extra silky, even texture that mixes well with the compote. It also prevents any issues of uneven heating/melting or potential scorching, which this kind of chocolate is particularly prone to. I adapted the white chocolate ganache recipe from the High Heels and Grills cookies and cream s’mores dip recipe, but made I used heavy cream to make it extra thick to keep moisture to a minimum so that the texture doesn’t become watery when mixed with the berries.
Instead of using fresh berries, I used frozen berries just because it was more economical compared to buying each of the berries separately. Plus, they’re great to save and use in future recipes, or even smoothies! A little bit of lemon zest and salt help to add more dimension to the flavor. The most important thing to note for the compote is to make sure that it is as dry as possible without burning. If the compote has too much liquid, it will leach into the chocolate and you’ll have s’mores soup instead, which may be an interesting concept for a future recipe, but it’s not what we’re going for here. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the compote has no liquid sitting at the bottom of the pot by the time it is done cooking and instead should have a sticky texture to ensure there’s not too much water left over.
Serving & Storing
This dish should definitely be served immediately, while it’s still warm. If you’re bringing this to someone else’s house (which hopefully isn’t the case, because, COVID), consider making the ganache and compote right before you leave, topping with marshmallows and waiting to toast the marshmallows until you get to your destination.
In regards to storing, this dip will keep pretty well for about a day, but after that, the humidity from the fridge will make it too moist (not sorry). You can store it in the fridge (in the container you first made it in) with some foil or plastic wrap over it, and then reheat it by baking it regularly (not using a broiler) at about 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.
- Berry Compote:
- 1 pound or 2 cups of frozen mixed berries
- ¼ cup of sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 2 pinches kosher salt (if you really like the sweet/salty thing, I encourage you to add more to taste—remember that this will be sandwiched between white chocolate ganache and marshmallows)
- White Chocolate Ganache
- 1 ½ cups of white chocolate chips
- 5 tablespoons (about ⅓ of a cup) of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of salted butter (or unsalted if you’d like)
- For S'mores:
- About ⅔-1 cup of mini marshmallows (or however many needed to create 1 layer on top of your dip)
- Cinnamon graham crackers (or regular graham crackers) for serving
- Start compote. Add all ingredients into a small sauce pot. Stir to combine. Cook on medium heat. Be sure to stir frequently until enough water starts to release from berries because sugar burns fast. If you notice that the berries are starting to caramelize before the water is released, adjust heat to medium-low or low instead (depending on the heat of your stove. If you burn the compote, it would likely be best to start all over again.
- Finish compote. As compote reduces, continue to stir to help water to continue to evaporate as much as possible. While this happens, use the back of your spoon to smash the berries (this helps release all the extra liquid from the berries so that it can cook out). It’s okay if some small chunks still remain. Compote is done when compote is sticky and there is no more liquid pooled at the bottom of the pot (but make sure it does not burn). This will take between 15 and 17 minutes. Once compote is complete, remove from burner and set aside.
- Make the ganache. You can do this one of two ways: you can either heat the heavy cream and butter to a light simmer in a small sauce pan (whisking the two together) before pouring over your solid white chocolate to melt it—OR you can pour all the ingredients, including the white chocolate, in a microwave-safe bowl and microwaving everything for 20 seconds. If your white chocolate becomes pasty and/or separated from the butter (aka if it seizes up), add more heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time to the mixture and stir with a whisk or fork.
- Assemble your s’mores dip. Pour in your ganache, spoon your compote on top, then cover generally with mini marshmallows. To keep marshmallows from browning unevenly under the broiler, make sure that your marshmallows are level.
- Toast Marshmallows. Set broiler to 520 degrees fahrenheit and place dip on the lowest rack. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THESE MARSHMALLOWS—DON’T EVEN BLINK ( I learned the hard way these burn fast and almost set fire to my house while recipe testing, honestly). Brown marshmallows for a total of 4 minutes, rotating the pan every 1 ½ to 2 minutes to ensure even toasting. Remove once they have puffed up and are golden brown.
- Serve immediately with cinnamon or regular graham crackers for dipping.
Special Kitchen Supplies: you will need a 8 inch cast iron skillet or other 8 in oven-proof container (I’ve also used a glass pyrex)