Arizona S'mores

Tracy Dempsey

Tracy Dempsey Originals, Tempe, AZ

A riff on a childhood favorite, this dessert features smoky mesquite flour graham crackers topped with a spicy Tabasco Chipotle Sauce–infused chocolate ganache and toasted homemade marshmallows.


Vanilla Bean Marshmallows:
  • Cooking spray
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups corn syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon gelatin powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Mesquite Graham Crackers:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker flour
  • 1/3 cup mesquite flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Tabasco Chipotle Ganache:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Maldon or any large flaky sea salt
  • Smoked sea salt for plating


Make the marshmallows: spray a 9 x 9-inch square pan with cooking spray and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Set aside. 

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, 3/4 cup water, and salt in large saucepan or pot with a candy thermometer attached. Mix to fully moisten the sugar. Cook over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, place 3/4 cup water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, then stir with a spatula to fully moisten the gelatin. 

Cook the sugar mixture on the stove until it reaches 242°F, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and begin streaming the sugar mixture into the bowl of the mixer while the mixer is on low speed. Once all of the hot sugar syrup is poured into the bowl, increase the speed. Continue to increase the speed until it is on high. Continue whipping the meringue until the volume has tripled and the bowl is slightly warm to the touch, about 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract. Immediately transfer the marshmallow meringue to the prepared pan. Dust the top with additional confectioner’s sugar. Allow the marshmallows to set up for at least 6 hours or overnight at room temperature. Cut the marshmallows into 2 ¼-inch squares (or desired size) with a lightly oiled chef’s knife. Toss the cut marshmallows in powdered sugar. Store cut marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature.

Make the mesquite graham crackers: in a bowl, combine the flours and cinnamon. Set aside. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, sugar, honey, and salt on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms, about 1 minute. 

Transfer the dough to a work surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle. Trim off any uneven edges. Cut into thirty 2 x 2 inch squares using the fluted end of a rolling pastry cutter. Transfer the cut cookies to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Using the tines of a fork, prick the surface of each cookie, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and freeze for about 20 minutes prior to baking.

Place the cookies in the oven and bake until they’re dry in appearance and fragrant, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size. Allow the cookies to cool. Store in airtight containers at room temperature until ready to serve. 

Make the Tabasco Chipotle ganache: place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Place the heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for about 10 minutes. Stir to combine. Add the Tabasco Chipotle Sauce, stirring to incorporate. Taste and adjust heat as desired. Chill the ganache until it’s firm enough to pipe from a pastry bag or to scoop out with a spoon. Store leftover ganache in the refrigerator.

Make the salted caramel sauce: in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium-high heat. Attach a candy thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 320°F. Once the mixture reaches 320°F, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream. It will bubble and possibly splatter, so be very careful. Once the bubbling subsides, stir to combine and add the salt. Cool to room temperature before transferring to container to store in refrigerator.

To assemble: place a small pool of salted caramel sauce on a dessert plate. Sprinkle a small amount of smoked sea salt over the sauce. Place another small dot of the caramel sauce to the side of the pool of sauce and place a graham cracker on it to hold the cookie in place. Pipe a generous amount of the spiced ganache on the cookie. Place a toasted marshmallow on top of the ganache and top with another graham cracker. 

Alternate plating option: place ganache, caramel sauce, smoked sea salt, cookies and skewered marshmallows in bowls on a tray and allow guests to create their own s’mores around the grill or patio fire pit.


about 15 s'mores