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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, how about some S’Mores for your love bunnies? Although I’m into showing my love year round, I do enjoy making special heart-shaped treats at this time of year. And not just because it’s Valentine’s Day. It also happens to be my Emma’s birthday. Her birthday is the 15th and she is constantly reminding me that she is my Valentine’s present. Oh, what a precious gift!

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I don’t know anyone who does not love S’Mores. So I thought I’d add my own twist to this classic. An Italian twist, of course! Heart-shaped graham cookies and espresso marshmallows! Oh yeah, you got that right. Espresso marshmallows! Dipped in dark Belgian chocolate, and then dipped again in crushed Amaretti cookie crumbs! Oh man, it doesn’t get better than this. Words cannot describe how scrumptious these Espresso S’Mores are. Now if this doesn’t tell them you love ‘em, I don’t know what will!

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Graham Cookies       adapted from Brown eyed Baker

1½ cups of flour
1⅓ cups of graham flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup of dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons of honey

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In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, or in a stand-mixer bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and honey. Beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended and the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press into a 7-inch square, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into heart shapes. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing the cookies about a 1/2-inch apart. Once on the baking sheet, decorate the cookies with the initials of your loves, small hearts, or any design that fancies you. Gather any scraps, re-roll, and cut out more cookies.

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Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are dark golden brown and just firm to the touch. If adding both cookie sheets at the same time, rotate them after about 8 minutes and bake an additional 4 or 5 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for a minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

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Espresso Marshmallows

4 teaspoons of powdered gelatine
⅔ cup of water
½ cup of freshly brewed espresso coffee
1½ cups of sugar
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
powdered sugar, to sprinkle on finished marshmallow
vegetable oil

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Lay some plastic wrap on the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish or pan, and lightly brush with vegetable oil. If you prefer a thinner marshmallow, use a bigger pan or dish.

Stir the gelatin into the water and let sit until ready to use.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm up the espresso with the sugar and vanilla. When warm, stir in the gelatin and water and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until the sugar and gelatin dissolves. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the espresso-gelatin mixture until it resembles a soft meringue, about 15 minutes. You really need to start this with the mixer on low for the first 5 minutes. It is a very hot liquid and it will splatter. After 5 minutes, increase the speed to medium, and then to medium-high/high for the last 5 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle some powdered sugar onto a cutting board and invert the pan onto it. Peel off the plastic wrap.

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Cut the marshmallow with the same heart-shaped cookie cutter used for the graham cookies. At this point, you can dip the marshmallows in some powdered sugar and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

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Assembling Espresso S’Mores

Dark Belgian chocolate
Amaretti cookies

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Melt some dark Belgian chocolate using the bain marie method. Crush some Amaretti cookies until you have fine crumbs.

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Brush the underside of each graham cookie with the melted chocolate.

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Dip half of an espresso marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and then dip again into the Amaretti cookie crumbs. Place on a heart cookie and cover with another heart. And there you have it. Heart Espresso S’Mores!  Happy Love Day!

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The left-over marshmallows can be gobbled up as is, cut into smaller hearts and served on just 1 graham cookie, or cut into even smaller hearts and plopped into some luscious hot chocolate.  Enjoy!

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