Adopting Zoe of Z’s Cup of Tea led to these amazing gluten-free Oven S’mores!
For the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event —originated by the adorable gluten-free community builder, Sea of Book of Yum (unfortunately, this site is no longer active)—I adopted Zoe of Z’s Cup of Tea (unfortunately, this site is no longer active).
Do you know Zoe ? I first learned about Zoe and her delightful gluten-free creations via another blog.
I was so surprised to learn that Zoe was a teenager. That’s because her creations were so amazing and looked like they were created by someone that had decades of baking experience. Therefore, I headed over to Z’s Cup of Tea immediately.
Now I’m having a cup of tea with Zoe as often as I can—virtually, anyway (for now!).
Zoe is charming and delightful. She’s a wonderful, creative cook who makes fantastic recipes, especially baked goods.
Her recipes usually focus on and fit the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). That means all of her recipes are gluten free.
Zoe’s also a beautiful writer. Her knowledge and skills go far beyond her years.
Zoe actually started her first blog, a literary one, even earlier, a few years ago when she was barely a teenager.
It was a post of Zoe’s and chatting with her via email that inspired me to purchase Julia Child’s My Life in France—the one with the photos, the only one to buy per Zoe’s advice. It’s still in my “to read” stack, but I’m greatly looking forward to it, thanks to Zoe!
Now to Zoe’s recipes with a little meandering along the way.
Eons ago, I saw Martha Stewart make marshmallows on Oprah. Oprah expressed incredulity that Martha would make her own marshmallows. “Why?” she asked.
Then she ate one of Martha’s homemade marshmallows on national television and seemed to have one of her O moments, and better yet implied that anyone could have an “O” moment by eating homemade marshmallows … if you know what I mean.
I’m sure I rolled my eyes and said something like Maxine would say. You know Maxine, don’t you? She’s the cartoon character shown on the right who dishes out her own brand of sarcastic, curmudgeonly wisdom and humor. (Maxine was created by John Wagner for Hallmark’s Shoebox Greeting line and has remained hugely popular for many years.)
One of my favorite emails that periodically makes the rounds is “Martha’s Way Versus Maxine’s Way.” It always makes me chuckle, even though I’ve read it a hundred times. Here’s my favorite part:
Martha: “Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.”
Maxine: “Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete’s sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway!”
What does that all have to do with Zoe? Well, Zoe has two great marshmallow recipes on her blog. Both are refined sugar free.
First, Zoe made marshmallows using agave nectar, and the last time, she used honey as her sweetener. (You know I’m all about the honey love.)
Even though I scoffed at making my own marshmallows years ago, since I’ve gone gluten free, I’ve been reading labels like all of you. While most, if not all, packaged marshmallows are gluten free, they also contain other ingredients you might be avoiding.
Here’s what is in Kraft marshmallows.
Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Cornstarch, Dextrose, Water, Contains Less than 2% of Gelatin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (Whipping Aid), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Blue 1
Here’s what is in Campfire marshmallows.
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Food Starch (Corn), Gelatin, Water, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate
I tell you, reading labels is not for the faint of heart. Zoe’s recipes call for gelatin, water, agave or honey, salt, and vanilla extract. Period.
I’m pretty sure that the ones Martha made on Oprah so long ago contained corn syrup. And, Zoe actually had an early marshmallow-making “disaster” using corn syrup. Incidentally, as part of her recipe index, Zoe has a category for “Disasters.” I love that!
I have a thing for S’mores, particularly Cookie S’mores, which have become a favorite of gfe family and friends.
So when I saw a blurb in our local newspaper (two lines and a small photo) on making Oven S’more Treats using crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, I came up with a plan to make Zoe’s marshmallow recipe and create these simple appealing treats.
Making S’mores would not only be a tasty task, but it would also elicit thoughts of warmer weather and camping fun. However, when I went grocery shopping in town, no “good” gluten-free crackers were to be found.
So I formulated a new plan, I’d execute a slight tweak to my Cookie S’mores. A cookie on the bottom, a square of chocolate on top, and then a marshmallow. Simple, bite-sized, and delicious.
Zoe had the perfect cookie recipe for the project—Spur of the Moment Chocolate Cookies (via The Wayback Machine). Made from almond flour, gluten-free flour/starches, cocoa, applesauce, egg, coconut milk, and honey, she said these cookies were not too sweet.
“Not too sweet” cookies are the perfect kind for topping with chocolate and marshmallows IMHO. (Or for drinking with a cup of tea for that matter.) Although most of my gfe chocolate cookies would work well as a base.
But then other things intervened and my plans for making marshmallows had to be shelved for a while. So, while I hate to admit it, I did use some store-bought marshmallows for this project.
My sister had given Mr. GFE a wrought-iron marshmallow tree for Christmas. I kid you not. See the photo below, but note that it doesn’t fully show this unique gift. You’ll want to click on this link to see this cool marshmallow tree with the rose wood handle.
My sister is a bit germ-phobic. Her thinking: Why use a yucky natural stick or branch when you can use a reusable and washable (key word!) marshmallow “tree”?
Again, the photo doesn’t really do this marshmallow tree justice. It’s 43 inches long and looks like it might be able to hold all the marshmallows in the bag of Campfire marshmallows that also came with the gift. If you double and triple stacked them of course.
Okay, I might be exaggerating but it will definitely old as many marshmallows as you want to eat in one sitting!
It’s quite the novelty and will no doubt get used by those who join us this summer for our camping adventures.
So, back to Zoe and the S’more project … I made her Spur of the Moment Chocolate Cookies and they came out great. I forgot to pack down the almond flour when measuring (which is important for almond flour) so I did add some more to produce a thick enough batter. I also cut back on the honey because of how the cookies would be used. (I found I even liked them plain with less honey though.)
Well, the project didn’t go exactly as shown in the newspaper.
I tried two methods. First, I placed the square of chocolate on each cookie right as it came out of the oven and also topped it with the marshmallow. The chocolate melted too much to put back in the oven, even after I placed the baking sheet on the screened porch to cool some.
The second time around, I let the cookies cool and then topped them with the chocolate and marshmallow before placing them back in the oven. The results weren’t much different. This oven method really doesn’t lend itself to the marshmallows cooking enough in my opinion.
I think Zoe’s homemade marshmallows would actually solve that problem as they are flat and rectangular and would cover the chocolate as they melted/warmed up in the oven for more of a true S’more effect. But, until then, I’m thinking I should put this particular version of Oven S’mores in Zoe’s “Disasters” category. Although I admit that they are delicious … very messy in the making and not as intended, but still delicious. The lack of complete success has nothing to do with Zoe though. Zoe’s recipe was great.
So, in summary, I loved Zoe’s cookies, am still dreaming of her marshmallows and a few other recipes, and will keep following her blog faithfully as she, her recipes, and her writing are all fabulous and make me happy. Head on over to Zoe’s to share a cup of tea, a cookie, a marshmallow, and more!
Originally published February 8, 2011; updated February 12, 2023.