Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recipe for fun in the summer sun - STARFISH S'MORES

When I did a Google search on S'mores, I was astonished at all of the ways you can use the basic combination of chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows.  I found s'mores pies, cakes, cupcakes, lollipops, bars, cake pops, cookies, caramel apples, truffles, ice cream, pizza, trifles, parfaits, breakfast pastries, pudding, fudge, whoopee pies, cereal treats, crepes, sundaes, cheesecakes, brownies, tarts, moon pies, and paninis.  I even found recipes to make s'mores in a jar - the newest craze. Fancy restaurants even make their own versions of s'mores using homemade graham crackers topped with chocolate ganache or mousse then topped with a beautiful piped meringue. 

I challenged myself to find a new and exciting way to make s'mores and am so happy with my results. Aren't they cute?
To make my little starfish s'mores, I whipped up a batch of homemade marshmallows, cut them out with a star shaped cookie cutter, dipped them in some melted chocolate, sprinkled on crushed graham crackers and added two silly little edible eyes. You don't have to be an expert candy dipper to make these, as the more lumpy and messy they are, the better they look. You could use a starfish cookie cutter to make your treats, but I thought the plain star cutter worked just fine, and I had one on hand.

You will have lots of extra scrap pieces of marshmallow once you cut out all of your stars. I saved some to eat and dipped some in chocolate. If you create a beach scene to display your starfish, you can use some of the chocolate dipped scraps as big rocks. I didn't mind having scraps, but if you need a lot of starfish and don't want any scraps, you can put your marshmallow in a large pastry bag and pipe out stars on a cornstarch/powdered sugar lined baking sheet. Just be sure to pipe a few layers of marshmallow, so your starfish are thick. I created my beach scene using brown sugar sprinkled with a bit of white sugar - a bit messy, but it looked great.

Starfish S'mores (makes 12-24 depending on the size - I made 12)
Use a food processor to make
graham cracker crumbs
or place crackers in a bag
 and whack with a rolling
pin or pan.


1 cup water, divided
3 packages unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1-2 teaspoons butter or non-stick cooking spray
50 squares of graham crackers crushed into crumbs
16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chips)

Special Equipment Needed:

star cookie cutter (I used the 3" cutter)
dipping fork or kitchen fork
parchment paper or wax paper
baking sheet or cutting board

Make marshmallows (recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Good Eats) OR use click on this link to see how to make this recipe using store bought marshmallows

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over top of water and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt into a small saucepan.  Stir just to combine ingredients. Cover saucepan, place over medium heat, and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove lid, and clip the candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.  Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit (about 7-8 minutes.) Be very careful not to touch or spill any of this hot syrup on your skin - it will burn badly!

Place the whisk attachment on your stand mixer. Turn the stand mixer onto low speed. Very carefully and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the softened gelatin. Once all of the sugar syrup is in the bowl, increase  the mixer speed to high. Whip until the marshmallow becomes very thick and cools to a lukewarm temperature, about 12-15 minutes. Add the vanilla and whip just to combine.

While the marshmallow is whipping, prepare your pan.  Butter (or spray with non-stick spray) the bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" pan.  Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. Tap pan to remove excess. Save remaining mixture for later.

Butter or spray a rubber spatula and use it to remove the marshmallow from the bowl. Spread the marshmallow evenly in the pan. Use a buttered offset spatula to smooth the surface.  

Dust the top of the marshmallow with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Cover bowl of powdered mixture for later use. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Set a large cutting board on top of the pan of marshmallows.  Turn both the board and pan upside down.  The marshmallow should fall right out of the pan onto the board. If it doesn't, help it along.  Dust a star shaped cookie cutter with some of the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture.  Press the cookie cutter into the marshmallow, remove, and press marshmallow out.  Dust cutter again, and continue to cut stars until you can't cut any more.  As you can see, you will have a lot of marshmallow scraps. Either dust them with more powdered sugar/cornstarch or dip them in any leftover chocolate (be sure to leave some chocolate to attach your candy eyes.)

Melt Chocolate:
Pour chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high power for 30 seconds.  Stir. Heat on high power for 20 seconds. Stir vigorously.  Heat on high power for 15 seconds.  Stir vigorously.  If not melted, continue to heat for 10 second increments, stirring after each, until melted. For more detailed melting instructions, read my chocolate making tutorial.

NOTE: you don't need to temper this chocolate because the graham crackers will completely coat the chocolate, therefore you can use good quality pure chocolate for this recipe.  You can, if you prefer, use confectionery coating/candy melts. You do need to make sure, however, your melted chocolate is between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don't melt your marshmallows. 

Pour graham cracker crumbs into a shallow dish.

Dip Marshmallow Stars into Chocolate and Graham Cracker Crumbs:

Place one marshmallow star in the melted chocolate.  Use a fork to press the marshmallow into the chocolate, covering the top and all sides of the star.  Place the fork on the underside of the marshmallow and use it to lift the marshmallow out of the chocolate.  Shake the marshmallow to allow any excess chocolate to fall off.  Flop the marshmallow over into the bowl of graham cracker crumbs.  Remove fork.  Sprinkle and push the crumbs over and up against the marshmallow star.  Completely cover the star with crumbs and allow to dry for 1-2 minutes in the crumbs. Remove from crumbs and set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board.

I originally added some chocolate to the candy eyes and pressed them onto the starfish.  Most stayed in place, but a few fell off. So, although this method is pictured, I would suggest you do things as mentioned below.

Use a toothpick to dig out small circles of the graham cracker crumbs where the eyes will be on each starfish. Add a dab of chocolate to the holes and place an eye on top.  Once I did this, none of the eyes fell off.

Store your marshmallow starfish in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  Package individual starfish in cellophane bags to give as party favors or gifts.

How would you like to find these yummy starfish s'mores at the beach?

If you like this recipe, please share it with others by using the share buttons below. I really appreciate being Stumbled Upon, and am always grateful to those of you that share my ideas on your website. I do request that you don't post my entire tutorial, but rather share a picture with a link and be sure to mention the recipe came from Hungry Happenings. If you make this recipe, I'd love for you to send me a photo to Thank you for visiting Hungry Happenings 
- Beth
There are only a few days left to enter my current giveaway.  I'm giving one lucky reader over $100 worth of cookie, cake, candy, and themed cuisine decorating supplies. Enter to win! Contest runs through July 20, 2011.


  1. An idea for the left over marshmallow pieces - rocky road! You could cut the marshmallows in pieces and mix with toasted walnuts or pecans and melted chocolate. Put in a pan, chill and cut into squares.
    Just a thought! (o;

  2. Thanks Jill.

    Great suggestion Linda. I think the Rocky Road bars would be a perfect way to use up the marshmallow scraps.

  3. Hello, I'm from Holland and saw your blog on Tastespotting. Fantastic, lots of great idea's. I'm not sure wether I'm ever gone use them but love them. In Holland we only use marhmallows for the BBQ. Bye, Gerry

  4. These are so adorable. I love all of your creations. I don't have kids, but that's not going to stop me from making cute food!

  5. This is such a cute idea! Love the step-by-step too :)

  6. Thanks everyone. I think it is just so wonderful to have so many readers from all over the world. I'm so glad you have all found my blog.

    Gerry, do you roast your marshmallows over the fire? I love them roasted:)

    Nicole, I don't have kids either, and I love creating all of this fun food. I share it with family, friends, and neighbors and that makes a lot of people happy!

  7. What a fun, and not to mention adorable, recipe!

  8. These are AMAZINGLY cute! I dont know anyone that wouldnt be over the moon to receive one of these lovelies, what a gorgeous idea and your photos are simply wonderful :)

  9. Thanks Procrastokaer, it is so nice to get a compliment on my photos. I've been working very hard to learn photography, which is, in my opinion, much harder than creating and making my recipes. I'm glad all of my hard work is paying off.

  10. These are so so awesome. Love the googly eyes! I posted on!

  11. So cute! Oh my goodness! I love these :D The little eyes are awesome. I've wanted to make my own marshmallows for so long now but I don't have a mixer like that, do you know if they can be made with a hand mixer? I will try them some time! :D

  12. Thanks Trish.

    Thanks so much Chic Cookies! I always appreciate being featured on

    Hi Heidi, If you make homemade marshmallows using a hand held mixer, you need one that is pretty powerful (not the cheap $10 kind.) When you make them, give your mixer a break a few times during the mixing process or your mixer could overheat and die on you. Mix for maybe two minutes then let it rest for a minute or two, and repeat until you have whipped marshmallows. In the next few days, I'll be posting a way to make these using store bought marshmallows. Stay tuned!

  13. I don't know why I came here when I am on a diet, and I LOVE s'mores. Those are so stinking cute, and I'm sure they are delicious, too. What a creative girl you are.

  14. These are sooo adorable! Just can't help but smile when looking at them!

  15. This is seriously the cutest thing ever! I am so excited to be your newest follower!

  16. Wow, these look amazing! They are so adorable! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Wow! Absolutely whimsical and brilliant! I shared a link with my readers on Facebook and can't wait to see what other creative recipes are in store!

    New follower,
    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  18. Haha, I love it! I'm definitely not a kid, but I'm in love...and could eat a dozen, I'm sure!

  19. Hi Beth-

    I love these and posted about them on my blog today. I also included them on my DIY daily link page. Soooooo cute and yummy too.

    My best-Diane

  20. very cute, how did you make the eyes?

  21. horseygal - the eyes are storebought edible candy eyes. Wilton makes them, as well as, a few other companies. You can find them at craft stores and cake/candy decorating stores. There is also a link above in the ingredients list so you can buy them from

    You could make your own using royal icing, modeling chocolate or fondant.

  22. Following you with GFC and just liked you on fb too! These rock! Thanks for linking to Bacon Time, hope to see you this week too.

  23. I LOVE these! Do you think there is an alternative to making your own marshmallows? Would marshmallow fluff work at all? I don't know if there's a way you could firm up the fluff...?

  24. Hi Michelle,

    As a matter of fact I just wrote a new post showing you how to use store bought marshmallows to make the starfish and other sea creatures. Go to

  25. These are just the cutest! I featured these on my friday favorites!

  26. mommy2luke2008 - Thanks for posting a link!

  27. Awesome!!!! Featured these too! Thanks so much for sharing at Sun Scholars!

  28. Wow what a neat idea! Lots of work but very cute end product! Would love to have you link to my party this weekend too!

  29. Oh my gosh! These are so darn cute! I'm pinning these =o)

  30. Holy cuteness!! I just pinned this for muffin tin meals. So adorable

  31. Can ready made marshmallows be used? Is it possible to melt them and then let it set?

  32. Hi Anonymous, yes you can use store bought marshmallows to create these starfish. Go to...

    to see how!

  33. Just made these for my daughters under the sea themed birthday party. A BIG mess.. crazy sticky.. lol. But they turned out really cute and I know everyone will love them. Thank You :)

  34. These have to be made this Summer!!!

  35. I LOVE THESE!!! so adorbs - I just pinned them! They are genius :) Found you on Trick or Treat Tuesday! Thanks for sharing :)

    xx melissa @ mamamiss

  36. Hi luv it how far in advance can I make the starfish s'mores and how can I store them to sty fresh

    1. Keep them stored in an airtight container, like Tupperware or a Rubbermaid container. Just leave them at room temperature and they will keep for at least one week.

  37. I want to know how anyone was able to make these?!?! My stars turned to blobs in the chocolate!!! My kitchen is a mess and I've spent $ and all day trying to make these stupid things!! Cute, but impossible (at least with store bought marshmallows)!

    1. Hi Reagan, I'm so sorry to hear it didn't go well for you. Your chocolate must have been too hot which melted the marshmallows. I apologize for not covering that in my tutorial. No one has mentioned it before, so I hadn't even thought about it. When you melt chocolate, it's best to not let it get above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's best to use even cooler chocolate when you dip something into it. I usually use tempered chocolate which is 90 degrees and had no trouble with my marshmallows melting. I am going to add note to the tutorial above about checking the temperature.

      If you are ever working on one of my recipes again and are having trouble with something, please let me know and I'll try to help you through it.

  38. I tried to make these tonight. My son's first birthday is in a couple of weeks and we are doing an under the ocean themed party for him and I thought these were ADORABLE so I decided to do a trial run.. I'm not too great with baking or being creative but I'm pretty good at following directions. I don't have a mixture so I used store bought marshmallows. The first part seamed easy enough all the way to putting the marshmallows in the pan to cool. I let them cool for an hour but they still seamed way too sticky. I was impatient so I stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes which seemed to help when it came to cutting out the star shapes. Although I quickly realized I think I had the wrong type of cookie cutter? Mine is plastic and small... I thought I had a different one also but I don't know what happened to it :( anyways it was a pain because the cutter I had wouldn't cut all the way through the marshmallows. So I had to cut them all out with a knife. Once I did that, I melted the chocolate as directed on here, but then as the comment above, mine turned into blobs also :( I was so sad because they're so cute I really want them at his party! Do you have any suggestions? Also even after they cooled they were pretty messy and seemed just too gooy and nothing like your photos!! Maybe they were just too small? I'm not sure :/ I want to make them again but I'm scared they wont turn out again!


    1. Hi Amanda,

      I know how frustrating it can be trying to re-create a recipe without the proper tools and ingredients. I used homemade marshmallows because I think they taste great and are easier to work with, but have had success with store bought marshmallows too. They are stickier and have a more rubbery consistency. You can cut through them, but you do need to have a cookie cutter that has inch high sides and are made of thin material. Plastic cutters, as you found, do not have very high sides and are rather thick. A metal cutter definitely works better.

      The only reason I know why the marshmallows turned into blobs is that the chocolate was too hot, as mentioned above. If you don't have a thermometer, the best way to test the chocolate is to put a dab on your lip. You want it to feel cool, yet still be liquid. It's best to cool the chocolate to about 90-91 degrees which is about 8 degrees cooler than body temperature. If you dip your marshmallow stars into cooler chocolate, they will not melt then they will hold their shape nicely once coated in the crumbs.

      I do hope you give this another try with the metal cookie cutter. They really are cute and would make a great addition to your ocean themed birthday party. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

  39. What a great idea! I am definitely going to be doing these this weekend with my girls. Thanks so much. How fun!

  40. They actually sell star-shaped marshmallows. Already made.
    I bought some in red, white, and blue for the 4th of July and
    am going to use the leftovers to make these cute starfish.

    1. Yes, I saw those in the stores here this year and bought some too. I saw large ones that would be perfect for these starfish and some really small ones that I don't think would look much like stars once they were dipped in chocolate. I always love when a product comes on the market that makes creating one of my project easier! Have fun making the starfish.

  41. I have failed at this twice. Been trying all week. I tried to make the easy premade marshmallow version, but my microwave is broke. I tried to heat the marshmallow on the stove the way I would for rice crispy treats. Burnt them. On the upside, they tasted like a marshmallow that had been roasted on a fire, so I thought they tasted yummy.. but I will be serving to a bunch of city people who would taste burn and have no context of a real smore. Then I tried melting them over boiling water, uhh they didn't melt much and I was unable to press them into pan. I'm doing one more desperate attempt tonight before I give up... I really really wanted these for my daughter's underwater clifford birthday party. Which is Tomorrow. Sigh. It looks so easy and so beautiful and fun. Sadness.

    1. Sorry to hear about all your mishaps. I would have probably tried the same things you did. I don't really know another way to melt store bought marshmallows. I do love the homemade marshmallows and do recommend them for this recipe. I hope you are able to get this to work for your party.

  42. What a cute and delicious idea. I'm pinning I just have to convince someone to have a beach htemed birthday! ;)

  43. These are RIDICULOUSLY cute!!! Such a clever and fun idea :)

  44. I love homemade marshmallows. But your stars are too cute, I would feel guilty eating them! Maybe I'll have to try them for our 4th of July party!

  45. These are sooooo cute! Thanks for the idea and tutorial.

    By the way, I'd like to invite you to post on my new blog hop ( that is open all weekend, if you're interested.



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