I tried to come up with a portmanteau for this dessert, something like the El-fernutter-ore. But I figured that was not very SEO-friendly. And it was just awful to say out loud.
The Elvis is reportedly Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich. It’s white bread + peanut butter + bananas + crisp bacon (though the bacon is not a universally agreed-upon ingredient).
The fluffernutter is a sandwich that was probably invented by someone who wanted to hawk lots of marshmallow creme spread. It is white bread + peanut butter + marshmallow creme.
The s’more is a campfire treat made of molten marshmallow (burned over the campfire). It is graham crackers + marshmallow + chocolate.
To be honest, I’ve never actually eaten an Elvis or a fluffernutter. I was never offered them and I never went out of my way to make them. They honestly seem a bit icky, and I sort of have issues with overly processed foods. I’ve had s’mores but I don’t really like them. Being Vietnamese American, I grew up eating Vietnamese food, so I learned about American junk food mostly from TV but never had the chance to taste much of it. When I got older and tried items I had seen on TV, I tended to react like, “OH MY GOD. WHAT IS THIS?”
So the fun challenge in coming up with this dessert was figuring out how to use those flavors and really just make a production out of it, going the extra mile in preparing its parts so that you get a dessert that is pretty cool and doesn’t feel like junk food.
And I actually am a fan of American food in general but I am constantly trying to figure out ways to give classic American dishes a Vietnamese sensibility, which doesn’t mean putting fish sauce into everything. To me, it means making it “fresher.”
From bottom to top, the breakdown of the Elvis fluffernutter s’more:
There is a dusting of cocoa powder on the bottom of the plate. This is a bitter chocolate flavor, which I like because it contrasts with the block of sweetness that’s sitting on top if it.
There is a layer of shortbread at the bottom as a stand-in for the white bread and graham cracker component of the inspirations. The shortbread isn’t spiced or flavored with extracts because the peanut marshmallow that sits on top has a subtle peanut flavor.
The peanut butter marshmallow is spread over the shortbread while it’s still warm and pliable. It’s a dense marshmallow, due to the added fat content from the peanut butter. The is charred with a torch, lending another slightly bitter note to the whole dessert.
A bruleed banana sits on top of the shortbread bar. The top is hard and you break the sugar sheet with a fork to get to the soft banana, which retains most of its original texture. I didn’t want to mess with the banana too much.
On top of all that is a piece of crisp bacon. The saltiness helps balance out the sweetness of the shortbread bar, and the smokiness is like a buddy to the slight bitterness of the brulee, the marshmallow char, and the cocoa powder.
- ½ cup of butter (a stick)
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup of white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2½ tsp (1 packet) of gelatin
- ⅓ cup of smooth/creamy peanut butter
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup of cool water
- 1½ bananas, cut in half crosswise and lengthwise (and I just eat the leftover half banana myself)
- ¼ cup of white sugar
- 3 strips of thick-cut bacon
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Heat the butter so it's mostly melted and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add flour, salt, and sugar to the butter and mix until well incorporated. I do this by hand but you can do it in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Press the entire mixture evenly into the bottom of a loaf pan. (Loaf pans are about 5 by 10 inches, and if you have one with 90-degree angles, like a Pullman loaf pan, use that! If not, it's okay.) The shortbread should be about ⅝ths of an inch thick.
- Bake the shortbread in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and doesn't feel soft when you lightly press down on it.
- Wait until the shortbread is done baking before making the marshmallow, because it goes relatively quick and you need to pour the marshmallow into the loaf pan while it's still warm.
- Put your gelatin in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl and pour half of the water over it to let it bloom.
- Put your sugar in a small sauce pan and pour the rest of the water over it. Heat it up over high heat to a temperature of 240 degrees F (that's the high end of the soft ball stage). Take it off the heat immediately when it reaches 240.
- Scoop your peanut butter over the gelatin mixture and with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), break it up a little it over low speed.
- Carefully (maybe have a buddy help?) pour in about half a cup of the hot sugar mixture and begin whipping on medium. Continue whipping as you pour a slow stream of sugar into the bowl, which will get warm from the heat of the sugar.
- Once the sugar is all gone, turn up the speed to high and whip until the mixture lightens, thickens, and feels "nougaty." This will take about 10 minutes. Your marshmallow will never develop peaks because of the peanut butter, so don't hold out hope for that. ;)
- Once you feel good about the texture of the mixture, scrap it into the loaf pan with the shortbread (it can still be warm) with an oil spatula. You won't get every bit in there because the mixture is sticky, but give it a good effort. You also don't have to worry about spreading the marshmallow mixture so it's smooth. It will level itself on its own.
- Let it set for at least 4 hours before cutting, or overnight.
- Up to an hour before you want to serve, sprinkle a layer of sugar on top of the banana halves. Brulee them with a torch until the sugar caramelizes.
- When ready to serve, cut the bacon strips in half, crosswise, and fry them up so they're nice and crispy. When draining them, twist them into a curly cue shape or whatever shape you'd like while they're still hot. They will stay in that shape after they cool.
- Sprinkle cocoa powder over your plates, concentrating on one area, where the shortbread will sit.
- Separate/scrape the edge of the marshmallow shortbread from the pan with a butter knife. Run the knife around the whole thing a few times to make sure.
- Flip the pan over your palm so that your hand catches the marshmallow shortbread. (The guy is actually pretty sturdy, so you don't have to worry about being too careful with it.)
- Place the shortbread side face up on a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut the loaf crosswise into 6 pieces. You'll saw through the shortbread carefully and once you reach the marshmallow layer, it will be super easy to finish the cut. If the sides of your pan is sloped, go ahead and also trim the edges so the pieces are perfect, pretty rectangles.
- Brulee the marshmallow top of the shortbread with the torch so the top gets a light char.
- Arrange it like so!: Shortbread on top of the powder, banana on top of the shortbread, bacon on top of the banana! Enjoy!
This is where the magic happens. My kitchen. It’s kind of like a disaster zone because winter is a-coming and it’s a mad rush to cook shit and squeeze in photos before the sun goes down.