Remember s’mores, that gooey campfire treat we brought back from Scout camp? Several things have happened.
- It’s a US delicacy
- It’s hard to get the makings off-shore
- S’mores have inspired many gourmet Graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate creations in the form of bars, pies, and ice cream.
Twitter friend @SamsBellabob’s mum smuggled (Bella would never smuggle) a packet of graham crackers and a packet of marshmallows into the UK while returning from her US hollibob. Sam had heard tell of the mystical s’more but had never prepared them. @SamsBellabob posted a photo of the makings on Twitter and asked the #houndsoftwitter for help. All activity came to a halt as Bella and 10 of her dearest Twitter friends figured out how one might make s’mores in a country where you can’t buy the makings and there is no dry wood for a camp fire.
The rest of the world is s’mores deficient
In the US, s’mores and the makings for s’mores are ubiquitous. In the UK and much of the rest of the world, Graham Crackers and Marshmallows are found in the world food corner of Tesco or mail ordered from Amazon at premium prices if they are available at all. I dare say, we could find Hobnobs and Walker Shortbread Fingers at a lower premium here. So their first handicap is that it is difficult to get the ingredients, hence the need to bring some back in the overhead bin.
The second problem is that few UK/EU folk have prepared this gourmet delicacy so there was a difference of opinion about how one should go about s’mores. Nobody knew that it was campfire food so there was lots of speculation about microwaves, regular ovens, and such. And health and safety weighed in that lava erupted from toasted marshmallows. Apparently, toasted marshmallows are on the list of UK national menaces.
So after much hound role playing silliness, the group agreed to make s’mores this week.
How Mum made em
We almost always had s’mores on a day where the barbie was used to cook supper. We would mount the marshmallows on kabob skewers and toast them over the dying charcoal fire. You could toast them slowly or let them ignite for that activated carbon taste. Once the marshmallow was done to the maker’s specification, a Graham cracker was broken into halves, a square of Hershey’s milk chocolate placed on it, then the gooey marshmallow, and topped with another Graham cracker to make a sandwich. The eater allowed the marshmallow to cool and the chocolate to melt to personal taste before consuming the finished product.
Occasionally, we made them in the kitchen without the barbie. We had an electric hob with Calrod coils. Turned the puppy on high and used the outdoor procedure to toast the marshmallows over the red coils and proceeded as on cookout nights.
They should look like the example in the top of the photo in this article.
As you can see from the remainder of the article, s’mores have inspired all manner of gourmet variations. I do not endorse any of them. Just stick to the basics. Apparently, there is a National s’mores day, complete with Presidential proclamation and Michelle Obama recipes.
I thought everybody was being silly about how to make s’mores without a cook fire. Then I realized I had an induction hob and could no longer toast marshmallows over the glowing coils. How would I make them today? How would I make them for a grand-kid’s name day party?
After reflecting on this a bit, I came up with the following untested method.
- Preheat oven to 350 F or equivalent C degrees
- Prepare baking sheet with baking parchment
- Place marshmallows 4 inches on center on parchment as needed to serve the assembled multitudes. They don’t spread but room is needed to remove them with a spatula, hopefully without injury.
- Place in oven and roast until nicely toasty. I have no idea how long this will take — think 10 minutes like cookies to start. Convection oven will be faster for a given temperature. My oven makes me choose between bake and roast. I have no idea how the two differ having tossed the booklet.
- While marshmallows are toasting, prepare a tray with Graham cracker squares and thin milk chocolate bar sections to cover and tops handy.
- When marshmallows are toasted and flames extinguished, transfer still hot marshmallows to the prepared cracker/chocolate bit and top with the second square to make a sandwich. Be advised that lava can erupt at any handling miss-step.
- Allow hot marshmallow to melt the cool chocolate to personal taste.
When cooled somewhat, consume noting that too hot marshmallow has lava-like properties and can cause pizza-burns inside the mouth if not cooled sufficiently.
Where to get s’mores makings
UK bloggers report that Tesco stocks s’mores makings in the world foods section. At a world foods price. I believe their Graham crackers and marshmallows are free-range raised in the Loire valley near Chateau Margot or Chateau Rothschild and commend an appropriate price. If you happen to have a US military person among your friends, they can be approached to procure the s’mores makings from the post Commissary at US home market prices or better. A bottle of single malt is the appropriate gratuity.