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how to make s’mores…

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And Take Them to the Next Level

Making s’mores is a summer tradition, perfect for relaxing around a campfire with family and friends, or celebrating National S’mores Day on August 10th. Originally published in the 1920’s, the recipe is as simple as it is famous, but we’re ready to go beyond the basics. These tips and techniques will help you bring just a bit “s’more” to your classic graham cracker sandwich.

A s’mores recipe is light on cooking, but its foundation is a toasted marshmallow. And while the process is straightforward in theory, there are a few steps you can take to get the best results from your campfire.

  1. Choose the right roaster. Your stick should be long enough that you can stay a comfortable distance away from the fire. Be careful if you choose one made of metal, as they might become too hot to touch.
  2. Roast over hot coals instead of over (or in!) the flames. This is where the heat is most predictable and avoiding surprise temperature fluctuations will help prevent your marshmallow from burning.
  3. Slowly rotate your marshmallow to apply even heat. If it hangs too loosely and doesn’t turn, you can stabilize it by adding a second skewer. Alternatively, try using a skewer that is flat instead of cylindrical.
  4. Be patient, and wait for your toasted marshmallow to turn a golden brown color. It’s worth a few extra minutes to keep it from catching on fire, although if the worst should happen, the situation is salvageable. Don’t wave your new torch around to put out the fire, since burning sugar is both painful and sticky. Just blow it out like a birthday candle and peel off the outer charcoal layer. You won’t have that same crispy caramelization, but no point in wasting the gooey marshmallow filling, right?

Next, the chocolate. There are some arguments about the perfect ratio of chocolate in your s’more—some prefer half a bar for maximum graham cracker coverage, others think a couple of pieces are enough. Your personal answer will vary depending on how much you like chocolate (and how many bars you’re willing to bring camping with you). However, a larger piece might not fully melt from the heat of the marshmallow, which will affect the iconic consistency of this sweet treat. Give it a head start by assembling the bottom half of your s’more and leaving it by the fire while you toast your marshmallow.

As for the graham crackers…well, there isn’t much to say about them. But if they’re the first thing you run out of, you can repurpose your other ingredients and make chocolate-stuffed marshmallows—just wedge a piece of chocolate into your marshmallow before you toast it.

There are quite a few other variations on this camping dessert, and while many of them require additional cookware or heat sources, you can make some simple substitutions with delicious results. S’mores are meant to showcase the toasted marshmallow, so try replacing the chocolate with candy bars or peanut butter cups, or swapping out graham crackers for your favorite cookies. If the sweetness gets to be a bit overwhelming, complement it by choosing ingredients with a hint of salt. The options here are wide open— don’t be afraid to tread new ground!

And to accompany your explorations, culinary or otherwise, Zak Designs’ Adventurer collection is a cute and charming choice. With durable plastic dinnerware, insulated travel mugs, and more, these pieces are great for dining outdoors and going on the road this summer.

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