Who Wants S’mores? A Guide To Cooking This Campfire Treat
It’s summer in the forest, with a group of friends gathered around a campfire amid the flutter of fireflies and warm air. A few months later, this same group of people have moved inside, fighting off the cold weather by huddling around a fireplace. What – besides the obvious fire – is the connective thread between these two seasonal activities? Perhaps a less obvious answer are s’mores, the tasty conglomeration of chocolate and marshmallow that is a popular treat when it comes to campfires. So, regardless of the season, here a few tips for whipping up melty s’mores every time:
Consider your sticks
Perhaps even more than the choice of marshmallow or the quality of your chocolate, you always want to make sure you’ve chosen the right stick or skewers. For one, you want to make sure your stick or skewer is long enough. That’s because you want to be able to create enough distance from the fire as to stay comfortable but still have the ability to move the s’mores closer to the flames if need be. You also need to think about the strength of this tool, as too much weight on the end can bend or break the stick. As such, it’s always a good idea to use at least two sticks or skewers for each marshmallow.
Great s’mores = great ingredients
Even with the sheer importance of the stick or skewers you use, your choice of ingredients is equally as vital. Even though there are only three ingredients to s’mores – chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers – there are enough varieties to complicate your decision. Here are a few things to consider:
- Marshmallows: You want marshmallows that are soft and sticky, which usually melt all the more evenly. That’s why some folks make their own marshmallows.
- Graham crackers: Though graham crackers are a traditional choice, other options include buttery shortbread or more sweet sugar cookies.
- Chocolate: Hershey’s bars are a popular option because of their soft, milk chocolate taste. Some chefs opt for couverture chocolate, which is just as smooth while being less sweet, or dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher.
Some folks also make s’mores with additional ingredients, like peanut butter, chocolate chips or banana slices.
The melting block
Despite its somewhat technical-sounding name, the melting block is actually just a piece of wood – mainly a two-by-four – that is placed around a campfire or the edge of some fireplace. This block is used to essentially keep the cracker warm, which will help to further melt the chocolate and the marshmallow during assembly. As such, you’ll want to make sure you don’t overheat either, as they’ll continue to melt once they hit the graham cracker. Additionally, it’s important to make sure you place the block at just the right spot. Otherwise, the wood might become too hot and singe the graham crackers. Finally, since both the graham cracker and marshmallow cook differently, it’s best to start cooking the latter beforehand.
Even outside a campfire you can perfect your s’mores-making skills during culinary academy.