By T.K. Wismer, Blue Oak
Photographs courtesy of Blue Oak
Until recently, I considered myself somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to s'mores. I liked my jumbo marshmallow roasted on an open flame, topped with a square of Hershey's chocolate, and squished to gooey goodness between two plain graham crackers. Simple sweet perfection. I didn't need funky new combinations or high-tech accessories to go messing with a recipe that I pretty much perfected by the age of eight. Then one night, that all changed. I was attending a friend's Fourth of July party and someone passed me what looked like a familiar little marshmallow sandwich and tempted me: "Try this." I took a small bite. "Is that peanut butter?" I finished the entire thing and had a kid named Levi roast me up two more. This was my first Reese's Cup-stuffed s'more encounter and it changed me. My eyes were opened to a whole new world filled with s'more possibilities. Let me share with you what I found on my quest for s'more.
Strange Combination S'mores
Switch up an ingredient here or add an extra there and you have yourself a combination of the classic toasty recipe meets modern mallow fusion. My education started with the Reese's stuffed version, but a quick search proved that you can stuff a lot of imagination between two grahams. I found peanut butter and jelly s'mores, salted caramel s'mores, the grasshopper stuffed with a peppermint patty s'mores, a pineapple white chocolate s'more, s'mores stuffed between chocolate chip cookies, a strawberry shortcake s'more built between two biscuits and finally, the most intriguing to me because well, bacon, "the Elvis"- a peanut butter, banana, and bacon stuffed s'more. Mind blown.
The hybrids take the general concept and flavor profile of the traditional s'more and turn it into some other confection concoction. My extensive research turned up marshmallow mutations in the form of s'more popsicles, cupcakes, dips, smoothies, cocktails, even popcorn and nachos all centered around the key ingredients. In a staff meeting, a coworker offered up her go-to grilled dessert - the S'morrito. I had to investigate further. According to legend, the S'morrito is a tortilla stuffed with mini marshmallows, chocolate, and crushed grahams rolled up like a burrito then grilled over medium heat until the insides melt and the outside turns a lightly toasted brown. Two please!
Think of these as the fancy cousin to the traditional s'more: A kicked-up, not so easily executed version of the original, thought up by professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts. These would hold their own on any reputable fine dining menu and send semi-decent home cooks like myself into panic mode. Think crème brûlée using chocolate custard, topped with homemade marshmallow fluff, and served with house-made graham crackers; or S'more Pavlovas - meringue pillows topped with chocolate ganache and a dusting of graham crackers. On my search for the fancy s'mores sect, I found a deconstructed version from Pelican Hill's pastry chef and was educated on the fact that there is such a thing as a Marshmologist. Apparently, the Ritz Carlton of Lake Tahoe has a Marshmologist on hand for National S'mores Day to expertly craft s'mores made from hand-made marshmallows (choose from raspberry, mint, vanilla, and caramel). I too have a self-proclaimed Marshmologist on hand in my home. He is five years old.
I have to admit, the realization that we could use store bought skewers versus whittled down twigs was the biggest upgrade my s'mores underwent, but there is slew of s'more gadgets to take your s'more game over the top. From specially designed stainless steel roasting sticks that can toast your marshmallow while cooking a hotdog to infrared electric s'more makers, there is some serious thought behind increasing the accessibility of the s'more and upping the efficacy with which we stuff our faces with fluff.
After being exposed to an endless assortment of S'more possibilities, I have to admit, nothing really takes the place in my heart of a good old-fashioned classic s'more. Call me old-fashioned but if it ain't broke...
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By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Patio Veggies & Herbs
Photographs by Pamela Crawford
Pamela has written a great article about mixing herbs in containers. Herbs are natural companions with different textures for interest. The herb mix of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme offers lots of flavor from a small combination loaded with textural interest.
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