When it comes to dessert, gastronomes would likely consider the Jet-Puff marshmallow to be a tad lowbrow. A little bit June Cleaver. If you’re like me, you might even have bizarre memories of mini-marshmallows and mandarin oranges suspended in your Jell-O. For some strange reason, green Jell-O, with lots of floaty bits, was an integral part of our Thanksgiving plate. But that’s a post for another day.
Beyond the strange Turkey Day side dish, I also grew up on fluffernutter sandwiches and Rice Krispies Treats. Marshmallows, we might agree, are kids’ stuff. But whatever you think of marshmallows, when you roast them over a campfire and layer them with melted chocolate and graham crackers, the result is truly delectable.
Maybe it’s the marshmallow’s pedigree. In ancient Egypt, the marshmallow, originally made from a pink-flowered marsh plant called mallow root, was the food of gods and royalty. They ate the root’s sap with nuts and honey.
The first s’mores recipe appeared in a Girl Scout handbook in 1927. Since then, this simple sweet sandwich has become a camping icon. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the original recipe follows. But take s’mores to the next level by adding new ingredients and techniques.
We raid the baking pantry and bring along handfuls of candy, cookies, dried fruit, candied ginger, chocolate chips, and nuts. With a buffet of ingredients spread out, the kids like to invent new marshmallow-based postprandial concoctions.
What follows are the classic recipe for S’mores and two of my favorite recipes for New School S’mores from my book, The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids.
Apple Pie S’mores
- 4 marshmallows
- 8 graham cracker squares
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
1. At home, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small plastic baggie.
2. At camp, peel, core, and slice the apples into half-inch wedges.
3. Place the slices on a large square of foil and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mix. Wrap the foil into an airtight packet.
4. Once the fire has burned down, place the foil pack on hot coals and cook for 5–10 minutes.
5. Place a few cooked apple slices on four graham cracker squares.
6. Roast the marshmallows.
7. Set the roasted marshmallows on the apples, top with second graham cracker square, and gently squeeze while removing roasting stick.
The Shaggy Dog
- 1 marshmallow
- Chocolate sauce
- Shredded coconut
1. Pour the chocolate sauce into a shallow bowl.
2. Put the shredded coconut into another shallow bowl.
3. Roast the marshmallow.
4. Roll the roasted marshmallow in the chocolate sauce.
5. Roll the chocolate-coated marshmallow in the coconut.
Note: Create a Chocolate-Bomb Shaggy Dog by stuffing chocolate pieces inside the marshmallow prior to roasting.
Also in the book, you’ll find s’more recipes for Chocolate Bombs, Fruity Bombs, PB&J S’mores, and Candied S’mores.
The Classic S’more
- 1 marshmallow
- 2 graham cracker squares
- 2 squares of a Hershey’s chocolate bar
1. Set the chocolate squares on one graham cracker square.
2. Roast the marshmallow over the fire, until it’s lightly browned on the outside, hot and gooey on the inside.
3. Put the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and top with the other cracker.
4. Gently squeeze the two crackers together, while removing the roasting stick.
5. Commit to memory the look of bliss on your child’s face when they bite into their first s’more.