July 1, 2010

S'more Than Enough

I think there's an undeniable fascination going on with the graham cracker + marshmallow + chocolate thing. I have seen s'more options for making s'mores-type goodies this summer than ever before. Having been a Girl Scout who enjoyed my fair share of camping trips and campfires, I adore them! What is it about oozy, chocolatey goodness with a rustic whole-grain crunch? And now, s'more than ever, there are so many ways to work this ooey gooey equation into summer desserts. (OK, I'll stop with the s'moring now...)

Here's a little background on these goodies... The term s'more comes from the phrase "some more"--a typical request when the treat became a regular around the campfire. This article details some history on the s'more, indicating that the first real recipe was cited in a Girl Scout handbook in 1927. Marhsmallows were an easy-to-transport item along a hiking trail and warmed up nicely over a campfire. Chocolate bars and graham crackers were also just as portable, and so all these items came together in a sticky sweet treat that became synonymous with the great outdoors.

Lately, more varieties of desserts have oozed onto the scene, using these three elements, only in different ways. This cookie recipe from Martha has me wondering whether a "graham-like" cookie would be more satisfying than a graham cracker. They sure are cute little buggers and would make a great presentation at a winter tween slumber party, when you need to fake a campfire with your good ol' gas oven. (Pretend the pilot light is your open flame.)

Or if you really wanted to go all-out Martha, you could seriously impress your friends by putting together one of these for a weekend getaway: the S'mores To-Go Box! Real homemade marshmallows are included in Martha's version. I must admit, once you've had a homemade one, it's hard to go back to ye ol' store-bought Kraft marshmallows. There is some sort of melt-in-your-mouth madness going on with homemade versions that beckon you to their side. You've got to try it at least once before you knock it. It's not a time-consuming task, but without the preservatives that store-bought ones harbor, just remember that homemade doesn't last as long. The major plus though is that you can flavor them any way you like. I put strawberry Nestle Nesquik or cocoa powder in mine and sometimes mix them up for holiday gift-giving in a sort of Neapolitan pack.

But so far, my favorite rendition of this classic treat has been the s'mores brownie with marshmallow ice cream concoction I put together a few weeks ago for an impromptu dinner party with friends. It starts with this brownie recipe from the Food Network, topped with chocolate buttercream, and accompanied by a scoop of marshmallow ice cream. I eliminated the marshmallow topping in the brownie recipe and served a chocolate-frosted brownie with a scoop of marshmallow ice cream on the side. Of course this one can't be passed around a campfire on a camping trip, but it sure can make a rather metropolitan spread feel like a campsite. Just play your nature sounds alarm clock in the background while you plate it up!

August 10 in National S'mores Day, so you have some time to experiment on which of the above you'll treat yourself to that day. That's s'more than enough time!

No comments: