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~ GrandMel is Not a Campfire Girl: S'mores Indoors ~

IMG_8102I hate camping.  Camping caused me to quit the Girl Scouts in 1965.  I was nine.  Hiking into the woods, pitching a tent, building a campfire, singing songs, telling ghost stories, sleeping on the ground in a bag with a zipper, gazing at the stars, listening to the crickets, smelling the night air -- I hated it all.  All it took was one night in the woods and I quit -- the very next day.  I gave my green uniform to my girlfriend Brenda and went AWOL.  I did, however, enjoy the s'mores.

You don't have to love the lifestyle of a hunter-gatherer to love s'mores! 

Girl-scouts-booklet-coverS'more:  A gooey-sweet all-American dessert made by toasting a skewered marshmallow over a campfire then placing the hot marshmallow on a thin square of room temperature chocolate that has been placed atop a graham cracker.  A second cracker goes on top of the marshmallow to form a sandwich.  Proper etiquette is to slightly squeeze the crackers together so that the hot marshmallow spreads out across the chocolate, melting it slightly.

The invention of the s'more isn't attributed to any one person, however, the Girl Scouts, who published the recipe ("Some More") in 1927 in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, launched its popularity on a nationwide scale.  The name "s'more" or "smore" comes from the notion that these treats are so good everyone wants "some more" (for me, one is the perfect portion).

Smores-1927Their short and sweet recipe, sans me, resulted in a lot of happy campers -- everyone's outdoor adventure had to include the makings for s'mores. Nowadays, some versions add a layer of sliced bananas or strawberries, and others slather one of the graham crackers with some peanut butter.

IMG_7344I've tried all three of those variations, and, while they are excellent, I pretty much stick to the iconic, unembellished, original s'more recipe, with one exception:  I make my own graham crackers.  If I do say so myself, this elevates the s'more to a whole new level.  ~ It's the Little Things:  Homemade Graham Crackers ~ are remarkably better than store-bought ones.  I'm not trying to rain on your campfire, they just are -- and they're as easy to make as most cookie recipes.  Just click into Category 7 to get my recipe and bake some!

IMG_8027The classic brand-name ingredients for s'mores (circa my 1960's youth):

1 sleeve of Nabisco graham crackers, 8 crackers broken in half to form 16, 2 1/2"-square crackers

4  full-1 1/2-ounce-sized Hershey's milk chocolate bars, broken in half to form 16, 2 1/2" squares

8-16 full-sized Kraft jet-puffed marshmallows, 1 or 2 per sandwich, your choice 

Save yourself the agony of a night in the woods -- make s'mores indoors!

I do not make s'mores often, but, when I make graham crackers, I almost always save the last few to fit one or two into our late-night snack-attack diet.  Occasionally I splurge and substitute one of my favorite Lindt Swiss milk chocolate bars for the beloved Pennsylvania Hershey bar -- this gives me a feeling of superiority in the s'more world.   On the  other hand, my husband Joe prefers his made with a standard-sized Reese's peanut butter cup -- which is simply irresistible.

IMG_8035To toast the marshmallows at the stovetop, I simply place one marshmallow on a long-handled fork with a heatproof handle and, adjust one of the gas burners to low IMG_8041flame.  At the stovetop the fork works better than a skewer because it almost guarantees that the cooking marshmallow can't fall into the flame -- which is a big mess.  

To toast the marshmallows under the broiler, place one or two on the pointed end of a long wooden skewer and place them directly underneath the preheated broiler. Make sure the skewer is long enough to keep your hand well IMG_8046away from the heat.  When one side turns golden (in about 20-30 seconds), turn the skewer to allow them to brown on the second side (about 15-20 seconds).  

IMG_8053That said, the easiest method, especially if you want to make several s'mores all at once, is to place one marshmallow on each graham cracker half, and the IMG_8057half a chocolate bar on the other half.

IMG_8074Position the oven rack about 6" underneath the broiler and broil the marshmallow halves until their tops turn golden, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Don't walk away. Watch carefully.  They will go from golden to burned very quickly.

IMG_8086Remove from oven and invert the graham cracker half with the chocolate bar on top of it squarely on top of the molten marshmallow.

Note: Do not try to invert the molten marshmallow half onto the chocolate (which is how it would be done if the marshmallows were coming off the fork or the skewer) -- it is hot and dangerous.

Press down ever so gently. Be patient.  You've gotta wait a moment for the chocolate to melt!

Eat two if you can -- otherwise share one with your best friend!

IMG_8095GrandMel is Not a Campfire Girl:  S'mores Indoors:  Recipe yields instructions to make as many s'mores indoors as you or your family and friends can eat.

Special Equipment List:  long-handled fork with heatproof handle, or, 12" wooden skewer, or, an ovenproof plate, or, a baking pan lined with parchment (for making several at once)

IMG_7336Cook's Note:  If you've come this far on this post, there's a bit more to my Girl Scout story.  National S'mores Day is August 10th -- which just happens to be my birthday and just happened to be day our scout troop planned the trip for in 1965 (in honor of the s'mores not me).  The good news is, my mom did have a 10th birthday party planned for me the following Saturday -- I got a portable, but adult-looking record player and the first of many albums!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 


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