Put a delicious spin on the campfire classic s'more

July 21, 2010 

Ah, s'mores -- the summertime dessert you're never too old for.

Appearing in a 1927 Girl Scout publication, s'mores have become so popular they're celebrated every Aug. 10 (National S'mores Day). And it's easy to see why.

The campfire classic is among the easiest and gooiest treats to make. Simply place roasted marshmallows and chocolate between two graham crackers and smoosh it all together. The hot marshmallow melts the chocolate into a gooey confection.

"They are a good treat to have because they are sweet and fun to make," said Myranda Ryder, 12, of Grosse Ile, Mich., who adds that toasting the marshmallows is one of her favorite parts. "Something always happens. They never turn out exactly the same."

S'more variations are endless. Big and little chefs alike can put their own spins on the campfire classic with fruits, caramel, jams or peanut butter. And who says you have to use milk chocolate? Try dark or mint chocolate -- or skip the squares altogether and use Fudge Stripes cookies instead.

Try drizzling raspberry or strawberry sauce or melted jam over the toasted marshmallow. Or use individual chocolate squares with bits of fruit or almonds or pomegranate for an antioxidant punch.

You can even use chocolate infused with chili peppers -- the sweet marshmallow complements it.

Speaking of marshmallows, how about making your own? They cost more than a bag of store-bought marshmallows, but it's all in the fun of making of them.

And fun is what s'mores are all about.

Caramello S'mores

Makes: 8 servings

Total time: 15 minutes

These s'mores get an extra gooeyness from the Caramello bars.

8 skewers or sticks (for toasting the marshmallows)

16 large marshmallows

8 graham crackers, broken in half

2 Caramello (milk chocolate with caramel filling) bars, 4 ounces each

Toast two marshmallows over the heated coals or preheated grill until they are crispy and golden brown on the outside and gooey on the inside.

Slide the toasted marshmallow on a graham cracker. Place 4 small Caramello bar squares on top of the marshmallow and top with another graham cracker.

Press it down slightly to sandwich together. The heat of the marshmallow will melt the chocolate a bit. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

BAKED S'MORES

Makes: 35 to 40 squares / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 35 minutes (plus cooling time)

You can use a mix of cookie crumbs (such as shortbreads) and graham crackers. The recipe can be scaled down and made in a 9-by-9-inch or 11-by-7-inch baking dish.

Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 bag (16 ounces) mini marshmallows

12 ounces chocolate of choice, either 6 to 8 chocolate bars (1.55 ounces each), broken up, or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-by-15-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. The mixture should come together when pressed with your fingers. Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. If needed, place plastic wrap over the top and use a round object to roll and press evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and sprinkle the marshmallows over the crust and top with chocolate pieces. Return to the oven and bake 5 to 8 minutes or until the marshmallows and chocolate melt. Remove from the oven and cool. Once cool, use a pizza cutter lightly coated with oil to cut into desired size squares.

Adapted from several recipes and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

147 calories (43 percent from fat), 7 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 22 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 48 mg sodium, 6 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS

Makes: 30 / Preparation time: 35 minutes Total time: 4 hours 35 minutes (not all active time)

You will need a candy thermometer.

3 packages ( 1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water, divided

11/2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment with1/2 cup of the water, set aside for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the remaining1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 240 degrees, about 6 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat. Watch carefully: Do not let the mixture brown at all; it should be clear.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all the syrup is added, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and lukewarm and increased in volume, about 12 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute.

While the mixture is whipping, lightly spray a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Shake some of the sugar and cornstarch mixture around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Reserve the remaining mixture for later use.

Pour the gelatin mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula to spread it evenly. Dust the top with enough sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1- to 2-inch squares using a lightly oiled pizza wheel. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Adapted from www.foodnetwork.com

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

ANTIOXIDANT DARK CHOCOLATE S'MORES

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 15 minutes

A few ounces of chocolate a week, according to some health studies, is good for you. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which may lower the risk of heart disease.

8 skewers or sticks (for toasting the marshmallows)

16 large marshmallows

8 graham crackers, broken in half

8 squares of favorite dark chocolate

Toast two marshmallows over the heated coals or preheated grill until they are crispy and golden brown on the outside and gooey and soft on the inside.

Slide the toasted marshmallow onto a graham cracker. Place one square of chocolate on top. Place another graham cracker on top.

Press it down slightly to sandwich together. The heat of the marshmallow will melt the chocolate a bit. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Variations: Place a slathering of strawberry jam on the graham cracker. Use mint chocolate or 2 Andes mints in place of chocolate. Substitute chocolate graham crackers for the regular ones or use Fudge Stripes cookies.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

184 calories (20 percent from fat), 4 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 34 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 196 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.

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