All things being equal, the best s’mores I’ve ever eaten have been in the woods. Pulling slightly mashed graham crackers, Hershey bars and a bag of store-bought marshmallows out of a fully-packed knapsack, ‘mallows are toasted over an open fire and the perfect s’more is assembled awkwardly on my knee. That’s livin’!
I have to acknowledge that my perfect s’more may have more to do with a good camping trip than the s’more itself. We’re home now. With more resources at our disposal and, not for nothing, running water in which to wash our hands when we’re finished, we consider how we might build a better s’more in a civilized world.
A friend of mine suggested something I like so much that I’ll be rolling it out all summer long. A terracotta pot lined with aluminum foil, perched on a trivet and filled with hot coals from the grill makes a spectacular tabletop station for roasting marshmallows. Kind of like fondue for the garden-party set. If you are going to give this a try (outside only, please!), don’t try to bring the charcoal up to heat in the pot. Instead, transfer coals from the grill. Secondly, don’t set the chocolate bars too close to the pot. That sucker gets hot! We learned that one the hard way. Equipped with our portable campfire and a bowl full of homemade marshmallows, it was a good start, but we weren’t done yet.
It is hard to argue with the simple components of the classic s’more. First documented in a 1927 Girl Scouts handbook, the s’more has remained a campfire standard without alteration. Until now, perhaps. As much as I hate to tamper with simple elegance, we had some fun with creating new variations on the theme. Unburdened by the confines of a backpack, we brought out all sorts of toppings reminiscent of what one might find on an ice cream buffet. Circling our cookpot with bowls full of chopped pecans, caramel sauce, peanut butter chips, coconut, toffee chips and granola, every s’more became a homemade masterpiece. S’mores echoing peanut butter cups, Turtles, Mounds bars and Heath bars nestled in melt-y marshmallow all received rave reviews from their creators and we had a ball trying to outdo each other.
I’m not sure I’ll be employing this gourmet s’more station next time I go camping, but it’s sure to be a fun and memorable addition to the festivities at our next outdoor party.
A similar s’more roasting station became the focal point of a girls’ brunch wedding shower recently featured on DIYNetwork.com. You can see the clever s’more station in the photo gallery and short video below. For more ideas like these, click on over to the DIY wedding showers feature.