In Jackie’s new book Our Great Big Backyard about childhood adventures in America’s national parks (writers Laura Bush & Jenna Bush Hager), s’mores figure as one of the great rewards of camping and getting into the wilderness. No argument from me, or from one of the nation’s top chocolatiers, Michael Recchiuti of Recchiuti Confections in San Francisco. His line-up of award-winning chocolates includes a gourmet version of S’mores as a confection, and a S’mores kit to pack for the road. For something so simple and omnipresent in American culture, I’m struck by how undocumented s’more technique actually is. Since everybody is an expert on this one, I feel obliged to offer my personal expert technique:
1.) Buy high quality milk chocolate and go wild with almond & hazelnuts. In other words, its fine to melt a Hershey bar, but what if you added nuts? What if you used a Milka bar instead? Or Lindt? Or Endangered Species? Or a Milka bar with nuts? You might need to pack a selection of chocolates in your gear.
2.) A good melt takes time. Find a rock near the fire and put your chocolate-topped graham cracker there and use the fire like an oven, not a torch. Lightly melted chocolate makes a better s’more.
3.) The marshmallow – should it be blackened or should it be bubbly and brown with a sugar crust courtesy of the patient roaster? I vote for the latter as we all know that the torched marshmallow is fun to poke into the fire and watch burn, and it is certainly edible, but it is charred on the outside and raw in the center. Meh. A more moderate heat created by holding the marshmallow above or beside the flame takes twice as long and might just be twice as good.
4.) For the artisan picnickers among you, did you know you can make your own graham crackers and your own marshmallows? Or better yet, you can let Michael Recchiuti do it for you and send them to your house.
Happy 4th of July.