Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy National S'mores day!

From IslandPacket.com...

Sometimes a few simple ingredients combine to make something amazing -- something that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside, something that reminds us of childhood summers, something that makes us smile and ask for, well, "some more" of that good stuff. It's no surprise, then, that the humble-but-mighty s'more has its own day.

Tuesday marked National S'mores Day, but we think the classic treat deserves a week's worth of celebration. Afterall, the s'more -- which, for those who are truly deprived, consists of a roasted marshmallow sandwiched between two graham crackers and chocolate -- has been around for a while, though no one knows who concocted the first gooey goody (a genius, to be sure). The first s'mores recipe popped up in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook.

So grab a roasting fork, wire hanger, tree branch -- whatever -- and enjoy our homage to America's favorite fireside treat. Not planning to fire up the grill or go camping? We've included ways to enjoy s'mores sans fire, too.

• The must-eat munchie: Roasting marshmallows around a fire to use for s'mores is among the most popular "good, clean, wholesome family fun" activities enjoyed at Hunting Island State Park, said Paula Berube, retail manager of Hunting Island State Park Camp Store.

Each week between March and September, Berube, who orders the store's merchandise, said it's a challenge to keep s'mores staples in stock. On any given week, the store sells about 100 plain Hershey bars, 50 bags of marshmallows and 20 boxes of graham crackers, she said.

If the store's out of plain chocolate bars, Berube and other store staffers suggest that their customers branch out. Hershey's Dark Chocolate Bars, Hershey's Cookies and Creme Bars, Snickers, Andes mints and Dove Dark Chocolate Bars are tasty substitutes.

"I've also tried to get the different flavored marshmallows -- strawberry and chocolate as well as the jumbo-sized marshmallows," said Berube, who prefers her s'mores "a little charred around the edges."

• A new take on an old favorite: Regular s'mores are fun enough, but try this different take on the campfire classic, courtesy of Oldfield naturalist Marvin Bouknight. This recipe requires a sandwich cooker, which can be found in the camping sections of most big-box retailers. Mix together graham cracker crumbs and margarine until the crumbs hold together. Press the mixture onto each side of the sandwich cooker to form a crust. Fill one side with chips and marshmallows. Cook over hot coals for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently to avoid burning.

• Thinking outside the graham cracker box: Want to take s'mores to the next level? Check out "S'mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion" by Lisa Adams, a writer and camping enthusiast with a sweet tooth. The book is filled with inventive tips for roasting marshmallows and melting chocolate over a campfire, barbecue or gas stovetop. There are more than 60 recipes in her book, each one a variation on the s'mores theme. Some include fresh fruit, others show off warm caramel. Some have almonds, others peanut butter. The book is $16.95 and available at amazon.com and bookstores.

• Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Frosted S'mores toaster pastries: Part of the fun of eating s'mores is making them -- building a fire, toasting the marshmallows, smearing your face with sticky sweetness. Unfortunately you'll get none of that experience using your toaster. But what you sacrifice in authenticity, you make up for in convenience. Cleanup here requires only a napkin, whereas at the campsite you might need a canteen's worth of water to wash off that marshmallow mess. And though making these Pop-Tarts might be pretty joyless, at least that signature s'mores flavor is there.

• Order up: S'mores aren't just relegated to the campfire anymore. Restaurants have been taking their own twists on the dessert, ranging from s'mores sundaes to s'mores fondue. Locally, Frankie Bones on Hilton Head Island features the gooey treat with a do-it-yourself component. Those who order the dessert are given the traditional ingredients, skewers and a miniature grill for roasting the marshmallows.

S'mores Brownies

1 box (1 pound 2.4 ounces) brownie mix

Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box

2 cups miniature marshmallows

4 graham crackers, broken into small pieces

2 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), cut into 1-inch squares

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan).

Make brownies as directed. After removing pan from oven, set oven to broil.

Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and graham crackers over warm brownies. Broil about 4 to 5 inches from heat 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown. (Watch carefully -- marshmallows and graham crackers will brown quickly.) Sprinkle with chocolate candy. To serve warm, first allow the brownies to sit for 30 minutes. Cut into 4-by-4-inch rows.

Recipe from www.BettyCrocker.com

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