Nothing brings me back to a childhood summer night like a campfire. Hearing the crackle of the fire, the smell of smoke drifting through the warm, summer night air, and of course, the fun of roasting marshmallows.
I think to myself, “Too bad I can’t experience some more of those summer nights again.”
But, as it turns out, I can have “some more” summer fun, by making that timeless, campfire treat, S’mores!
Originally titled “Some Mores,” the S’mores recipe dates back to 1927, when the first publication of this gooey, campfire treat appeared in “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.” This helpful, instructional guide for campers boasted information on a variety of subjects for camping and hiking, from how to build 12 different kinds of campfires, to how to build the perfect campfire treat.
The exact inspiration for this simplistic, masterminded summer treat is still up for debate.
Marshmallow roasts were all the rage for summer fun by the late 1890’s. This “fad” fanned the fire, so to speak, for the popularity of marshmallow as a dessert treat of the early 20th century. (Who knew that eating burnt marshmallows off of the end of a stick would have the staying power to still be popular in the 21st century!)
Some say the original recipe for S’mores started with the Campfire Marshmallow Company. They printed a recipe book in the early 1920's that included a similar treat, “The Graham Cracker Sandwich.”
Others argue it is a spin off of the Victorian era sandwich cookie or tea cake.
A more likely inspiration might be Nabisco’s Mallowmar. This tasty graham cracker cookie is topped with marshmallow and coated in chocolate, and was first sold in Hoboken, NJ in 1913.
Perhaps it was another old-time favorite, the MoonPie. This treat features two graham cracker cookies with marshmallow filling, dipped in chocolate, and was first sold in Chattanooga, TN in 1917.
It could possibly just be that several, giggling Girl Scouts were roasting marshmallows around the campfire, when silliness got the best of them. A mix of overtired campers on a sugar high, add in a few graham crackers and an unauthorized, smuggled in chocolate bar, and a S’more was born!
Well, no matter what the inspiration was for “Some Mores,” this is the original 1927 recipe:
SOME MORES (serves 8)
16 graham crackers
8 bars of plain chocolate (each broken in half)
Toast two marshmallows over coals to a crisp, gooey state. Then put them in a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich. (The heat of the marshmallow between the halves of chocolate bar will melt the chocolate a bit.)
The term “S’mores” appeared for the first time in conjunction with the recipe in 1938 for a publication geared towards summer camps.
In 1957, the Betty Crocker cookbook contained the contemporary recipe for “S’mores” that called for two graham crackers, toasted marshmallow and one-half bar of chocolate.
Although this recipe still remains the standard for S’mores today, there are dozens of variations of this traditional recipe.
Mix your S’mores recipe up a bit this summer by substituting graham crackers with chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, animal crackers, Rice Krispy treats, waffles, Oreos, or Pop Tart halves. If you are someone that doesn’t embrace change, then take baby steps by replacing traditional graham crackers with chocolate graham crackers.
To vary plain chocolate bars, try using peanut butter cups, chocolate caramel squares, chocolate covered pretzels, sliced Milky Way bar, or chocolate hazelnut spread.
There are also many ways to “glam up” your S’more for special parties or celebrations.
Your favorite little ones will love making Unicorn S’mores. Use pink and white frosted animal crackers, pastel colored marshmallows and dark chocolate. Build your S’more sandwich, then roll the edge of melted marshmallow in colorful sprinkles.
To make any ordinary S’more extraordinary, roll the edge of melted marshmallow of the S’mores sandwich in a variety of toppings such as mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, toasted coconut, crushed mints or crushed nuts. Add a slice of fresh strawberries in the marshmallow after it is toasted for a special surprise inside.
If you don’t have too many opportunities to sit around a campfire, you can still enjoy making S’mores over the heat of your gas or charcoal grill.
This summer, let the toasted, gooey, sweet taste of summer time S’more take you back in time, for just a moment. Take that old familiar flavor, and add some new twists of your own, to make a new family tradition your family will want to revisit for summers to come.