Saturday, July 6, 2013
Dismantling and Re-designing S'mores
S'Mores - That sugary, gooey mess of awesome that sticks in many a camping memory - about as strong as it sticks to your fingers and clothes - is a big part of American Summer traditions. According to Wikipedia, no one is entirely sure of the exact origins, but apparently the first recorded version of the recipe can be found in the rather-humorously titled book, "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts" from 1927.
Everyone knows how this works: Impale a defenseless marshmallow onto a stick, toast it over a campfire to your preferred level of "doneness" - which is anywhere from light beige to charcoal briquette - lay it on a hunk of chocolate and sandwich it between two graham crackers.
The problem with this (as we've all most-likely experienced) is that there are some serious structural flaws with this design. If you follow the recipe to the letter, melted chocolate oozes out the other side as soon as you take a bite, followed closely by a glob of napalm-like marshmallow. And the odds of this hunk of sugary slag landing in your lap appear to be directly proportional to the cost of your pants.
I've been thinking about it and I keep saying to myself, "How can I make this better? Perhaps something that would be seen in a high-end restaurant instead of just a campsite?"
And thus began my unnatural obsession with building a better s'more.
My first attempt was fairly straightforward: I made a graham cracker crust (graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and a little sugar) and pressed this into a ramekin. Then I made a dark chocolate ganache by whisking hot half and half into a chopped up chocolate bar (71% cacao). I drizzled this onto the crust, then placed marshmallows into the chocolate. I hit this with a brûlée torch to toast up the marshmallows and finished it by sprinkling graham cracker crumbs over the top.
Now as I read what I just wrote, you would probably concede that this sounds divine. But you would be wrong. First, I used too large of a ramekin, which meant that a single portion was like eating the equivalent of 4 or 5 s'mores. Naturally, my girlfriend was more than happy to be a guinea pig and has been very supportive in this process, but I could tell that even to a chocoholic, this was a bit much. Too much chocolate, too much sugar, too much everything. It was diabetes in a cup.
However, I remain undaunted. I've got some more ideas on how to perfect this and I will be posting my results here. And if you have suggestions for ways you think it could be better, please send em my way.