10 Ways to Make Better S’mores
Experiment with new delicious riffs on the family favorite
Jennon Bell Hoffmann
Nothing says summertime quite like a s’more. With three simple ingredients—a graham cracker, a marshmallow, and chocolate—the fireside treat packs a lot of delight in a small package.
Whether you make s’mores once a year or it’s part of your usual summertime dessert rotation, there are tons of ways to get creative and step up your s’more skills. Here are 10 tips and tricks on making tastier s’mores—from beginner to expert level—that both sophisticated palates and nostalgic purists will enjoy.
Tips for S’more Beginners
1. Kick your pre-assembly up a notch.
Pre-assembly is a great way to optimize the “warm marshmallow melts chocolate” window. Before heating your marshmallow, break your graham cracker in half and place a chunk of chocolate onto one of the halves. If you prefer to avoid a sticky mess, cut your marshmallow in half for the same sweet taste but less ooze. Roast your marshmallow, then using the top half of your graham cracker, immediately scrape the marshmallow directly from the skewer onto the other half with chocolate, and sandwich. This will help the hot marshmallow melt the chocolate.
2. Find the perfect roasting spot.
The key to achieving a perfect marshmallow—a deliciously gooey center with a toasted, golden-brown outside—is to pay attention to where heat from the fire is hitting the marshmallow. Cook your marshmallow on the upwind side of the fire, about 6 inches above the coals and away from flames. Be sure to rotate it evenly to warm through thoroughly.
3. No campfire? No problem.
An open fire may be the traditional way to roast your marshmallow to perfection, but if you don’t have access to one, you can use a grill, stovetop, oven , or even a microwave. Be sure to watch the marshmallow closely, as it can go from almost done to a gooey, sticky mess in just a few unsupervised seconds. If using a microwave, cook for only a few seconds at a time until the marshmallow shape softens, but before it oozes over.
4. Swap out ingredients.
Ingredient swaps are the easiest way to take your s’more to the next level. For example, exchange your milk chocolate with a peanut butter cup, dark chocolate, caramel chews, or chocolate hazelnut spread. And for the graham cracker substitute, anything sturdy like shortbread or a cookie will do.
Intermediate-Level S’more Tips
5. Roasting sticks or poles?
Either way works! Some say metal skewers are better than sticks because they get hot without catching fire and offer better precision. But purists may insist hunting for the perfect stick outdoors is crucial to the s’mores experience.
If you’re using a stick, make sure it’s long enough to reach the fire source while keeping your hands safely away, and that it’s cleaned of any leaves or flaking bark. Try whittling the marshmallow side into a point for easier transfer to your graham cracker.
6. Top off your s’more with delicious additions.
For more complex flavor profiles, consider adding different ingredients. Fruits like bananas, strawberries, and blackberries, or fresh herbs and spices like mint and cinnamon are delicious additions that pair well with chocolate. Add-ons like bacon or lemon curd can help cut the sweetness of the marshmallow, whereas honey or salted caramel sauce can elevate the s’more into a decadent dessert.
7. Feed a crowd.
Want to quickly turn s’mores into one large, shareable dessert for the whole family? Place a layer of graham crackers on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Top the crackers with chocolate bars and marshmallows, then place the sheet under the broiler for two minutes, until the marshmallows are just starting to soften and caramelize. Take the sheet out of the oven and immediately (and carefully) top with another layer of graham crackers. A large sheet pan will fit about 20 graham cracker squares.
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Make Expert-Level S’mores
8. Make your own marshmallows.
You can make soft, sweet marshmallows at home with a just few ingredients and some special equipment, including unflavored gelatin, corn syrup, confectioners and granulated sugar, and vanilla. It also helps if you have a candy thermometer, a standing mixer, a fine mesh sieve, and a pastry brush.
To start, dissolve the gelatin in water and set aside so you can cook a simple syrup mixture. Use a candy thermometer to get exact measurements. In a stand mixer, slowly combine the gelatin mixture to the simple syrup. When all is mixed, turn the stand mixer to high speed and whip the mix until it is fluffy and thick, then add any flavoring, such as vanilla extract or simple syrup with mint, chamomile, or orange liqueur.
Lastly, use a nonstick cooking spray to prep a 9x13 metal baking pan, then coat the pan with a confectioner’s sugar-and-cornstarch mixture, tapping out any excess. Then pour the marshmallow base into the baking pan and let it set up at room temperature for at least 4 hours. For specific instructions on how to do this, we recommend this recipe from the Food Network.
9. Top your marshmallow with premium ingredients.
Use a kitchen torch to singe the marshmallows, then dip them into chocolate melted in a double broiler. Sprinkle them with flaky sea salt, crushed pistachios, candied orange, toasted coconut, or other toppings for a sophisticated take on the nostalgic treat.
10. Try s’more-inspired desserts.
If you want to move away from the classic sandwich style, try a variety of desserts inspired by the three s’more ingredients. Think cupcakes with chocolate and marshmallow frosting, rice cereal treats with chunks of graham cracker, marshmallows, and chocolate, brownies with a torched marshmallow topping, and even chocolatey milkshakes with crumbled graham cracker sprinkled on top.