making the perfect smores

Ashes flicker in the wind as the golden ember of the flames light up the night.
Camping can be a relaxing night… but if we wanted to relax we’d go to a spa. It’s time to have fun! Now, what could be more fun when camping (besides spooky ghost stories) than huddled around a campfire with gooey marshmallow fluff melting thick white deliciousness over a decadently rich chocolate bar smushed between two golden crackers- yes, I am talking about s’mores!

S’mores have been a campfire tradition since Loretta Scott Crew shared with the world in a publication how her and her girl scouts made this delicious treat while camping. Everyone loves roasting marshmallows over a tall hot flame blowing in the cold wind. We grew up roasting marshmallows and I bet you did too. Even though the love for s’mores grows every time a girl scout gets her badge, there is always one thing our s’mores lovin’ souls have in common. It is so hard to make the perfect campfire s’mores, why is that?

Well, there’s a couple reasons…

We are impatient. You can’t make the perfect marshmallow in 20 seconds, although we’d love that possibility. We usually get tired of holding the stick and are too hungry to wait, our mouths watering at the first sign of a warm melted marshmallow. We can’t take it anymore, so we remove our stick from the flames and prepare our treat, crunching on a half-cooked marshmallow between our cold s’mores sandwich.

We get too close to the fire and catch flames. You have to admit; your marshmallow has caught on fire at least once in your s’mores making lifetime. Now some people like the charred burnt marshmallow taste. But if you’re a normal person, you don’t want that chalky burnt taste in your mouth. Make sure not to get too close to the fire, which means don’t put your stick too close to the BOTTOM of the fire. This is where the flame is the hottest. If you rest your marshmallow close to the tips of the fire, you will get a more well-rounded roast. For those who love that scorched flavor, flaking off onto your tongue, keep doing what you’re doing, we won’t judge.

We are hungry. Remember my fellow campers, quality over quantity makes for a delicious experience. However, we know we are going for seconds, thirds, maybe even a fourth s’more? So yes, overcook it, undercook, do whatever you want for your first s’more, so we can taste that sweet chocolate treat our taste buds are begging for.

Now that we got that over with, it’s time to make our second s’more- the perfect golden crisp to perfection s’more. You will know it is perfect when you see the edges of the marshmallow start to golden out from the corners up. It’s warm to the touch, but not too hot. The outside is plump, slightly crunchy, but the inside…. Oh the inside is very well melted- that’s where the fun (and the mess) comes together.

So how do we make this perfect s’more?

It starts out with the perfect marshmallow of course! As I mentioned before, the bottom part of the fire is the hottest due to the most oxygen being absorbed- you can tell by looking at the blue element of the flame. But remember, we are still impatient which means we don’t want to hold our arms up over the top of the flame too long, getting an arm workout in the meantime. We are camping, not working out! There are two ways to solve this dilemma. Sit on a higher-elevated chair. This way you are closer to the top of the flame and don’t have to do much stretching. If you are really lazy, you can rest the end of the stick on your lap or chair and hold it up to reach the top of the flame (no arm workout involved).

Now if you don’t have higher chairs, another possibility is backing away from the fire, this way you get the outskirts of the flame. This is good for those who don’t like that heat of the fire resting in front of their face. Scorching campfire flames get hot rather quick and if you’re too hot, you’re going to give up on that perfect marshmallow crisp. Be sure to use a longer stick for this option so you can stay out of the heat but place your marshmallow directly in it!

A tip that many people don’t know about it using two sticks at once. This helps turn the marshmallow evenly and gives it support so it won’t fall off when it gets a little melted.

Meanwhile, make sure you have your graham crackers and chocolate prepared in advance, so you can just slide off that bad boy when you’re done, rather than fumbling through the bag with one hand. Always keep your food in a soft-sided cooler like the Norchill Voyager bag, its dual-temp insulation system will help keep it cool and fresh. Using a regular cooler makes ice melt, bringing warm water onto your chocolate and graham crackers. This could make the chocolate melt and the graham crackers soggy.

Back to the marshmallows. If you are in the process of roasting and notice one side is starting to get darker than the rest, try moving it around the flames to get a better angle and see where the best flames are burning. You want to constantly turn your marshmallow, so each side goldens equally. When your marshmallow is complete, touch and squeeze the marshmallow so that it is squishy inside, but crisp on the outside.

Slide the treat off the stick and onto the bottom half of sandwich with the help of the top half of the sandwich, this allows a clean and easy removal.

Squeeze the sandwich together just enough so it opens up the gooey hot inside of the marshmallow, this helps melt the chocolate!

In reality, there is no perfect way to make a s’mores sandwich. As long as the company is good, and the flames are hot, you will be making a fun and delicious mess to remember.