Ah, the s'more. America's favorite campfire dessert is one of the only delicacies that is named for the immediate reaction one has after tasting it: "I want s'more". In searching for the perfect s'more one finds that it is not so much about the ingredients. Toasty marshmallow, just barely melting chocolate and the hearty crunch of graham crackers make for a satisfying experience almost every time. However, the technique is where a s'more can venture from good to sublime.
Who better to advise on the proper technique for s'more making than Youth Programs Director Courtney Danis at YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center. The YMCA of the Rockies day camp programs at the Estes Park Center serve approximately 3000 campers a summer, all of which partake in the ever-popular making of s'mores. If you do the math that means that Danis oversees the production of literally thousands of s'mores each season. "The trick to making the perfect s'more is all in the mallow", Danis says. "You have to toast it to the right point where it is a little crisp on the outside, but melting on the inside. That way when you press it into the chocolate it just starts to melt". How do you know you've done it right one might ask? "You'll know right from the start," Danis says. "That first bite will be perfection".
Steps to a Perfect S'more
Ingredients: chocolate bar, graham crackers and marshmallows. Ratio varies, but we recommend using half of a chocolate bar, one graham cracker and a single mallow. If you choose "giant sized" ingredients, you may want to adjust accordingly.
1. Pre-cut cracker and chocolate segments. Things are going to move pretty quick once the mallow gets cooking and you don't want to be stuck doing this while your mallow over cooks.
2. Select an appropriate (food safe!) roasting stick. The safe option is a store bought dowel, but if in the wilderness a newly cut hickory switch will add a nice smoky flavor. Don't use metal because it tends to heat too quickly and melt marshmallows. It also can burn your fingers!
3. Once the stick is selected, place a marshmallow on the end and extend OVER an open flame. At no point do you want to marshmallow IN the flame. Go for at least 6-10 inches over the flame.
4. Constantly rotate the mallow as if it were on a rotisserie. The goal is to get a golden brown on all 360 degrees of the mallow surface. This will ensure the right temperature on the inside. Again, do not lower into the flame.
5. Once optimal golden brown is achieved, place the mallow on your pre-prepared foundation of cracker and chocolate. Place remainder of cracker on top, push down and gently remove cooking dowel (this will take some coordination, maybe a friend can help).
How did you do? Don't be discouraged, the quest for the perfect s'more takes years of practice and the best part? You have to eat all of your mistakes.
Brought to you by YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center day camp program. Offering traditional full-day day camp, Monday - Friday during the summer months. Cost is $26 per day for YMCA of the Rockies cabin & lodge room guests. Ages 1st - 8th grade. Teen day camps for 7th - 12th graders are also available. New this year, specialty camps! Specialty camps allow for kids to engage in the outdoor sport, science program or creative program of their choice Registration for the program is currently open for guests. Sign up for lodging this summer at ymcarockies.org or visit our Day Camp Page.