If you’ve ever been camping, or just near a source of fire and a bag of marshmallows, you’ve at least heard of the dessert delight that is the s’more. But how did a square of chocolate and a cylinder of marshmallow sandwiched between two sweet crackers melt its way into our hearts? And how did they become a fire pit staple? Find out the answers to these questions, plus some unique ways to enjoy s’mores on National S’mores Day (August 10th), in this article.
Nobody knows quite where and when s’mores were invented, but it’s generally accepted that the recipe first appeared in the book Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. This instructional guide on all things Girl Scout included tips on making fires and constructing the first s’more treats, then known more formally as “some mores.” Eventually, people turned the words “some more” into metaphorical graham crackers, put in an apostrophe as its marshmallow, and squashed them together to create a new word in the same way we enjoyed our new treat.
Arguably, the star of the s’more is the marshmallow. Roasted to ooey, gooey perfection, a well done marshmallow can either make or break your s’more. But what even is a marshmallow– besides delicious? It turns out, initially, marshmallows were medicinal. Harvested from a plant called the marsh mallow, ancient Egyptians used the root of the plant to make medicines to soothe sore throats and heal wounds. They then began boiling pieces of the root with honey, creating the first versions of the sweet treat we now enjoy. Today, marshmallows are made with sugar, gelatin, water and air, then whipped and molded into fluffy bricks of sweetness.
Some people prefer their marshmallows black on the outside and gooey on the inside or just barely burnt, but we love a perfect in-between where the outside is a light toasted brown. To achieve this result, choose a good, heavy stick or skewer that can carry the weight of your marshmallows evenly. Next, hold your marshmallow at least 4-8 inches above the flame, rotating as you go. Keep a good eye on it to make sure it doesn't catch fire and in just a couple of seconds when it starts to turn golden, rotate it slowly for just a few seconds more and then remove from the fire and enjoy.
One of the best things about s’mores is the amount of experimentation you can do with them. You can replace the graham cracker with your favorite cookie, add peanut butter, bananas, different kinds of chocolate, or even dip the whole darn thing in chocolate.