If there was one treat to describe a traditional camping snack, I think you would agree the classic s’mores are a camp cult favorite. For decades, families have enjoyed roasting marshmallows over a campfire with a makeshift twig carved into a point to hold a marshmallow or with a handy camping factory-made metal marshmallow stick.
For most campers, a s’more is two honey graham crackers filled with a fluffy fire-roasted toasted marshmallow and melted chocolate squares in between — typically both oozing out the sides of the graham crackers. But the best part of these simple three-ingredient s’mores is the endless possibilities of delicious creations using these key ingredients as a baseline and interchanging them to fit your taste buds.
There are so many combinations to try, like using variations of chocolates (white, dark, flavored) in between the graham crackers or even using a different food to replace the graham crackers altogether — like a gourmet cookie or waffle.
Dating back to 2000 B.C., scholars say that the ancient Egyptians were the first to enjoy what we now call marshmallows — a gooey treat that was once reserved for gods and royalty.
“Marshmallow” is made from the mallow plant that grows in wild marshes and is a term that comes from both the native home of the plant (marsh) and the plant name (mallow).
According to the National Confectioners Association, “The Egyptians squeezed sap from the mallow plant and mixed it with nuts and honey. However, no one knows what the candy looked like in those times.
The French were introduced to marshmallows in the early to mid-1800s. Owners of small candy stores whipped sap from the mallow root into a fluffy candy mold. This time-consuming process was typically done by hand. Candy stores had a hard time keeping up with the demand. Candy makers started looking for a new process to make marshmallows and found the starch mogul system in the late 1800s. It allowed candy makers to create marshmallow molds made of modified cornstarch. At this same time, candy makers replaced the mallow root with gelatin and this created the marshmallow stable form.
Marshmallows were introduced and popularized in the United States in the early 1900s, after the new manufacturing process was developed.
Today, Americans are the main consumers of marshmallows. According to experts, “Americans buy more than 90 million pounds annually. Marshmallow is considered a year-round snack even though the majority is sold during October and December.”
But according to a survey held by Honey Maid, 87 percent of Americans have tried a classic s’more, but only 31 percent of those people said they had tasted a S’more using a marshmallow cooked over a campfire.
Here are four gourmet s’mores recipes you can try on your next camping trip, “glamping” adventure or even in your own backyard:
Gourmet Hot Cocoa S’mores
This gourmet s’mores option can elevate your taste buds at camp. By taking the traditional idea of chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers and adding them with the warmth and comfort of hot chocolate, you can enjoy a gourmet cup of s’mores with the same great taste of this combination.
So, if you prefer your chocolate in a drinkable way, try this fun twist of a camp beverage. Simply bring your favorite milk (or water) to a boil over a fire to make it hot, and mix in your preferred cocoa (I use Ghirardelli premium baking 100 percent cocoa powder). Then, add sugar or sugar substitute to sweeten your hot cocoa to taste. Then top your hot chocolate with crumbled graham crackers and mini roasted marshmallows.
If you’re feeling adventurous, drizzle chocolate, hazelnut or caramel syrup for an upgraded flavor. I used Torani pure-made dark chocolate sauce that comes in a squeeze bottle for easy portability. Popular toppings also include chocolate shavings, cinnamon sticks, and whipped cream topping.
The bonus to this gourmet hot chocolate s’mores recipe is the fun that comes with roasting mini marshmallows over a campfire. As an added group activity, you could collect little twigs and whittle them down with a knife to receive the mini marshmallows stacked on one another in a row.
- Milk or Water
- Cocoa powder
- Sugar or sugar substitute
- Chocolate or caramel syrup
- Mini marshmallows
- Honey Maid Graham Crackers
Mini Gourmet S’mores Pies
Gourmet s’mores pies are a popular choice among the glamping community. They are simple yet incredibly delicious for chocolate lovers.
The art to creating these mini pies is in the layering. You’ll need mini foil pans or you can create DIY bowls out of normal tin foil. To start, crumble up a graham cracker, mix with butter and your choice of sugar or sugar substitute. Next, gently press the graham cracker to form the pie crust around the bottom of your bowl.
Simply layer with a pre-made chocolate pudding or melt your favorite chocolate over the fire for the filling. For the toppings — you guessed it — use lightly toasted marshmallows (mini marshmallows work best). Some other fun toppings to add include Oreo cookies, chocolate drizzle, or even marshmallow fluff. For these pies, use your creativity and ingredients you love and test different versions.
- Tin foil mini pans
- Chocolate pudding
- Sugar or sugar substitute
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Mini marshmallows
Decadent Dark Chocolate Strawberry S’mores
Chocolate meets sweet in this third gourmet s’more recipe. If you consider yourself a fruit lover, this is the s’more for you. Starting with your normal graham cracker base, add in a jumbo fire roasted marshmallow followed up by your favorite chocolate bar. Slice two strawberries and stack them between the crackers,. Finish by drizzling dark chocolate syrup all over. My favorite chocolate choice for these gourmet s’mores is the Hu almond butter with puffed quinoa dark chocolate.
- Hu chocolate bar, Hu almond butter with puffed quinoa dark chocolate bar, or any dark chocolate
- Graham crackers
- Jumbo campfire marshmallows
Gourmet Brussels Cookie S’mores
This last gourmet s’mores recipe is one of my go-to favorites and the easiest to make at camp. You simply start with a Pepperidge Farm Brussels dark chocolate cookie. These cookies are crunchy and already have a thin layer of dark chocolate in each cookie. (I’ve also used the Pepperidge Farm Milano Double Dark Chocolate cookies, and they are equally delicious.)
To make your Brussels cookie s’more, simply roast a marshmallow over your campfire, then take two of the Brussels cookies and squish the melted marshmallow in between. This gives your s’mores a crispier crunch than a graham cracker and the gourmet chocolate melts to the perfect s’more-ready consistency.
- Pepperidge Farm Brussels Dark Chocolate cookies
Suzanne Downing is an outdoor writer and photographer in Montana with an environmental science journalism background. Her work can be found in Outdoors Unlimited, Bugle Magazine, Missoulian, Byline Magazine, Communique, MTPR online, UM Native News, National Wildlife Federation campaigns and more.