Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Zen and the Art of S'mores

Last night, as The Feared Redhead and I watched televison an ad came on for Hersheys Chocolate Bars. In the ad, the spokesperson was explaining that she and her boyfriend always argue over who makes the best s'mores, and concluded the commercial with, "I always win". TFR's response was to turn to me and say, "You're the King of S'mores!"

Which I am.

So I decided for this week's recipe to share with you my secrets to making The World's Best S'mores.

The World's Best S'mores

Ingredients:
Graham Crackers (Regular honey graham crackers -- no chocolate grahams, cinnamon, or any of that BS)
Hersheys Plain Chocolate bars (The regular ones, not the thick ones or dark ones or Dove Bars or any of that BS)
Marshmallows (Full-sized plain white ones, not the colored minis or chocolate marshmallows or any of that BS)

Utensils:
long pointy sticks (real wood sticks, not coat hangers or metal wienie roasting rods or bamboos skewers or any of that BS)
Campfire (Or a beach bonfire, or even a fireplace. No charcoal or gas grill or hibachi or any of that BS)

Notice a pattern?

That's right, my s'more recipe calls for exactly the old school elements, no more, no less. My secret is not in the materials, it's in the technique.

First of all, the S'mores MUST be made in a convivial atmosphere. The telling of jokes, singing of songs and sharing of innermost thoughts is a necessary element, as is snuggling a loved one, pulling pranks, imbibing hot chocolate, coffee, and strong drink. In onther words, if the mood's not right, neither are the S'mores.

Now to the technical notes. Start with one graham cracker. Carefully snap it in two so that you have square halves. Carefully snap off two of the sections of hershey bar as one piece, place the piece on one of the two cracker halves, and place the two halves on a hot spot near the fire. This will ensure that while your marshmallow roasts, your graham cracker will toast and the chocolate will melt. You want the chocolate to still hold its shape, but just barely, and be shiny across the entire surface.

Impale exactly one marshmallow on the stick. Using a stick will ensure that as the marshmallow is turned, the sides actually rotate towards the flame, instead of one side sagging towards the flame the entire time.

Hold the marshmallow just 1-3 inches above the tops of the flames, so that it's exposed to the heat but not directly to the flame. The trick is to allow the marshmallow to heat evenly, so that the inside begins to melt, and the outside turns a golden brown. If it catches on fire, it's ruined for the s'more -- pull it off and eat it a la carte.

Once the marshmallow begins to sag to that most of it hangs below the stick, it's ready. Pull it away from the heat. Place it on top of the chocolate, and then carefully place the empty cracker half on top. GENTLY hold them together, not squeezing too tightly, with the half edges facing the long portion of the stick slightly colser together. Slide the stick out of the S'more, and serve -- first S'more should be served to your beloved or a favored friend, last s'more to the s'more maker. This method, while painstaking, should guarantee maximum gooeyness, stickiness, and intermingling of flavors and textures, and should also guarantee you the amorous response desired from your beloved.

Enjoy. The s'mores, that is.

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