Anthony Tahlier
S'more Bomb
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S'More Bombs Demo

Gary Tucker / December 2011

For almost a hundred years, the ritual of cooking and eating s'mores has been a universal summer camp experience. Entire generations harbor fond childhood memories of gathering around a campfire after an evening cook-out and toasting a marshmallow skewered onto the end of a stick over the dying embers before sandwiching it between two graham crackers along with a slab of a chocolate bar, which begins to melt from the heat of the marshmallow. The recipe for s'mores, a contraction of the phrase "some more," was first recorded in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, published in 1927.

Naturally, variations, mainly substitutions and add-ons for the standard plain chocolate bar proliferated, with peanut butter cups, Heath bars, Mounds candy bars, Nutella, Caramellos, and on and on. Restaurant pastry chefs were also quick to take on the beloved treat and give it their own treatment.

Allison Kave bakes a full-size version, with graham cracker crust, milk chocolate filling, and marshmallow topping she brûlées to duplicate the campfire look and flavor at her mother's shop, Roni-Sue's Chocolates, in Manhattan's Essex Street Market. San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti sells a s'mores kit with the individual components to make four sandwiches or eight open-face s'mores online and at his shop in the Ferry Building. The kit includes house-made graham crackers, his famous fresh marshmallows laced with Madagascar vanilla beans, and his own proprietary blend of Valrhona 85 percent bittersweet chocolate.

Pastry chef Matthew Rice at Nightwood in Chicago transforms the dessert into a toasted marshmallow semifreddo that he serves with salted milk chocolate sauce and graham cracker shards. Executive chef Jason Adams of The St. Regis Aspen Resort in Colorado sprinkles graham cracker dough with cinnamon and sugar before baking, roasts marshmallows over sterno gel, and adds praline butter to his chocolate sauce.

In a most unusual treatment, executive pastry chef Ben Roche at Moto in Chicago liquefies the graham cracker and surrounds it with a dark chocolate shell to form a "bomb." Then he inserts a fried cellophane noodle "wick" into the top, sets the wick on fire at the table, and lets it burn down to the base of the bomb. When you eat this chocolate (in one bite), you get an explosive burst of graham cracker with some bitterness of the dark chocolate while the burnt wick, he says, gives the whole thing that "campfire roasted" marshmallow feel.

S'More Bombs

For 50 servings

Graham cracker puree:
• 2 packs (240 g) graham crackers
• 3 cups (700 ml) whole milk
• 2 Tbsps. (30 g) dark brown sugar
• salt

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender; blend 1 to 2 minutes until puree becomes warm so the fat from the graham crackers can emulsify with the milk.

  2. Chill puree in an ice bath or covered in the refrigerator.

  3. Pour into ice cube trays, preferably a 2-part ice cube tray that makes spheres (A); freeze overnight.

  4. Remove frozen graham cracker spheres from trays (B); reserve in freezer.

Chocolate coating:
• 6 1/2 Tbsps. (100 g) cocoa butter
• 17 1/2 oz. (500 g) dark chocolate

  1. Heat cocoa butter and chocolate together in microwave to approximately 100˚F, or until completely melted (stir occasionally so cocoa butter does not separate from the chocolate).

  2. Press a wooden skewer into each frozen graham cracker ball (C) dip into the chocolate coating (D); tap each ball 2 or 3 times onto the surface of the melted chocolate to remove excess chocolate and make for a thinner, crisper chocolate shell.

  3. Place dipped graham cracker balls onto a plate or tray lined with plastic or nonstick baking mat (E).

  4. Remove wooden skewer when chocolate has set (a few seconds), making sure to leave a hole in the top where the skewer had been inserted; reserve in refrigerator (allow a minimum of 3 hours for the frozen graham cracker to melt back into a liquid state).

Marshmallow "wicks":
• vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
• 12 dried cellophane noodles (see note below)

  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat to 350˚F to 400˚F.

  2. Deep-fry cellophane noodles until noodles puff up and become crispy (about 10 seconds); remove from oil (F); set on paper towels to drain; break noodles into 1 1/2" to 2" segments by hand; reserve in dry place.

Assembly:

Insert a "wick" in the hole on the top of the ball (G); place chocolate/graham cracker ball on each plate; set the wick on fire with a lighter or match; once the wick burns out, eat the bomb and burned wick in one bite (H).

What to drink: Bourbon, infused with smoky black cardamom, on the rocks
Chef's Note: To make the best wicks, use a thicker variety of cellophane noodle.