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.