Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sundays with Sparky - The S'more Warriors, Part 2: S'Mores


If you recall, we started this post with pre-camping-trip homemade marshmallows.  We are avid campers...well, at least we adults are avid campers - Sparky can take camping or leave it, and so of late we have brought along his buddy Zuko to ease the sting of the fresh air and nature and all that.  This year, we went camping in the wilds of north central Illinois (OK, not terribly wild) and the Great Heat Wave of 2011.  We gave up after two nights, but we had fun anyway, and it served as a good reminder of how Life Was Before Air Conditioning (hint: hot and stinky.)

029For me, camping is all about the opportunity to cook over a wood fire and find foods that travel well in a cooler. This year presented a special challenge, as it happened to be Zuko's birthday, so we needed a birthday cake!  Turns out fresh-baked birthday cake is no real challenge over an open fire.  However, we discovered the hard way that our rolling campfire ice-cream-maker is apparently not rated for 100 degree heat.  The ice cream became a dessert sauce.

018We'd started our meal with a premade salad, some sliders, and a foil-wrapped-coal-baked brie cheese with caramelized shallots (a easy must-do for any camping trip)

The second day, we all hiked up our hopes as well as our hiking socks, and went fishing at a local creek - at least, everyone started out fishing...some of us decided to wade and collect rocks and creatures after a while.  Of course, it being 90+ degrees out, the  grown-up fish were all sitting home having a cold beer, and we were only able to catch and release the cute baby fish:


We settled for a meal of steak tacos with mango salsa (instead of the hoped-for fish tacos) and...s'mores.  As you might guess, I take my s'mores somewhat more seriously than most folks, so we laid out a mise-en-place (critical to s'more making.)

Store-bought marshmallows, homemade marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate, and dark chocolate for the grownups (and sometimes Sparky.) and graham crackers.

We don't kid around.  

This is where we discovered the true power of a home-made marshmallow: when toasted, the powdered sugar caramelizes, and they become Vanilla Effervescence Brûlée - with all the accents.  O. M. G. 

You do need to wait a bit longer to indulge yourself, for fear of burning your mouth-parts, but WOW is the wait worth it.  While it is, indeed, a challenge to keep these babies on their toasting-fork and not to eat them while they are searingly hot, they do take s'mores to a 
Whole.  New.  Level.  
S'mores were the topic of discussion for the entire ride home (we discussed what kind of homemade cookie we should make the next time, grahams seeming kind of plebeian for this elegant topping.  We're thinking maybe the cookies from Linzer Augen)

Your moment of zen:




Anonymous said...

The sting of fresh air...I love this.

Michele Hays said...


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