S’mores are a summer staple and a favorite for when you’re out camping. Where did this dessert come from though? Who had the idea to combine graham crackers with chocolate and roasted marshmallows?
We’re not certain who came up with that exact combination, but roasting marshmallows outside during the summer was very popular during the 1890’s. The name “marshmallow” comes from the original ingredient – the sap from a marsh mallow, which is a swamp plant. The French came up with the idea to whip the sap with egg whites and sugar, and mold them into squares. These treats were expensive because it took so much time to make them, but the once the plant sap was replaced by gelatin, everyone could afford them, and summer marshmallow roasts became a trend.
Graham crackers have a stranger history. They were inspired by a Presbyterian minister who wanted to create a vegetarian food with unrefined wheat flour, because he believed it could repress the urge to pleasure one’s self. I’m really not sure where he got that idea, but using graham crackers as a vehicle for chocolate and marshmallows is definitely more palatable than eating them plain.
The first printed recipe for s’mores can be found in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts from 1927. Listed as “Some Mores,” the dessert called for just three ingredients: graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey’s chocolate.
Everyone has a different marshmallow preference in terms of roasting. I personally prefer the slow roast that leads to a golden-brown shell and gooey inside. To do this, you have to wait for a fire to die down to just the coals, or you risk setting your marshmallow on fire. Some people like that charred taste, but it is easy to lose your marshmallow to instant melting if the fire is that hot.
There are endless possibilities for s’mores, including replacing the Hershey chocolate with peanut butter cups. With marshmallows as a must-have, some ideas include:
● Peanut butter, chocolate, and banana
● Salted caramel and chocolate
● Replacing graham crackers with Oreos or cookies
● Replacing a chocolate bar with Nutella