The Art and Science of S’mores

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S'mores, the classic campout treat, is celebrated with a close examination of its history, science and technique.

s'mores infographic

S'more History

Believed to be a contraction of the phrase "some more," s'mores are indeed an irresistible treat. Packable and perfect for large groups, this ubiquitous group camping dessert sandwich is credited to Loretta Scott Crew, in the 1927 publication of Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.

Graham crackers were originally developed as a health food in 1829 by Rev. Sylvester Graham.

A cylindrical extrusion process invented by Alex Doumak in 1948 gives marshmallows their s'mores-friendly shape.

S'more 3-Step Technique

1. Thanks to their perforations, the shape of modern graham crackers make them the ideal plate on which to lay the chocolate.

2. Square or rectangular, the shape of the chocolate pieces are just the right fit atop the graham cracker.

3. After being roasted over an open fire to a golden brown or charcoal black, the hot marshmallow melts the chocolate and secures the sandwich.

The Eternal Question: Glowing Embers or Flame?

Allowing your campfire to mellow to a mound of glowing embers will heat the marshmallow throughout for a hot creamy texture, sealed with a light brown crust.

A young dancing flame will quickly sear the marshmallow coating, keeping the interior cool and firm.

Both styles allow for the "Russian matryoshka doll" technique of re-cooking the marshmallow after pulling off the coating after each roast.

S'more Variety

  • Use colored or flavored marshmallows.
  • Use peanut butter cups in place of the chocolate.
  • Use flavored graham crackers, such as cinnamon.
  • Apply a layer of peanut butter to the graham cracker.
  • Use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.
  • Add a layer of fresh-picked blueberries or raspberries.

Get more great group camping tips and advice at REI.com/family-camping.

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