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How to Make S’Mores 2 Ways

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I never was a Girl Scout, so I came late to s’mores. I was already a teenager when I squished my first blackened marshmallow between graham crackers and chocolate after awkwardly thrusting a skewer amid the glowing embers

Since no one had schooled me in the finer points of smelting a s’more, like rotating the marshmallow to an even shade of toasty brown or letting the molten blob rest on the chocolate for a moment, my first s’more was incinerated and gloppy, hard bits of Hershey bar lacquered with gummy ash. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

I eventually gave s’mores another chance for the sake of my grade-schooler, after friends invited us for a weekend in the country. We stood around a proper bonfire, carefully turning marshmallows above, not in, the flames, hungrily watching the exteriors turn from golden, to brown, to lightly stippled with black but not at all burned.

Flattened between graham crackers and thin slabs of milk chocolate, the marshmallows oozed lushly onto their fudgy beds. I finally understood why the Girl Scouts named this treat “Some More” when they published the already popular recipe in their 1927 book, “Tramping and Trailing With the Girl Scouts” — though not without a warning. “Though it tastes like ‘some more,’” the guide admonishes, “one is really enough.”

The highly addictive combination of gooey marshmallows, chocolate and crackers has endured for a century. For those of us without access to a bonfire, s’mores are ridiculously easy to make under the broiler in five minutes flat.

All you do is lay the graham crackers on a baking sheet, top with squares of a broken-up chocolate bar and some marshmallows, and broil until the tops are as browned as you like, with or without that speckling of black. Then cover each one with another graham cracker, smashing the marshmallows until their white lava glues everything together. They’re a perfect “there’s nothing in the house for dessert” dessert. If you don’t have graham crackers, Saltines or Ritz crackers work just as well, if not even better, since their crisp, airy saltiness contrasts with, rather than bolsters, the sweetness of the goo.

At its foundation, this tart has a deeply buttery, homemade graham cracker crust, far richer and more tender than the store-bought cookies. After baking, I fill it with a puddinglike ganache that’s firm enough to slice but still supple, barely holding its shape. Then on top, I singe a swirl of frothy meringue ever so delicately with a blow torch.

While both s’more variations are sweetly satisfying, the tart lived up to the showstopping concept; it’s a knockout. It does take several hours to make, but you can spread the work over a couple of days, and none of the steps are hard.

Still, the classic oven s’more is hard to beat, for its elegant simplicity as well as its nostalgic appeal. As campfire enthusiasts, marshmallow mavens and former scouts know well, a s’more is more than just a gooey dessert. It’s a talisman of dusky, firefly-filled nights and endless childhood summers. Even burned to a crisp.

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