Smore Lessons

[image-1]Smore Tip #1 -Plain heat will soften a marshmallow a bit, but you can't achieve that prized toasty, blistered crust and custardy interior without fire. We added some new charcoal to the ashen coals and piled on a bunch of small kindling we picked up off the ground until a nice blaze sprang up, then waited just a few seconds for the impregnated lighter fluid to burn off. Hold the skewered marshmallow just above the flames for a bit, spin it slowly, then dip it into the flames until it catches and pull back. Let the little nugget burn to your desired shade of brown, or black, then blow the flames out and prepare for glory.

[image-2]Smore Tip #2 - Leave the chocolate out before you make the smores. Chocolate bars are too damn thick to melt properly, even when sandwiched with a molten marshmallow, so it's important to give Hershey's finest a head start by letting them sit outside for an hour or two, in the sun if the day isn't too blistering. Of course, that's not a problem if you're really camping.

[image-3]Smore Tip #3 - Make them bite-sized. Or maybe two-bite sized. Those big graham crackers need to be broken down to small rectangles in order to maximize marshmallow coverage and minimize oozing outflow during the first bite.

Truthfully, though, I don't need any of these rules. My marshmallows rarely make it more than a couple of feet before the gooey treats are in my mouth and I'm reaching for the bag to reload my stick. And all the kids scrambling about in the dirt preferred their marshmallows and chocolate straight from the bags. Maybe a real campfire would have lent the treats a bit more oomph.

During a Memorial Day weekend packed with wholesome family activities, most taking place in the great outdoors, I reconnected with smores, that gooey fireside treat. Problem is, we were hanging out at the cabins in Myakka Park, where the AC blasts in the bedroom and the only fire comes from the charcoal grill cemented into the dirt out back. We all know that meat cooks best over glowing white coals, but marshmallows? That's another story.

3 tips for smore preparation and construction after the break.

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