What is is about summer that makes me want to build a campfire, roast a hot dog and toast a marshmallow? It's not like these foods aren't available year-round, and we have the technology to make s'mores without the use of kindling or looking for just the right coals to produce a toasty, gooey just-right treat. So I've decided to do a smore-making comparison. Let's toast!
Broiled s'mores. You put several graham crackers (GC in future) on a cookie sheet, put a marshmallow (MM) on top, and put them in the oven on the top rack, close to the broiler. It takes about 30 seconds for a perfectly browned MM. Kate likes to put her chocolate piece in the oven with the MM, but I like to stick mine in afterward. Add a GC top and voila!
Microwaved s'mores. This was a tricky test for us, since we don't actually own a microwave, but when some very dear friends of ours took pity on us and invited us to stay at their house in far-off state of NJ (over the 4th of July) we were in microwave luck! Dash liked watching the MMs puff up as they spun around in the oven, then deflate when we took them out. They don't brown, but they melt evenly and are quite tasty.
Traditional fire-roasted s'mores. Those very same friends of ours also had a concrete patio with a built-in fire pit, so yes, we got to roast (or attempt to roast) our MMs over the fire. We had a slight problem that all of the boy scout skills Glen and Dash brought with them we couldn't solve -- it had rained a LOT the night before, and all the wood was wet. We finally pulled the dry copy of the NY Times Sunday paper out of the recycle box, and with the help of several sections we were able to get one slightly dry log to light. Dash simply set his MMs on fire over the burning newspaper, but Kate and I were able to eke out a couple of toasty MMs by roasting them over the minimal coals. Not very efficient, but still worth it.
Non-traditional roasted s'mores. I've also had the pleasure of roasting my own s'mores at Max Brenner -- also known as chocolate by the bald man. Armed with a fondue fork and my own personal burner, I was able to "roast" my own marshmallows and sandwich them and some fabulous chocolate between freshly made graham crackers. I'll admit it's not the same as having smoke blowing in my hair, and dodging Dash's torch-on-a-stick (like waving a flaming marshmallow will put it out!), but it felt slightly more natural than nuking it.
What did I learn? Yes, you can make s'mores all year round, but nothing beats roasting your own marshmallows over hot coals, swatting bugs, dodging torches, and watching your kids smiles on a dusky night out side.