Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Indoor S'mores. Seriously.

On account of bloodthirsty Midwestern bugs I’ve resolved not to go camping again in the summer. Campfires will have to wait until fall. Meanwhile, we've been getting our s’mores fix via the rosy glow of two electric heating elements in our toaster oven.

We discovered the way to a great indoor s’more a few summers ago after sampling my nephew’s efforts to produce the same. The key is to replicate the outdoor process: roast a marshmallow then slide the puffy, browned, oozy mass onto a graham cracker preloaded with squares of Hershey bar. Anyone with an oven can do it - preferably a toaster oven since less energy is required.

I don't disagree that the loss of ambiance is critical. Something about dodging smoke, the hunt for a good, long stick, and jockeying for space by the reddest embers makes a s'more taste even better. For those willing to forgo ambiance and kindling:

Indoor S’mores

Hershey bars
Graham crackers

Preheat oven to about 350° and place marshmallows on a tray. Roast for about 4-5 minutes, watching carefully after three minutes of roasting time. Once browned on top, flip the marshmallows over and brown the other side. You’ll notice the marshmallows deflate if not consumed quickly once roasted. Returning them to the oven will make them puff back up again. Just don’t ask me why; marshmallow science eludes me.

A big shout-out goes to Così, the flatbread chain, for offering indoor s’mores with a nod to danger. Così provides youngsters - any paying customer, really - with wooden skewers, a handful of marshmallows, a Hershey bar, and a flaming scoop of napalm jelly in a small cast iron pot. It’s all fun and games until someone hurls a flaming sugar wad into someone else’s eye (an easily imagined consequence of the hot disagreement over who got more of the Hershey bar). I can’t believe Così is allowed to do this. As long as they are, we’ll be sucking napalm fumes and gesticulating wildly with flaming marshmallow in hand about how AWESOME it is. Seriously.

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