One of the most important skills I’ve ever developed as a parent is the ability to make S’mores in the kitchen. The S’mores came about as a coping mechanism. I don’t have special memories from childhood attached to the delicacy. Oh sure, we would roast marshmallows on sticks over the fire camping, but our finances didn’t lend to the inclusion of chocolate and graham crackers. I discovered the joy of this treat as an adult.
As it turns out, parenting kids is super hard. One minute you’re never getting any sleep because you’re feeding an infant at all hours of the night and then you have to potty train. The next thing you know, they are teenagers and now that you are getting some sleep and you can actually THINK during the day you think you’ve got this. That’s when they trick you though. That’s when you see how cool and funny they are and you think it’s all good, then BAM! They have adult size problems and teenager hormones and you get to navigate it all like you’re on the bomb squad and it’s time to cut the wire only no one ever trained you if it’s the red or the green wire that gets you all out safe. Good luck to you, friend. This is parenting. No one’s telling you the secret.
Or, maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe it’s just that it’s 2020. If there was ever a reason to start engaging in risky behaviors, it is certainly the year 2020. It showed up on our doorsteps like an estranged uncle with weird habits. All the other family members dodged him, but he knew where you lived and now he’s staying here and you don’t know when he’s leaving. He smells bad and does not clean up after himself. He brought weird people over and you don’t know when any of them are leaving. What are you going to do?
Enter the kitchen S’more. You might be thinking that I use the S’mores to placate the children. It’s a good idea, but that’s not what I did. I used the S’mores as a secret mom snack. Doing this is a tricky endeavor, and you have to be at parenting level 5 to achieve it. Other candies can be hidden in boxes or drawers and you can claim you have to “go to the bathroom” and run in the other room and buy yourself enough time to enjoy it in the bathroom alone or maybe a closet if they’re not watching closely. Snacks that have to be cooked or prepared are tricky, especially when the ingredients are delicious on their own.
For example, many of my tribe love marshmallows. Everyone knows that having a bag of marshmallows in the cabinet is asking for them to be eaten. The trick is to buy two packages so that you can throw some at the wolves and run away screaming with your own. Or whatever. Same for the chocolate. You have to keep a close eye on the chocolate. The gremlins sneak in and eat it when you’re not around. It doesn’t matter what you do with the graham crackers. If there are marshmallows and chocolate no one will go for the graham crackers.
Before we moved to our current home, I had a gas stove. If you’re going to be doing this well, you need a gas stove so that you can toast the marshmallow campfire style and just smash it all together and go. That is really the best way to do it. If you’re bold enough you could build a fire, use your fire pit if you’re wealthy, or a candle if that’s all you’ve got going for you. Don’t use a scented candle. It ruins everything. Don’t ask me how I know. Unfortunately for the last five years or so I’ve been suffering in my kitchen with an electric stove. I’m convinced it’s my punishment for all the secret treats I’ve eaten out of eyesight of my children.
The electric stove led me down a depressing path that lasted several years. During those dark times, I made the S’mores in the microwave. That was a real adventure in timing. The marshmallow inflated like a ball on top of the chocolate and sometimes even slid off completely. If you try this you should know it comes out nuclear, maybe even radioactive. It attaches to the plate you put the thing on and will NOT disconnect from the plate. I did wonder about how it successfully digests inside my body when I can’t even get it off the plate, but the need for the treat caused me to just ignore that and scrape off what I could get with a fork. Plus, I have actually ingested radiation before, so the idea of radioactive marshmallows is something I’m weirdly okay with.
Personally, the chocolate and marshmallow have always been the parts I loved best. I was never a huge graham cracker fan, even back in my gluten days. Through trial and error, I have learned that gluten free graham crackers are awful. If you want to try some, just eat a piece of cardboard and you will understand completely. The ones that manage to have some decent taste are very crumbly and not conducive to holding the chocolate and marshmallow together. Over the years I’ve tried a number of products. The best vehicle at the current time is Pepperidge farm gluten free Farmhouse thin and crispy cookies. That was a long title that can also be called “a decent holder for chocolate and marshmallow if you only use one instead of two”.
Recently, I have discovered a couple of game changers for this whole process. The first one is in the marshmallow. You can now purchase a flatter, square shaped marshmallow that is made for S’mores. This is the best way to go. The second game changer was the broiler in the oven. I have often been put off by having to crunch through two crackers/cookies. I mostly just like the gooey guts. To achieve the perfect specimen, I first lay down the Pepperidge farm cookie. I top it with chocolate pieces. Every time I open a package of Hershey Bars, a kid approaches from the left. I keep an extra amount so that before they even say anything, I can just hand them chocolate and they walk away. If you don’t have extra chocolate, this will not work. You’ll have to abort the mission because the wolves will descend and make off with the goods. Lastly, I lay the marshmallow on top.
I put them in the oven with the broiler on and watch them like a hawk. Whatever you do, do not get caught up in a story someone is telling you about the dream they had last night. That will take way too long! When the top gets just the right amount of brown, that’s when you know they are done. When you pull them out, you can actually gently hold the slightly browned top of the marshmallow like it’s a cookie and eat the whole thing. It’s really the most cathartic thing you can do. I figure it’s how we are actually going to survive 2020.