S'More Amore March 16 2016
I am making a batch of S'More Eggs today, and ruminating on the process that led to this new product's existence. Several years ago, I had the idea to make a gourmet s'more that would put the traditional summer-camp variety to shame. In my mind, this confection would feature delicious, homemade graham crackers, combined with toasted, homemade marshmallows, and be finished off with high quality milk chocolate. Pretty straightforward I thought, with the key challenge being how to get that classic campfire-toasted taste, without actual campfire involvement.
My initial thought was, "How hard can it be?," and I figured that employing either a broiler or a blowtorch to toast a batch of homemade marshmallows would solve the biggest challenge. But oh Lord what a disaster that was. The marshmallow (in both cases) disintegrated into a puddle of disgusting toasted goo and never recovered.
While contemplating what to try next with the marshmallow, I moved on to the graham cracker, and tried a variety of recipes to get a feel for them. Again, I thought, "How hard can this be?," only to have it turn out to be pretty hard. Early cracker trials produced crackers that were too hard and dense, then too light and crumbly; different brands of flour behaved wildly different; further experimentation with the spice profile resulted in crackers that were too bland, and then too "What was I thinking?" I persisted, tho, and after "just" 20 or 30 trials, had a cracker I was happy with.
Back to the marshmallow problem I went.... And stayed for two years. I couldn't get the flavor right (too sickly sweet, not smoky enough), couldn't get the texture right (too fluffy, then too wet), and could not figure out how to get it to "stand up" to the graham cracker I had created. I went off the rails at one point and tried adding bacon to it (not recommended) and experimented pretty heavily with smoked salts, which yes, was a bit like experimenting with drugs.
And then in the midst of solving all kinds of chemistry and procedural problems, I discovered another problem: if the marshmallow touched the graham cracker, the cracker got soggy. Dipping the cracker in chocolate solved this, but created its own problem: if I went overboard with the chocolate, it was impossible to taste the marshmallow.
I really thought I could figure everything out and have this new, marvelous s'more thing ready to sell last spring. And then I thought, well maybe by last Christmas. And then I thought if I didn't get it right for this spring that I would lose my mind. It took 15 more trials with the marshmallow recipe to take it from "close" to "perfect," but finally, exhaustedly, elatedly, my dream of a better s'more has been realized. Smoky and sweet and oh, what a treat. You should try one!