Ooey Gooey Ococoa S'mores

Posted on 03 August 2016

For me, S'mores is a quintessential summer dessert. It evokes camping trips with my husband and beach bonfires with my friends. The trio of ingredients -- graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate -- pair so well, it's tempting to think they were created for this purpose alone.

Working with chocolate on a daily basis, I now take for granted how any recipe can be improved by simply using better ingredients. So, this summer, I decided to get my fingers sticky and upgrade the classic S'mores. You'd be surprised how much a couple ingredient substitutions can improve the flavor combination!

I started by trying out three different graham crackers, only to reach the conclusion that you really can't go wrong with the foundation of the dessert. Though they didn't make the final cut, I even liked how some cinnamon graham crackers spiced up the chocolate.

Next, I decided to say goodbye to the somewhat rubbery standard marshmallows and upgrade to lighter and more delicious gourmet marshmallows. These cubed pillows of yumminess didn't need as much torching, and the fluffier texture and superior taste really enhanced the final product. You can find craft marshmallows at a growing number of markets, or treat yourself to one of the amazing flavors from mallow & hop, another awesome boss lady in Los Angeles.

Finally, I left the typical chocolate bar behind and eagerly started trying out different confections. I knew I wanted to use dark chocolate, so the rich cocoa flavor would complement the marshmallow's sweetness. While a high-end chocolate bar would suffice, I also wanted a little extra something... which led me to our Irish Whiskey Caramel Bar. The mix of smooth caramel and dark chocolate -- not to mention the kick of whiskey -- harmonized with the graham cracker and marshmallow, creating a taste sensation that left me smiling as I licked each gooey finger. In the interest of science, I will report that the Peanut Butter Cups and Salted Chocolate Truffle Bar were also strong contenders.

For the record, I didn't have a campfire... just a small kitchen torch that I generally reserve for creme brûlée. On nights that I run out of propane or want to make more than one or two S'mores, I turn my oven on broil and watch those marshmallows bloom beautifully. It's easy peasy, so no excuses.

We are in the last month of summer and I hope you'll make the most of it. Have some friends over, set up a S'mores bar, and feel like a kid again... but without the bedtime.

Thoughtfully yours,

Collage of caramel bar, marshmallows, and graham crackers

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