Thursday, August 10, 2017

Think Outside the Graham: A Love Story About S'mores

It's that fabulous time of year when, frankly, I'm quite torn.

When I stepped outside this morning, there was a slight chill in the air, letting me know that fall is coming. Leaves are starting to turn here and there (yes, in August!), and whispers of the our annual block party are starting to slip into our conversations. Ten years in NC, and the changing of the seasons still delights my heart. And no season has such a change in weather, scenery and attitude as fall.

But I'm a Florida girl, and part of me lives in eternal summer among flamingos, flip flops and sunblock. So as awesome as that chill in the air felt, I can't say I'm quite ready to leave summer behind. I'm dreading the day where I get a funny look for still having flamingos in my yard, and when it's too cold to wear flip flops to the bus stop in the morning. If I'm being honest, that last one won't happen until January, but still...fall reminds me of that little bit of doom.

But you know what makes it better? Today, August 10. Why? No, it's not my birthday (that's next week, by the way). It's freaking NATIONAL S'MORES DAY!!!

If there's a fall tradition that I've embraced wholeheartedly, it's s'mores around a fire. It's like a contemporary country song come to life - fun, cozy, full of love and awesomeness, and makes you reflect on what's truly important things in life. And what's not to love? Graham crackers, marshmallows, and (say it with me now) CHOCOLATE! melting together with just enough charred bits to send you to heaven in one bite.

However, I must admit that graham crackers are...meh. So a few years ago, I became a bit obsessed with perfecting the s'more, and I'm here to tell you: THINK OUTSIDE THE GRAHAM.

Please, please, please...bypass those squares of dryness. You deserve better. And in my world, there's no room for 'meh' when you're treating yourself. Go big or go home, sister. You can have any cookie you want, and any chocolate you want.

Here are some of my favorite combinations:

1. 'The OG': This was the first time I got crazy with s'mores, so it will always be my original over-the-top s'more. It's chocolate chip cookies with rolos. Sublime. It's the one in the pic at the top.

2. Mama's Dream: What makes this one fantastic, is that it simplifies the process, so mama can relax, while still upping the yum factor. It's simply the fudge stripe cookies with a solid chocolate back and marshmallows. Cookies and chocolate are already together, and the butter cookies taste way better than grahams.

3. Peanut Butter Bomb: Peanut butter patties (like the type the Scouts sell, but are now available everywhere) and marshmallow. Again, cookie+chocolate in one step, but with the added bonus of peanut butter. Pro tip: flip the cookies so the peanut butter side melts into the marshmallow. You're welcome.

4. Fancy Traditionalist: If you must use a graham cracker, try it with Girhardelli squares, especially the caramel. They're thin and melt easily, and cover the whole cracker and are available in a variety of flavors.

So those are four ways to get started on your new amplified s'more journey.

But wait! There's more!

I know some of you are going "That's cool and all, but I'm not really into sweets." To that, I just want to say that I don't really understand you, but I still love you, so I'm going to give you an option that you won't be able to resist:

Roast a small piece of brie like you would a marshmallow (but don't char it), and put it on some strong crackers that aren't going to turn into a crumbly mess (I'd go for triscuits, personally) with some apricot or pear jam. You're welcome.