As summer wanes, the instinct is to gather around the campfire to hold onto the season a little longer, maybe even all year. There’s one dessert that can help accomplish this: s’mores.
Moving from the campfire to the high-end wood-fired oven, s’mores have been transcending settings and seasons. And as we move into fall, s’mores are sticking around. After all, there’s nothing particularly seasonal about melty chocolate, gooey marshmallow and good ol’ graham crackers. Put these ingredients into the hands of a curious, fun-loving chef, and the results are s’mores for all seasons.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches with Toasted Marshmallow
Rene Cruz, pastry chef, Presidio Social Club, San Francisco
At Presidio Social Club, an old military building tucked away in San Francisco’s picturesque Presidio National Park, the menu veers towards classic Americana with a Northern California vibe. You’ll find deviled eggs alongside a bounty of roasted vegetables, oysters, classic drinks like a French 75, hearty favorites like meatloaf, aloha pig roast dinners, New England clambakes, and an oven-roasted ribeye for two. So pastry chef Rene Cruz’s s’mores-inspired ice cream sandwiches fit the aesthetic perfectly. The salted caramel ice cream acts as a bridge between the chocolate element — thin, gooey brownies — and the telltale sign of all s’mores: toasted marshmallow.
Laura Bellucci, bar chef, SoBou, New Orleans
Laura Bellucci, who presides over the bar of SoBou, a Creole saloon in the French Quarter, sees the bar as “a place to escape the orderliness of life,” and this s’mores cocktail transports the sipper straight to a booze-fueled campfire. It’s a stiff yet playfully sticky drink made with High West Campfire Whiskey (a product from Utah that blends Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys), granola-infused crème de cacao and black walnut bitters. It’s garnished with a housemade whiskey marshmallow and a graham cracker rim on the glass. Cue the ghost stories!
Michael Mina, executive chef, Pizza & Burger, Miami
Michael Mina is a famous defender of comfort food’s place on the menu, and at Pizza & Burger, his casual place in the Fontainebleau, he’s found a real playground. (Lobster corn dogs, anyone?) His decadent s’mores dessert is simple and straightforward, going directly to the palate’s memory center. But it’s somehow richer than memories of s’mores past, with housemade graham cracker crumble; a luxe chocolate brownie; and vanilla marshmallows melted, charred and caramelized. This is nostalgia done right.
Hillary Kirkton, pastry chef, Urban Farmer, Portland, Ore.
The rule at Urban Farmer — a farm-to-table steakhouse with outposts in Portland, Ore., and Cleveland — is the cuter the better. That’s why you’ll find many things served in cans and adorable jars, like this s’mores riff that’s built on a foundation of peanut butter mousse (bringing peanut butter into the equation? Genius!); chocolate ganache; toasted milk ice cream; bananas (again, can’t go wrong channeling Elvis); vanilla syrup; graham cookies with cinnamon; togarashi-candied peanuts; and a perfectly caramelized cloud of torched marshmallow.