Smore’s are one of my favorite desserts because of the nostalgia – it always brings up memories of camping (or glamping technically since we can’t do without air conditioning) and ski trips.
The history of the food used to make smore’s is quite interesting! Before Girl Scouts came along, it was cough drops, dessert in funerals, and propaganda to reduce sex drive. Keep on reading.
Mashmallows were first used as medicine in ancient Greek civilizations using the marshmallow plant Althaea officinalis root juice and leaves. The white sap was candied to sooth the throat like cough drops. Then the French turned it into a dessert by combining the plant with eggs and sugar to make a foam. This was labor intensive and by the end of the 19th century, gelatin replaced the plant juice from the actual plant as an equally tasty but much cheaper alternative. (source, source)
Graham crackers were originally invented by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham to reduce sex drive. He believed a strict vegetarian diet would aid in suppressing carnal urges and rampant desire (as opposed to a steak dinner and wine). So he used “finely ground, unbleached wheat flour, wheat bran and coarsely ground germ” to make dry cracker that he named after himself. (source)
And I thought graham crackers was invented for kids!
A few iterations similiar to the s’mores came along, including Victorian era funeral cakes (made of chocolate and marshmallow, marshmallow roasting parties (“an excellent medium for flirtation” as people nibbled off the marshmallows), Mallomars from New Jersy, and Moonpies from the Tenessee.
Todays recipe is a fun spin on the classic s’more by baking it in a tart form, adapted from New England. I used my stone ground Taza chocolate for the ganache and my torch to toast the marshmallows. This was a birthday dessert for our camping and hiking buddy – couldn’t think of a more fitting dessert!
2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
8-9 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Taza chocolate)
1 cup heavy cream
Large marshmallows, cut in half
CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon. Press into a tart pan. Bake for 7 minutes.
FILLING: In a small saucepan, fill 1/3 with water, and bring to a boil. Place a heat proof bowl on top of the saucepan, touching the water to make a double boiler. Add the chocolate and heavy cream. Stir with a spatula until combined and smooth. Pour into the cooled graham cracker crust.
Cut the marshmallows in half, and place the marshmallow with the ends up to cover the whole tart. Using a culinary torch and toast the marshmallows til golden brown. Let it cool so the ganache firms up before serving.