The evening campfire: Merriam Webster’s states, “a fire built outdoors.” I say, “a nightly camping ritual evoking warm summer memories.”
At dusk our family gathers around the campfire. Poking at the logs sends towers of flames, twigs and leaves snapping and crackling excitedly. Sparks fly skyward revealing a base of orange-red embers ready for toasting marshmallows and s’mores, our evening campfire dessert. Regardless of age, everyone likes to roast marshmallows! I think it reminds us of our youth….girl scout sing-a-longs around the fire, boy scout wilderness adventures, backyard bonfires, family camping vacations. The actual molten puff of fluff, a marshmallow, is secondary in our family to best marshmallow roasting technique.
We love our traditions! Grandpa combs the surrounding brush at dusk for two foot “green sticks”, whittling the end to a sharp point. I prefer a telescoping roasting fork, with heat-proof handle, both washable and reusable. Our youngest family member loves her battery operated rotating fork with plastic wood-like handle. (She claims it produces the most even browning.)
Campfire equipment aside, roasting marshmallows can be compared to grilling the perfect fine steak. Some like it rare; the marshmallow passed quickly over the campfire leaving a cold center. The overwhelming favorite, medium rare; painstakingly rotated over brilliant coals, producing a toasty brown caramelized crust around a puffy sweet goo. Then there are those who insist on roasting marshmallows well-done; characterized by plunging the marshmallow stick into the hottest part of the campfire, creating a marshmallow torch, quickly incinerating the outside to char-black. As for me? Give me s’mores…a crusty brown marshmallow with fluffy center and a square of chocolate, nestled between two honey grahams.
It really doesn’t matter how we make them, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores brings our family together. Briefly time seems to stand still as we share stories, recount activities of the day and partake of the ritual of roasting marshmallows. Our family memories and traditions are woven around the campfire every summer during our family camping vacations. I can’t imagine summers without roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. It is a simple family pleasure!
We have created many marshmallow and s’more variations over the years. Sample a couple of our favorites this summer around your own campfire.
1 piece milk chocolate bar (like Hershey’s)
1 full honey graham cracker
Toast marshmallow to personal perfection. Break the graham cracker into 2 pieces. Top 1 graham cracker with chocolate square and 1 marshmallow. Cover with the second graham cracker. Press into a sandwich and enjoy.
Graham Cracker Variations:
Chocolate graham crackers, cinnamon graham crackers, sugar cookies, chocolate brownie split length wise, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies (with or without chocolate square)
Chocolate Bar Variations:
Dark chocolate, 1 piece of an Almond Joy candy bar, Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Squares: chocolate with raspberry filling, chocolate with caramel filling, chocolate with mint filling, white chocolate, chocolate with peanut butter filling. (We purchase the assorted bag of Ghirardelli Square chocolate squares so everyone can be creative.)
This campfire treat was taught to me by my mom, our girl scout troop leader during a campout in our backyard.
Individually wrapped caramels (unwrapped) OR Rolos Candy (unwrapped) marshmallows.
Place one marshmallow on a roasting stick followed by a caramel or Rolo candy. Top with another marshmallow. Roast over campfire coals until golden. Do not flame the marshmallow. Pull the bottom marshmallow up over the candy so it is completely covered. Let cool before eating! Caution: Caramel becomes extremely hot!