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'S'mores'          Send a link to a friend

[September 12, 2007]  "S'mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion," Lisa Adams, Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2007, 128 pages.

Review by
Richard Sumrall

To paraphrase a famous TV theme song, "A s'more is a s'more, of course, of course." But is there really more to this delicious treat? In her new book, "S'mores," author Lisa Adams says yes. Her book takes the s'more to new levels that incorporate ingredients not usually associated with this perennial dessert favorite.

What is a s'more?

According to Adams, the recipe for the original s'more first appears in a 1927 Girl Scout handbook. That well-known recipe consists of graham crackers, chocolate and roasted marshmallows. During her experiments with different recipes and varieties, she concluded that the marshmallow is the one ingredient essential to a good s'more: "The marshmallow remains the foundation, and the heart, of this beloved dessert sandwich."

How to make s'mores

The secret to making a great s'more is in the ingredients, especially the correct melting of those ingredients. You can choose ingredients to make a quick and easy s'more in the kitchen or make a night of it with a complete buffet for guests. Buffet s'mores are fun activities because they let everyone get creative with different combinations.

Cooking your s'more is also an individual preference. The best options are usually outdoor fires (over coals, not flames), BBQ grills (the lid makes the difference), ovens (perfect for large groups), s'mores kits (new on the market and not completely reliable), and the microwave (fast but no roasted marshmallow). Although the way the marshmallow is cooked is one's own preference, Adams suggests that golden brown is the consensus as the tastiest.

Making your own recipes

Adams has included over 60 recipes and divides them into five categories: sweet starts, classic tastes, extreme variations, the exotics and holiday favorites.

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Experimenting with nontraditional ingredients is the theme of one of Adams' favorite sweet starts -- the Two Tone S'more. This recipe calls for two distinct fruit flavors within the traditional ingredients and lets you choose your favorite fruit combinations. The Chocoholic contains an interesting twist on a popular s'more by using chocolate marshmallows. A classic taste sometimes found in a s'more is the brownie. There are several brownie-based selections, and the Minty Brownie is especially scrumptious. It substitutes brownies for graham crackers and contains Junior Mints as an ingredient.

One of the reasons Adams wrote this book is to offer extreme variations of the s'more. There are many mouth-watering recipes; two that stand out are Emma's Pound Cake Spectacular (pound cake and strawberries are substituted for graham crackers and chocolate) and the Chocolate Raspberry Croissant (using croissants for the crackers). As Adams points out, the great thing about the s'more is that you can be as outrageous or exotic as you like when making them.

Probably the most unusual recipe in the book is the Stroopwafel Taco. The stroopwafel is "a round Dutch wafer cookie with gooey maple or honey filling inside." During the heating process, the cookie becomes soft and can be folded into the ingredients to resemble a taco.

S'mores are always popular during the holidays. If you have some leftover pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, you have the key ingredient for a Smashing Pumpkin S'more. You can always show your love of the red, white and blue at your next Fourth of July picnic with a Patriot S'more. The three colors come courtesy of strawberries, blueberries and marshmallows.

"S'mores" is a wonderfully innovative and thoroughly entertaining cookbook. The recipes are easy to understand and are accompanied in many instances with beautifully photographed examples of the finished product. According to Adams, "Whether you make s'mores at home or out in nature, I hope these variations make you melt with delight -- and reinvigorate your love affair with this venerable dessert sandwich." This book is recommended to everyone who loves this classic American dessert.

[Text from file received from Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]

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