The research-and-development budget for one of the hottest new flavors in processed and prepared foods may have broken records for money not spent. After all, one whole graham cracker, half a Hershey bar and one large marshmallow have to ring up under a buck. Heck, 50 cents might have done it.The humble s'more is suddenly haute cuisine and that includes cocktails.
From power bars to martinis, the flavor combination is cropping up in supermarkets, tony nightclubs and restaurant dessert menus.For the uninitiated, a s'more is a dessert sandwich created in the firm, deliberate squish of warm, toasted marshmallow atop a square of Hershey's chocolate between two graham crackers.Whether the pillow of marshmallow should be delicately browned or darkly charred has no doubt been the subject of campfire debates since 1927, when the recipe was first published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.
In the '90s, the gooey treat left the campground and started appearing in restaurants from New York to San Francisco. Guests were presented mini hibachi apparatuses (think baby pu pu platter) with all the recipe ingredients. Depending on the froufrou quotient of the eatery, sometimes the elements were freshly prepared in the kitchen. It could almost be described as the culinary equivalent of shabby chic: Something desirable but just a bit disheveled.
"It's really all about our fantasy of childhood," says Clark Wolf, a restaurant consultant in New York. "It's reminiscent of our having good times in the woods, being sick and staying home from school, it's got all these romances and its basic stuff. Just about everyone can do it. And messier is better."
As for the s'more earning a place at the bar, it may all distill down to pure comfort fare.
"All the 50- to 60-year-olds who went to Cub Scout and Girl Scout camp are going through their midlife angst and looking for comfort and reassurance," says master mixologist Dale DeGroff of New York.
Familiar flavors certainly can be an anxiety antidote. The name s'more has always invited second helpings at any age. And even if the ingredients are in a different form than the original s'more, they provide something to sip, savor -- and remember.
With Girl Scout cookie sales coming to a store front near you, let's toast a scouting tradition adult style with this Chocolate Martini.
And if that doesn't suit your style, try this: frozen Thin Mints, ice cream and a splash or two of Kahlua spinning in the blender. Anybody else ready to do the happy dance"
Yield: 1 serving.
1 tablespoon each: chocolate syrup, graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons each: dark chocolate liqueur, vodka, dark creme de cacao, hot coffee
Whipped cream (optional)
Cocoa powder (optional)
3 mini marshmallows or 1 large marshmallow
1. Place chocolate syrup in small plate. Place graham cracker crumbs on another small plate. Dip rim of martini glass into syrup. Dip rim into crumbs. Pour in liquids, adding coffee last. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cocoa.
2. Skewer the marshmallows; toast under a broiler or over open flame until golden brown. Balance skewer on rim of glass to serve.
Heather McPhersonOrlando Sentinel Food Editor and restaurant criticOffice: 407-420-5498Web: orlandosentinel.comBlogs: OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish and OrlandoSentinel.com/thedailydisneyTwitter: @OS_thedish
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