As an American living abroad, I find that the 4th of July is one of the US holidays that I miss the most after Thanksgiving. Most people get the day off work and gather with friends and family for outdoor parties and BBQs finished off with a great fireworks display. There were usually a few small displays being done by friends down on the beach, or you could brave the traffic and head into town for the main display off a barge or in a park.
Being a weekday in the UK, we aren’t really doing much to celebrate over here. However, in addition to the big flag hanging off the front of my house, we will also celebrate tonight with a classic, and much loved, American treat.
We’re celebrating with gooey, delicious S’mores…
S’mores! They’re traditionally made around an open campfire but can be cooked over the BBQ as well. Charcoal BBQs work best, but gas can also do the trick – I have even been known to toast a marshmallow or two over an electric hob element back in my University days! They’re delicious, fun to make and the kids and kids-at-heart will all love them.
The s’more recipe dates back to at least 1927 when a recipe for the more formally named “some mores” appeared in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, a helpful little book which included instructions for building 12 different kinds of campfires.
The American recipe uses Graham crackers and Hershey’s chocolate bars but my lengthy experience in making S’mores in the UK has shown that using two chocolate Digestive biscuits are just as good, or use two plain digestives with your favourite milk chocolate bar.
Definitely try to find some American-style marshmallows as they toast a bit better. Over the 12 years I have been living in the UK, more and more American products have become readily available – including marshmallows such as Mega Marshmallows. If you want to make a truly authentic s’more you can even find Hersheys Chocolate bars in a few of the UK grocery stores – but other chocolate works just fine, if not better!
Chocolate Digestive S’mores Recipe:
Skewer a marshmallow (or two!) and heat over the campfire or bbq until it begins to brown. It is always good to scout out the best spot in the coals where you can get close to glowing coals along the whole length of your marshmallow so that the nearest end can also cook. Then, in the fun spirit of competition, you must defend that prime spot as yours! Rotate as needed to get an even browning and make sure to remove it before it falls off the end of your scavenged stick or skewer.
Some impatient folks swear they prefer the quick burn method. After it has cooked for a bit, so that it will not be firm in the middle (rookie mistake), purposefully put your marshmallow straight into the flames so it catches fire and then blow it out for a crispy burned coating and nice gooey middle.
Squish the marshmallow between two chocolate digestives and enjoy!
Enjoy with an American Pale Ale.
Traditional American S’more Recipe:
Place a square of Hershey’s chocolate (or other) on a Graham cracker (leave it close to the fire to allow the chocolate to soften while you’re toasting your marshmallow).
Skewer a marshmallow (or two!) and heat over the campfire or bbq coals until it begins to brown. Rotate carefully until you achieve your personally desired level of toasting.
Carefully use the top biscuit to scrape the marshmallow off the skewer and onto the piece of chocolate and bottom biscuit. Squish it together a bit so you get that chocolate melting and enjoy!
Cinnamon Graham crackers with dark chocolate is my personal favourite!
The cinnamon version is best enjoyed with a classic American Brown Ale
Like with brewing, there really are no rules. Experiment with what yummy flavours you can create – you could try plain digestives spread with Nutella or how about caramel digestives and bananas maybe? Share your best recipes in the comments below.
Cheers! Posy xx