Take your s'mores to the next level
PITTSFIELD — Happy National S'Mores Day! The Berkshire Eagle staff once again went above and beyond the call of duty Monday to taste test and rate one of America's traditional summer treats — the s'more. (These are the same brave souls who have sampled 11 pies, four extreme burgers and four extreme hot dogs in other contests this past year. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it ...)
For the s'more challenge, the features department researched recipes, chose several and then narrowed the field to four — grilled caramel bacon s'mores, peanut butter cup banana s'mores, raspberry white chocolate s'mores and lemon pie s'mores.
The first challenge was how to roast the marshmallows. Using a gas grill was considered, as was a cook's blow torch; both were quickly ruled out for not being able to produce the quantity of marshmallows needed in a short time. So, we turned our sights toward the broiler in Kat's Cafe on the lower level of the Clock Tower Building. We could toast baking sheets full of marshmallows at one time. It worked beautifully! Thanks Gail, Kat and Rici!
The votes have been tallied ... and there is a solid three-way tie for the best — peanut butter cup banana s'mores, raspberry white chocolate s'mores and lemon pie s'mores, although there were some shout-outs for the caramel bacon s'mores.
"It's really close in my mind," said Eagle Investigations Editor Larry Parnass, whose top choice was the raspberry white chocolate. "The caramel was a great match with the bacon, a salty-sweet thing. They were all extremely interesting and worth trying. They celebrate the s'more tradition, but don't violate it."
Geoff Smith of the sports department shared his rankings: 1) White Chocolate/Raspberry; 2) Peanut Butter Cup/Banana, 3) Bacon/chocolate; 4) Lemon Curd, adding it "was delicious and a great way to start a Monday."
Sean Hayes, digital ops manager at The Eagle, also ranked the s'mores, "in order of most liked to least liked: 1) Bacon and Caramel; Caramel might've been a bit much, but the bacon added some nice saltiness to it. 2) Lemon Pie; This would've been killer with chocolate, it felt lacking without it — the marshmallow wasn't sweet enough to counterbalance the acidity of the lemon for me. 3) Reese's Cup and Banana; I'm not a fan of mixing banana with other things, but the Reese's peanut butter cup alone made it a bit more decadent with the peanut butter. 4) White Chocolate and Raspberry; I enjoy neither white chocolate, nor raspberries."
Jennifer Huberdeau, Eagle online editor; Peter Greenberg of the IT Department and Nancy McLean, Eagle public notice coordinator, agreed the lemon pie s'more was the top pick.
"It was something different. It took s'mores to a different level," Huberdeau said.
Toward the end, there were a few experimental s'mores created. Lemon curd was added to the raspberry white chocolate version. Meggie Baker, the Eagle calendar editor, endorsed the peanut butter cup banana s'more, but thought something was missing, so she added bacon. However, being a vegetarian, she wouldn't eat it. I'll admit it, she made a good decision! The moral of the story? Play around, think outside of the box and create your own special s'more.
Grilled caramel bacon s'mores
8 squares of milk chocolate
8 graham cracker squares, broken in half
4 slices of bacon
8 tsp caramel sauce
Heat your grill on medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange bacon on cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cook bacon (with barbecue lid down) for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through, then cut into bite-sized pieces
Place marshmallows on skewers and heat over grill until they're toasted to your preference.
Place a square of chocolate over one-half of the graham cracker square. Place the bacon over the chocolate, then a marshmallow and drizzle of caramel sauce.
Top with second half of graham cracker and serve immediately.
Peanut butter cup banana s'mores
3 graham crackers, broken in half
3 Reese's peanut butter cups
3 marshmallows, toasted
1 banana, thinly sliced
Top three graham cracker halves with a toasted marshmallow. Top each s'more with 2 to 3 slices of banana.
Add peanut butter cup on top of the banana, and top with another graham cracker to form a sandwich.
Raspberry white chocolate s'mores
4 graham crackers, broken in half
4 squares of white chocolate
4 large marshmallows
Lay 4 halves of graham cracker on a serving platter. Place a square of white chocolate on each one.
Heat the marshmallows over a flame until toasted.
Put a marshmallow on top of each piece of chocolate, and place 3 raspberries on the melted marshmallows. Top with another graham cracker. Eat immediately.
Lemon pie s'mores
6 whole graham crackers, broken into square halves
3/4 cup lemon curd or pie filling
Spread the half of the graham crackers with a thick layer of lemon curd (about 2 tablespoons apiece). Toast the marshmallows until they are slightly blackened on the outside and soft inside. Smear the marshmallows on the other half of the graham crackers. Sandwich and eat immediately.
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