This year will be my first Bonfire Night, and only recently did I learn what that actually is. My only point of reference was Hollywood’s interpretation in V for Vendetta, which vaguely hints at Guy Fawkes and that fateful night in 1605. When I heard about the dazzling displays of fireworks and countless bonfires, it sounded a bit like home.
More specifically, it reminds me of summer nights in America, sitting around a backyard bonfire with friends, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. Next to PB&J sandwiches and “biscuits and gravy,” s’mores are as American as they come, but the true origin of the s’more is somewhat of a debate.
The late 19th century is when roasting marshmallows started to trend as a summertime activity, described as a “[simplistic] form of entertainment. One buys two or three pounds of marshmallows, invites half a dozen friends, and that is all the preparation required.” Then came the Mallow Bar and Moonpie snacks in the 1910’s, both combing the essential ingredients to a s’more – chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers.
It was the Girl Scouts came out with the first recorded recipe for a “Some Mores” in Camping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts in 1927.
The instructions were “Toast two marshmallows over the coals to a crisp gooey state and then put them inside a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich. The heat of the marshmallow between the halves of chocolate bar will melt the chocolate a bit. Though it tastes like “some more” one is really enough.” Not much has changed since that original recipe, besides the name being shortened to s’more. Today, it remains a childhood classic.
For this weekend’s festivities, consider adding this special to your celebration. If you’d rather stay away from the fire, here’s my family’s oven-baked spin on this ooey-gooey delight.
- Graham crackers (or some type of honey biscuit. A Digestive is a good alternative)
- 110 g of butter
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Chocolate bars (Hershey’s for the full American experience)
- 30 g of white marshmallows (Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows is the proper American brand).
- Crush the graham crackers into crumbs. Mix the crumbs, sugar and melted butter and press into a cake pan or small casserole dish to form the crust.
- Bake at 180 degrees for 12 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown.
- Remove from the oven and line the dish with chocolate bars.
- Top it off with a layer of marshmallows and place the pan back in the oven.
- Let it bake until the marshmallows start to brown, to your liking.
- Remove and let it cool (or spoon it out if you can’t wait).
- Cut into squares and enjoy!