Say you’ve just returned from a literary vortex–a collision of language, stories, images, ideas–a community of like-minded writers and a place where you’ve been served all-you-can stomach desserts after every meal. You arrive home, ten days later, missing your tribe and with only Fig Newtons as confectionery compensation. In this state you might find yourself digging into the back of the cabinet and unearthing a sealed box of graham crackers, reaching into a bag of mini marshmallows that were for hot chocolate, and locating two lone squares of dark chocolate you’d squirreled away some time long, long ago.
Then you might look at your toaster and think, why not?
I should admit here that marshmallows are generally not vegetarian, unless by vegetarian you mean avoiding foods that have obvious ties to their meaty origins. The campfire staple is traditionally made with gelatin, which you may be aware, comes from animal parts. You can buy a vegan version, but I cannot vouch for it. I don’t usually eat marshmallows, but occasionally I develop a special kind of dietary amnesia which allows me to consume them guilt-free.
Anyway, if you’re desperate for dessert and you’ve got the ingredients, I can tell you exactly what not to do. First of all, do not put the marshmallows or graham crackers in the microwave. I discovered a long time ago that despite the entertainment value of watching the little pillows grow exponentially, there’s a only the tiniest interval between gooeyness and a kind of epoxy formed by solidified marshmallow. You may never get it off your plate. The graham crackers, engulfed in stickiness have meanwhile turned rubbery.
Another method you don’t want to try, unless you like filling your kitchen with smoke and causing your husband to run outside with the offending charred remains, is setting the marshmallows on broil in your toaster for 10 minutes and leaving the kitchen to check your email, hoping for more messages from your literary companions.
If, after narrowly avoiding setting off the smoke detectors (your husband valiantly waving the smoke away with the bamboo cutting board), you still want s’mores, you can assemble graham cracker halves on a sheet of aluminum foil, a square of chocolate atop each, and then a layer of mini marshmallows. Broil on medium for maybe five minutes, but resist the temptation to leave the kitchen. Pretend you’re holding a twig over a bonfire (oh, June residency!) and pull out your treats as they turn golden–just before the smoke erupts leaving you lightweight lava rocks.