Sunday, August 2, 2009

Care Package Inspiration: Raspberry S'mores

It's always a wondrous day when I get a package in the mail from mom. No matter how big or small, I always know that whatever lies within the shipments will be an ever-so-thoughtful gift - something chosen with me specifically in mind, and sent off with her love tucked in there amongst the Styrofoam peanuts. Her packages always arrive in a box wrapped in plain brown paper, and sealed with enough packing tape to deter anyone but the intended recipient (armed with a hacksaw blade) from tearing into the goods. But a little brown box sitting on my porch at the end of the day never fails to lift my spirits.

So the latest little box arrived unannounced. I wasn't expecting anything from her - no birthdays, holidays or remembrances to be observed. All the more mysterious, I tore into the package unsure of what treasure I would find. And a treasure it was: a single, beautiful little Mason jar filled with the epitome of Summer: mom's homemade raspberry jam. It was accompanied by one of her ever-present handmade cards (also always a treasure); this one reading simply, "A taste of home. Love, Mom."

I set the gem-like jar on the kitchen counter, where it sparkled like a garnet and tempted Randall to pine for a fresh jar of peanut butter. But I couldn't let this one precious jar simply be wasted on a lowly PB&J, as much as I love them. If you've ever tasted my mom's homemade raspberry jam, you understand.

Finally, this weekend presented an opportunity and an inspiration. We were heading out camping with some friends, and I was in charge of dessert one night (me??). I knew immediately I wanted to make s'mores - we were camping, for crying out loud, s'mores are required! - but I also knew that they should be something slightly more sinful than the normal marshmallow/Hershey bar/graham cracker variety (as if those aren't sinful enough!).

Years ago, I somehow stumbled upon making s'mores not with graham crackers and chocolate, but the lovely Lu brand Le Petit Ecolier biscuits. What could be easier? The cookies are already pre-loaded with the chocolate, and they come in a couple dark chocolate flavors (my pick always being the Extra Dark Chocolate version). Even if you do nothing more fancy than using these biscuits in lieu of graham crackers, the s'mores already seem like a much more grown-up version of a favorite childhood camping treat.

But, armed with a pint of fresh raspberries from the farmers market and with my mom's raspberry jam taunting from its pantry perch, these raspberry s'mores were born. The vision was complete with some hand-made vanilla bean marshmallows from Whole Foods (you'll never go back to the jet-puft sort after tasting handmade marshmallow pillows... ugh! Addicting!).

So it goes a little something like this:
  • Lay the Lu biscuits chocolate-side up on a sheet of tinfoil
  • Place a dab of raspberry jam in the center of the chocolate
  • Place 2-3 fresh raspberries (depending on size) atop the jam on 1/2 of the biscuits
  • Put the foil with the cookies either on a grate over some red-hot campfire coals, or on a flat rock near the fire, to provide some indirect heat to melt the chocolate
  • As the chocolate is melting, toast your marshmallow to your preferred gooeyness (charred or carmelized - your call)
  • Place your toasted marshmallow atop the melted chocolate/jam/raspberry biscuit
  • Put a second biscuit (sans fresh raspberries) on top of the marshmallow to complete the s'more sandwich
  • Prepare to get messy
  • Prepare to want seconds
  • Have some cold sparkling wine to wash it all down (these s'mores pair beautifully with a Brut-style champagne)
  • Dive in
Thanks, mom, for the inspiration... and I don't just mean for this dish.


  1. That's diabolical! Only you could come up with something so sinfully enticing -- playful, yet sophisticated...

  2. absolutely wonderful! I love this idea--can't wait to try it on my next camping trip...wait, I haven't had one yet this summer! Isn't that terrible?! I may have to make these in the comfort of my own the oven.