Around mid-October, I begin to pine for the vibrant colors of the Oregon autumn, and look wistfully out the window at the relatively brownish landscape I’m surrounded by here in North Hollywood. This year, we decided to pop out of town for a weekend with our friends and their puppy and head up to the hills for a brief seasonal retreat. I’d never been to Big Bear before, but had heard great things about the area, and figured that with it’s high elevation it must feel more woodsy than L.A. at the very least. It was about a 2 hour drive outside the city, with many twists and turns toward the end, but eventually the mountain tops parted and we found ourselves at the edge of a very long and very clear blue lake. We had booked someone’s little lakeside cabin through the always enjoyable Airbnb, and while there was a bit of hiking involved to get to the place, the view of the lake could not have been more beautiful, and the setting for s’mores could not have been more idyllic. It had a wonderfully rustic feel to it and we immediately felt right at home.
Yes, I am one of those people for whom s’mores and a grill always go hand in hand. Even if we’re just grilling up some burgers at home in our backyard in the summer, I always buy s’mores fixings so I can make them for dessert once the coals start to smolder. There’s just something amazing that happens when marshmallows are cooking over intense, smoky heat like that. Gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside….y’all know what I talking about.
While there were many a traditional s’mores made at the cabin, I decided to try out some more adventurous takes on s’mores that I’d been thinking about for a while (why yes, I do fantasize about s’mores in my free time.) One of them doesn’t even have a marshmallow in it, so I don’t know if it technically qualifies as a “s’mores”, but it does include a chunk of brie slow-roasted on a stick and covered in raspberry jam, so at least there’s that. Also, making dozens of s’mores was an excellent excuse to try out my rustic roasters I’d been itching to use (both the horn and the wood handled ones!) I didn’t realize how long and sturdy they were at first, and looking back wish I would have brought some meat with me to cook souvlaki-style with them over the charcoal, but there’s always next year…
And on that note, here’s a few photos from our weekend in the woods, followed by recipes for bananas foster s’mores, key lime pie s’mores, roasted strawberry balsamic s’mores, and roasted brie & raspberry jam s’mores. They were all ridiculously tasty, but I think the overall favorite was the bananas foster s’mores. The banana toasted up so nice on the outside all covered in rum and brown sugar, and it went crazy good with the toasted marshmallows and chocolate. But to be fair, you really can’t go wrong with coating fruit in booze and then roasting it over hot coals…
Bananas Foster S’mores
Take a third of the banana and soak it in the rum for 5 minutes. Remove it and roll it in the brown sugar until coated. Place the banana and two of the marshmallows on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until the marshmallows are a toasty golden color, turning every minute.
Remove from heat and place marshmallows on top of a piece of graham cracker and chocolate. Place the banana on the marshmallows, pressing down. Place the other graham cracker square on top, pressing down gently to secure it. Serve immediately, and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Key Lime Pie S’mores
Place the marshmallows on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until the marshmallows are a toasty golden color, turning every minute. Remove from heat and place marshmallows on top of a piece of graham cracker and chocolate. Spread the lime curd over the marshmallows and top with the remaining graham cracker square. Serve immediately.
To make the lime curd, heat the sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and butter in the top of a double boiler until the butter is just melted. Whisk in the eggs, and bring the heat down to medium-low. Continue cooking and whisking the mixture in the top of a double boiler until it thickens considerably, about 20-30 minutes, Remove from heat and allow to cool before placing in a clean mason jar and sealing with a cap. Keep refrigerated.
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic S’mores
Place the marshmallow and the strawberry on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until a toasty brown hue appears on the marshmallow, turning every minute. Remove from heat and place the marshmallow on top of a chocolate wafer cookie and dark chocolate. Cut the strawberry in half and place the halves on top of the marshmallow. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the strawberries. Top with the chocolate wafer cookie and serve immediately.
Bring the ingredients to a boil in a small pot over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool before emptying into a clean mason jar and securing with a lid.
Roasted Brie & Raspberry S’mores
Place the cube of brie on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until the brie puffs up a bit and the cheese begins to get shiny, turning every minute. Remove from heat and place the brie on top of a piece of graham cracker. Spread the jam on top of the brie and top with the remaining graham cracker square. Serve immediately.