S'mores, like Halloween and Black Friday, have been gradually making their way to UK shores in recent years.
As the sticky campfire treat has made its way into popular culture, starring in films such as Toy Story 2 and TV shows including The Big Bang Theory and Melissa & Joey, s’mores are loved by people across the globe.
History of s'mores
S'mores first appeared in a 1920s US cookbook as a recipe called the 'Graham Cracker Sandwich' where a toasted marshmallow and half a chocolate bar were sandwiched between Graham Crackers - a sweet biscuit made with graham flour and flavoured with honey or cinnamon.
The cracker itself had been inspired by the preaching of health advocate and Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham who was part of the 19th century temperance movement. He was an early advocate of the vegetarian diet which included bread made from wheat ground coarsely at home. Graham Crackers therefore became an early vegetarian snack.
S'mores became popular with Boy and Girl Scouts as a campfire treat and were even featured by Betty Crocker in a cookbook. The name is a contraction of the phrase 'some more' and whilst traditionally the marshmallows were roasted over a fire, they can also be warmed over a gas flame, under a grill or even in a panini press or toasted sandwich maker.
Are s'mores really American?
Whilst s'mores would appear to be as American as baseball, the stars and stripes or pumpkin pie, two of their constituent parts actually have their origins from much further afield.
Marshmallows date back to ancient Egypt where they were made by boiling the root pulp of the marsh mallow plant with honey before straining and cooling. The concoction was used to soothe coughs and sore throats and to heal wounds.
By the mid 1800s the marshmallow had drawn the attention of French confectioners who whipped mallow roots with sugar, water and egg whites to form candies.
The other non American ingredient in s'mores is chocolate. Cacao plants were first used in ancient Mesoamerica (present day Mexico) some 4,000 years ago where they were turned into chocolate and used during rituals, as medicine and even as an aphrodisiac (not something the abstemious Rev Graham would have approved of).
Recipe: how to make the perfect vegan s'more
There has been a two hundred fold increase in Google searches for "How to make smores UK" in the last two years with 500 searches a month for s'mores recipes. And with increasing numbers of vegans it is high time that we veganised the classic recipe (because of course marshmallows traditionally contain egg whites and gelatine (an unappetising product made of the connective tissues such as skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of cows and pigs).
In the spirit of Sylvester Graham's vegetarian approach and in celebration of Free From Fellows Vegan Mallows we've come up with a s'mores recipe totally free of animal cruelty and without the need for a trip across the Atlantic to buy Graham Crackers or even to light yourself a camp fire.
Take four digestive biscuits (make sure they are milk-free) and place on a baking tray.
Put a square or two of milk-free dark chocolate onto each biscuit and top each with three of four Free From Fellows Mallows. You can choose vanilla or strawberry flavour.
Pop the tray under a heated grill for a few minutes and watch until the marshmallows begin to toast.
Remove from the grill and press another digestive biscuit onto the top of the mallows which should be squidgy enough to stick everything together. If they aren't quite ready put them into the microwave for a few seconds.
Eat hot and with a clear conscience.