August is high time for camping and fireside noshing, and nothing captures the edible essence of outdoor living quite like a s'more. Tomorrow is National S'mores Day (yes, that's a thing) and to celebrate, we scarfed our way through some of Chicago's best marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker combinations. There are several novel iterations popping up around this city, from bacon s'mores to s'more doughnuts, which makes camping almost entirely moot. And you don't even have to worry about mosquitos!
At South Water Kitchen, chef Roger Waysok's bacon s'mores were such a hit at Baconfest Chicago this year that he added them to the dessert menu. And you would too if you were equipped with housemade bacon-infused marshmallows nestled atop bacon-infused graham cookies and drizzled with chocolate.
Leave it to Katherine Duncan, proprietor of Katherine Anne Confections and the closest thing to Willy Wonka this city has, to put a sensational spin on s'mores. Her hefty confection uses graham crackers made by local Beurrage, layered with salted caramel ganache and housemade marshmallows, which are torched before the whole thing is dunked in bittersweet chocolate and flecked with sea salt. In case you're looking for more fiery heat, Duncan is also running a s'more layered with cayenne-cinnamon ganache and sprinkled with habanero chiles.
If there's a void in your life lacking deep-fried s'mores, Do-Rite Donuts is your savior. Dexterous doughnut craftsman Francis Brennan has come up with a simple, perfect doughnut interpretation of the s'more, wherein he takes a vanilla bean cake doughnut, ices it with Valrhona chocolate, sprinkles it with graham cracker streusel, and finishes it with caramelized whipped marshmallow. Because the only way to improve upon fireside nostalgia is by deep-frying it.
Ooey gooey s'mores feel more dignified when forks are involved. In that case, get thee to Bang Bang Pie Shop for a slice or two of their decadent s'more pie. It's all the pleasures of a fireside staple reconstructed in pie form, with a chewy graham cracker crust, a layer of dark chocolate, and a marshmallow cream sprinkled with Demerara sugar and torched to order.
No matter how innovative or profound the gourmet s'more, sometimes all you want to do is roast your own s'mores over a fire. That can be tricky to do in the city without breaking laws, so Fish Bar does the next best thing and brings the campfire to you! The modern seafood shack's make-your-own s'mores is an interactive crowd-pleaser, served around a contained open flame so that guests can spear and roast their own marshmallows. It's served with all the accoutrements, including graham crackers and housemade dark chocolate ganache.
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