Classic Campfire Confections

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When it comes to campfire dining, everyone has their own preferences—from stick-roasted hot dogs to panini-style pudgy pie sandwiches to Dutch oven stews and casseroles. But when the sun goes down and it’s time for dessert, the choice is nearly unanimous and the air around almost every campground tends to take on the scent of roasted marshmallow. Because whether you’re pitching a tent in the backyard, spending time at a cabin on a lake, taking in the night sky outside an RV, or just joining in the celebration of National S’mores Day (Aug. 7), that holy camping trinity of graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow is a camping classic like no other.

“S’mores have something for everyone: crunchiness, chewiness and, of course, chocolate,” says Jen Cain, a longtime scouting parent and organizer with the Three Fires Council in St. Charles. “Even better, each person builds their own, and that right there is the magic! You choose how to toast your marshmallow. Mess it up, make another—no big deal.”

Cain’s many scout camping trips have yielded a number of worthwhile tips for s’more administration, including keeping a close watch on the chocolate allotments (to avoid overindulgence), limiting the number of pokers for younger scouts (ditto), and having wet wipes on hand for the sticky cleanup. And while she notes that there are plenty of variations on the three-ingredient recipe to experiment with—from dark chocolate or peanut butter cups to flavored marshmallows to honey versus cinnamon graham crackers—the most important components are an open flame and a group of fellow campers with whom to share more than just a tasty campfire treat.

“As you wait for your turn at the fire or with the poker, or wait for it to cool so you don’t burn your face off, you chat, giggle, sing, and just act goofy,” she says. “You come away from the experience having had just that—an experience. It’s not just a dessert, it’s a special time with friends.”

Spruce up your s’mores

Transform the gooey goodness with these gourmet variations befitting any adult glamper. Feel free to indulge paired with a glass of port or Bailey’s on the rocks.

Instead of (or in addition to) chocolate, try:
Peanut butter cups

Instead of graham crackers, try:
Rice Krispie treats

Instead of plain marshmallows, try:
Bourbon-infused marshmallows (
Champagne or coffee marshmallows (