A New Labor Day Treat

     With Labor Day rapidly approaching and most of America planning to cook outdoors with family and friends, most of your menu is probably planned or typical from past warm family gatherings.  How about adding a new twist with a fun, easy, and conversation-sparking treat?  Gourmet S'mores. 
     While we were on vacation in California and browsing around, we found an interesting book called, "S'mores:  Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion" by Lisa Adams.  Being of the persuasion, "I'll camp for S'mores," this book was a must-have for me.
       We tried these out on the barbecue this week, but those of you in cooler areas would enjoy this dessert while sitting around a mesmerizing fire in your conversation pits.  We tried two different types and then the traditional.  The family vote--Simple Mint won hands down.
      The following two recipes are taken from this book:

Pardon the blue tint in the photos--we'll do better on white the next time

     Simple Mint

     3 to 4 Andes mints
     1/2 graham cracker
     1 marshmallow
     1 crispy mint cookie (Thin Mint, Mint Oreo, Mint Brussels, etc)

     Unwrap mints and melt them on the graham cracker.  Roast the marshmallow.  Once the chocolate has melted, remove graham cracker from heat and top with roasted marshmallow and mint cookie.  (We also topped with another graham cracker to hold it together.)

     The secret to these gourmet s'mores is in the melting of the chocolate over hot coals without a snapping flame to burn the chocolate and later blacken your marshmallow.  We placed our graham crackers covered with the appropriate flavor of chocolate ingredients in a vegetable grill basket on the barbecue.  The author advises that you close the lid on the barbecue to melt the mouth-watering chocolate a little faster without burning the graham cracker.
      Then roast your marshmallow over a slight flame (we cheated and did ours over the gas stove--eek).  Place the gooey, toasted fluff on the chocolate and top with other ingredients.  YUM!!

     Banana Caramel

     2 to 3 Hershey's Caramel Kisses
     1 graham cracker, broken in half
     1 marshmallow
     4 banana slices

     Arrange the Kisses on half of of the graham cracker and melt.  The chocolate is properly melted when it begins to become soft and wet-looking--take care that you do not over-melt the chocolate, as the caramel filling can escape and spill. Roast the marshmallow.  Once the chocolate has melted, remove graham cracker from heat and add sliced bananas, pressing them into the chocolate carefully.  Add roasted marshmallow and top with remaining graham cracker.

     We used 1 large banana slice but it could have used more banana.  That highlights the flavor of this S'more.

     The Traditional
     Recipe not needed.  Just melt the Hershey's chocolate on a graham cracker (following the above advice).  Top with roasted marshmallow and graham cracker.

     This will definitely top your menu and intrigue your guests at your outdoor festivities.
     Have a wonderful Labor Day!

     From My Heart to Your Heart

Linking with Food for Friday 

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