If there is one treat to describe a traditional camping snack, I think you’d agree that the classic sable is a camper favorite. For decades, families have enjoyed roasting marshmallows over a campfire using a temporary twig carved into a point to hold marshmallows or using a handmade metal marshmallow stick for camping.
For most campers, sables are two honey-graham crackers filled with fire-roasted marshmallows and squares of melted chocolate in between—usually both drizzled over the sides of the graham crackers. But the best part of this simple three-ingredient sable is the endless possibilities for delicious creations using these key ingredients as a baseline and swapping them to suit your taste.
There are many combinations you can try, such as using different variations of chocolate (white, dark, flavored) between the graham crackers or even using a different food to completely replace the graham cracker – like a gourmet cake or waffle.
Scientists, dating back to 2000 B.C., say the ancient Egyptians were the first to enjoy what we now call marshmallows – a sticky treat once reserved for gods and kings.
“Marshmallow” is made from the mallow plant that grows in wild bogs, a term that comes from the plant’s native habitat (swamps) and the plant’s name (malokhia).
According to the National Association of Confectioners, the Egyptians squeezed the mallow plant and mixed it with nuts and honey. However, no one knows what the candy looked like at those times.
The French were introduced to marshmallows from the early to mid-19th century. Small candy store owners whipped sap from mallow root into a thin candy bar. This time-consuming process is usually done manually. Candy stores had a hard time keeping up with demand. Candy makers began looking for a new process for making marshmallows and found the starch pole system in the late 19th century. It allowed candy makers to create marshmallow bars made from modified cornstarch. At the same time, candy makers replaced gelatin with mallow root, creating the shape of a stable marshmallow.
Marshmallow candy was introduced and popularized in the United States in the early 1900s, after a new manufacturing process was developed.
Today, Americans are the main consumers of marshmallows. According to experts, “Americans buy more than 90 million pounds annually. Marshmallows are a year-round snack though the majority are sold during October and December.”
But according to a survey by Honey Maid, 87 percent of Americans have tried a classic beaver, but only 31 percent of those people said they’ve tasted a beaver using marshmallows cooked over a campfire.
Here are four gourmet recipes to try on your next camping trip, “luxury” adventure or even in your own backyard:
Gourmet Hot Cocoa S’mores
This gourmet s’mores choice can elevate your campground tastebuds. By taking the traditional idea of chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers and adding them with the warmth and comfort of hot chocolate, you can enjoy a cup of gourmet s’mores with the same great taste as this combo.
So, if you prefer chocolate in a drinkable way, try this fun twist on a camp drink. Simply bring your favorite milk (or water) to a boil to make it hot, and mix in your favorite cocoa (I use Ghirardelli’s 100 percent premium baking cocoa powder). Then add sugar or sugar substitutes to sweeten the hot cocoa to taste. Then top the hot chocolate with crumbled graham crackers and toasted mini marshmallows.
If you’re feeling adventurous, sprinkle in chocolate, hazelnut, or caramel syrup for an enhanced flavor. I used Torani’s pure dark chocolate sauce which comes in a zip-top bottle for easy portability. Also popular additions include chocolate chips, cinnamon sticks, and whipped cream.
The bonus to this gourmet hot chocolate s’mores recipe is the fun that comes with roasting mini marshmallows over a campfire. As an extra group activity, gather small twigs and cut them back with a knife to receive mini marshmallows stacked on one another in a row.
- milk or water
- cocoa powder
- Sugar or sugar substitutes
- Chocolate or caramel syrup
- Mini marshmallows
- Honey Maid Graham Crackers
Mini Gourmet S’mores Pies
Gourmet s’mores pies are a popular choice among the flamingo community. It’s simple but incredibly delicious for chocolate lovers.
The art of creating these little pies is in layers. You will need small tin pans or you can make DIY bowls out of regular tin foil. To start, crumble the graham crackers and mix them with butter and your choice of sugar or sugar substitutes. Next, gently tap the graham crackers to form a pie crust around the bottom of the bowl.
Simply layer on pre-made chocolate pudding or melt your favorite chocolate over the heat for filling. For toppings – you guessed it – use lightly toasted marshmallows (small marshmallows work best). Some other fun toppings to add include Oreo cookies, chocolate drizzle, or even marshmallow fluff. For these pancakes, use your creativity and ingredients you like and experiment with different versions.
- Small tubs of tin foil
- Chocolate pudding
- Sugar or sugar substitutes
- Graham Cracker as an icon
- Mini marshmallows
Decadent Dark Chocolate Strawberry S’mores
Chocolate meets dessert in this third gourmet recipe for Sable. If you consider yourself a fruit lover, then this is the thing for you. Start with a regular graham cracker base, add jumbo-fired roasted marshmallows followed by your favorite chocolate bar. Cut two slices of strawberries and place them between the biscuits. Sprinkle dark chocolate syrup all over. My favorite chocolate choice for this gourmet sable is Hu’s Almond Butter with puffed dark chocolate quinoa.
- Chocolate Ho bar, almond butter ho with dark chocolate bar quinoa, or any dark chocolate
- Graham crackers
- Jumbo campfire marshmallows
Gourmet Brussels Cookie S’mores
This latest recipe from Gourmet S’mores is one of my favorite and easiest campgrounds. You simply start with the Pepperidge Farm Brussels dark chocolate cake. These cookies are crunchy and actually have a thin layer of dark chocolate in each cookie. (I also used Pepperidge Farm Milano Double Dark Chocolate cookies, which are equally delicious.)
To make beaver Brussels biscuits, simply roast marshmallows over a campfire, then take two Brussels cookies and crush the melted marshmallows in between. This gives your sable a crispier crunch than a graham cracker and melts the gourmet chocolate to the perfect ready-made sable texture.
- Beebridge Farm Brussels Dark Chocolate Biscuits
Susan Downing is a writer and outdoor photographer in Montana with a journalistic background in the field of environmental science. Her work can be found in Outdoors Unlimited, Bugle Magazine, Missoulian, Byline Magazine, Communique, MTPR Online, UM Native News, National Wildlife Federation and more.