The greatest thing that ever happened to my backyard was a fire pit. While the swing set that used to stand in its place was great and all, its lack of monkey bars was less than spectacular as was its inability to produce food. So eventually down came the swing set and in came the fire pit and with it some highly improved summers.
S’mores became that thing that was done at my house. We’d always had a working indoor fireplace that was perfect for roasting marshmallows but somehow that wasn’t the same as getting a fire going outside in the dark, the twinkling lights of fireflies bobbing all around. My yard was the place my friends would come to play manhunt; my deck was always the most crowded. It was at my house that we spent lazy summer afternoons, threw together potluck dinners, said our last goodbyes before college. I think you’ll find there’s really nothing like a graham cracker, a slab of Hershey’s, and a marshmallow roasted on an outdoor flame to bond people and get everyone coming back for more and more.
I had some trouble deciding what movie to base this week’s post on. None of the movies I’ve seen recently have been particularly food-filled. There was “Blackfish,” a sort of exposé on the treatment of Shamu and other SeaWorld orcas, but whipping up a fish dish in its honor seemed a bit too morbid. When I told a friend I was going to see “Fruitvale Station” she thought I was on my way to get frozen yogurt, unfortunately the movie had nothing to do with frozen desserts (though it was a great, powerful film). But I do love a good ice cream concoction, and nothing says “summer” quite like a sundae.
Except maybe lounging by the beach and playing at a water park. “The Way Way Back” centers on Duncan (Liam James), a painfully awkward teenage boy dragged to his mother’s boyfriend’s beach house for the summer. The film opens with the boyfriend, played by a refreshingly serious Steve Carell, informing Duncan that he is a three out of ten; as the summer progresses he gets a job at a charmingly outdated water park and comes into his own. Fun fact: the movie is named for the back seat in a station wagon, the one that faces the road instead of the other passengers and can feel either independent or isolating.
Watching Duncan and his new friends run around the water park put me in the mood for everything summer, especially its signature food. Ice cream s’mores are, to me, a pretty perfect summer combo. Unfortunately the Trader Joe’s I went to did not have any marshmallow products, so my s’mores were missing a little something, but the taste was not lacking.
Ice Cream S’mores
This recipe is not so much a recipe as a list of suggestions. The sweet treat is ripe for customization!
Spread hot fudge on one graham cracker, and marshmallow fluff on the other. Scoop some ice cream onto either cracker (I used coffee, but feel free to experiment). Close the sandwich with the other graham cracker and enjoy! If you’re entertaining and would like to make them in advance, tie them up in plastic wrap and freeze until you’re ready to serve.
Of course, much more can be added to make these s’mores absolutely perfect. Add whole marshmallows, chocolate chips, or peanut butter to add some extra texture and flavor. Some of my friends topped their concoctions off with a tuft of whipped cream (I made a s’mores ice cream bar instead of making them ahead of time—less work for me and more fun for them!). For even more chocolate, try using chocolate covered graham crackers as the base. Have more fun ideas? Comment to let me know!