Great s’mores require great roasted marshmallows. Achieving this goal is quite simple. First, select full-flavored marshmallows. Second, roast them to warm, gooey deliciousness.
Marshmallows can be softened or roasted over virtually any heat source. Marshmallow cooking times will vary based on the heat source, from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Additionally, people have different preferences regarding marshmallow doneness. Some like a barely warm but soft confection. Others prefer a crunchy, blackened mallow. Please comment on your preferred method and marshmallow doneness, or skewer of choice. Three skewer-based cooking methods and two indoor, skewer-less methods are provided. I’m sure I have missed some, but these are hopefully the most common choices.
Skewer Cooking Method:
Skewer one or two marshmallows, toast over heat source, turning frequently for even cooking. Lower heat will produce melty, pale marshmallows. Medium heat makes a golden crust over a warm center. Placing the marshmallow directly in the flame or over high heat with char or burn the marshmallow. Do this only if you prefer them burnt.
- Fire: Hot coals provide nice, even heat without flame. Campfires are obviously the best and most traditional way to toast your marshmallow. Coals in a barbecue grill or backyard fire pit come in a close second. Indoors, your fireplace may be the best choice if you are willing to take a chance of having a marshmallow mess to clean.
- Gas grill: If you have a gas grill, you will probably be better off roasting your marshmallow indirectly. You can use the residual heat after turning the flame off. If your grill has separate burner controls, try keeping your marshmallow over the warm, but unlit portion of the grill until it achieves the desired doneness.
- Candle: A candle, such as a tea light, will work but with slow progress and a risk of flaming marshmallows. A grouping of these is often provided for outdoor events such as weddings, where open fires are not recommended.
Skewers are required for each cooking method above. Smaller, cooler flames may be safe with a standard bamboo skewer. Any larger, hotter fire requires a long, well-insulated skewer. I prefer a telescoping model to save space.
Small hands may prefer a lighter weight stick, but length is still important for safety. Extra long bamboo skewers provide little in the way of handle, but are cheap and convenient for large groups.
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No skewer is required for broiler or microwave cooking. Use the cookie to hold the marshmallow instead.
- Broiler: The broiler, closely watched, will allow you to build and war the whole s’more. Preheat the broiler to its lowest setting. Place cookies on a baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper, and top with marshmallows. Place the pan a few inches under the broiler then watch closely for desired doneness. You may need to turn the pan to get even browning if your broiler heats unevenly or if you are making a larger quantity of s’mores.
- Microwave: Microwaves are my least favorite choice for marshmallow cooking. They are fast, but inconsistent. The marshmallow will soften, but no browning is possible. For this method, top a cookie with the marshmallow, microwave on low, checking every few seconds. If you want to use the microwave to soften the chocolate too, do this step separately. Again, top a cookie and check the chocolate every few seconds. It will soften before it appears to, maintaining its shape. Use caution when eating microwaved items, as a rogue hot spot can cause quite a burn.
Caution should always be exercised near heat sources, and children should be monitored for safety. Always allow your marshmallow to cool somewhat before consuming to prevent burns.