Messy, sticky, warm and sweet, s’mores are a treat that needs no recipe. The combination of fire-roasted marshmallow, sturdy graham crackers and melty milk chocolate remains a classic for a reason.

Lately, it’s become my go-to weekend snack thanks to a backyard fire pit and my longtime devotion to homemade marshmallows. My stepfather gathers the wood and builds a fire, my mom brings out blankets, and we watch the flames dance in the darkness, skewering marshmallow after marshmallow for as many s’mores as our stomachs will allow.

But you don’t need a fire pit, and, as Ina would say, store-bought marshmallows are fine. You can make s’mores over a campfire or beach bonfire, in front of a gas fireplace or stove burner, with a candle or microwave or propane torch. (But whatever you do, don’t make s’mores without warming up the marshmallow so it can melt the chocolate a little bit — that’s the best part!)

You don’t need to follow the traditional Girl Scout recipe, either. One night, when we ran out of graham crackers, I got creative with a couple of almost-stale chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made s’mores with gingersnaps and dark chocolate; saltines and nougat; cherry jam and gianduja; Oreos and banana slices; white chocolate and fresh raspberries; and an ill-fated, extremely messy affair involving KitKats. Nothing will replace the classic, but here are a few new tried-and-true formulas to help you mix it up, no matter where or when you decide you need s’more.

The Classic

First printed in a Girl Scouts’ handbook in 1927, the classic s’more has you toast a marshmallow on a stick over a campfire and then slide it off atop a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers. Milk chocolate is standard, as it melts more easily, and large store-bought marshmallows work well, but to make this combination even better, use 2-inch square homemade marshmallows.


Salted Caramel S’mores

Pretzel Chip + Caramel-Chocolate Candy + Marshmallow: Use salty pretzel chips in place of the graham crackers, a Rolo or other caramel-filled chocolate candy instead of the chocolate bar and a large marshmallow for this riff. If you stick the unwrapped chocolate candy onto the tip of the stick before you slide the toasted marshmallow off, it will end up inside the hot marshmallow and melt just enough to let some of the caramel ooze out.


Toasted Coconut S’mores

Coconut Wafer Cookie + Dark Chocolate + Coconut Chips + Marshmallow: Lay a thin dark chocolate bar on top of a coconut wafer cookie or flat coconut macaroon and top that with toasted coconut chips. Once the marshmallow is roasted, lay it on the coconut chips and dark chocolate, using another coconut cookie to slide it off the stick.


Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores

Chocolate Chip Cookie + Marshmallow: Any two chocolate chip cookies, plus a melty marshmallow, are an easy s’more cheat. A wafer-like chocolate chip cookie like Tate’s works especially well for this as it holds its shape and provides a nice contrasting crunch, but try a homemade cookie recipe, too, for a softer s’more sandwich.

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