The Girl Scouts may have been marking the 100th anniversary of their cookie sales by introducing two s’mores-inspired creations to their lineup, but it turns out the organization was on point when it comes to contemporary dessert trends.
The graham-cracker-chocolate-marshmallow combination that generations of Americans have grown up dropping into — er, cooking over — campfires continues to be a favorite inspiration for even the highest echelon of chefs.
Dominique Ansel, the French-born, New York-based chef who invented the pastry phenomenon known as the Cronut, is a fan.
“I love the taste of it. I love the textures of it,” Ansel said. S’mores also appeal to his interest in interpreting classic American desserts. As to his customers, “I think what people like about it is the nostalgia.”
Ansel is satisfying that nostalgia with two takes on s’mores. At Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York’s West Village, he serves the Ultimate S’more, with speculoos cookies, maple-infused whiskey ganache, sea salt and a honey marshmallow torched to order. At Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho, the pastry chef’s Frozen S’mores consists of a vanilla ice cream center, surrounded by shards of chocolate wafers and a layer of honey marshmallow that is also torched right before it’s served on a smoked willow branch for that campfire flavor.
“We just can’t make enough,” Ansel said of the frozen treat.
Like Ansel, Cedric Maupillier is a French native who came to appreciate the s’more only after arriving in the United States. The s’mores dessert — cold and hot, crunchy and silky — on the menu at Convivial, Maupillier’s restaurant in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood, features a warm chocolate sponge cake base, followed by salted caramel sauce, chocolate ice cream, graham cracker crumble and meringue. It’s capped with a marshmallow disc that is, of course, torched to order.
“It’s such an easy recipe to start with,” Maupillier said. With just a little imagination, you can come up with some creative riffs, he said.
Tiffany MacIsaac, of Shaw’s Buttercream Bakeshop, agreed. “It’s really hard to mess up. It’s three ingredients. You can make a really decent version of a s’mores dessert with really little pastry training.” Her s’mores offerings include the Happy Camper bar (layers of marshmallow and chocolate ganache on a graham cracker base), a layer cake, a macaron and a cupcake. For All-Purpose pizzeria next door, she developed a s’more soft-serve ice cream, with graham crumble, marshmallow fluff and chocolate sauce.
Other interpretations around Washington include a s’mores dessert burrito at Rito Loco and a s’mores empanada at the Prospect.
The s’more is “something that’s kind of universally loved,” MacIsaac said. “People just want it all the time.” In other words, they want some more.
1250 Ninth St. NW.
801 O St. NW.
189 Spring St., New York.
137 Seventh Ave. South, New York.