Mistakes Experts Want You To Stop Making With S'mores

smores on cookies with ingredients
smores on cookies with ingredients - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Ah, s'mores. They're such a tempting little number, aren't they? Complete with melted chocolate, fluffy marshmallows, and crispy graham crackers, s'mores are hard to resist no matter the time of year. And while most of us are more than ready to whip out our lawn chairs and roasting sticks for gathering around the campfire, there's something about forsaking what is commonplace and giving an upgrade to the status quo that is so highly satisfying.

What are we talking about here? Giving the standard s'more a facelift, of course. In this article, we've pulled out all the stops by consulting the experts about mistakes people commonly make when putting together s'mores. Our experts gave us a laundry list of tips, many of which were just as surprising to us as we're certain they will be to you. The cooking process, ingredients, and even yummy additions that these experts suggested not only blew us away but had us chomping at the bit to try out these new tips on our next s'mores adventure. So, go on, gather 'round the fire, and take a seat. Our experts are dishing on the most common mistakes they often see people make with s'mores, and also, what they recommend to achieve the best-tasting campfire snack possible. Let's dig in.

Read more: 16 Little-Known Facts About Salt

Forgetting S'mores Can Be Made Into A Dip

smores dip upclose
smores dip upclose - Mommynamedapril / Instagram

Think you have to endure the juggling act of keeping dripping chocolate and smokin' hot marshmallows contained between two stiff graham cracker cookies in order to enjoy the flavor of s'mores? Think again. While it can be fun and even nostalgic to relish the deliciousness of s'mores the traditional way, there's another neater, yet no less tasty way to get that same decadent flavor.

We spoke with Rena Awada, the head chef at Healthy Fitness Meals, and she gave us a rundown of what s'mores dip is and why she absolutely loves using this as an alternative to the traditional s'mores snack. "[S'mores dip] sounds exactly like what it is -- a dip version of the classic campfire treat," Chef Awada explains. "To make it, simply layer chocolate chips and mini marshmallows in a cast-iron skillet or oven-safe dish and bake until the marshmallows are toasted. Then, use graham crackers like how you would use chips with a dip. It's perfect for sharing and adds a fun twist to the traditional s'mores experience."

Got kids? If so, then this rendition of s'mores is even more tempting as it'll yield a near mess-less experience and can be enjoyed practically any time of the year. Give this alternative a go and see what you think -- we're willing to bet you'll be glad you did.

Not Adding Fruit

fruit on homemade s'mores
fruit on homemade s'mores - Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

Adding fruit to something as decadent as s'mores may sound like a bit of a buzzkill, but according to a couple of the chefs we've spoken to, it's worth trying out. "I love how fruit adds a fresh and tangy element to the rich and sweet s'mores," gushes Rena Awada. "You can add sliced strawberries or bananas to your s'mores sandwich or even dip them in some melted chocolate before sandwiching them between the graham crackers and marshmallows. Trust me, it's a game-changer."

Still not sure you enjoy the idea of chunks of fruit stacked upon your pillowy s'mores sammie? According to Nic Vanderbeeken, executive chef at Apéritif restaurant, you don't need to add a lot to enjoy the subtle nuances it can bring to your s'mores sandwich. "I love experimenting with different flavors and textures," he says. "Adding a thin slice of fruit like strawberries or bananas can make the s'mores more refreshing and add a burst of flavor."

Other fruits make great additions as well, with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cherries presenting themselves as summer-ready viable options. Still, because of the round shape of these fruits, it may sometimes be difficult to hold your s'mores sandwich in place and may instead only lead to a giant mess. Thus, when using round fruits like these, it's best to leave your s'mores open-faced; this will keep your berries intact, while also making your fruit-infused s'mores easier to eat.

Using The Same Chocolate

scattered white chocolate pieces
scattered white chocolate pieces - Ac_bnphotos/Getty Images

Using the same ole kind of chocolate may seem like the safe and easy option, but if you've never considered trying other chocolate types, you may be missing out -- especially if Hershey's milk chocolate is your typical go-to. "While milk chocolate is the classic choice for s'mores, don't be afraid to experiment with different types of chocolate," says Rena Awada. "Dark chocolate adds a bitter kick that balances out the sweetness, while white chocolate creates a sweeter and creamier option. You can also try flavored chocolates like mint or orange for an extra twist."

We also spoke with Gabrielle Marie Yap, the senior editor and culinary entrepreneur behind Carnivore Style, and she agrees that options like mint and white chocolate are amazing additions that can seriously upgrade your s'mores game. One unique type of chocolate she also recommends trying is chili-flavored chocolate -- as peculiar as it sounds, we could see it bringing satisfying heat that would provide a seriously beautiful contrast against the sweet and mellow backdrop of graham cracker and marshmallow. Yum!

Not Experimenting With Condiments

s'mores made with nut butter
s'mores made with nut butter - Jacob Blount/Shutterstock

We realize this tip may sound a little weird, but stick with us. Though ketchup, mayo, and mustard are likely the first things that pop into your mind when it comes to condiments, other types, like spreads and syrups, work wonderfully when paired with s'mores. "If you want to take your s'mores to the next level, try adding in other ingredients like peanut butter, caramel sauce, or even jelly, " suggests Rena Awada. "The best thing about s'mores is that they're customizable, and there are endless possibilities to make them even tastier. Don't be afraid to get creative and find your perfect combination." Gabrielle Yap approves this message, stating that other options, like Nutella, likewise serve as awesome unique additions.

Speaking of unique, Chef Nic Vanderbeeken agrees that nut butters are great additions to s'mores but also shares with us a bonus suggestion that caught us a little off guard if we're honest. "For a savory twist, a small sprinkle of sea salt or a sliver of bacon can create a delightful contrast with the sweetness." Say what? Yep, you heard it here. From peanut butter to caramel sauce, and yes, even bacon, there are endless opportunities to take your s'mores to the next level, according to our experts.

Forgetting The Benefits Of Marshmallow Fluff

marshmallow fluff on spoon
marshmallow fluff on spoon - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Chef Rena Awada comes at us again with another interesting yet very useful option for setting a bit of a different vibe with your s'mores, and that's through the use of marshmallow fluff over traditional marshmallows. Awada shares the details: "I love using marshmallow fluff instead of regular marshmallows for a gooier and mess-free s'mores experience. You can make sure the spread is evenly distributed, and no marshmallows will fall off while you're eating it. This tip is great for making s'mores indoors since you won't need a fire to melt the marshmallows."

Not only does using marshmallow fluff make for a great indoor s'mores experience, but it can also lead to a quicker and easier way to make them with small children. With no heat involved, making s'mores with marshmallow fluff becomes a practical and simple way for toddlers and adolescents to make their own snack, and have an easier time enjoying it, too!

Using Cold Chocolate Bars

scattered hershey's chocolate bars
scattered hershey's chocolate bars - Scott Olson/Getty Images

Though we typically recommend that no one ever freezes or refrigerates chocolate, we realize that it's something that people still do. And while we aren't here to judge you about what you do with your chocolate, Rena Awada notes that using cold chocolate can do more harm than good when it comes time to assemble your s'mores. "I think one of the most common mistakes people often make is using cold chocolate bars instead of room-temperature ones," she explains. "Cold chocolate takes longer to melt, which means your marshmallow might be done before your chocolate has even begun melting."

Yikes! Instead of making this mistake, Awada recommends a few simple tips to ensure your s'mores made with refrigerated or frozen chocolate turns out as you want them. She tells us that the best way to avoid unmelted chocolate is to simply let it sit out before using it for your s'mores masterpiece. Low on time? She recommends heating up the chocolate a little before using it. Sweet.

Not Properly Toasting Marshmallows Before Use

marshmallow put inside smore
marshmallow put inside smore - KieferPix/Shutterstock

We all know the ills associated with toasting marshmallows -- they either end up burnt, too gooey, or not gooey enough. Turns out, there's a trick that can get you over the hurdle of a not-so-perfect marshmallow, and that trick boils down to one simple thing: timing. "If you want that perfect golden-brown marshmallow that's slightly crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, you need to be patient," says Rena Awada. "Turn your marshmallow frequently and give it enough time to toast evenly. Don't rush it, or else you might end up with a charred mess."

And while it might be a part of the quintessential s'mores experience, a marshmallow that's too gooey is likely overcooked. Thankfully, Gabrielle Yap insists there's a better way. Instead of relying on a campfire or standard oven to achieve the perfect golden marshmallow crust, you may consider putting to use this nifty kitchen gadget suggested by Yap instead. "Try using a kitchen torch to get a nice even toasting," Yap urges. "Perfect your marshmallow toasting by holding it above the flame and rotating it slowly. Keeping the marshmallow further from the flame ensures an even, golden-brown toast with a gooey inside, and avoids the common mistake of burning the exterior while the interior remains unmelted." Why didn't we think of that?

Using Low Quality Ingredients

smores ingredients on platter
smores ingredients on platter - JeniFoto/Shutterstock

Are we saying the aforementioned ingredients are low-quality? No, we aren't. But there's something to be said for higher-end or, better yet, homemade ingredients, as these tend to hit differently, especially when it comes to s'mores. "To upgrade your s'mores, start with the basics: the ingredients," Gabrielle Yap explains. "Opt for high-quality chocolate: dark chocolate with a high cocoa content can add a rich, sophisticated flavor. Then, consider using gourmet marshmallows, which come in a variety of flavors like vanilla bean, peppermint, or even bourbon. For the graham crackers, you might want to try artisanal or homemade options, which often have a deeper, more complex flavor than store-bought varieties."

Still, you shouldn't feel like you have to spend the big bucks buying everything gourmet. As Yap already mentioned, it's totally feasible to make your own graham crackers yourself, and even your own marshmallows, as Chef Nic Vanderbeeken explains. "Instead of the typical store-bought marshmallows, I like to use homemade marshmallows. They have a richer flavor and a softer texture." Not sure how to go about it? No worries. There are plenty of awesome homemade marshmallow recipes out there to make your s'mores game that much stronger. You're welcome!

Always Using The Same Graham Cracker Base

oreo smores on placemat
oreo smores on placemat - Smith Collection/gado/Getty Images

Graham crackers are a classic option for s'mores, and no, we're not going to insist that you use something other than graham crackers -- unless you want to. To be real, some things are just better left as is, and when it comes to s'mores, there's nothing wrong with using graham crackers as a base -- but it's sometimes fun to shake things up a bit. As Jessica Randhawa, head chef at The Forked Spoon offers a delicious new take on traditional s'mores flavor. "For an added twist, you can ... use different types, like chocolate or cinnamon-flavored graham crackers," she tells us. She also notes that it's important to use high-quality graham crackers when choosing a good base -- anything otherwise is going to affect the s'mores' overall taste.

And although we're definitely graham cracker traditionalists when it comes to s'mores, don't feel like you're limited to using them if you don't want to. As Gabrielle Yap tells us, "Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of cookies, such as chocolate chip or snickerdoodle to add an unexpected twist." We've even seen people use Oreos as a s'mores base. Unconventional but interesting!

Burning Your Marshmallows

burnt marshmallow on a stick
burnt marshmallow on a stick - Trygve Finkelsen/Shutterstock

Burnt marshmallows may be a part of the experience for some, but, according to the experts, it won't exactly yield the tastiest s'mores imaginable. As Gabrielle Yap explains, "While some people might enjoy a bit of char, too much can overpower the other flavors." In addition, Yap insists that even your heat source may affect the taste of your marshmallows, and thus, may leave you with a s'mores snack that might not have panned out exactly as you imagined. "If you're using a campfire, make sure it's not too hot or too smoky as this can affect the taste of your s'mores. Also, be careful when melting the marshmallows -- they can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds."

Another tip for ensuring the marshmallow doesn't burn is to roast it over indirect heat, as Nic Vanderbeeken suggests. Rather than roasting your marshmallows directly over the flame, try to angle your roasting stick about 5-6 inches away from the hot coals instead. Will this take longer? Yep. But doing so can help avoid a charred mess while yielding a marshmallow that is perfectly golden brown. We dig it!

Using Way Too Much Chocolate

chocolate on smore marshmallow
chocolate on smore marshmallow - Milkshake Creative/Shutterstock

If you're anything like us, you read this tip and thought, "Come again?" After all, is there ever such a thing as too much chocolate? According to the experts, the answer is an emphatic yes. "Using too much chocolate is also not ideal," explains Gabrielle Yap. "While it might be tempting to stack up the chocolate, too much can make the s'more overly sweet and messy to eat. A thin piece of good-quality chocolate is all you need."

Ouch. Most of us would probably quip at that bit of advice but, if we're honest, it makes sense. Just like with marshmallows, having thick melted chocolate pouring out of the sides of s'mores is delicious but very, very messy. Even the best-tasting chocolate may prove too much, especially if the chocolate you are using is dark and thereby, quite bitter. Moreover, all of that chocolate is bound to mask the flavors of the rest of the s'mores a bit, and it is the layering of the crispy graham crackers, pillowy marshmallows, and chocolate flavors that work in harmony to create such a tempting snack. Thus, as much as we'd hate to admit it, our expert has a point here.

Forgetting About Safety

family roasting marshmallows over grill
family roasting marshmallows over grill - M_a_y_a/Getty Images

Making s'mores is such a great activity to do with small children, but for children and adults alike, safety is crucial when assembling them. "Always supervise the roasting process to prevent accidents," suggests Nic Vanderbeeken. This is especially true as campfires are notorious for being unsafe zones for kiddos. As always, be sure to keep close a watch on your little ones when making s'mores, especially those who are younger. Got a flaming marshmallow? Make sure your little one knows how to blow it out or point it to the ground until it burns out as swinging it around will do more than good.

Also, as Vanderbeeken points out, it's important to be mindful of food allergies when adding unconventional ingredients like nuts or fruit. The same goes for other items like peanut butter, Nutella, and spreads, as these may sometimes contain potentially allergenic ingredients. Lastly, if the thought of roasting marshmallows with younger children causes you to tremble with dread, consider making the s'mores dip as mentioned before or using marshmallow fluff to ensure the s'mores-making process is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Read the original article on Mashed.