Making s’mores around a roaring campfire is a summertime tradition for many, but sometimes you find yourself craving a chocolatey, crunchy, gooey s’more during other times of the year when campfires are a little less practical or accessible. Or maybe you just want the tasty reward of a s’more without having to mess with an open flame. Whatever the reason, dietitian and recipe developer Jaime Shelbert of Wholly Nourished has the perfect way for your whole family to enjoy some delicious s’mores any day of the week.
"This recipe is a family favorite and a great alternative when you can’t do s’mores over a campfire," Shelbert said. If you have small kids, having them help put together these s’mores can be a safer way to get them involved in the preparation process than having them wave marshmallows over an open flame. Plus, with the addition of caramel and sea salt, they deliver richer, more complex flavors than the classic camping dessert.
Round up your ingredients
Just like traditional s’mores, these oven-baked s’mores require graham crackers, large marshmallows, and a bar of chocolate (Shelbert prefers dark chocolate). But these s’mores are taken over the top by Shelbert’s additions of coarse salt and homemade caramel sauce, which requires sugar, unsalted butter, heavy cream or half and half, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. The coarse sea salt is for sprinkling over the finished s’mores, heightening the flavor, and taking them to a whole new level.
Melt the sugar for the caramel
The trickiest part of making these oven-baked s’mores is preparing the caramel sauce, but there’s no need to be nervous about it. While making caramel might seem daunting, it’s not difficult as long as you’re patient and attentive.
It starts by gradually melting the sugar in a pot until it becomes a liquid. "Definitely keep an eye on the sugar and whisk often so it doesn’t burn," Shelbert advises. "It will slowly convert to a liquid. It will be a light brown." She estimates this process will take about 10 minutes, and says that it’s possible the sugar might clump before it liquifies. Once the sugar has melted entirely, you’re ready for the next step in the process. Make sure to have everything ready to go right away, since overcooking the sugar once it’s melted could cause it to burn.
Finish the caramel sauce
Once your sugar is completely melted and golden, it’s time to start adding the rest of ingredients for the sauce. Add in the unsalted butter and whisk it until it’s fully incorporated, about two minutes. Then it’s time to add the cream or half and half, whisking for another couple minutes. The last things to go in are the vanilla and a pinch of salt.
At this point, you need to raise the heat to medium high and bring the caramel to a boil. After a minute, you remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the caramel sauce to cool for about 30 minutes, during which time it’ll thicken a little more.
Assemble the s’mores
While you’re waiting for your caramel to cool, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the s’mores from sticking. For four finished s’mores, arrange eight graham cracker squares on the parchment paper, leaving space between them so they don’t touch. Place a chocolate square on four of the graham crackers, and on the other four, place a marshmallow.
Make sure your chocolate isn’t wider than the graham cracker base, or it’ll melt over the sides.
Bake the s’mores
Once your oven is preheated and your s’more halves are assembled, bake them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. You’ll need to be careful when putting your baking sheet into the oven to ensure the marshmallows stay put on the graham crackers. Once they’re in the oven, keep a close eye on them, because marshmallows can go from perfectly toasted to burnt pretty quickly. You’ll know your oven-baked s’mores are ready when the marshmallows have puffed up and begun to brown slightly.
Add the finishing touches and enjoy
Once the marshmallows look done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and get ready to finish off your s’mores. By now, your caramel sauce should be cool, so you can drizzle it over the marshmallow halves. You don’t need a huge amount of caramel on each s’more, and this recipe makes about a cup, so you’ll likely have plenty of sauce left over. Shelbert says the leftover caramel sauce can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.
On the chocolate halves, sprinkle some coarse sea salt. Again, you don’t want much here, since the intent is merely to heighten the flavor of the chocolate, not make it salty. "A light pinch or sprinkle is perfect," Shelbert says.
Sandwich the marshmallow halves and the chocolate halves together, making four s’mores total. If you want, you can top the s’mores with additional caramel sauce before you gobble them up.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream or half and half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 4 graham crackers, broken in halves
- 4 large marshmallows
- 1 dark chocolate bar, broken into squares
- Coarse sea salt
- Add the sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook down the sugar to a liquid, being careful not to burn it. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Add the butter to the liquid sugar and whisk to incorporate it for about 2 minutes.
- Add the cream or half and half and whisk for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Raise the heat to medium high, bring the mixture to a boil for about 1 minute, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the caramel cool for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Arrange the 8 graham cracker squares on the parchment.
- Place the chocolate on 4 of the squares and the marshmallows on the remaining 4 squares.
- Bake the s’mores in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the marshmallows puff and just begin to brown.
- Remove the s’mores from oven.
- Drizzle the marshmallow halves with cooled caramel sauce and top the chocolate halves with coarse sea salt.
- Put the marshmallow and chocolate halves together to make four s’mores total. Top the s’mores with additional caramel as desired.