Few of one’s childhood experiences can be successfully recreated as an adult. Yet, sometimes a warm wave of nostalgia washes over us, and for a moment, we are transported back in time. Such advents are usually trigged—as Proust discovered with his madeleine dipped in lime-blossom tea—by an edible. For anyone who spent summers camping and made bonfires amid fall’s crunchy leaves, that evocative treat is likely to be the s’more.
Customarily made with marshmallows from a bag and whatever chocolate was squished in one’s backpack, most adults have outgrown the stratospheric sweetness of the classic s’more. However, Brooklyn artisanal chocolatier Liddabit Sweets has perfected an elevated version of the treat that is suitable for sophisticated palates.
“We wanted to do something different than just smashing graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow together,” explains Liz Gutman, who co-founded Liddabit with business partner Jen King in 2009. “We came from the perspective of, ‘What makes a s’more really special?’ The gooey marshmallow with a caramelized exterior; the chocolate that’s been softened by the hot marshmallow; and the subtle smokiness from roasting it over a fire…” In the hope of recapturing childhood bliss, Gutman and King began by baking their own homemade graham crackers and brûléeing marshmallows to achieve a crackling caramelized crust. But the smoky flavour was missing from the kitchen-bred s’more. How to achieve it?
The answer, unexpectedly, is tea. “We didn’t want to add liquid smoke because it can be overpowering, and we prefer to use whole ingredients” explains Gutman. “So after a little experimenting we found the perfect balance by steeping smoked lapsang souchong tea in the cream that we use to make the ganache.”
The treat won vehement approval from baker and writer David Lebovitz, and Liddabit itself has achieved a dedicated fan base for not only its s’more, but for creamy ricotta-fig caramels, caramel, chocolate-nougat and roasted peanut Snack’r bars, and bourbon-bacon caramel corn, among other treats. Their innovative reinventions of classic childhood favourites are primed to pique cravings for simpler times.