Eating + Drinking

S’mores Beyond the Campfire

New York’s top pastry chefs and chocolatiers are rethinking this nostalgic, classic dessert.

There are two likely scenarios for when you last ate a s’more: You were either a few hundred miles away from your childhood home, when your parents shipped you off to sleepaway camp, or you were awkwardly standing around the gas cooktop in your kitchen, wielding a marshmallow-topped chopstick, because you had an unexpected craving for something from your youth.

Pastry chefs, chocolatiers, and ice cream makers around the city have been having that nostalgic urge, as well. But they’re not whipping up the same-old handheld dessert. Instead, they’ve envisioned—and perfectly executed—new ways to consume the campfire mainstay.

Ovenly’s S’mores Cake

Gather your friends around a slice like you would around a fire pit, because the award-winning bakery’s limited-run triple-decker is a force to be reckoned with. The dense, molasses-forward graham cake is more than a foot tall, and a single slice weighs approximately three pounds. While the flavor of the cake is subdued for some, it’s actually an ideal base for the silky marshmallow buttercream and striking dark chocolate ganache layered within. If that’s not a mouthful enough, there’s also a lightly whipped and torched meringue shielding the top. Locations in Greenpoint, Park Slope, and Midtown East

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Photo courtesy of Ovenly

Butter & Scotch’s S’mores Pie

This dessert-focused “lady bar” is prominently known for supporting the feminist agenda ($1 is donated to Planned Parenthood whenever you decide to “smash the patriarchy” with its chile-spiced tequila cocktail, for starters) and putting sprinkles on everything, but its pies make statements on their own. This should come as no surprise; co-owner Allison Kave wrote a book called First Prize Pies, after all. Her s’mores pie has the power to warm up even the coldest diner. A homemade milk chocolate custard fills the inside of a delicate graham cracker crust and is topped with a lightly-torched whipped marshmallow cream. For those looking for a most nostalgic dessert feast, this tastes closest to the s’mores you loved as a kid. 818 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights

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Photo courtesy of Liz Clayman

Davey’s S’mores Ice Cream

It’s to be expected that ice cream shops churn their own flavors, but former graphic designer David Yoo takes his churned creations to an intimidating new level. Here, he only uses milk from local creameries and sources ingredients from nearby farmers’ markets to produce simply exquisite ice cream and sorbets. This seasonal throwback is no exception. Shaved milk chocolate flakes that melt on your taste buds and bits of graham are found in every sweet lick of the sweeter cream base, but there’s that sensation of hitting the jackpot when you get to a perfectly charred ’mallow. For an elongated experience, buy a pint to go and make an ice cream sandwich with—what else?—graham crackers. Locations in the East Village, Williamsburg, and Chinatown

Stick With Me Sweet’s Speculoos S’mores Bonbon

You’d mistake it for a microscopic Mallomar if you squinted, but this is a truffle you should enjoy with eyes wide open. The outer shell is a masterpiece in itself: The charcoal black top dramatically fades to an ember gray, similar to how a marshmallow changes color when it’s pushed into an open flame. Take a bite and your teeth make contact with a cloud-soft marshmallow and a spiced shortbread more reminiscent of a gingerbread than Nabisco. It’s a shame the bonbon is a two-bite wonder, but nobody’s judging you if you buy a few more for the road. 202 Mott Street (between Kenmare and Spring Streets), Nolita

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Dominique Ansel Bakery’s Frozen S’more

Lines may no longer snake down Spring and around Thompson to get into the Soho sweets emporium, but that doesn’t mean the hype for Ansel’s whimsy-forward pastries has died down. Sure, the modern-day Willy Wonka is legendary for his outlandish Cronut, but his remastering of the s’more is what #FlashbackFriday Instagram posts are made of. Stabbed with a willow wood branch is a gigantic honey marshmallow, torched to order and hiding a chilling surprise: an amuse-bouche–size scoop of Tahitian vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate-covered wafer crisps. 189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson Streets), Soho 

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Photo courtesy of Thomas Schauer

Saxon + Parole’s S’more

Every aspect of this distinguished dining destination on Bowery feels pedigreed: the stately cases of whiskeys, a glowing cocktail cabinet filled with crafted custom cocktail bottles for members, and the lavish seafood towers. But nothing is more impressive than the simple execution of the campfire dessert, kept warm inside a hefty jar. Whiskey smoke emerges when the lid comes off and leaves a mark on the rich chocolate pudding, hearty bits of cracker, and caramelized marshmallows protecting a fluffy center. 316 Bowery (at Bleecker Street), East Village

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Photo courtesy of Sebastian Pinzon

Cozy up with us; we’ll keep you warm when the nights are cold.