Oh, the clichés of fall! Camping, feeling the chill in the early morning, enjoying the rustling of the fallen leaves as you walk through the woods, and sitting around the campfire eating s’mores while enjoying the beauty of Hickory Hollow Campground. These are some of the best days of the camp season! Campers are enjoying every last minute as the camping weeks start to dwindle away and the thoughts of winterizing the camper become real. Please nature give us “some more” good weekends to enjoy all the beauty that Somerset County has to offer. When we talk about “some more” something else comes to mind, the contracted term “S’more.”
We are all familiar with the traditional S’more made over the open campfire that combines the sweet, stickiness of marshmallow with the creaminess of chocolate and the crunchy grain of graham crackers together for a favorite campfire treat. This messy, gooey treat has been a camping favorite since the 1920’s when a similar recipe called “Graham Cracker Sandwich” appeared in a cookbook. Boy Scouts were eating the tasty treat back in 1927, and knowing boys, they were probably saying “some more” please. But the credit goes to the Girl Scouts when they published the “Some More” recipe in “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts” in 1938 when the shortened-contracted term “S’mores” name became popular at summer camps.
S’mores graduated from a campfire favorite to an official word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1974. But the three special ingredients, found in the traditional s’mores, have come together before in favorites like Mallomars in 1913, and MoonPies in 1917, proof that we humans love the taste of mixing marshmallow, chocolate, and graham crackers together. Eating s’mores over the last hundred years has been great, but let’s go in a different direction this week. Why not try your hand a making a seasonal version of the famous “Graham Cracker Sandwich” this month as we enter into a season of change?
Local apples are abundant this time of year, so why not try making Caramel Apple S’mores – thinly slice a Granny Smith apple and remove the core. Place a toasted marshmallow inside of the two apple slices. Drizzle with caramel syrup or you can add some melted caramel. Add a caramel candy to the end of the marshmallow stick when toasting and transfer it over to the apple with the marshmallow. Or replace the caramel with peanut butter. Tastes so good!
Gingersnap S’mores is another version of the old camp favorite- make your own gingersnaps or purchase them and add a toasted marshmallow and melted chocolate bar for a tasty fall treat.
If you can’t seem to get enough pumpkin spice – try making this seasonal version of the s’more. Pumpkin Spice S’mores– Add a toasted marshmallow between graham cracker squares, top off with white chocolate and pumpkin butter.
S’mores aren’t just for kids anymore, so enhance the flavor and make a fun adult version of Maple Bacon S’mores by whipping up a batch of candied bacon. Place bacon on a rack, combine brown sugar and cinnamon and rub onto the bacon to lightly coat. Bake for 35 minutes, let cool, and then cut up, layer between a toasted marshmallow and graham cracker and enjoy.
If you are brave enough to try the Maple Bacon S’more, add a Pumpkin Spice Wine Spritzer that will really impress your guests as well. Add ice to a low ball glass, pour 1 oz pumpkin spice liquor and 4 oz. white wine, top off with seltzer and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Another fall cocktail you may enjoy is the Apple-Pie Cinnamon Cocktail. Run a bit of honey on the rim of two glasses, then dip the rims into a mixture of 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Fill glasses with ice. Combine 2 oz. vanilla vodka, 2 oz. Fireball whiskey, and 8 oz. of apple cider and shake well for a tasty fall adult drink.
If you are looking for a more cozy latte recipe to try, replicate Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Pour 2 oz. of milk, 2 oz of sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into a saucepan and heat on medium heat until the milk warms up. Use a whisk or drink mixer to froth the milk. Pour into a cup, add a shot of espresso and your toppings of choice – whipped cream, pumpkin spice, vanilla extract/ syrup or caramel sauce.
I encourage you to try some of the special fall treats I suggested while camping over the next few weekends, but don’t forget about the added treat that is also available at Hickory Hollow Campground this time of year. The eerie night sounds of screams and laughter coming from across the road at Huston’s Haunted Hollow. The popular haunt attraction is celebrating 25 years of shrills and thrills every weekend in October – Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30-10:30. Campers love sitting outside and hearing the guests scream, but if the screams are captivating your attention and you are wondering what is going on over there, then purchase your tickets on line at hauntedhollow.net, and you too can join in on the haunting good time as you embark on the adventure of escaping the Haunted Hollow, Willie, and all the other spooks that are looking forward to scaring the pumpkin spice right out of you. If you have ever seen The Doctor or Willie, you have reason to be scared. If you don’t like clowns, you may also have a reason to be scared. If you don’t like walking around in the dark smelling the foul odors found in the swamp and hearing the wolves howl, you may have yet another reason to be scared. But if adventure is just not your thing, campers can still experience the haunted hollow by signing up for a behind the scenes tour at the campground. The experience will take you to where the screams start…. but be prepared, you never know who may show up in broad day light to prove that the black of night is not the only scary thing around the Hollow this time of year!! “Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, voices whisper in the trees, soon it will be Halloween.” Happy Camping my friends!