If pumpkin spice is the official flavor of fall, then I would like to nominate s’mores as the official flavor of summer. Can you really call it summertime if there aren’t hundreds of s’mores-flavored things hitting the shelves in droves? And just like pumpkin spice, I fall for it every single time.
But unlike pumpkin spice, there can be a lot of variance in just how well these products get the s’mores flavor across. Like, sure. Even the cheapest, shittiest chocolate will still get the point across. But a good marshmallow’s flavor is a little more complex than just sugar. And graham cracker’s flavor is so subtle you could call it “cinnamon La Croix, but a solid,” so understandably it can get easily overpowered too.
Worst of all, my favorite seasonal s’mores offering, the S’mores Frappuccino, doesn’t seem to be returning this year. Can anything help fill the s’mores-shaped hole in my heart?
Hostess S’mores Cupcakes
This is probably the worst thing on this list. And I’m not just saying that purely on the virtue of them being Hostess snack cakes. It’s the fact that every part of this is clearly just recycled from other Hostess products. The cake is just Hostess’s plain yellow cake, they didn’t even try to make it graham flavored. The “marshmallow” cream tastes nothing like marshmallow and more like their usual cream filling. They got the chocolate part right, at least.
Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate S’mashing S’mores
The first thing I noticed with these is that it’s that soft, springy “artisan-style” marshmallow that have become somewhat popular over the past few years. I like them well enough, and would expect nothing less from Trader Joe’s. My biggest problem with them here, though, is that these kind of marshmallows typically have a more pronounced marshmallow flavor than your usual big name brand, but the most predominant flavor here is the chocolate coating. The graham cracker element is also sort of disappointing, seeming more like a shortbread cookie than a graham cracker. But don’t be fooled by this laundry list of complaints, they do still taste good, albeit a bit rich. It is candy, though, after all, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t want to eat more than 2 in one sitting.
S’mores Snack Mix
Ok, this is a weird one. I mentioned writing this article to my dad, and a few days later he gave me a plastic baggie with some loose snack mix that a coworker gave him. So I don’t really know what it is (aside from the picture of the original bag my dad sent me), but from looking at it it’s basically mini Golden Grahams, mini marshmallows, and white chocolate chips, all fused together with milk chocolate. And that’s basically what it tastes like. I find it way too sweet for idle snacking, either they should have had more graham pieces or used regular graham crackers instead of the sugar-glazed Golden Graham pieces.
Goldfish Grahams S’mores
Ah, the s’mores that smiles… b’mores? Anyways, compared to the previous snack mix, this is much more snackable. The graham pieces don’t have that Golden Graham-esque glaze, so it isn’t too sweet. The chocolate pieces, while not being a particularly strong chocolate flavor, are also not too sweet. The marshmallows are pretty much just like cereal marbits, which feels sort of weird not in a cereal but isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Very easy to absent-mindedly eat ⅔ of the bag in one sitting.
Ah, the S’moreo. Potentially my first exposure to the seasonal s’mores offering trend (perhaps, the trend-setter itself?). However, it too is not immune to many of the caveats of s’moresdom. The graham cookie, no matter how many times Oreo uses it for a flavor, is pretty much always completely indistinquishable from their regular golden cookie. The marshmallow creme, even when scraped off and eaten separately, is completely indistinguishable from the creme inside a plain Oreo (maybe it’s been marshmallow creme this whole time?). Is the fact that they barely taste like s’more going to stop me from eating the entire package in 1 day? No.
Cheesecake Factory Toasted Marshmallow S’mores Cheesecake
Maybe this is cheating, since this is obviously going to already be a step above anything found in a grocery store.
The graham cracker crust is ridiculously thick for a cheesecake, but since this is s’mores cheesecake you’d expect them to go heavy on the graham. And not only is the marshmallow sauce plentiful, but the pool on top was bruleed (why they cover it up with whipped cream, I’ll never know), resulting in the only thing on this list that emulates that toasty, campfire char. My only complaint is that the bulk of it is still, ultimately, a chocolate cheesecake, and it would be a little monotonous if it weren’t for the whole-ass graham crackers that it also comes with.
It’s hard to say if I’ve filled the s’mores-shaped hole in my heart or if I’m just sick of them now, but either way I think my work here is done.