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11 Creative S’mores Combinations for National S'mores Day

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If you’re anxious to spice up an already perfect fire-forged treat, we’ve got some wild ideas that just might have a place around your campfire.

1. Filled Chocolate S’mores

The easiest way to beef up a three-ingredient treat like a classic s’more is to go hog-wild on a single element. Sure, you could get some fancy graham crackers or a flavored marshmallow, but why not focus on the chocolate? Instead of using a simple slab of the dark stuff, go for an extra-rich piece that comes with its own special fillings, from caramel to peppermint to still more chocolate.

2. The Elvis S'more

Not content to pay special attention to a single ingredient on your s’more? Go for rock 'n roll broke with a new-fangled twist on Elvis Presley’s supposedly favorite sandwich. The big guy loved putting crazy things between bread, particularly bacon, peanut butter, and banana. That's easy enough to replicate on a s’more, thanks to one clever bit: a peanut butter cup. 

3. S’mores Martini

The Savory

Although it might be easy and obvious to pile new ingredients on to an existing s’more and call it a day, it’s far more ambitious to take said s’more and turn it inside out for a new taste. How about a s’more martini? Thanks to marshmallow-flavored vodka, a bit of Kahlua, chocolate syrup and a generous graham cracker and chocolate rim, it’s surprisingly easy to make the childhood favorite into an adult treat.

4. S’mores Pops

The unsung hero of the s’more is the graham cracker. It may not get the glory of the chocolate or the marshmallow, but it’s the key to holding things together and making the treat a handheld one. So let’s do away with it, at least in its normal form. Instead of toasting marshmallows and then putting them on chocolate and graham cracker, toast up the mallows and then dip them in chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. Still handheld, albeit with a harder cleanup.

5. S’mores Pie

Graham crackers figure into other desserts, too—like pie!—so combining the two is a bit of a no-brainer. Deconstruct that s’more to make a s’mores pie, complete with a graham cracker crust and a toasted marshmallow top. You’ll need a plate and utensils, but it’s worth it.

6. S’mores Spaghetti

It’s not actual spaghetti—it’s something far tastier: Fake spaghetti made out of chocolate and marshmallow, with little graham cracker bits sprinkled over as fake Parmesan. It sounds almost impossible to make, but it’s definitely one of the wildest takes on s’mores around.

7. S’mores Cookie Sandwiches

If you’re willing to toss out one ingredient, it’s possible to open up a whole new world of s’more-related treats. Hold fast to chocolate and marshmallows, and turn a pair of tasty chocolate chip cookies into a vessel for delivering toasty marshmallows. Please forgive us, graham crackers.

8. S’mores In a Jar

Jar-bound desserts are all the rage now, and while they look impressive and sound kind of insane, they’re relatively easy to make—it just takes a lot of layering. As ever, the trusty graham cracker is the base here, while the fluffy marshmallow is the star.

9. S’mores Macarons

The beloved French pastry has long worked as a scrumptious delivery service for unexpected flavors, and s’mores are no different. Graham cracker dough, a marshmallow center, and a chocolate glaze? It’s nuts, but it’s also a brilliant way to make this stuff instantly high-brow.

10. Graham Cracker Loaded Brownie

Is that? No. It can’t be. It is! It’s a brownie—a treat on its own—loaded up with warm marshmallows, more melted chocolate, and graham cracker crumbles. Turns out, you can make anything into a s’more-flavored treat, as long as you’re willing to load up the ingredients and never look back.

11. S’mores Stuffed French Toast

S’mores may be dessert food, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have a place on the breakfast table—as long as you’re willing to stuff your French toast with the key ingredients. Two pieces of French toast are filling enough, but when they’re crammed with hot marshmallows, melted chocolate, and some graham cracker bits just for fun, all bets are off. Wild.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Little Women
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Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is one of the world's most beloved novels, and now—nearly 150 years after its original publication—it's capturing yet another generation of readers, thanks in part to Masterpiece's new small-screen adaptation. Whether it's been days or years since you've last read it, here are 10 things you might not know about Alcott's classic tale of family and friendship.

1. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT DIDN'T WANT TO WRITE LITTLE WOMEN.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Louisa May Alcott was writing both literature and pulp fiction (sample title: Pauline's Passion and Punishment) when Thomas Niles, the editor at Roberts Brothers Publishing, approached her about writing a book for girls. Alcott said she would try, but she wasn’t all that interested, later calling such books “moral pap for the young.”

When it became clear Alcott was stalling, Niles offered a publishing contract to her father, Bronson Alcott. Although Bronson was a well-known thinker who was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, his work never achieved much acclaim. When it became clear that Bronson would have an opportunity to publish a new book if Louisa started her girls' story, she caved in to the pressure.

2. LITTLE WOMEN TOOK JUST 10 WEEKS TO WRITE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott began writing the book in May 1868. She worked on it day and night, becoming so consumed with it that she sometimes forgot to eat or sleep. On July 15, she sent all 402 pages to her editor. In September, a mere four months after starting the book, Little Women was published. It became an instant best seller and turned Alcott into a rich and famous woman.

3. THE BOOK AS WE KNOW IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN TWO PARTS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

The first half was published in 1868 as Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The Story Of Their Lives. A Girl’s Book. It ended with John Brooke proposing marriage to Meg. In 1869, Alcott published Good Wives, the second half of the book. It, too, only took a few months to write.

4. MEG, BETH, AND AMY WERE BASED ON ALCOTT'S SISTERS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Meg was based on Louisa’s sister Anna, who fell in love with her husband John Bridge Pratt while performing opposite him in a play. The description of Meg’s wedding in the novel is supposedly based on Anna’s actual wedding.

Beth was based on Lizzie, who died from scarlet fever at age 23. Like Beth, Lizzie caught the illness from a poor family her mother was helping.

Amy was based on May (Amy is an anagram of May), an artist who lived in Europe. In fact, May—who died in childbirth at age 39—was the first woman to exhibit paintings in the Paris Salon.

Jo, of course, is based on Alcott herself.

5. LIKE THE MARCH FAMILY, THE ALCOTTS KNEW POVERTY.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Bronson Alcott’s philosophical ideals made it difficult for him to find employment—for example, as a socialist, he wouldn't work for wages—so the family survived on handouts from friends and neighbors. At times during Louisa’s childhood, there was nothing to eat but bread, water, and the occasional apple.

When she got older, Alcott worked as a paid companion and governess, like Jo does in the novel, and sold “sensation” stories to help pay the bills. She also took on menial jobs, working as a seamstress, a laundress, and a servant. Even as a child, Alcott wanted to help her family escape poverty, something Little Women made possible.

6. ALCOTT REFUSED TO HAVE JO MARRY LAURIE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott, who never married herself, wanted Jo to remain unmarried, too. But while she was working on the second half of Little Women, fans were clamoring for Jo to marry the boy next door, Laurie. “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life," Alcott wrote in her journal. "I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.”

As a compromise—or to spite her fans—Alcott married Jo to the decidedly unromantic Professor Bhaer. Laurie ends up with Amy.

7. THERE ARE LOTS OF THEORIES ABOUT WHO LAURIE WAS BASED ON.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

People have theorized Laurie was inspired by everyone from Thoreau to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son Julian, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. In 1865, while in Europe, Alcott met a Polish musician named Ladislas Wisniewski, whom Alcott nicknamed Laddie. The flirtation between Laddie and Alcott culminated in them spending two weeks together in Paris, alone. According to biographer Harriet Reisen, Alcott later modeled Laurie after Laddie.

How far did the Alcott/Laddie affair go? It’s hard to say, as Alcott later crossed out the section of her diary referring to the romance. In the margin, she wrote, “couldn’t be.”

8. YOU CAN STILL VISIT ORCHARD HOUSE, WHERE ALCOTT WROTE LITTLE WOMEN.

Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts was the Alcott family home. In 1868, Louisa reluctantly left her Boston apartment to write Little Women there. Today, you can tour this house and see May’s drawings on the walls, as well as the small writing desk that Bronson built for Louisa to use.

9. LITTLE WOMEN HAS BEEN ADAPTED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

In addition to a 1958 TV series, multiple Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, and an opera, Little Women has been made into more than a half-dozen movies. The most famous are the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn, the 1949 version starring June Allyson (with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy), and the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Later this year, Clare Niederpruem's modern retelling of the story is scheduled to arrive in movie theaters. It's also been adapted for the small screen a number of times, most recently for PBS's Masterpiece, by Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas.

10. IN 1980, A JAPANESE ANIME VERSION OF LITTLE WOMEN WAS RELEASED.

In 1987, Japan made an anime version of Little Women that ran for 48 half-hour episodes. Watch the first two episodes above.

Additional Resources:
Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography; Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women; Louisa May Alcott's Journals; Little Women; Alcott Film; C-Span; LouisaMayAlcott.org.

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Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Is Causing Another Explosive Problem: Laze
Mario Tama, Getty Images
Mario Tama, Getty Images

Rivers of molten rock aren't the only thing residents near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano have to worry about. Lava from recent volcanic activity has reached the Pacific Ocean and is generating toxic, glass-laced "laze," according to Honolulu-based KITV. Just what is this dangerous substance?

Molten lava has a temperature of about 2000°F, while the surrounding seawater in Hawaii is closer to 80°F. When this super-hot lava hits the colder ocean, the heat makes the water boil, creating powerful explosions of steam, scalding hot water, and projectile rock fragments known as tephra. These plumes are called lava haze, or laze.

Though it looks like regular steam, laze is much more dangerous. When the water and lava combine, and hot lava vaporizes seawater, a series of reactions causes the formation of toxic gas. Chloride from the sea salt mixes with hydrogen in the steam to create a dense, corrosive mixture of hydrochloric acid. The vapor forms clouds that then turn into acid rain.

Laze blows out of the ocean near a lava flow
USGS

That’s not the only danger. The lava cools down rapidly, forming volcanic glass—tiny shards of which explode into the air along with the gases.

Even the slightest encounter with a wisp of laze can be problematic. The hot, acidic mixture can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. It's particularly hazardous to those with breathing problems, like people with asthma.

In 2000, two people died in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from inhaling laze coming from an active lava flow.

The problem spreads far beyond where the lava itself is flowing, pushing the problem downwind. Due to the amount of lava flowing into the ocean and the strength of the winds, laze currently being generated by the Kilauea eruptions could spread up to 15 miles away, a USGS geologist told Reuters.

[h/t Forbes]

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