S’moregasm: A Dozen S’mores Desserts Inspired by the Campfire Classic

It’s the time of year to gather around fire pits, under heat lamps, and in front of hearths. Whenever we find ourselves warming ourselves by those flickering flames, we inevitably start dreaming about s’mores. There’s just something about that undeniably awesome combination of crunchy graham crackers, gooey marshmallows, and partially melted squares of chocolate. But we’ve come a long way from the traditional triumvirate from Nabisco, Hershey’s, and Kraft. The ingredients have gone gourmet while the presentations are seriously reconsidered. Treat yourself to a dozen s’mores desserts – no fire required.

Havana Beach, Rosemary Beach, Florida
Just looking at this photo makes us salivate. Arriving in a mini swing-top bale jar, the Beachside S’mores feature flame-kissed vanilla marshmallows, spiced chocolate, and fluff. Housemade graham crackers are served on the side, so you can construct your own sweet sandwiches. Make a reservation at Havana Beach.

S'mores Desserts

Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
You know this s’more is super fancy schmancy because it arrives hidden under a smoke-filled cloche. The server pulls it away to release a hazy cloud, which clears to reveal marshmallow, toasted marshmallow ice cream, hazelnut graham streusel, and caramel and milk chocolate shards from Valrhona. Make sure you take a picture before you take a bite — this dessert is worthy of your Instagram feed. Make a reservation at Bourbon Steak.

S'mores Desserts

Figs, Jackson, Wyoming
Finally, there’s a s’more in cocktail form. The Wyoming Campfire features a tasty triple threat – Bailey’s Irish Crème, Kahlua, and Wyoming Whiskey – as well as coffee, hot chocolate, and a blazed marshmallow. You can’t warm your hands over it, but it will definitely light a fire in your belly. Make a reservation at Figs.

S'mores Desserts

MK, Chicago, Illinois
Taking its name from the film Sandlot, the “You’re Killin’ Me S’mores” are an elevated expression of the simplistic sweet. Pastry chef Lisa Bonjour artfully plates cubes and spheres of dark chocolate ganache, a quenelle of graham cracker ice cream, charred bubbly clouds of marshmallow, and a scattering of peanuts. Like they say in the movie, “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” This s’more is definitely legendary. Make a reservation at MK.

S'mores Desserts

Graze, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Chef Richard Miller modernizes the long-loved camping trip treat. A crumbly mound of Marcona almond graham cracker streusel is paired with a bar of rich chocolate ganache and plenty of brûléed marshmallow. Worthy of both your inner child and your adult self. Make a reservation at Graze.

S'mores Desserts

Presidio Social Club, San Francisco
One thinks of s’mores as warm, sticky sweets, but this rendition offers a cooler perspective. Salted caramel ice cream is bookended by chocolate brownie cookies and speckled with singed squares of marshmallow and candied peanuts. Warning: a brain freeze may ensue if you devour it too quickly. Make a reservation at Presidio Social Club.

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Get Nutty: Five Southern Pecan Dishes + Drinks to Try Today

The holidays — a time when legendary pecan pie reigns supreme in the South — may be over. But we’re still longing for the sweet, nutty flavors through winter and beyond. And better yet, these hickory nuts are chockful of nutrients and good-for-you fats to help you accomplish all your healthy eating 2016 resolutions. Here are five Southern pecan dishes (sweet, savory, and sippable) highlighting the regional staple.  

Pecan Daiquiri, The Pinewood, Decatur, Georgia
We recommend drinking your dessert this season, especially when it’s as delectable as the pecan daiquiri at The Pinewood. Giving the classic Manhattan a Southern twist, this whiskey mecca relies on their housemade pecan cocktail syrup (Hint: it’s also available for purchase by the bottle!) made from oven-roasted Georgia pecan-infused bitters to up the ante. This dangerously delicious daiquiri is also laced with rum, lime juice, and Dry Curacao for a cocktail you won’t soon forget. Make a reservation at The Pinewood.

Southern Pecan Dishes

Pecan Marjolaine, Mandolin, Raleigh, North Carolina
Head to Raleigh’s farm-to-table Mandolin for a well-balanced pecan dessert that will make you forget all about cloying pecan pie. Chef Sean Fowler’s pecan marjolaine is made with eight layers of pecan sponge cake, chocolate, and orange buttercream before being garnished with pralines and candied orange peel. Make a reservation at Mandolin.

Southern Pecan Dishes

Candied Pecan Risotto, Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails, Alpharetta, Georgia
Don’t rule out pecan plates just because you’re lacking a sweet tooth — plenty of innovative chefs are using the smoky nut in savory dishes, such as risotto and espresso-rubbed shrimp at Milton’s. Spiked with blue cheese, port cherry, pomegranate molasses, and basil oil, this well-rounded dish is sure to make a pecan lover out of even the saltiest diner. Make a reservation at Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails.

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Gingerbread Dishes and Drinks: Sip + Savor the Spiced Seasonal Treat

Molasses and spice put the merry in this classic treat that’s had a starring role at Christmas as an all-too-often inedible house with shredded wheat-thatched roofs and gumdrop shrubs. It’s a holiday favorite, for sure, especially in New England. In recent years, gingerbread has gained respect all over the country — not just in desserts but martinis and ‘nogs, too. Check out these restaurants serving gingerbread cocktails and desserts that even the most traditional of gingerbread gentlemen and ladies would approve with frosted icing smiles.

Gracie’s, Providence, Rhode Island
Baby, it’s cold outside. High fives for the Hand Warmer, a hot gingerbread-inspired cocktail that’s made with Frangelico Art of the Age ‘Snap’, steamed cinnamon-honey milk, and chai bitters. [Photo by  JWessel Photography]

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

3800 Ocean, Palm Beach, Florida
Fudge and gingerbread go together like Rudolph and Santa — sweet shout-outs to Christmas. The Gingerbread Fudge dessert from pastry chef Brittani Szczecin is a fantasy of white chocolate chips, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pecans.

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

Bar 54, New York, New York
During the holidays, the highest rooftop bar in Manhattan serves a non-alcoholic Spiced Spritzer, a gingerbread mocktail combo of ginger, cinnabark syrup, lemon juice, cranberry relish, and old-fashioned bitters (glycerin-based and non-alcoholic). The icing on the cocktail: It’s garnished with candied ginger and a cinnamon stick.

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

Sbraga, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Gingerbread Macaron is pastry chef Marquessa Gesualdi’s answer to “when a gingerbread house doesn’t want to sit at the kids table anymore.” It’s made with white chocolate, amaretto cream, lemon gum drops, nutmeg dulce de leche, and blood orange curd — and it behaves quite nicely if you’re seated at the chef’s counter, too.

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

Level 25 at Atrio, Miami, Florida
Sip a Gingerbread Martini (Boodles Gin, simple syrup, Chambord and Canton Ginger Liqueur) in the hotel’s signature bar—views of Miami and Biscayne Bay sweeten the deal. You can also order the festive martini in the Atrio restaurant here.

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Too Cool: 10 Peppermint Desserts to Pep Up Your Holiday

Move over pumpkin spice, peppermint is having a moment. Even though the weather may not indicate it just yet, winter is coming, and as fall wanes, we say goodbye to the familiar tastes of the season. While we’ll miss creamy butternut squash soups, hot apple cider donuts, and pumpkin…everything, their departure makes way for all the festive flavors of the colder months. Popping up on menus once again are cranberry, gingerbread, eggnog, and — perhaps winter’s most iconic flavor — peppermint. Peppermint evokes a sense of nostalgia for holiday traditions — trimming the tree to Christmas tunes, wrapping presents by a fragrant fire, and our favorite, sitting down to a deliciously restorative meal in the midst of the holiday madness. Book a table and order one of these invigoratingly delicious peppermint desserts. From the beloved classics to the distinctly imaginative, each one will put you in the holiday spirit.

Péché, Austin, Texas
Péché translates to “sin” in French, and while you could opt for a lighter dish like Kale and Roasted Vegetable salad, why not let the restaurant live up to its name by indulging in sinfully rich Housemade Pappardelle with Texas Wild Boar or a Braised Short Ribs with Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes? Either way, save room for pastry chef Yolanda Diaz’s impressive Bûche de Noël. Made from scratch, her traditional French dessert is a Swiss chocolate roll plated with peppermint bark, (almost) too-adorable-to-eat mushroom meringues, chocolate soil, and a scoop of housemade chocolate chip peppermint ice cream. It would be a sin not to order this heavenly dessert.

Peppermint Desserts

Siena Tavern, Chicago, Illinois
Gelato in the winter doesn’t sound crazy when it’s of the Peppermint Brownie variety. Fabio Viviani’s urbane Italian eatery, which features housemade pastas, crispy pizzas, and a mozzarella bar, offers the seasonally apropos dessert this December. The brainchild of Siena Tavern’s pastry chef Amy Arnold, crushed candy canes, Rumplemintz, and double chocolate brownie bites are swirled into a peppermint gelato base for a bracing brownie sundae in a scoop. Order a post-pizza dish, or opt for a flight of three, paired with cannoli and pumpkin pecan flavors.

Peppermint Desserts

10 Arts Bistro, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Enjoy the flavor of the season in one (or more!) of many forms at the Ritz Carlton’s predictably elegant restaurant. For a whimsical treat, Hot Chocolate service is on offer with enhancements such as marshmallows and crushed candy canes. Add a “cookie jar” for a sample of assorted holiday cookies, including pastry chef Stephen Wilson’s handmade peppermint meringues. Wilson is also whipping up Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream and Yule Logs for their festive holiday brunch, starting at 11AM on Christmas Day.

Peppermint Desserts

Presidio Social Club, San Francisco, California
Comfort foods have a place at the table any time of the year, but herb-roasted chicken, mac and cheese, and meatloaf at this San Francisco “club without the dues” are particularly perfect on winter’s dark, chilly evenings. The comforting options extend to bar director Maureen Donegan’s Hot Cocktail List, featuring warming quaffs like Hot Buttered Rum, Caffè Sambuca, or — for a true dose of holiday spirit — a Hot Mint Chocolate. Mixed with housemade hot cocoa and Bracamenta then topped with fresh whipped cream, this boozy version of a childhood favorite will inject the meal with a little extra good cheer. (If you prefer your dessert in cake form, order one of pastry chef Rene Cruz’s Chocolate Peppermint Cakes to go. The only downside is that you’ll probably be expected to share.)

Peppermint Desserts

Bestia, Los Angeles, California
Genevieve Gergis is one half of the husband and wife team behind LA’s Bestia. (Her husband, chef Ori Menashe, dishes out rustic Italian fare in the form of house-cured charcuterie and made-from-scratch pizza and pasta.) A self-taught pastry chef, Gergis’s own sweet tooth inspired her to learn to bake, and the fruits (and cakes, chocolates, and donuts!) of her labor are showcased with desserts like Pink Lady Apple & Candied Quince Crostata and Chocolate Budino Tart. This season, sample her handiwork and bring a touch of holiday whimsy to the table with the housemade Candy Cane Ice Cream with a “Cinna’man” and Whole Wheat Butter Cookie.

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