In the At Home with Martin & Sylvia story “The Shortest Day,” the nights are getting longer and the days are getting shorter where Martin and Sylvia live. When Momma suggests they spend more time outside with the sun, brother and sister decide to invite the daylight into all their play. They go sledding, build fairy houses, do farm chores, and build a bonfire — all with an eye on the sun, celebrating its shortest day of the year.
A few years ago, some friends introduced us to the joys of winter bonfires and I've quickly come to love them. While our summers are often too hot and humid to want to snuggle up to a fire, in winter the heat and warm glow are irresistibly cozy. Whether you're gathered together with friends in the woods on a real campout or just enjoying a small fire pit in your backyard, it's a cheery way to spend a chilly winter afternoon or evening.
And, of course, every bonfire needs s'mores.
Prepare yourself for a classic s'more with a holiday twist. I've subbed the traditional graham crackers for gingerbread cookies and the usual plain chocolate for seasonal peppermint bark. When the warm gingerbread spices and the cool peppermint chocolate combine with the marshmallows, it tastes like Christmas is exploding in your mouth.
Like all s'mores, these will always taste better if you can roast the marshmallows over a real fire, but if that doesn't work for you, you can also carefully roast marshmallows indoors over your stovetop or an unscented candle.
Whether your solstice “bonfire” is large or small, I hope you'll enjoy giving these a try.
Solstice Bonfire S'mores
- Gingerbread cookies
- Peppermint bark
For these s'mores, you should use store-bought marshmallows (homemade ones usually don't set up firmly enough to roast), but you can use either homemade or store-bought cookies and peppermint bark. If you want homemade cookies, this is a great time to pull out and bake a few sheets of the gingerbread I posted earlier this season. For homemade peppermint bark, I cannot improve upon the perfection that is Molly Wizenberg's famous recipe.
Once your ingredients are collected, find a few roasting sticks and gather 'round your fire.
Just one tip before you get started. In my experience, when you're making s'mores in the summer, the chocolate is usually starting to get melty from the heat, even before the marshmallow hits it. Because you'll be making these when it's cold out, it can be helpful to slip the peppermint bark into a pocket or warm it for few seconds near the fire while you're roasting your marshmallows.
Now, go ahead and roast your marshmallows to your desired degree of doneness. (This is a controversial subject in our house — I like them burnt, the rest of the family likes golden brown — but you do you!)
When your marshmallow is done, assemble it into a sandwich with the peppermint bark between two gingerbread cookies.
Enjoy your solstice s'more while it's warm and gooey.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.