Growing up in Northern California, my family headed up to the mountains twice each summer for camping vacations. We drove to Yosemite for one excursion and Lake Tahoe for the other, both times with a minivan full of firewood, duffel bags, and backpacking mattress pads. We were hardcore tent campers—no trailers, no campers, no RVs—just us, our sleeping bags, and a flimsy four-man tent.
We’d spend five or six days hiking, swimming, and getting as dusty as humanly possible, much to Mom’s dismay… No baths for a week made for very happy kids!
In the evenings, Dad always built a big fire in the campsite ring, and as it crackled and roared, we sat in folding chairs around the pit to keep warm. If my brother and I had been good during the day and hadn’t complained too much on the steep trails, Mom pulled out the supplies to make s’mores.
We packed our own metal skewers instead of using sticks (for sanitary reasons), and we each pierced two marshmallows to toast the start of our desserts.
One time in early middle school, I perched precariously around the fire pit to roast marshmallows. My foot started to fall asleep as I crouched down, so I tried shifting my weight to kneel instead. As I moved, I lost my balance and started tilting towards the fire, so I stuck out one finger—my middle one on my left hand—to catch myself on the metal fire pit walls…
I bet you can guess what happened next!
The tip of my finger immediately blistered, and I wrapped it in a wet paper towel and clutched a cold water bottle all night to help numb the sharp pains shooting into the throbbing pad of my finger.
Thankfully, that was the one and only time that I burned myself, but I still prefer making my s’mores indoors to avoid the possibility of that happening again—like with these Pumpkin Shortcake S’mores! A fun twist on the classic campfire favorite, they’re an irresistible combination of summer treats and fall flavors… With tons of gooey marshmallow action. Pure deliciousness!
Because I’m not the biggest fan of those graham cracker crumbs that fly everywhere and land all over my shirt when I bite into a regular s’more, I created these healthier pumpkin shortcakes as the sandwich base instead! They’re incredibly soft and tender from lots of pumpkin purée. With just a hint of cinnamon, they’re the perfect bookends for the toasted marshmallows!
Note: Because the marshmallows are so sweet, I didn’t add any sugar to the shortcake dough. If you just want the shortcakes but not the s’mores, try replacing the milk with maple syrup instead. (Or just top with ice cream or whipped cream!)
Instead of bars of chocolate, I mixed up a super simple dark chocolate drizzle. You only need 3 ingredients: cocoa powder, milk, and a touch of sugar. It’s really rich and decadent, but it beautifully balances out and complements the sweet marshmallow! Store any leftover drizzle in the fridge, and simply reheat in the microwave for 5 seconds to warm it up to a drizzle-able consistency again.
P.S. It’s totally awesome over ice cream! Just sayin’…
To toast the marshmallows, I’ve used both a culinary torch and a long-nosed lighter. Although I generally prefer the culinary torch because its flame is easier to direct, both work just fine. Since fall and winter are quickly approaching and I know my parents love using their fireplace every night, you could easily toast your marshmallows over that too!
To assemble the s’mores, carefully slice each shortcake square in half horizontally. They’re a tad bit on the thinner side, so try to cut through them as evenly as possible. Then drizzle the bottom with chocolate sauce, and toast your marshmallow. You want to make the sandwich as soon as you finish roasting the marshmallow to maximize the ooey gooey goodness. Those long thing strands of marshmallow are always the best part!
With their festive fall flavors, these Pumpkin Shortcake S’mores didn’t stand a chance in our house! I practically inhaled two in a row, blissfully licking the sticky marshmallow off my fingers. My mom’s eyes lit up when I offered her one when she arrived home from work, and she immediately began drizzling and toasting away… Just like me as a little girl!
Seriously guys… You can’t beat s’mores!