|The second step is to select a marshmallow roasting device from a nearby tree or shrub, taking care to avoid the species Toxicodendron vernix. The geometric outlay of the device is to some degree a matter of personal preference, but we've found that a half inch diameter at the base tapering to approximately a quarter inch at the business end, and 2.5-3 feet long, to be optimal for most common campfire heat intensities and standard-size marshmallows.|
|With the marshmallow applied to the roasting device, and roasting commenced over an appropriate heat source, the sugars in the outer shell of the marshmallow will begin to caramelize. The primary chemical challenge during roasting is to uniformly caramelize the entire shell without charring or igniting any part of it. The preferred technique among experts is a slow, rotisserie-style rotation at 4-6" from the embers, though few possess the patience to functionally sustain such an activity for the duration of the roasting operation. Another challenge is roasting the surface closest to the base end of the roasting device. There may be some advantage to loading the marshmallow onto the device axially to minimize the surface area facing the base end (since the flat side of the marshmallow is smaller than the curved section), and then lightly smooshing the marshmallow to convert some of the base-facing surface into side-facing surface.|
|Particularly recalcitrant residue can be removed by charring the tip, followed by wiping with an appropriate material, such as a t-shirt or nearby grass. The health benefits of any residual char that may be transferred to future marshmallows are unclear, but related products are highly valued in some types of cuisine (an explanation of the scientific function of biochar in the digestive tract can be found near minute 19 in the video accompanying the previous link, although the entire episode provides a much more compelling narrative if one is amused by the non-sequitor nature of Japanese cartoons). The roasting device can be stored somewhere relatively clean and out of the fire pit until needed again.|
In conclusion, many factors must be considered to produce an optimally roasted marshmallow and a satisfactorily engineered s'more. We hope this primer has helped elucidate some of those factors, but we welcome additions and suggestions to incorporate into the second edition of this text.
What is your preferred marshmallow-roasting protocol?