The Chemistry of S'mores

YouTube Video

S’mores are a tasty snack that has been used for years by people on camping trips or just in their backyard. They consist of Graham crackers, Milk Chocolate, and Marshmallows. I chose S’mores as my topic because they’re my favorite snack for when I’m camping and sitting around a campfire. S’mores are also one of the main things that I eat whenever I’m camping. They can also be made at home in your microwave.

Composition of ...
Graham Crackers: The ingredients for Honey Maid brand Graham Crackers are as follows:
Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Graham Flour (Whole  Grain Wheat Flour), Sugar, Soybean Oil  and/or partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Honey, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Cornstarch. Contains: Wheat, Soy.

Milk Chocolate: The ingredients for Hershey’s brand Milk Chocolate are as follows:
Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa processed with Alkali, Milk Fat, Lecithin, PGPR, Vanillin, Artificial Flavor, and Milk.

Marshmallows: The ingredients for Kraft Jet-Puffed brand Marshmallows are as follows:
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Modified Corn Starch, Water, Gelatin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (Whipping Aid), Artificial Flavor, Artificial Color (Blue 1).

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The two main components of Graham Crackers are Unbleached Enriched Flour and Graham Flour.
-Enriched Flour is a flour that has refined nutrients returned to it that have been lost while it was prepared. Enriching flour is used to replenish nutrients to flour so that it matches the nutritional status of the unrefined product. This process includes many steps: The Bran and Germ are removed. The Bran is a layer of grains that contains fiber, some proteins, and trace minerals. The Germ is the embryo of the seed that contains B vitamins and trace minerals. The Germ is usually removed to prolong the shelf-life of the flour. The Endosperm is isolated, and the flour is ground into a fine powder and sifted to remove any leftover parts of the Bran or Germ. The final processed flour contains less nutrients than whole-wheat flour, resulting in the enriching process.
-Graham Flour is a whole-wheat flour that is named after Sylvester Graham. Graham disliked the discarding of nutrients, which is done in the process of enriched flour. Unlike Enriched Flour, in Graham Flour, the Bran, Germ, and Endosperm are ground separately. The Bran and Germ are ground coarsely and the Endosperm is ground finely, then the parts are recombined, creating a flour that bakes and keeps well.

The two main components of Milk Chocolate are Sugar/Sucrose(C12H22O11), and Chocolate.
-The process of making milk chocolate has many steps: Cocoa bean processing, milling and pressing, mixing the ingredients, and refining.
-Sugar, sucrose in this case, is a carbohydrate. It is made up of one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose. Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are the elements used to create sugar.

The two main components of Marshmallows are Corn Syrup/Fructose (C6H12O6) and Sugar/Sucrose (C12H22O11).
-Making Corn Syrup/Fructose includes the boiling of granulated sugar and water. As the solution boils, it will thicken, resulting in corn syrup.
-Sugar, sucrose in this case, is a carbohydrate. It is made up of one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose. Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are the elements used to create sugar.

Chemistry's Role

Chemistry is a large part of making S’mores and involves a number of physical and chemical changes. Breaking graham crackers or a Hershey’s bar in pieces is a physical change. However, heating a marshmallow over a flame is a chemical reaction and also an endothermic reaction. As the sugar crystals on the surface of the marshmallow are heated, the Hydrogen and Oxygen molecules are replaced by the Carbon and turns the marshmallow black. As the marshmallow is placed near the chocolate, the chocolate melts, also an endothermic reaction. (Melting is an endothermic reaction because you are adding heat.)

-Nabisco’s official company website
-Includes products they sell
-Includes ingredients of graham crackers

-Includes ingredients of a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar

-Kraft’s official website
-Provides ingredients of Kraft’s Jet-Puffed Marshmallows

-Provides information on what Enriched Flour is

-Provides information on what Graham Flour is

-Hershey’s official website
-Provides videos on how Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is produced

About the Author
Elizabeth Mook is a junior at Billings Senior High School. She is on the Newspaper staff as well as the Yearbook staff. She will be attending college to double major in Journalism and Marketing. She enjoys writing, photography and art.