Fall has officially arrived and, lucky for us, that means warm, sunshine-filled days and cool, starlit nights. What better time to get outside and make a batch of s’mores? These little bundles of chocolate and marshmallow with a hint of lavender and chile are the perfect sweet treat for barbecue nights, movie nights, friend nights, family nights or any night that needs a little cheer.

My favorite thing about this recipe is you can make the cookies ahead of time (they will keep 3-4 days in an airtight container) and put it together fast. In this version, graham crackers take a sabbatical, and instead, we smash lavender-dusted marshmallows and pieces of dark chocolate between two red chile chocolate crisps. The result? All the gooey deliciousness of s’mores with a hint of heat and home.

There are a couple ways you can cook these. You can go the classic route of roasting marshmallows on a stick over an open fire, then building your s’mores right then. Or, if you don’t have access to an open fire, I recently discovered that pre-building the s’mores, wrapping each in foil, then warming them up in the oven or on the grill for 5-10 minutes works, too.

The only rules for s’mores? Be cool with sticky fingers, get outside and take a minute (or two or three) to look up at the stars.

High Desert S’mores

Makes: 4 servings; total time: 3 hours

For the red chile chocolate crisps:

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup blue, yellow or white cornmeal

½ cup sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoon mild red chile powder

Pinch of salt

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons semi or dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

For the s’mores:

8 large marshmallows

1 teaspoon ground organic lavender

½ cup dark chocolate discs, chips or small cut pieces

Preparation: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Add the butter, vanilla and chocolate using your hands to crumble the mixture until it resembles wet sand, then knead for just a couple of minutes. The dough will be smooth and feel a bit like play dough. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic and put in the fridge for 2 hours.

Prepare the marshmallows: Cut the marshmallows in half lengthwise and lay cut side up on a tray. Lightly sprinkle lavender over the top of each one. Reserve until ready to build.

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is around ¼-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (whatever size you want your s’mores to be) to cut out circles and transfer them to a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for around 15 minutes, until the tops are firm. Gather the scraps and roll out the dough again, repeating this until you have used all the dough, baking in batches as needed. Store completely cooled crisps in an airtight container until ready to build s’mores.

When ready to make s’mores, toast marshmallows and place them and a few chocolate pieces between two cookies. Or build s’mores, wrap them in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Marianne Sundquist is a chef and writer who in 2020 co-founded Stokli, an online general store. Find her on Instagram @chefmariannesundquist, and email her at marianne@stokli.com.

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