When was the last time you had s’mores around a raging campfire? Yesterday? Sometime during your childhood? Never?
For those of you who did not have a North American childhood, “s’mores” is a contraction of “some more” – it is a challenge to eat just one. S’mores consist of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. There are two ways of making them:
1. Large marshmallows are toasted on a stick or skewer over a campfire and then placed between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate (the residual heat will melt the chocolate or at least soften it to make the sandwich.
2. Marshmallows and chocolate are placed in between two graham crackers and wrapped in a piece of aluminum foil (or in a wire basket) which then go close to the fire to heat up the mixture for a melted chocolate-marshmallow result.
Apparently, it was the Girl Scouts in the U.S. who can claim bragging rights to these delectable sandwiches. Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts came out way back in 1927. The first published recipe made it into this fascinating guide-book (the title alone makes it worth seeking, at used book stores or rummage sales…).
I made s’mores bars for a new year’s bonfire/potluck party. Originally, I planned to bring the ingredients for s’mores: However I could not figure out how anyone could make these in a relatively safe manner, in front of raging fire – not your average campfire. Fortunately, I had come across a simple and quick recipe Cajun Chef Ryan posted right before new year’s.
On our island, recycling is a major past-time, as is composting and “burns”. The latter only can take place between mid-October and mid-April. Such fires are ways of getting rid of non-toxic debris, as we have no municipal garbage pick up.
Gratuitous kitty pictures – to keep things in perspective:
Jinja likes to hide at the bottom of a branch-filled giant vase.
From this angle, Jinja looks like a giant cat, emerging from said vase.
For the recipe and the review…
This bar is an improvement on the s’more. The crust alone is more substantial and more crunchy than the base of the traditional s’more – not to mention it is a fast, easy dessert to prepare for an indoor or outdoor party. The milk chocolate chips are more traditional, but I suggest semi-sweet chocolate for a slightly less sweet and, dare I say,more sophisticated version.
One variant occurred to me is that a s’more bar is not far from a rocky road – chocolate, marshmallow, and walnuts traditionally (in chocolate bars, ice cream, or fudge). Adding chopped nuts to the chocolate layer would transform the s’more bar into a rocky road bar. This would give added texture, a nuttier flavour, and added nutrition – while marshmallows do not make it into the category of “super foods”, walnuts do. What versatility in a recipe!
Next time you are craving s’mores or have a bonfire/potluck to attend, try this fast and satisfying recipe – without even having to make a campfire first.
S’mores Bars, adapted from Cajun Chef Ryan, makes 21 2″ x 3″ bars
|1 ½||Cups||Butter (unsalted or salted) at room temperature|
|2 ¼||Cups||Unbleached all-purpose flour|
|½||Tsp||Salt (less, if using salted butter)|
|1||Cup||Graham cracker crumbs (whole crackers can be crushed in a blender or food processor or else in a zipper-bag with a rolling-pin)|
|3||Cups||Milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips|
|4 ½||Cups||Miniature marshmallows|
|1.||Pre-heat your oven to 375° F and place rack on middle rung. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth, about two-three minutes. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and graham crackers. On the lowest mixer setting gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and then mix until well blended. Add up to ¼ teaspoon of water to the sides of the bowl, drop by drop, just until the dough separates from the sides.|
|2.||Press the soft dough into an un-greased 9×13-inch pan, preferably non-stick.|
|3.||Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until slightly golden-brown and just set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle then spread the chocolate chips evenly over the top of the crust. Allow the base and chocolate to stand for five minutes or so to allow the chocolate to melt slightly. Spread chocolate with off-set spatula.|
|4.||Set the oven knob to “broil”. Sprinkle the mini-marshmallows evenly over the melted chocolate, covering it entirely.|
|5.||Broil the pan, with the top of the marshmallows no closer than five or six inches from the heat for about 30-60 seconds, or until the marshmallows are evenly toasted and browned on top – watch the entire process carefully and do not leave, lest you want burnt rather than toasted marshmallow! Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Cut into bars, approximately 2” by 3″.|
Variant: add 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts (other nuts could work) on top of the melted chocolate (step three) to make a rocky road bar.