camping classic, without having to sleep in a tent

Confession: I’ve never been a big fan of camping.  As a child I was a Campfire Girl and often had to go on camping trips with my troop where we made friendship bracelets, went on nature hikes, and had to sing songs, yes, around a campfire.  All I really remember is always feeling cold and damp and once burning my hand on the wrong end of a metal fire-poking stick.  Not fun.

I like nature and everything, I’m just not sure I like sleeping out in it in a tent on the cold ground, feeling every root and rock beneath me as I toss and turn all night.  No thanks.

However, there is one thing camping really does have going for it: s’mores.  There’s nothing quite like a marshmallow toasted on a stick over some hot coals and then packed between chocolate and graham crackers.  It’s one of life’s simple pleasures that you enjoy no matter how far from Campfire Girl days you are.

These bars recreate that feeling.  And you don’t have to sleep in a tent to enjoy them.  Score!

S’more Bars (from Taste of Home: Simple and Delicious magazine)

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. of milk chocolate bars
  • 1 cup marshmallow cream

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat well.  Combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt.  Beat into creamed mixture, and set aside ½ cup of this mixture for the topping.

Press remaining mixture into an 8-inch baking pan.  Place candy bars over the crust in one single layer.  Spread marshmallow cream on top of candy bar layer.  Crumble remaining graham cracker/flour/butter mixture over top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Cool on a wire rack and cut into bars.

life-changing marshmallows

Growing up I always enjoyed marshmallows.  My brother taught me to eat them directly from the bag that my mom always seemed to have hanging around in the cupboard for future baking projects.  However, I did not know that marshmallows could in fact be life-changing until I had the homemade ones at City Bakery in New York.

Fortunately for me they sell them by the bag so when I was in NYC for work in December I bought two bags to take home.

This weekend I wanted to bake something that featured these beautiful, pillow-like marshmallows and thought what goes better with marshmallows than chocolate?  My brother’s girlfriend gave me some awesome German chocolate for Christmas so I thought I’d use that and make some brownies.

I did all sorts of searching on the interweb for the perfect marshmallow brownie but was not feeling it for any of the recipes I found.  Then I remembered that around this time last year I made some award-winning brownies and thought I would adapt that recipe to incorporate the marshmallows and voila.

The results were a fudge-y brownie with nice caramelized, almost crusty marshmallow bits on top.

I’m not suggesting you run out to New York to scoop up a bag of these heavenly marshmallows in order to make this recipe (though if you are there, you owe it to yourself to do so) as I think this recipe would work just fine with store-bought marshmallows.  If you wanted a s’more-like effect you could add some graham cracker crumbs into the batter and I think that would be great too.  Or you could combine graham cracker crumbs and butter and line the bottom of the pan with that!  It’s fun to experiment with baking, so go nuts.  (You could add nuts too!  Now we’re just getting plain crazy…)

Marshmallow Brownies

  • 1-½ stick butter
  • 2 ounces dark or milk chocolate (or a combination of the two), broken into chunks
  • ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, warmed to room temperature
  • 1-½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 9 marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place a large piece of foil in a 9-inch square metal cake pan, draping the foil over the edges. Grease foil with butter.

Melt the 1 ½ sticks of butter with the chocolate chunks over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Whisk to combine. Add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour.  Whisk to combine, though be careful not to over mix.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.  Insert whole marshmallows into brownie batter.

Bake for about 18 minutes then rotate pan.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes

Cool at room temperature in the pan for about a half hour, then lift the brownies from the pan and refrigerate in the foil just until they are firm.  Remove from foil and cut the brownies into 12 or 16 squares