S'more Cookie Bars
Who doesn't love s'mores?!? The mixture of crunchy graham crackers, rich chocolate, and creamy marshmallows creates a perfect little package. I wanted to make this dessert even better! My favorite desserts come together to make the ultimate s'more cookie bar. It all starts with a cookie based layer loaded with graham crackers, then a layer of homemade honey-based marshmallows, and then topped off with a perfectly fudge-like chocolate icing.
When it comes to baking I have done about a million and one experiments...and counting. This recipe has a good amount of steps, but they are all worth it! You can't have s'mores without marshmallows, and I highly recommend homemade. It is ok to use store-bought, but making them from scratch is actually really easy, and much better for you. My homemade marshmallow recipe is honey-based instead of corn syrup based. This makes a HUGE difference in the flavor of the final product because instead of being overly sweet, this marshmallow have a wonderful floral flavor and airy texture. These need to be made first and given at least 6-8 hours to set up.
The bottom cookie layer of this recipe was based on one of my chocolate chip cookie recipes, but instead of chocolate chips, I added in graham crackers. The cookie layer is a perfect foundation for the s'more because it gives you another reason to eat a cookie, and it adds in the graham cracker flavor in an interesting way while also creating a surprising crunch.
Last, but not least, the chocolate. This recipe is a chocolate frosting recipe from a brownie that my mom used to make for us all of the time as kids. It's one of my favorite brownie recipes, and I thought it would be a perfect topping for this s'more bar. It sets up in a way that reminds me of good quality fudge that isn't super dense. I like adding a little bit of coffee to the frosting to bring out the chocolate flavor which makes it taste more rich than sweet. I found that the best way to make this frosting is to melt the ingredients first in a double boiler, which means placing a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water isn't touching the bowl. You only need a small amount of water in the pan. Then, place all of the ingredients to be melted into the bowl before mixing with the powdered sugar. This allows for the smoothest melting of the chocolate with the milk and butter. I found this one out the hard way!
The trick to this recipe is timing. The marshmallows can be made ahead of time, cut into small pieces, and coated in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to everything. When the cookie part of the bar is baked it needs to cool for about 20 minutes before placing the marshmallows over it. If you put the marshmallows on it too quickly they will melt too much and can create a huge mess for when the frosting is added. Trust me on this one, I made a HUGE mess when I let the marshmallows get too melted and poured the icing over too soon! The frosting will set up rather quickly, so when you pour it over the marshmallows you are on limited time to make sure the entire thing is evenly coated. Once the frosting is evenly distributed over the marshmallow layer, then it needs to set up for at least an hour. I recommend letting it sit for at leave 6-8 before cutting because the flavors marry very nicely, and the three layers stick together much better. If you are making these for an event, they are a great make-ahead-item! Make them up the day before and you don't have to worry about!
S'more Cookie Bars
1 cup unsalted butter; room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar; lightly packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg; room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup crumbled graham crackers; not too crumbled though, you will want some bigger pieces in there
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the marshmallow layer:
about 10-12 oz homemade or store-bought marshmallows (find my homemade marshmallow recipe on www.fromscratchwithmaria.com)
For the Frosting:
2oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter; cut into small cubes
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coffee or espresso
*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
*Butter and flour a 9X13 inch pan by first coating the entire inside of the baking pan with butter (bottom and sides), then sprinkling on some flour, shaking it around so that all of the butter is coated with flour, flip the pan over the sink and tap to remove excess flour
*In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until light and fluffy; making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl
*Stir in the vanilla and egg and mix until evenly distributed
*In another bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder
*In a small bowl crumble the graham crackers into small pieces; about 1 cup; a little more than a cup is completely fine!
*Add the graham crackers to the flour mixture and combine
*With the mixer on low, add in the flour and graham cracker mixture in small increments
*Mix until just combined
*Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and use a knife to spread the batter around so that it is in an even layer
*Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the middle is set, make sure to keep an eye on it as baking times can vary depending on weather
*Allow the cookie layer to cool for about 20 minutes
*Sprinkle the marshmallows on the cookie layer and allow them to sit for about 10 more minutes
*Place 5 cups of powdered sugar into a large bowl if you are using a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
*Place a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water isn't touching the bowl, and place in the unsweetened chocolate, evaporated milk, and butter
*Allow the ingredients to melt while stirring continuously; I recommend using a whisk for the best results
*Once melted remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and coffee
*With the mixer on low slowly pour the warm chocolate mixture into the powdered sugar
*Stir until the frosting is smooth
*Slowly pour the frosting over the marshmallow layer by moving the bowl of the frosting back and forth to coat the entire layer
*Once all the frosting is poured you can quickly use a knife to spread it around slightly; this frosting will set up quickly
*Allow the frosting to set up for at least an hour before cutting; I recommend 6-8 hours before cutting if you can wait that long!
*It is best to use a long sharp knife to cut these into bars, making sure to wipe the knife between cuts to keep the bars looking pretty