Whip up a batch of red velvet cake donuts for a special breakfast treat. The light chocolate flavor pairs perfectly with the cream cheese glaze. And don’t forget the sprinkles! Donuts bring great joy to my life. I can’t fully explain why. Maybe it’s the memory of stopping by my small town’s donut shop every…
It’s not summer until you’ve had a s’mores! If you aren’t near a campfire, you can make these easy s’mores bars in under an hour at home.
The other day I was listening to an old podcast about grilling, and the host posed the question, “It’s not summer until I’ve grilled [fill in the blank].”
I’m not a big griller, but I gave a slight variation on that question some thought. “It’s not summer until I’ve [filled in the blank.]”
Swam in a pool. Enjoyed an ice cream cone. Seen a lightening bug (or firefly, if that’s what you call them). Baked zucchini bread. Made a gooey mess of s’mores.
It’s almost the middle of August, and I’m finally five-for-five.
I’m calling these s’mores bars pretty easy instead of just plain easy because at first glance, there are some things that might give a novice baker pause. Namely, the homemade marshmallow topping, but don’t let that intimidate you.
This treat requires some down time to allow each layer to cool, but overall, the crust, filling, and topping together only take about 30 minutes to pull together. Your outcome is a rich and gooey s’mores bar where just a bite or two is enough to satisfy your summertime sweet tooth.
S’mores chocolate filling recipe notes
I beefed up the traditional chocolate filling with almond butter. The nut butter lends just a subtle flavor and helps cut through the sweet, sweet chocolate that is my least favorite part of a traditional s’mores. If we were sitting around a campfire right now, I’d ask for a s’mores without the chocolate. How un-summerlike is that?
If you think a chocolate-less s’mores sounds absolutely nuts, feel free to skip the almond butter and use plain, melted chocolate. Or maybe try peanut butter or cashew butter or a hazelnut spread instead. It’s always your call.
Homemade marshmallow topping recipe notes
One thing you don’t need, but that will make this (and other recipes) so much easier: a digital thermometer.
I went to a blog conference last fall that was sponsored in part by a digital thermometer company, and I was kind of like, “yeah, okay, whatever”. But now, I’m a believer.
Along with my kitchen scale, my digital kitchen thermometer is quite possibly the best kitchen item I’ve bought. It’s helped me with chicken and with cakes and with quick breads and now, with this marshmallow.
Once you realize how easy it is to make a homemade marshmallow topping, you’ll have a go-to recipe for any number of desserts. Transfer this topping to a piping bag and use it to decorate a chocolate tart or key lime pie. Put a dollop over a chocolate mousse or cupcake. Eat it by the spoonful.
You can definitely still make your marshmallow without a thermometer, you’ll just need to rely more on time than on temperature. Make sure the egg whites are warm, the sugar is completely dissolved, and heat for three minutes.
These s’mores bars are as messy to eat as they look. While I ordinarily prefer neat and tidy bakes, this was one mess I was completely on board with. Because it’s not summer until you eat a messy s’mores. Enjoy!
For the crust
- 8 ounces graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces (1 stick) melted butter
For the filling
- 8 ounces chocolate
- ½ cup almond butter
For the topping
- 3 large egg whites
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- In a medium bowl, stir the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Pour the melted butter into the bowl, and stir to coat the crumbs and sugar mixture.
- Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish to form a crust.
- Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the chocolate filling.
- Make the filling by melting the chocolate until smooth. You can use a double boiler (you’ll need one to make the marshmallow topping) or heat the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring between each, until smooth.
- Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the almond butter until fully incorporated.
- Spread this mixture evenly over the crust (it’s okay if the crust is still warm), then set the baking dish aside to cool while you make the marshmallow topping.
- Start by setting up a double boiler. Heat an inch or two of water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- In a bowl that will eventually sit comfortably atop the large saucepan, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Now set the bowl over the simmering saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Heat, whisking constantly, until the eggs reach 120 degrees F. This will only take about two or three minutes. The egg whites will look white, slightly frothy, and thicken just a bit.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer the egg whites mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high speed until peaks that mostly hold their shape form, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds until well-mixed.
- Gently turn the marshmallow out onto the chocolate layer of the s’mores bars. You’ll want the chocolate to be no warmer than room temp when you place the marshmallow on top. Use a small rubber or icing spatula to make swirls (if desired) and cover the tops of the bars.
- If you have a kitchen torch, now is the time to get it out and toast the tops of your marshmallow topping. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, simply brown you marshmallow by placing the baking dish back in the oven and broil for about 1 minute. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t catch!
- Slice into small bars and enjoy. The bars will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Crust notes – If you are crushing whole graham crackers into crumbs, you’ll need just over half of a 14.4 ounce box to yield the amount of crumbs for this recipe.
Topping notes – If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, just make sure the whites are warm and the sugar is dissolved and heat for three minutes.
And if you want a little more marshmallow, you can add an extra egg white and another ¼ cup of sugar. You don’t need to work about adding more cream of tartar, salt, or vanilla.