Is there anything that represents childhood more than S’Mores? They always bring back sweet memories of summer evening barbecues, girl or boy scout cookouts, fires at the beach, and casual dinner parties. These S’Mores Bars always seem to have an essence of wood smoke – memories can be powerful.
When I was first diagnosed with gluten-intolerance, one thing that surprised me when I discovered it contained gluten was graham crackers. There went cheesecakes, S’Mores, and bar cookies among other sweets. What could I used instead of graham crackers?
It dawned on me one day that almond meal and hazelnut meal were somewhat similar in texture to the crumbs we are used to eating. And since I don’t have a nut allergy, they weren’t off limits.
Adding sugar and melted butter as called for in a cheesecake recipe yielded a beautiful crust. A little delicate and crumbly, but with the most beautiful nutty flavor – it is less sweet with savory notes. The Artist now prefers it to a traditional crust!
For today’s recipe I used the same basic concept, using hazelnut meal to make the dough for two of the layers. It perfectly complements the chocolate and melted marshmallows. Not quite the same flavor combo we think of when we hear “s’mores”, but a delicious, less sweet version that just happens to be gluten-free.
Though not called for in the original recipe, I used a parchment sling to help me lift the bars out of the baking dish (you can see it in the collage above). Boy am I glad I did! The marshmallows melted into a lovely but very sticky sugar coating that adheres to everything. Next time I will probably use a double layer of parchment, one in each direction to get full coverage and make it that much easier to lift out of the pan.
If you love the idea of classic campfire treats but don’t want the hassle of making them over a fire, these S’Mores Bars are the perfect solution. Rich, satisfying, and so chocolatey – they are truly a dream dessert!
Happy Chocolate Monday!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Using a parchment sling (or two) is the easiest way to keep the cookie bars from sticking and easily lifting them out of the pan. Leave the paper long on two ends to create “handles”. Parchment is oven-safe, so you don’t have to worry about it burning.
If the bars are too sticky to easily cut and serve, warm for about 15 seconds in the microwave. It will soften them and remelt the marshmallows, making serving a lot easier.
Use a gluten-free flour blend, because you’ll need the combination of flours and starches to hold the batter together. Adding 1/4 tsp xanthan gum or if you have trouble with gums, use 1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder to the dry ingredients, helping the dough hold together even more.
- 1⁄2 cup (1 stick, 113g) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) Golden Syrup or Light Karo syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 1-1⁄3 cups (160 g) gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (170 g) hazelnut meal or almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum or 1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder (only if you are a using gluten-free flour blend)
- 1 cup (170g) semisweet chocolate chips
- About 3 cups (130g) miniature marshmallows, or as needed
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan and line it with a sheet of parchment that extends beyond the edges to make a sling.
- Make the Dough: In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the Golden Syrup, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and fully blended.
- In another bowl whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, mixing until blended.
- Prepare the Bars: Divide the dough into thirds. Press two of the pieces of dough into the prepared pan to make a base crust. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the crust, then scatter the marshmallows over the chocolate, covering them completely but try to keep them slightly away from the edges so they don't melt onto the pan. Use two spoons and scoop small dollops of the remaining dough over the marshmallows, forming a lumpy cobbler-like to layer. Return the pan to the oven.
- Finish the Bars: Bake 10 to 20 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer pan to a wire rack. While still a little warm, run a knife around the edges to release the sticky bar cookies. Cool completely. Use the parchment sling to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into squares and serve.
- If the bars are too sticky to easily cut and serve, warm for about 15 seconds in the microwave. It will soften them and remelt the marshmallows, making serving a lot easier.
- Yield: about 9 bars
Create a New Tradition Today!
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