Sometimes two is better than one, and that is definitely the case with this recipe. Two childhood favorites, S’mores and Brownies are combined into a delightful new interpretation of the classics. When I was a girl I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. We had a lot of fun doing crafts, learning songs, earning our merit badges, and of course camping out. We spent many cool evenings sitting around the campfire, singing songs, telling ghost stories, and roasting marshmallows. I can smell the wood smoke and taste the hot, gooey marshmallows, inevitably slightly charred because of my lack of attention. And someone always brought the makings for S’mores.An American custom, the name means “I want some more” because they are that good! Graham crackers surround chocolate and melted marshmallows for a sticky, sweet, satisfying camping treat.
I still like S’mores, but I’m grown up and seldom sit around a campfire anymore. Occasionally I’ll treat myself to some melted marshmallows after I finish grilling our dinner, but I wanted an easier way to get my treat, where I don’t have to have a hot BBQ or be around a campfire! I found a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that combined brownies with a graham cracker crust with marshmallows melted on top. I used my own Classic Fudgy Brownie recipe and topped it with marshmallow cream, coconut, and pecans. I wound up with one of the most decadent desserts, definitely something that will satisfy every chocoholic you know! If you don’t like coconut, feel free to leave it out, but I like the chewiness and flavor it adds.
Because you will be baking the crust first by itself and then again once you add the brownie batter, make sure the oven rack is in the middle otherwise the crust may burn. If it gets too brown before the brownies are done (you’ll smell it unless you use a glass baking dish where you can see the bottom), remove it from the oven and place on a baking sheet. Return to the oven to finish baking. Serve the squares on their own or with a scoop of ice cream. Melt some additional chocolate and drizzle it over both. Garnish with a sprig of mint and your guests will be telling everyone they know that you should open your own restaurant!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you are using a food processor to make the graham cracker crumbs, pour them through a sieve to remove any large pieces. Return the larger pieces to the food processor to pulverize.
Melting chocolate can be a delicate process. There are two preferred methods, in a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave. I personally feel that you have more control when you melt it over simmering water, but there are many who swear by using the microwave. Because the microwave heats from the inside out, a block of chocolate can appear solid but is actually molten in the center. Be careful in either case not to scorch the chocolate or you will have a bitterness in the final product.
- Graham Cracker Crust
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 6 whole graham crackers)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- Brownie Layer
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
- 8 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped, like Valrhona or Guittard
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted
- 1 cup chopped, toasted nuts, preferably walnuts or pecans (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 jar marshmallow cream, warmed in the jar or a pan
- 2 cups shaved coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper, leaving it longer on two sides to create “handles” and coat with cooking spray.
- In a food processor or stand mixer, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter until evenly moistened. Firmly pat crumbs into prepared pan and bake until firm and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- Increase oven to 375°F.
- While crust is baking, in a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water (make sure water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl), melt butter and chocolate together. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly mix in the flour and blend until smooth. Do not over beat. Scrape the bowl and beaters. Pour brownie batter over graham cracker crust and smooth with a spatula until evenly covering crust. Bake about 20 minutes or until the batter begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will have moist crumbs clinging to it (don’t sink toothpick into crumb crust).
- Remove pan from oven and turn oven to broil. Spread warmed marshmallow cream over top of brownies with an offset spatula (heat spatula with hot water first to make it easier.) Return pan to oven and broil until marshmallow is lightly browned, 1 to 3 minutes. (Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.) Immediately remove pan from oven. Sprinkle with coconut and chopped nuts. Cool brownies on a wire rack to room temperature before cutting.
- Using foil “handles” remove brownies from pan. When cutting brownies, dip knife in very hot water and wipe dry between each slice. Cut into 16 squares.
- Yield: 16 Brownies