I was asked to bring a dessert to Thanksgiving this year, and since I was informed that there would already be two varieties of pie attending the party, I opted against adding to the pie pile. I briefly considered making the pumpkin bread pudding that I made for last year’s Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s a very long process, and one of the aforementioned pies was of the pumpkin variety, so it seemed wrong to overpumpkin everyone with a second gourd-based dessert.
My final dessert choice? Smores bars. My coworker brought these in a few months ago, and they were so good that they disappeared almost immediately. She gave me the recipe and I hadn’t had a chance to make them yet, so this was the perfect occasion.
Karen’s Smores Bars
2 packets of graham crackers*
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt (If you are using salted butter, skip the extra salt)
3 cups milk chocolate chips
miniature marshmallows (I used half the 10.5 oz bag)
* The graham crackers I bought were in a 14.4 oz box and inside they were split into 3 small packets, so I used 2 of those. It added up to 36 squares, but this is a flexible enough recipe that there's probably a margin of error built in. If your crust isn't holding together, add more butter, and if it's too gooey, add more crackers.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with a layer of foil. If you don’t do this, you’ll have a hell of a time trying to cut the bars later.
Melt your butter in the microwave. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor (break them up a little by hand first, or the processor might choke) with the sugar and salt, then stir them into the bowl of melted butter. Press this gently into the foil-lined pan to make an even crust. Bake it at 350F for about 10 minutes, and let it cool. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double-boiler (or in a microwave, if you’re impatient, but be careful not to scorch the chocolate), so you can pour the chocolate over the graham crust. Sprinkle a layer of mini marshmallows over the chocolate, then put it under the broiler for a minute or two so the marshmallows start to swell up and brown just the slightest bit. Be very careful and watch the pan during this step – it’s a very fine line between golden-crusted marshmallows and charred ones.
Put the whole thing into the fridge to chill completely, then when you’re ready to cut it into bars, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. The colder it is, the harder it is to get through the chocolate layer. Lift the bars out, using the foil, then use a big knife to cut them into small squares – I didn’t let mine warm up for long, so it was hard to cut. If you’re cutting them cold, be careful and remember you’re working with hard chocolate: lay the knife across the top and rock it back and forth with a little pressure until you get fractures in the bars and pieces snap off, instead of really trying to “cut” them.
The graham layer is crumbly and the marshmallows are sticky and the chocolate gets all over your fingers, but damn, this stuff is good.