Sunday, August 18, 2013

S'mores Bars

I don't bake.  No, seriously.  Baking and I broke up long ago and it was just too painful to even try to be friends.  If I'm being honest here, putting something in the oven relinquishes too much control of the process for me.  Come on, I'm a Kindergarten teacher, and you thought I didn't know I have a few small control issues?  Wrong.  Anyway, as I just mentioned, I'm a teacher and last year I had a parent of a child in my class who was an amazing baker.  She made us these S'mores bars for the winter holidays, and then, because of the way we all raved over them, again at the end of the school year.

After the first time eating them, I insisted on her sharing the recipe.  Again, if I'm telling the whole truth, I asked for it so that I could get one of my "baking inclined" friends (I'm looking at you, Christine!) to make them for me.  So, after 6 months of waiting for them to magically appear before me, I got tired of waiting. (I'm really only patient with children...) It was time to make things happen for myself.  

My friend, Allie was having a big BBQ and I decided this was my chance.  I had plenty of time to figure something else out if they didn't work, so I went for it!  

Let me tell you how good it feels when you sit at a party and hear person after person walk by with just a bite of something you made left saying, "Oh, man, these are SO GOOD!  Who made them?"  I was proud.  I also felt a little protective of the recipe.  So much so, in fact, that I almost didn't share it here.  And also, remember, it's not even my recipe!  I got it from a parent who got it from somewhere else.  But trust me.  Make these.  They are worth it. 

Spicy Smoky S'mores Bars
Recipe courtesy Anne Thornton
Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
2 hr 0 min
Cook Time:
20 min
24 servings

     2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pan
     18 plain graham crackers (about 2 packages)
     1/4 cup sugar
     1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
     3 cups milk chocolate chips
     1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder, optional
     3 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. These are going to serve as your handles to remove the bars from the pan in 1 piece, so make sure that there is enough of the overhang for you to have a solid grip. Grease the foil well with the softened butter.
In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal (you need 2 cups). 

In a large bowl, combine your crumbs with the sugar, sea salt and melted butter. The mixture should look and feel like wet sand. Set aside a heaping 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Pop your crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown and your kitchen smells of graham crackers, 12 to 15 minutes. 

Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack or on a dishtowel on your counter.

Melt the milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. Do not turn up the heat to hurry this process, you must keep it on low. Alternately, you can microwave the chocolate on low power, stirring after 2 minutes. Once the chocolate is fully melted, it's time to add the chipotle pepper powder, if using, and stir it in completely.  I didn't use it because I was taking these to a party, but next time I will totally try it!

Preheat the broiler.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust with a butter knife. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate and press them lightly into the chocolate. 


Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows. 

Broil the bars 6 inches from the flame until the marshmallows are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is hard, 2 hours or so. Grab the ends of the foil liner and lift the bars out of the pan in 1 piece. Move to a cutting board and cut into 24 squares.  

I would normally be the first person to tell you that 24 tiny bars is too many and that you should make the squares bigger.  In this case, the dessert is so sweet and buttery, that you really only need one small one (at a time, anyway!)  

So, I've given away my only secret baked dessert weapon (so far), and I hope that you go on to make them, share them, and swoon over them the way that I do.  Trust me, if I can bake them, anyone can!  Let me know how they go for you!


  1. Bring these too school sometime!!
    :) Beth

  2. Jill has been requesting them, too! Maybe over a weekend I'll make them sometime. You have the parent this year who made these originally, so if I don't get to it, you could give Jen F. a nudge :)