You know how some people use Memorial Day and Labor Day to delineate time? As in: “We bought our house around Memorial Day” or “We’re spending the summer in Cape Cod and we come back around Labor Day”? I always nod and smile when people do that but truthfully, I never remember when Memorial Day or Labor Day fall. July 4th, however, is different. It’s a holiday with its date built right into the title. And, having just glanced at the calendar, I’m fairly certain this weekend is July 4th weekend and, therefore, you’re going to have a picnic and you’re going to want something to bring to it. Well I have the answer: S’more bars.
The recipe comes from the Baked Cookbook by my friends Matt & Renato and they’ve got everything you love about a S’more–chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows–plus salted peanuts in a handy little bar.
Making them is surprisingly simple. You make a graham cracker base which you pre-bake in the oven; then you make a chocolate ganache filling (half milk chocolate, half dark chocolate) to which you add marshmallows and salted peanuts. You pour the filling on to the graham cracker base and refrigerate. And you’re done!
I was nervous that bringing these to my Memorial Day (or was it Labor Day?) picnic they would melt. But as you can see they held up really well (we kept them in a cooler):
And did I mention that everyone loved them? Who wouldn’t. When Memorial Day rolls around again in September, you know what I’ll be bringing.
by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Yield: 24 bars
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 17 – 20 crackers) [I made these by smashing them in a freezer bag with a rolling pin, but a food processor is probably smarter]
1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 1/12 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
7 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
10 marshmallows, cut into quarters
1/2 cup lightly salted whole peanuts
1/2 cup chopped lightly salted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add the butter. Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it out into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a perfectly even crust.
Bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
In a large heatproof bowl, toss the chocolates together. Drizzle the corn syrup over the chocolate and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate mixture. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes.
Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture in a circle until completely smooth.
[Note: I did encounter some problems here---the chocolate didn't melt completely. So, perhaps stupidly, I put the metal bowl directly on a low flame and continued to whisk until the chocolate melted. That worked, though it was a very risky move. I'd just make sure your cream is really hot when you do it.]
Fold in the marshmallows and the whole peanuts.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the top with the chopped peanuts.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until set.
Cut into squares and serve. The bars will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.
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