Please sir may I have S’more Bars?

What is the quintessential summer food for you? Watermelon wedges? ice cream cones? BBQ grilled corn?

Well for me it’s s’mores.

Rich melted chocolate with fluffy, ooey-gooey marshmallows sandwiched between two squares of crunchy, slightly sweet graham crackers. I never made my first s’more by a bonfire until I was in college, and now it always brings back memories of carefree, warm summer nights by the Pacific Ocean. IMG_2165I wanted to bring dessert to a casual potluck/board game night and I thought this S’more Bar recipe from Averie Cooks would be perfect: transportable, sweet and simple, and doesn’t take itself too seriously!

You will need:

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • handmixer or standmixer
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • foil and cooking spray or parchment paper
  • 8 x 8 inch square pan
  • 1 stick or 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packed cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 full sheets of graham crackers, chopped (makes about 2 cups)
  • 1 full cup of mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

IMG_2143Start by pre-heating the oven to 350°F. I love that this is one of those throw-everything-in-1-bowl recipes, by the time the oven is done pre-heating, your batter will be ready to bake.

Best part: you don’t even need to soften the butter (which I always forget to do!).

Cut up the stick of butter into 4-5 slices and microwave in a small bowl for about 1-2 minutes. Pour into your mixing bowl and add in 1 cup of light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Make sure the butter mixture is still not too hot, because you don’t want it to cook your egg.

Add in the egg and beat until well blended. IMG_2145Add in 3/4 cup of flour gradually and mix until smooth. The batter smells heavenly like caramel! IMG_2146Chopping up the graham crackers was not as bad as I expected. I thought cracker bits would be flying all over the kitchen.IMG_2147I left the crackers in fairly large chunks and saved the crumbs and added it into the batter. Now pour in 1 big cup of marshmallows + 1 big cup of chocolate chips. IMG_2149YYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSS.IMG_2151Fold gently until all the ingredients are well mixed and spread evenly on to a 8×8 in. pan lined with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up. IMG_2152It’s ready to go into the oven! The original recipe said “20-22 minutes or until bars have firmed up in the center and edges have set”. All ovens are different and you may have to use some visual judgement on this. For my oven it was not thoroughly baked until 26-29 minutes and the edges had just started to firm up. IMG_2154Let it cool for about 30 minutes. To make it easier to cut into squares, about 15 minutes in, place it in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.

OR…serve it warm with vanilla ice cream – crazy idea…. I think so! IMG_2156Cut it up into bars for serving. IMG_2160The chunks of crunchy graham cracker, pillowy marshmallows and creamy chocolate give these bars great texture and taste. IMG_2158They will satisfy any sugar junky’s sweet tooth! IMG_2166These bars will make you understand why they are called “S’mores”! IMG_2161Oliver Twist wasn’t talking about gruel when he asked for more….he was taking about these S’more Bars!

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Soon I will have to change my blog introduction to “Welcome to my (tiny) slightly larger kitchen! I am a social worker graduate student who works, lives, and plays studies in the amazing city of San Francisco Seattle!…”

Yes it’s true I’ve been busy preparing for a big out-of-state move and one of my biggest challenges will be to use up all the food and ingredients I have in the kitchen! I decided to make Jam Thumbprint cookies to bring to work.

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But I will confess- I had ulterior motives:  I needed to get rid of the jars of fruit jams/preserves in my fridge! 

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I don’t usually care for “regular” jams like Smuckers strawberry, but I have collected some pretty unique flavors: Lingonberry (with IKEA’s meatballs-SO good.)preserves, Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, Hawaiian Sun Pineapple Jam (gift from HI), and locally-made Blue Chair Strawberry-Blood Orange Jam with Rosemary (so good with fancy cheese).

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The cookie base is your standard butter cookie recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup jam of your choice

I excluded the sugar for rolling, because I definitely did not want any more sugar added to it and other versions of this recipe did not call for it.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt together.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer (I’d recommend the stand mixer if you have one unless you have really buff arms and powerful handmixer) whip the softened butter and sugar until it’s fluffy, for about 5 mins. Beat in the egg and vanilla until it’s just combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

I found the dough WAY too sticky and soft to roll, so I placed it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie scooper and place them about 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

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Here’s the fun part:

Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. I used the back of a clean measuring spoon for cleaner and more uniform indentations.

Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam. Be sure not to over fill with jam, it will melt while baking and spill over the cookies and it won’t look neat and pretty.

Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets.

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I made pineapple jam thumbprints, fig butter thumbprints, and strawberry-blood orange jam thumbprints! The butter cookie was rich, soft and not too sweet to balance out the flavors of the jam. Great with a cup of tea!