Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:
Just because it’s not camping season doesn’t mean that we should be bereft of s’mores. By taking the trinity of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows and adapting them to meet the requirements of home ovens, it’s possible to make a dessert that may be even better than a fireside s’more. It all starts with a pan of chocolate chunk brownies and a jar of graham cracker butter (or cookie butter, if your dad doesn’t give you amazing culinary finds for your birthday).
Once you have a pan of delicious brownies—my favorite is this precisely engineered recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that turns out fudgy, chewy brownies every time—cover them with a layer of graham cracker butter (or cookie butter).
Spread the graham cracker butter everywhere on the brownies to allow the s’mores flavor to permeate every bite. The ratios of graham to chocolate may be inverted compared to traditional s’mores, but I believe that no matter what, more chocolate is always a good decision. Rather than a dusty bit of a stale graham cracker, sink your teeth into a rich brownie with a hint of graham flavor, and you’ll never go back to regular s’mores.
Then, a quick egg-white meringue gets whipped up and spread onto the brownies as the third and final layer.
After a few minutes in an extremely hot oven, the brownies are topped with a golden-brown, chewy toasted marshmallow layer than yields to creamy graham crackers and the best brownie you’ll ever eat. It may not be barbeque season, but that shouldn’t stop you from having the best s’more of your life in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Brownies adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Marshmallow topping adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Makes a 13 x 9 pan of brownies, which will serve either a handful of teenagers or 3-4 dozen typical eaters
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon table salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks
½ cup graham cracker butter (substitute cookie butter if needed)
2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- For the Brownies: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 13 x 9 pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Place the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a large bowl and whisk in the boiling water until smooth. Add the bittersweet chocolate and whisk to melt. Whisk in the sugar until combined, then the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the butter and oil until smooth, and then fold in the flour and salt until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let cool completely before continuing.
- For the Graham Cracker Layer: Melt the graham cracker butter until spreadable, the smooth into a layer on top of the cooled brownies.
- For the Marshmallow Layer: Preheat the oven to 550F and place the rack in the top position. Whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of a staring mixer, then place over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continuously until foamy and the temperature measures 150F. Transfer to the mixer fitted to the whisk attachment and beat on medium high until stiff and glossy, 4-7 minutes. Spread on top of the brownies and swirl the surface to create some peaks. Place in the hot oven and bake for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pan, slice, and serve.