I love s’mores. I was thinking about a time recently when we were at a retreat and on Saturday night, we had a fire and roasted s’mores outside. I wanted to make a version at home to enjoy, even without a campfire. I had also received Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey for Christmas and had yet to make anything from it (except for the Cheesecake Pops, which I made in April 2008 for Daring Bakers before I had my own copy of the book). As I looked through the book, I knew that I just had to make these.
These started with a basic graham cracker crust and were filled with the most delicious rich chocolate mixture. The addition of Kahlua was what made them “grown up.” The Kahlua flavor was definitely prominent, which brought no complaints from me, because chocolate and coffee is one of my favorite combinations. It was very soft after I mixed it all up, and I felt unsure about how the texture would be after refrigerating it (I didn’t think it would be firm enough), but there was no reason to worry. It firmed up exactly how I hoped it would. I unfortunately did not get a picture of a bar with the meringue topping, but I can assure you that it was fabulous! I just love meringue, and this version made with marshmallow fluff was so fun, and still kept these slightly kid-like :) When I served these, there was someone who had never really had meringue, but thought it was the best thing ever, and said that for her birthday, she wanted a big bowl of meringue instead of a cake! These were a big hit overall, and such a great version of the classic s’more!
All-Grown-Up S’mores Bars
For the graham cracker crust:
3 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the chocolate filling:
8 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons white crème de cacao (I omitted this)
2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
For the Marshmallow Fluff meringue:
3 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch metal baking pan (I used a glass Pyrex dish). Bake the crust until it starts to brown and become crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl until they are thick and the color of butter. Beat in the cognac, crème de cacao, Kahlua, vanilla, and salt.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly, then gradually beat into the egg mixture.
Fold the softly beaten heavy cream into the chocolate mixture just until combined. Spoon the chocolate cream over the graham cracker crust, smoothing it evenly with a spatula. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to serve, make the meringue: Using an electric mixer set at low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the vanilla. Add the Marshmallow Fluff to the egg whites a little at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.
Carefully cut the s’mores into 15 large squares. Place each s’more on a dessert plate. Top each with ½ cup of the meringue in a large dollop. Use a small kitchen torch to carefully burnish the meringue until topped with golden brown Serve immediately.
Source: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor