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Summer S’mores Cookie Bars



Don’t judge…I know my last post was preaching about how I’m doing low-calorie dieting and cooking. However, I was asked to bring a dessert to a wedding reception bbq for a couple in my life group and the bride mentioned s’mores as an idea.  So, I decided to hunt around for a recipe for a s’mores type dessert since that seemed very summer picnic friendly. I got lucky when I pulled up Pinterest (my go-to for recipes)  and a few friends had recently re-pinned just those sorts of recipes.

The recipe I decided on is from a blog titled “Lovin’ From the Oven“. She gives this recipe in her 12 days of cookies series during the Christmas season. Not sure if she created these or borrowed the recipe, but wanted to give her credit since it is where I’m pulling the recipe.

Kim says on her blog that if you throw these in the microwave before demolishing, they go up a few notches in amazingness (I’m paraphrasing). I tried this and…yes….it is extremely delicious. Please do that!

These are pretty simple so I don’t have a lot of pointers. I will just let you enjoy my improving photography skills (they are getting clearer!)  and give a few notes and recommendations along the way.

The recipe from Kim’s blog calls for you to use a square pan but I decided to use a 11.5 x 8 pan and double the recipe. The bars are fairly rich and messy so if you did the square pan, you could make smaller bars and it would still be a tasty, generous, and less messy bite.

A few ingredient related notes:

*Later in the recipe you will need to crumble up your graham crackers so if you don’t have a food process, improvise :O) I was thinking a hammer or a chopper would do nicely if I didn’t have the food processor.

*I found a few recipes that wanted you to use marshmallows so if you don’t like using the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream or have marshmallows you want to get rid of, there are recipes out there for bars like these that may work better for you. Personally, I hate marshmallow fluff, but this recipe looked the best to me so I went and bought it. I only used part of one container so that is the one ingredient that I chose not to double in the recipe.

*I would recommend buying the really big chocolate bars and getting 3 or four of them if you are choosing to do a larger pan. You’ll see in my pictures later on that I had to space out my chocolate  to cover the pan. The recipe says to just lay the chocolate bars in the pan, which was not exactly what I did even though I did technically double the ounces from the original recipe. Feel free to learn from my mistakes on this one because you can never have enough chocolate.

I didn’t want to wait for my butter to get room temperature so I put my butter in the window and direct sunlight to soften it up a bit. Glamorous I know, but I hate microwaving butter because I always overdo it. This worked well and it was ready to go in about an hour.

The butter will go into your large bowl along with your brown sugar and granulated sugar. You will be adding your dry ingredients into this bowl so make sure you have a good sized mixing bowl for this part.

I used a full package of graham crackers then an additional 3 board from the next package to get my full amount. This is an essential part in the s’mores so you’ll want to make sure you have enough so it really has that graham cracker taste. 

Taking your crushed graham crackers,  add them to your other dry ingredients. This combination will be added to your butter sugar mixture after you combine the eggs in to start your dough.

The dough ends up being very similar to a normal cookie dough, but a little rougher because of the graham crackers. After most of it was mixed with the hand mixer, I turned it off and used my hands to get the last of the flour mixture into the rest of the dough.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands in there and finish it up so you end up with the smoother dough. You will be separating your dough into two parts so I used my spatula to do the deed since it was sharper then my hand. One half will be  for the bottom layer and the other for the top layer.

After you split the dough, take half and press it into your greased pan. I tried to get it as thin as possible, which was good in the end. I made the top layer too thick, but the bottom layer held together really well. Your next layer is chocolate which, ideally, you will be able to just lay down as full bars. I needed one more chocolate bar to be able to do that, so instead I broke mine down to fill the pan. I bough two of  a size larger then the King Size but three would have been just enough. So, if you can only find king size, buy four or five just to be safe. I don’t think you’ll have a hard time figuring out what to do with any extra chocolate…marshmallow fluff on the other hand…ugh. I’m not sure what to do with all the extra I have. On that note…

…my next mistake involved the marshmallow fluff. I didn’t even think about sticky-proofing my spatula for the next layer until I had glopped on my first dollop of the fluff. Which is why you see the picture of my very messy spatula and some cooking spray. I just sprayed it over the mess and used it on round 2 which went on much smoother. Some bummers about the marshmallow and cooking with it is that it doesn’t change form. Chocolate will soften in the oven and then harden as it sets…marshmallow… is what it is. I’m really glad I went lighter on the fluff because the finished bars had marshmallow oozing out of them even after they had set. Maybe using actual marshmallows would have been better. Hard to say, but if I make them again, I may choose to do a layer of actually mini marshmallows instead. I would love to hear if you’ve done that and how it went.

For your final layer, the recipe suggests that you piece together the top. I like the idea because it’s much easier then trying to do anything else. What I don’t like about it is how brittle the top is after it is baked and you’ve cut them into bars. They don’t hold together as well as I would have hoped for and I’m thinking the piecing together may have been the reason. I wonder if you were to use a rolling pin to roll out your last round of dough into a square shape how that would do on top??? I’m willing to try it next time and see if it’s just a dainty cookie or if the piecing on the top layer made the difference. Let me know how it goes if you make it and roll our the dough. Either way, it made for a cool series of photos.

It’s time to put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. 35 worked great for me and everything was nice and brown. I don’t think I was expecting to love the way the kitchen smelled while these were in the oven, but the first time I check on them, my room mate and I both took a big whiff and went “Wow, those smell good!” Not like a traditional cookie smell but almost more gourmet then usual. I’m sure I’m over-exaggerating a bit but I really don’t mind you trying this recipe out and seeing for yourself what I mean :O)

Here’s the finished product before slicing. It honestly looks more like corn bread then a cookie bar so that was disappointing. I wish the chocolate was peeking through a little on the side. However, if you double up your chocolate bars like I failed to do, you’ll be able to get that yummy side profile I was hoping for and thus the ooos and ahhs from your spectators. Very important as we all know.

And the money shot! Don’t these look awesome?! I’m happy to say they were a crowd please and even more happy to say that despite all my mess ups, they were easy to do. Take my few recommendations and you’ll do it awesome the first time. These are still pretty great so even if you do mess up, be encouraged that they won’t taste horrible.

Now for those of you counting calories, I can’t offer you much hope. I did a little research on other sites for similar recipes and ended up on about 210 calories for a bar. Not the 100 calorie desserts you can find at the store, so it’s got to be worth it to you. I think they are worth the splurge, but be encouraged that you can share a bar with a dieting buddy….or four…. and only loose 50-100 calories to this dessert. Smile! A bite size is better then none at all…I’m starting to learn.

As of this post I’ve lost 5lbs and as good as these are, I’m happy to say that the motivation to keep strong with my daily calorie goal was stronger then eating 4 of these! God is good :) It was fun to share these with others and watch them enjoy them. Brings just as much satisfaction.

Happy cooking and baking all. And as always, I would love to hear your reviews and comments!

S’MORES COOKIE BAR RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.
  3. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes 16 cookie bars.

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Cookie Lee Party!


I’m writing with a little sadness in my heart because as much fun as my party was yesterday, I have no pictures to prove just how amazingly lovely my table turned out. All that planning…pshhh…out the window…

No worries…I’ll just have to use some amazing writing to paint a picture for you….

The Menu

  • Fruit Pizza Bar
  • Veggie Pizza
  • Chocolate Fondue
  • Miscellaneous little bites

The Decor

Went for a valentines theme courtesy of the 99 Cents store. Red/White/Pink/Purple/Orange. Had a red table cloth with a few purchased sturdy plastic placemats for the three main dishes…bought a little plastic bucket for the plates, napkins, cups and silverware…had pink and red paper cups…white plastic bowls from the miscellaneous nibblies…it was great.

The Party Purpose

I’m a Cookie Lee consultant and I decided to have a clearance sale for all my Cookie Lee jewelry I’ve had in my trays for awhile. Everything was 50% off which meant a lot of purchases were made! Here’s my personal pitch…if you would like to check out the NEW Cookie Lee catalog that came out, check out my website: http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/jessicaabsher. If you decide to make a purchase and tell me that you found the link here on my blog, I’ll give you 25% off any item in the catalog! You have to look pretty when you cook right?!? Sorry guys…you can purchase something for the beautiful cooks in your life!

The Menu Inspiration

I sort of based my spread off the Fruit Pizza Bar seen below. I found this on Pinterest and thought it had to be one of the most clever and cheap ideas I had seen in awhile. I bit labor intensive if you decide to make your own sugar cookies (which I did) but still very cheap and pretty no matter how you do it.

My bestest friend Jamie came over to help me get things put together and it’s a good thing she did since we had a pink lemonade emergency clean-up process that required all-hands-on-deck. I learned that if you place your pretty glass beverage dispenser with a spigot in the refrigerator with the spigot facing out, your door may actually help you open it up when you go to close it. Which means sticky pink lemonade all over your poor clean refrigerator…and the floor. The sad part of this story is that the incident was a “fool me once” scenario..mean I was the genius that earned and “shame on me” when I put the dispenser back in the fridge, forgetting to turn it so this didn’t happen again. Needless to say Jamie and a friend Brittany kept me from completely unraveling as they helped me mop it up. Our shoes and feet were sticking to the floor with the lovely accompanied noise, but we go everything ready to go on time.

Back to the menu…the fruit pizza was one of the stars but the others were the chocolate fondue and veggie pizza. You’ve all probably had a veggie pizza like this one from Pillsbury.  The crust is a cylinder of crescent roll dough, the spread is cream cheese, sour cream, dill, and garlic powder, and the toppings are your choice of chopped veggies. This recipe is one that my grandmother use to make all the time when we were younger, but we just recently added it to our appetizer archive and it is one we make a lot for get togethers with family.

The last thing I made was a chocolate fondue. When looking for a recipe I was hunting for something simple that didn’t involve a lot of ingredients. I found a recipe that called for 3 ingredients: chocolate, heavy cream, and brandy (Cognac and liqueur are also mentioned as options). I had a pack of chocolate chips that I used and bought a very small thing of heavy cream which gave me a cup of cream. The recipe says to just use 8 oz of chocolate and 3/4 cups of cream, but I decided to just the full 12 oz package of chocolate and 1 cup of cream so I didn’t have to measure and it turned out just fine…wasn’t too thick…. so I recommend doing the same for the ease of it. You finish it off with a tablespoon of brandy and stir it in before transferring it to your bowl or fondue pot. My dippers were pretzels, strawberries, marshmallows, nilla wafers and tangerines. It was a big hit and couldn’t have been an easier dessert.

These were my easy three table items, but then I decided to add a few extra things for a fun touch. I had chocolate covered toffee pieces and yogurt covered raisins that I got from Fresh and Easy that I placed in martini glasses and also made some candied almonds and pecans because I had them on hand and figured why not! I don’t know if you’ve had those warm nuts sold in touristy destinations or bakeries that they serve in a cone that you open up and can’t help but demolish in less then 5 min! I wanted to make those! I found this recipe and thought it would be  a fun addition to the table..which is true…they were! I would encourage you to try this with your favorite nut since it’s easy and would likely work the same not matter which one you did. A TIP:  I had to keep mine in longer because they were to sticky after the time they gave in the recipe. I read a review on the website that they left them in for 45 min until they had the crunch they were looking for. So keep that in mind, but if you’re like me and worried about burning or over cooking them keep an eye on them.

So that was my menu and it kills me that I didn’t take any pictures to share, but these ones are better then any I would shoot with my phone camera. A special thanks to Jamie for bringing some chips and yummy dip to add to the table. It was an awesome addition to cut the sweets!

Hope you give me your thoughts and feedback on these recipes or other like them…what do you do for parties that is easy and quick that you can share with me?!

Updates: I bought a new camera!! It’s on it’s way…stuck in NJ last I saw….but there are hopefully going to be much prettier pictures coming soon. Can’t wait to use it on new recipes.

P.S. I made my first pizza on my stone with smoked mozzarella…yum. Didn’t take pictures but would like to practice the dough a few more times since I botched up my first batch…more to share about that later…but I’ll use my new camera to document that process next time. Also, I’ve asked my older sister, Elizabeth, to be a guest writer on here so hopefully she’ll share some of her fun recipes with you all soon.

Happy cooking all!