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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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Super Easy No Bake Eclair Cake = Childhood Memories!



I’m sure you have a dessert that is SO reminiscent of being a kid. Maybe it’s dirt, or puppy chow (muddy buddies…or whatever else you called it!), even certain store bought cookies bring me back to being a kid. My mom use to always let us get a box of those little circus animal cookies that had a little handle on them. Gosh, I love those :0) This dessert is definitely on my list of reminiscent recipes and it couldn’t be easier. My mom has it in one of her old church cookbooks, but when I had to throw a dessert together really quick this came to mind and I decided to see if I could find it online. Allrecipes.com came through for me. The picture above is from their site, which I borrowed, because I totally forgot to take the epic “slice” picture. I don’t mind borrowing

The recipe will not break you bank and will feed a lot of people since you’re doing it in a 13×9 inch pan. The ingredients include graham crackers, milk, vanilla pudding (I bought a bigger box since I couldn’t get the size the recipe called for. I just eyeballed it and baggied up the rest of of it), cool whip and lots of chocolate frosting. I almost went for a small container but I’m very glad I decided not to. Doing it in a bigger pan will mean more frosting for the top so don’t be afraid to get more then one container. I’m pretty sure you can find something to do with the extra :o) Especially if you have extra graham crackers.

Get our your trusty hand mixer and mix your container of cool whip,jello mix and milk. It will take a bit to get it it to the right consistency but it should end up with a consistency more like whipped cream and less like pudding. You’ll want to make sure it’s thick enough to be spreadable onto your graham crackers. It should not be runny.
The next part it to start your layers. There are a total of five layers to this cake. Layer 1 will be graham crackers (you’ll have to break a few in half to fit the pan), layer 2 will be the pudding mixture, then layer 3 and 4 will repeat 1 and two and then your last layer will be the chocolate frosting. I recommend that you put your frosting container in the microwave to soften it up a bit since it’s going to be easier to spread.

You’ll find that you only used a package and a half of graham crackers and that your fingers are helpful tools to get this job done :) Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before hand. It is a very easy an super fast to put together. No baking necessary. Give it a try and let me know how yours turns out. You’ll find the recipe below. Happy cooking friends!

Eclair Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) package graham cracker squares
  • 1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk.
  2. Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.
  3. Spread the frosting over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan. Cover, and chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Footnotes

FOOTNOTE

  • The frosting will be easier to spread if the cake is covered and chilled for about 30 minutes before spreading.