S’mores Bars II

20150303_144157[1]Back in 2011, I published a recipe for S’mores Bars using Golden Grahams cereal. It’s a no-bake recipe that was very popular. I recently came across this s’mores bars recipe in my binder from about 15 years ago. Like the other one, this recipe uses marshmallows and chocolate — but instead of using the cereal as a shortcut, it has a baked graham cracker crust. You add melted chocolate and marshmallows, then briefly brown them in the oven.

The two recipes end up having the same s’mores taste and are equally scrumptious. I’m not sure I have a favorite, so which one I make will probably depend on how much time I have (baking or no baking?) and what kind of dessert I want — big, crunchy squares in the style of Rice Krispie Treats, or crumbly layer bars with toasted marshmallows. Which one would you pick?

14 graham cracker rectangles, crushed finely
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. semi-sweet chocolate (do not use milk or dark chocolate)
4 heaping cups mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the first four ingredients, then press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan with the back of a spoon. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool.

Heat oven to 450F/230C degrees. Melt the chocolate and spread over the cool crust. Cover with marshmallows. When the oven is ready, place the pan inside and bake until the marshmallows are just browned, about 5 minutes.

Important: Let cool completely — preferably overnight — for the best taste. It’s not easy to wait, but it’s worth it!

Holiday Cornflake Wreaths

20141211_220232[1]These are like Rice Krispie Treats, only with cornflakes. They are a fun dessert to make at Christmastime, and very easy, too. Plus, they have only five ingredients.

Makes about 18

6 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
10 oz. marshmallows
1 tsp. or more green food coloring
Small red cinnamon candies (Red Hots)*

To prepare, butter two or three baking sheets — you will form the wreaths on them later. Put the cornflakes in a large bowl.

In a medium pot over low heat, melt the margarine. Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until completely melted. Add the food coloring, starting with 1 tsp. but adding more as necessary until the mixture is dark green. (The ones in the picture above aren’t as dark as I intended.) Pour the marshmallow mixture over the cornflakes and mix carefully with a spoon until completely coated.

With buttered fingers, take out a small handful of the coated cornflakes (just enough to fill your palm). Put it on the buttered baking sheet and form into a wreath. Put four or five cinnamon candies on the wreath to look like berries.

Refrigerate the wreaths for several hours before serving. Use a spatula carefully to lift them off the baking sheets.

*I found the Red Hots in the baking aisle, next to the bottles of sprinkles — not in the candy aisle.

S’mores Bars

This recipe is from a great blog featured recently on the WordPress site, The Shortlists. One look and I couldn’t resist trying it out myself.

It’s incredibly easy — just a few ingredients, one big, messy mixing bowl, and no baking involved. The taste will evoke memories of those tasty s’mores you may have had around the campfire years ago. It would be a great recipe to make with kids (but as I found out, it’s also pretty great when you’re after a homemade sweet treat in a hurry).

1 box Golden Grahams cereal (9 cups)
3 cups miniature marshmallows (or regular marshmallows chopped up)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 12-oz. package milk chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Grease a 9×13-inch pan. You may want to line the pan with baking paper and grease that for easier cleanup.

Place the Golden Grahams in a large bowl. Measure the marshmallows and keep to one side.

In a large pot, stirring constantly, bring corn syrup, butter, chocolate, and vanilla to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the cereal, scraping the pot with a spatula. Use the spatula to stir the cereal mixture, then mix in the marshmallows until everything is coated. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and press it down evenly with the spatula.

If you want to enjoy it right away, let it sit at room temperature until cool and then scoop out the gooey pieces. For best results, and bars you can slice and serve, place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.