From scratch: No-bake s’mores bars

Ever since I learned how to make a no-bake graham cracker crust, I’ve been going crazy with the possibilities this amazing power wields. Should I try nuts this time? Maybe a fruit layer? How about a cheesecake? The answer came to me when my sister brought home a bag of giant marshmallows.

If you guessed s’mores, you’re right on the nose. It’s a major people-pleaser, which makes sense if you think about how many s’more-flavored desserts exist today. It’s in ice cream, pies, even Oreo has s’more cookies. It’s an oldie-but-goodie effortless dessert, so I had to try it.

EatPlayLog smores bars chocolate graham cracker marshmallow dessert
Seriously, look at these puppies

S’mores are usually associated with camping, campers, and campfires, but luckily, you don’t need to sit around singing friggin’ Kumbaya before making these.

What you need
For the base:
150g crushed graham crackers
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (add up to 5g if the crust is too loose)
90g peanut butter

For the topping:
200g (7oz) dark or bittersweet chocolate
30 large marshmallows

What to do:
1. Combine the crushed graham crackers, butter, and peanut butter really well.

2. Transfer the mixture to an 8×8 pan lined with wax paper. Spread it out, press down on it firmly and smoothen the surface using the back of a spoon. Pop it in the freezer to let it harden for a bit, maybe about 15 minutes.

3. Put the marshmallows in a microwaveable bowl. Make sure the bowl is big enough that the marshmallows won’t spill over when they expand.

4. Nuke the marshmallows in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds, or just until they puff up. At this point, you can pull the crust out of the fridge. You have to get it ready because things are going to move pretty quickly.

5. As soon as you take the bowl out, use a slightly greased spoon to give the now-melted marshmallow goo a fast stir. Then, very quickly transfer it onto the crust and spread it out as best as you can because it will set really fast. If it starts to set before you can get it up to the edges of the tray, dip the spoon into some hot water in between sweeps to keep the marshmallow warm and easy to spread. When you’re done, set the tray aside.

6. Microwave the chocolate on high for thirty seconds to one minute, or until it’s mostly melted (what you don’t want is dried-up chocolate due to overheating). Don’t worry if there are some solid chocolate left; just give it a stir to get everything nice and melted.

7. Use a spatula to get every single drop of the chocolate out and onto the marshmallow. Spread it out as evenly as possible, making sure to cover the entire marshmallow surface and all the corners and edges. Pop the tray back in the freezer and let the dessert set for at least two hours.

8. To serve, just take the tray out of the freezer, pull the treat out using the overhanging wax sheets, and use a knife to cut the dessert into bars. In retrospect, I probably should have waited for the tray to warm up a bit so I could pull the layers out easily. The wax paper got stuck, so I resorted to cutting the bars right in the tray.

EatPlayLog smores bars chocolate graham cracker marshmallow dessert
All cut up and ready to eat

If you noticed, sugar does not make an appearance here, but don’t be tempted to add any. There’s enough sweetness in the marshmallows and chocolate to go around. Also, don’t raise arms with the peanut butter, okay? I know it’s not used in the traditional s’more, but it will help hold the crust together, and it actually a nice complementary flavor to the s’more.

Coincidentally, we actually had a jar of marshmallow fluff when I made this dessert, but I didn’t use it because 1) I needed the marshmallows to set and not be runny even after being out of the freezer for a while (which is also why I didn’t add any water or butter to it), and 2)┬ámy sister would surely kill me if I finish the whole jar for a failed experiment.

Anyway, I’d call my experiment a success. These bars were just fucking good. The marshmallow held, as expected; the chocolate layer crackled nicely in every bite, and the crust had the right amount of crumbliness (had to Google to make sure this was actually a word). Even my sister, who’s not a big s’mores fan, said this was her favorite version so far out of all the bars I’ve made.

EatPlayLog smores bars chocolate graham cracker marshmallow dessert
Parting shot, in case you need convincing

I hope yours turn out well if you give it a shot.

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