S’mores Bars

S'mores Bars

Several weeks ago our woods had two unlikely visitors. A male and female red tailed hawk. It caused quite a stir in our 5 acres of woods. All the squirrels disappeared for days. The cause? The hawks were dining on squirrels! Doc, who has had a running battle with the pesky squirrels was thrilled. Unfortunately his ecstasy didn’t last long. The hawks disappeared as quickly as they came.

These bars remind me of summer picnics. They are easy to make and transport. If you are short on time toast miniature marshmallows in place of the marshmallow layer.

S’mores Bars

Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Press into a non-stick foil or parchment paper lined 9 X 9 inch baking pan. For easy removal later for cutting cut foil large enough to overhang the sides and make handles. Bake crust for 8 minutes at 400 F or until the edges begin to brown. Set aside while making the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer:
2 cups Hershey’s mini milk chocolate chips
14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
In a medium saucepan combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Stirring constantly, cook mixture over medium low heat until chocolate chips melt. (Some of the chips may not melt. I don’t think anyone will complain about hunks of chocolate do you?) Pour on top of the baked crust.

Marshmallow Layer:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan add the first 4 ingredients to the pan. Do not stir. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil (Really, don’t stir!). Keep boiling until thermometer reaches 240 degrees F. While the mixture is boiling beat the two egg whites and cream of tarter together until soft peaks form. The peaks will rise then fall over. This only takes 1 to 2 minutes. When the syrup reaches 240 degrees F remove pan from heat (wear oven mitts so you don’t get burned). Turn the mixer on low and SLOWLY pour the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl. This will take several minutes so take a deep breath and resist the temptation to pour it all in at once! After all the sugar mixture is in (no need to scrape the pan) turn the mixer up to medium high and set the timer for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes of mixing; scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula, add the vanilla and mix again for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl for a second time then mix for 30 seconds more to fully incorporate the vanilla for a total of 7 minutes mixing time.  Spread evenly over chocolate layer.

To brown the marshmallow topping: Broil 6 to 7 inches away from the heat source for 20 to 30 seconds. The color should be pale brown not golden. Don’t turn your back or it will burn! To serve: Wet a table knife for each cut.  These are very sweet so a pan should yield 18 to 36 bars. Tip: Short on time? Toast miniature marshmallows instead.

Published in The News and Neighbor on February 22, 2013

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