The 4th of July always seems to signify that summer is really here, although this year I feel like it’s been summer for ages! Coming home from school so early (my last day of classes was May 12th!) kind of messed up my internal calendar, and it’s hard to believe that the season officially started less than two weeks ago. I’ve always loved summer’s ability to make me lose track of what day of the week it is, but this year I’m seriously off…I actually looked up from a magazine the other day and asked my dad, in all seriousness, what year it was. I was convinced that it was 2013, but the article I had just finished reading was dated June 20, 2014. For a minute there I was a little worried that I had either gone temporarily crazy or was reading an article from the future. Apparently it was the former, which is a good thing…I think. We won’t even talk about the time at the end of freshman year when I was throwing out all my old biology papers and saw that I had dated them 2006 (as opposed to 2009) for the entire month of October. Should I be worried?
Regardless, I love summer. I love the giant produce tent outside the grocery store piled high with flats of local berries and live basil; I love sitting on pieces of driftwood around smokey beach fires; I love the salty smell of sunscreen mixed with seaweed and I love how there always seems to be a thin layer of sand at the bottom of my favorite tote bag, no matter how many times I dump it out.
And, of course, I love s’mores. I still remember my very first s’more, which was assembled right in my very own backyard fire pit back in 2000. It took me a while to figure out what my enlighteners (friends of my parents) were trying to give me…some more? Some more what? No, I’ve never heard of a “some more.” Yes, I am aware that my parents have sheltered me from some of the best things in life, including a wide variety of “too violent” Disney movies and the brightly colored Trix yogurt I recently tried at a friend’s house. (Oh my poor, deprived childhood!) But once I was handed a melty creation of graham cracker, Hershey bar, and toasted marshmallow, my innocence was ruined. It didn’t matter what this thing was called. All I knew is that it was sticky, crumbly, utterly messy and utterly delicious. And that I wanted some more.
Although there’s nothing quite like a fresh, gooey s’more eaten over a campfire, these bars are pretty darn amazing. They manage to skirt around the messiness factor, yet retain the iconic combination of graham cracker, marshmallow, and milk chocolate. A thick, chewy blondie base is loaded with graham cracker crumbs and sandwiched around a layer of creamy marshmallow fluff and chocolate chips. The resulting bars are packed with the flavor of a s’more, yet in the form of a delicious blondie-s’more hybrid. Bring them along to your next summer gathering for a fun s’more alternative, or just bake up a batch to eat anytime, anywhere. Chances are that if you love s’mores, you’ll go crazy over these!
Makes 24 bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 7-oz jar marshmallow creme or fluff
2 cups milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the two shorter sides. Lightly grease the foil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides as needed.
Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until combined. Evenly press half the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Drop the marshmallow creme by spoonfuls onto the dough and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Drop the remaining cookie dough onto the surface in clumps, then flatten them slightly. Don’t worry about smoothing the dough over the entire surface; there should be some open areas where the chocolate chips and marshmallow are exposed.
Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, or until golden-brown. Let them cool in the pan completely, then lift them out by the foil and slice into squares. Enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)