Summertime means fun in the sun, swimming on hot days and nights around a campfire making S’mores with good friends & family. All those delicious layers with graham crackers, marshmallow and of course chocolate. This time of year, you can usually find these ingredients in my pantry along with the long sticks to roast the marshmallows. I guess you could say they have become staples in my pantry since having my own kids. You can count on my kids asking at least a few times if we can setup a fire outside to roast some marshmallows and to make S’mores. Why not? Who doesn’t love sitting around a campfire, looking up at the stars, laughing and having a good time while making one of the best treats?
My kids also have such fond memories of going camping in Upstate NY with my in-laws every summer. They sure built up an appetite after a long & fun day of swimming, fishing, tubing or even horseback riding.
They would get so excited at the thought of sitting around the fire at night to make their favorite, S’mores. When my husband and I would ask them how their trip was, the part about making S’mores was always the longest part of their story! I wouldn’t want it any other way. After all, I was the same way as a child. I always loved S’mores. They were fun to make and even better to eat. I loved the way the marshmallow got that char on the outside. I also loved how it stayed soft and gooey on the inside and when you squished the hot marshmallow between the graham crackers it melted the chocolate bar. It always ended up on your fingers or a little extra on your face.
You may be asking why I am reminiscing about this sweet treat. Well, my daughter was invited to a pool party this past weekend. Naturally, I offered to make a dessert for her to bring to the party. When I plan out menus for a party I spend time thinking of what to make for the occasion. But, this one seemed easy. I heard “kids”, “swimming”, “summertime” and the first thing that came to mind was S’mores. I didn’t want to deliver only the graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars & sticks. I didn’t think that would go over too well. I knew it would have to be a dessert that was easy for the kids to eat in-between swimming and playing. When I think of a pool party for kids, finger foods come to mind.
I decided to turn the S’mores into a bar cookie. I love bar cookies, especially for parties. The possibilities are endless; you can make them for every season & occasion. They can be made with cheesecake, cookie batter and with any fruits that are in season. If I am entertaining, you will likely find a bar cookie on my dessert table. I love that I can bake bar cookies in one large baking dish and feed quite a few people with just one batch. Easy peasy!
My S’mores Bar Cookie not only had all the layers of graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate but it also had a cookie layer. It was soft & chewy. The marshmallows were gooey, the chocolate was nice and melty and the bottom layer had a crust made out of graham crackers. The cookie was soft and sweet. They were so delicious.
Mission accomplished! I was able to deliver the taste of a S’mores that everyone loves and by turning it into a bar cookie, it made it easier for the kids (and grownups) to eat.
S’mores Bar Cookies
Makes approx. 36 Bar cookies
1 1/2 Cup, Chocolate Graham Cracker, crushed
6 Tablespoons, Butter, melted
3/4 Cup, Sugar
3/4 Cup, Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon, Pure Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 Cups, All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon, Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon, Salt
1 Teaspoon, Cinnamon
Candy to add:
2 Cups, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Cups, Mini Marshmallows
2 Large, Hershey Chocolate Bars
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray, also line it with parchment paper and set aside.
Make the crust: Using a fork, mix the crushed graham crackers with the melted butter in a small bowl. If you use a food processor to chop the graham crackers you can simply add the butter and pulse until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
In another small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a standing mixer, combine the butter with sugar and brown sugar. Mix on medium speed until nice and creamy. Add the vanilla and mix. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and mix well to incorporate each one. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until all combined. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl then mix again. Add the chocolate chips and about 1 1/2 cups of the marshmallows and mix one more time.
Place the dough on top of the crust and gently press down. It doesn’t have to be perfect; once it starts to bake it will spread out more. Take the remaining marshmallows and add them to the top and into any openings. You can also press some into the dough where it looks like it could use some!
Bake in the oven for approx. 9 minutes. While the bars are cooking, break the Hershey Chocolate bars into pieces. Remove the baking dish and place the Hershey Chocolate bar pieces all around. Return the baking dish back to the oven and bake for about another 8 minutes, just until it is done cooking (a knife inserted into the cookie should come out clean). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Once the cookies are cooled, lift them out of the dish (you should have some overhang from the parchment paper).
Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars. Serve and enjoy!
For the crust, you can simply lay a row of graham crackers onto the parchment paper without crushing them and without adding butter. If you need to make a dessert quicker that is a great option. You can also use any flavored graham cracker that you like. Some of the flavors they do make are: Original, Honey and Chocolate.