It has been nearly six months since my last entry. An international move, a birth, and a recovery have all taken place since we last chatted. The move was largely uneventful unless you care to note that the Sweet Pea...she absolutely doesn't like being restrained for long periods of time (much like the Sprout), so she screamed for most of our four day trek from our old duty station to our new. Yeah, she is the reason it took four days. Had she been more...agreeable...we'd have been driving for longer periods of time each day. Oh well, we're here.... The Meant to Be ended up coming via emergency c section the week before he was scheduled to come out via c section. These children...just CAN'T wait to be here, can they? Lucky for us, we were well prepared. We even expected his early appearance, and had a "feeling" it wasn't going to be a happy entrance, but that all would be well taken care of, and that is what happened. He is beyond healthy and happy, and after six months I can honestly say that I feel mostly back to my old self. I felt "slightly normal" setting in when I found myself doing nothing but thinking about recipes, baking, canning, cooking, modifying old recipes to make them perfect for some kind of allergy or diet restriction. I think, dream, and obsess food. Hence the name...Foodnatic....
Autumn is upon us here in the heartland. I know it is because I want to be outside. The house we moved into had a very large raspberry patch, a smallish patch of blueberries, a peach tree, two apple trees, and functioning grape vines. I was more than tickled about this prospect. It, of course, meant to me that I would be able to whip up all sorts of goodies in the kitchen. Too bad I didn't have a cocoa tree! Oh....I dunno if I'd ever leave my yard if there were a cocoa tree back there. Mmmm....chocolate.
For whatever reason, in the present day human mind, when autumn sets in and the brain couples it with chocolate, sitting around bon fires, and having "fun" in general the word "S'Mores" just keeps coming up. Yeah, I just about beat this subject to death last year, but hey...who's counting?? It was only four S'Mores recipes...and none of them were THIS recipe.
I personally can only take so much chocolate at one time. Sure, I love it, but I also love not having a diabetic coma set in on me while I am eating. This recipe, unlike last year's recipe, is lightish on the chocolate and heavier on the graham which seems more appropriate to me given the way S'Mores are usually made around the campfire. I hope you enjoy the recipe...I sure did. So did my parents. They were visiting to help out with the Meant to Be during my recovery. Between these bars and the brownies I made....G'Ma (she wants to be G'Ma now so when my children have children she can be GG (Gigi)...now that's planning ahead!) was fit to be tied trying to not overdo it on the sweets. Sorry...sorta....
6 T. unsalted butter
6 1/2 c. mini marshmallows, divided
1 tsp. vanilla paste or extract
8 c. Three Sisters Graham Crackerz cereal
1/2 c. organic milk chocolate chips (I used jumbo chips!)
extra chips for strategic placing
extra butter for greasing spatula & cake pan
Butter a 9 x 13 cake pan. (I found that a glass cake pan with a lid that fit it was the best thing to use for these on the stick factor AND for storage purposes.)
In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in 5.5 c. of the marshmallows (reserving 1 c. for later) and stir until the marshmallows are completely melted and appear as they would if you were making rice crispie bars. Remove mixture from the burner and stir in your vanilla.
This is the cereal I use, from what I can tell...it is exclusively sold at Whole Foods Market. I hope you have a WF near you because this cereal is the bomb diggity!!
Gradually add in your cereal and stir/fold until the cereal is completely coated. Once it appears to be well incorporated, fold in the remaining 1 c. of marshmallows and the 1/2 c. of milk chocolate chips.
Grease up your spatula and then use it to press the bar mixture into your already buttered cake pan. Gently press extra chocolate chips into the top of the bars and perhaps extra toasted marshmallows if you're feeling sporting. (Turn your oven onto "broil". Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet then add mini marshmallows and allow them to puff up slightly, getting toasted in color for a bit before removing them from the oven. They should detach from the parchment quite easily and because they are still warm, will adhere to the tops of the bars quite nicely with a gentle push as you place them on the bars)
Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting them. They will have only a 3 day shelf life and should be refrigerated the day they are made because of the amount of butter in this recipe. You don't want rancid tasting bars! But, honestly...are they going to last 3 days? Not in my house they didn't....
I can't tell you how many times I've made these since we moved back to the states and I was able to shop at a WFM on a regular basis. It would be slightly embarrassing if you knew and totally annoying to most because I am still losing my baby weight anyway! Ha!
These bars pack every single flavor reminiscent of a cool autumn night, parked in front of a perfectly roaring fire, passing around the bag of 'shmallows, bars of chocolate, and packages of grahams....minus finding the next morning that you smell like you were in a smoker for 10 hours. Perfect... I hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I have. A new favorite....