Sunday, September 25, 2016

S'mores Cookie Bars

All summer long, Matthew and Emma begged and pleaded for me to allow them to host their best friends for a sleepover. I wasn't opposed to the idea at all, but we were so busy all June, July, and August that it wasn't until the first weekend in September that we finally were able to have our dearest friends Sophia and Bella over to spend the night. We asked Matthew and Emma what they wanted to do with the girls during their time here and they both agreed that the best sleepovers involve bonfires, hot dogs, s'mores, movies, and popcorn. Easy enough. We bought hot dogs, the biggest marshmallows you've ever seen in your life, and lit the fire outside about 45 minutes before the girls arrived so that it would be nice and hot for them to cook their dogs and roast their marshmallows.

Well, by the time they arrived, some menacing clouds had covered the sky and a nasty thunderstorm seemed imminent. Within 10 minutes of the girls' arrival, the skies opened up and we began to be pelted with a torrential downpour complete with booming thunder and large lightening bolts. And there went our bonfire. A few minutes later, we discovered we had our very own personal waterfall flowing into the basement and the kids excitedly helped Paul contain it and clean up the mess it caused. For the kids, the flood control may have been the most exciting part of the evening.

In the end, we cooked hot dogs on the stove top, ate indoors, and watched the rain put out the fire Paul had so carefully built outside. When all plates were cleaned, the kids asked, "But what about the s'mores?!" The only solution was to come up with a fun way to make the classic campfire treat inside.

Using a basic sugar cookie base with the addition of some graham cracker crumbs for authentic s'mores flavor, we made a bar cookie sandwiching the irresistible combination of chocolate and marshmallow. A breeze to put together, the entire pan was out of the oven and cooling before the kids finished getting into their pajamas, although several games of tag and hide-and-seek that certainly slowed that process! While still warm, the cookies are gooey and melty and almost need to be eaten with a fork to avoid getting sticky fingers. If you let them sit until completely cool, they take on the texture of a super soft, chewy cookie that slices really neatly. I honestly can't decide which way I liked them better. The kids went crazy for them and the girls begged to take the leftovers home. I honestly probably prefer these cookies to classic s'mores and was almost grateful to the rain for inspiring us to whip up this creative, less messy version.

S'mores Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces milk chocolate Hershey Bars
1 bag miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Press half the dough into a greased 9x9 pan.The dough was a bit sticky but persevere! Once pressed into the pan, completely cover the dough with a layer of Hershey bars. Then, toss on enough marshmallows to completely cover the chocolate.

Take a piece large piece of parchment and spread it out on the counter. Pat the remaining cookie dough into a square approximately 8x8". Carefully (I had Paul assist me) flip the dough onto the marshmallow layer and carefully peel away the parchment. Pat and tuck the dough into the corners and sides of the pan and press lightly down to ensure that it is fully sandwiching the filling.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand a bit for the ingredients to settle before slicing and serving. They are a bit messy and gooey, but that's part of the fun!

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