For me S’mores are even more American than apple pie. I know I’m misusing the idiom a little bit here but you just don’t see them anything like as much in the UK. I guess that’s because we don’t have spend our childhood summers away at camp, with evenings spent socialising around the campfire.
If you don’t know what S’mores are then frankly you haven’t lived. You can find all of the components readily available in any supermarket – biscuits, marshmallows and chocolate. Yes, that does sound like the ingredients of a Wagon Wheel – but they’re made with neither proper chocolate nor nice marshmallow, so frankly don’t count. Plus you can’t serve them warm – at least not without it being a total disaster. No, real S’mores are made in the great outdoors, one at a time.
You start by toasting a marshmallow over an open flame until it’s golden on the outside and molten in the middle. You then quickly sandwich it between two biscuits with a generous chunk of milk chocolate. As you squeeze the biscuits together the marshmallow will ooze out and slightly melt the chocolate. They’re not neat and tidy by any stretch of the imagination – but damn they taste good. Put me anywhere near a campfire and it’s guaranteed I’ll come with all of the ingredients needed to make S’mores.
But that’s what I’m like in the Summer. When it’s the middle of December the last thing I want to be is outdoors near a campfire. I want to be indoors next to a logburner. In that environment proper S’mores just aren’t an option, as I don’t want to be cleaning the residue out of my carpets! I was in the mood for making brownies (I already have a pretty good recipe for those here) but couldn’t but wonder if I could add in marshmallow too. It wasn’t long before the internet confirmed my suspicion that S’mores brownies were a thing. Only there seem to be many approaches.
I guess what I wanted to achieve here was that same balance of gooey and chocolately, crunchy and mallowy. (Is that even a word?!). Many recipes suggest making brownies then topping them with the marshmallows, biscuits and chocolate. I’m sure they taste good but that’s not what I want from a S’more. Others have a biscuit base, but again that’s putting all the crunch on one side. I decided to do both and that’s what my recipe here will give you.
My S’mores Brownies are a delicious sandwich of textures. A crunchy biscuit base topped with a soft chocolate brownie, itself topped with marshmallow, chocolate and more biscuit pieces. Every mouthful should give you the full range of textures and flavours. Exactly the same feeling you get when you’re sitting round a campfire in the middle of the summer.
for the Biscuit Base
- 150 g Digestive Biscuits
- 75 g Butter
- 25 g Caster Sugar
for the Brownie
- 200 g Good Quality Dark Chocolate
- 200 g Butter softened to room temperature
- 200 g Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 100 g Golden Caster Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 4 large Free Range Eggs beaten
- 125 g Plain Flour
- 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
for the Topping
- 50 g Digestive Biscuits broken into small chunks
- 100 g Good Quality Milk Chocolate chopped into small chunks
- 150 g Marshmallows either large ones halved or smaller baking ones will work.
Make the Biscuit Base
- Preheat the oven to 170°C.
- Line a 23cm (9") square brownie pan with greaseproof paper or lightly oiled aluminium foil.
- Put the digestive biscuits into a zip-lock bag or large bowl and bash gently with a rolling pin until reduced to rough crumbs. You want them to have a coarse sand feeling. If you've used a bag, tip them into a bowl when you're happy with the texture. Add in the sugar and mix well.
- Melt the butter in a small pan. When melted pour over the biscuit and sugar mix and stir until well combined. Tip the mixture into the brownie pan and press down with the back of a spoon - making sure to spread it all the way to the edges.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes - you should see it turn slightly more golden, but make sure it doesn't burn. When baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
Make the Brownie
- Whilst the biscuit base is cooling you can make the rest of the brownie. Start by melting the dark chocolate. My preferred method is in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water), though you can use the microwave if you prefer. When melted allow to cool slightly before you use it in the subsequent steps.
- Put the softened butter into a large mixing bowl or pedestal mixer, along with the sugars. Cream together for 5 minutes or so, until it gets lighter in both colour and texture.
- Add in the beaten eggs and vanilla extract, then mix again until well combined and smooth.
- Sift in the flour and cocoa powder then fold in using a metal spoon or spatula. Only mix until combined, as you don't want to overwork the batter at this stage.
- Pour the batter over the biscuit base in the brownie pan then return to the oven. Bake for around 25 minutes but make sure it doesn't overcook. Brownies are always best served gooey and the difference between moist and dry will only be a couple of minutes. There are lots of hints that the brownie is ready, but if you use a skewer inserted into the middle you want it to come out with some sticky wet crumbs on it but not uncooked batter.
Add the Topping
- When you're happy the brownie remove it from the oven and immediately turn on the grill (if you have a separate grill you can preheat it if you like).
- Mix together the biscuit and chocolate chunks, then sprinkle over the top of the brownie making sure they spread out to the edges. Place or scatter the marshmallows over the top of this mixture - again ensuring you cover everything.
- Put under the heated grill (but not too close to it) until the marshmallows are slightly golden on top and molten inside.
- When you're happy remove the pan from the grill and place on a wire cooling rack. Allow to completely cool in the pan, then cut into individual bars of your preferred size. Be warned that you'll need a good knife as these are very sticky even when cool - which is a good quality!