Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let's Make Brownie S'mores!!

I have a standard go-to brownie recipe that is not your traditional brownie recipe. The texture is sort of a hybrid between cake and brownies. Since I grew up on these brownies, they are my favorite. But for the dessert party I decided to try something a little bit different, so I turned them into brownie s'mores! I couldn't find a good recipe so I just made the component parts and pulled them together. There is one thing I would do differently if I had it to do over - for one, I would make the graham cracker layer thicker and the brownie layer thinner so the whole s'more can be eaten in one bite - marshmallow, brownie and graham cracker! With that being said, let's learn how to make them.
Graham Cracker Crust
Finely crush 1-2 packages of graham crackers in a food processor
if you don't have a food processor, you can put the graham crackers in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them
the food processor, of course, works best
You want the graham crackers to form a very fine dust
Since this was a first go on this improvised recipe I only used 1 package of graham crackers but I suggest using at least 2 or the crust gets overpowered by the brownie
the recipe I improvised from called for 1/2 cup of sugar
but after the fact, I really don't think that is necessary given all the sugar in the rest of the recipe so in the future I would likely skip this step but that is your call
melt 1 to 2 sticks of butter and add it to the graham cracker crumbs until they stick together
pour the crumbs into a baking pan lined with tin foil and sprayed with Pam
Spread the graham crackers out by pressing them firmly into all corners
Again, I think my crust ended up being a bit thin so I would double the thickness shown below
Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees then allow to cool
While baking the crust and letting it cool, prepare the brownie layer

Brownie Layer 
soften 1 cup of butter
In a medium mixing bowl - or I use my food processor - add the softened butter and 2 cups of sugar
Add 4 eggs
And 2 teaspoons of vanilla
Combine until smooth
Add 1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
and 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix until smooth
Then add 3-4 tablespoons cocoa
I add the cocoa through the feeding tube of my food processor 
Because I like watching the buttery yellow batter turn chocolatey delicious!
Sometimes I'm not careful enough and I end up with cocoa all over . . .
after adding the cocoa, scrape down the sides, 
and do a little taste test to see if you want to add more cocoa
I added another tablespoon this time 
(it really depends on the type of cocoa you use and personal taste)
then blended it well and tried to resisting licking up all the batter
Pour the batter over the graham cracker crust
Next time, I would only use half the batter to keep this in a bite-size piece 
once the marshmallow is added
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes 
or until a toothpick comes out clean
I would recommend not baking this right before going to bed when there is no chance you will be able sample the brownies . . . it is really hard to fall asleep with freshly baked brownie scent wafting into your bedroom.
This is my favorite part of the brownies, how the top cracks and you get a sneak peak at the cakey insides hidden under the crusty top
mmmmm, I wish I still had some of these around
Marshmallow Topping
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water in a medium mixer bowl
Allow it to soften about 5 minutes
If you've never done this before, be a bit cautious, initially I dumped the gelatin in and poured the water over top. I wouldn't suggest this as while I was running around doing other things, I allowed it to sit for 5+ minutes and it turned into a pile of goo.
On my second try I added the cold water first and then (as the recipe suggested) sprinkled the gelatin over top and carefully monitored it. Luckily this worked much better and I didn't end up with any goo.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, mix 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup cold water, stirring until sugar dissolves
Cook undisturbed until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer - which takes about 10 minutes.
As another warning, after 10 minutes I found the temperature was still pretty low. You may have to tilt the pan to get enough liquid on the thermometer to get an accurate read. After an initially slow ascent, the red line suddenly shot up and I feared I had overcooked it. But it all turned out fine.
Remove the pan from the stove and whisk the sugar syrup and a pinch of salt into the gelatin.
I use the whisk attachment on my hand mixer.
Continue whisking until cool and thick - about 10 minutes
Just be patient as you whisk because the thickening comes along pretty suddenly at the end
Using a spatula, spread the marshmallow evenly over the brownies until covered completely
Allow to stand 30 minutes to an hour to allow the marshmallow to set.
And note how fun it is to make your own marshmallow!
(and how tasty it is to lick the bowl!)

Finishing Touches
After the marshmallow is set, carefully remove the brownies from the pan by lifting it out with the foil and set on a cutting board.
Slice the brownies into smaller squares
(I swiped the knife blade clean after each cut to avoid dropping crumbs on top of the marshmallow)
Initially I put the brownies in cupcake papers, but for reasons that will become clear later, I nixed that idea.
And here is the best part . . . to achieve the toasted s'more effect, I picked up this kitchen torch and let one of my helpers have all the fun toasting the marshmallow tops
Obviously, the papers weren't the best idea with a flame so close by, so we opted to let them stand freely. The only problem with this is they dry out faster. But they tasted delicious . . . if I do say so myself.
Brownie S'mores
  • 1-2 packages graham crackers
  • 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (one 1/4 ounce envelope)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt


Beck said...

I want my own kitchen blowtorch - awesome!
Those are the same brownies that my daughter likes to make! And marshmallows are the funnest things in the world to make, but I'd never even thought of using them that way - clever girl!
You are a TERRIFIC food blogger, Alyssa! Really! And merry Christmas to you.

Kami said...

No made them?! Oh they look so good! You are the next P-Dub!

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