Jul 4, 2012

S’Mores Shortbread Bars

With today being the 4th of July, I thought it appropriate to post something that is just pure summer in a bite! Growing up, I remember our 4th celebrations being filled with picnic dinners at the park, listening to the symphony outside play all the iconic patriotic songs. Those nights would end with me covering my ears when they set the canons off but my eyes would be wide open in amazement staring up at the fireworks display illuminating the sky! If we weren’t at the park, we would be at a huge pool party with all the cookout food and sweets you could ask for. We’d get there in the afternoon and play in the pool until our fingers were raisins and the sun would start to set. We’d then change into something dry and again end the night with another fantastic fireworks show! These days, our celebrations are a little more low key but still filled with family and friends and of course, weather permitting, a spread of all things affiliated with the grill!

It’s not unusual to see ice cream, pies, and red, white and blue themed desserts on the 4th. Those are all delicious but I’m also such a sucker for S’mores! Combine the heat, outdoors, and quality time with friends and family, and I just get an undeniable taste and craving for a S’more! This is an inside cooking version in bar form that I think is a perfect recipe to have on hand for a get together or party, for when you don’t have a microwave (that was me for a majority of my childhood), OR if the weather does not permit the old-school, traditional outdoors marshmallow roasting technique! That was a jumble of words but basically it’s vanilla shortbread, homemade chocolate icing and marshmallows: a play on the inside S’more!

Here’s what you need:


(Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Toasted Marshmallow Squares. Makes 1 8 x 8 inch baking dish of squares. Servings depends on size of cut bars.)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose-flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup homemade chocolate icing (recipe from yellow batter chocolate icing birthday cake)
  • 10-15 large marshmallows, halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Set this to the side and first prepare the shortbread. In your mixing bowl (I used my electric mixer), combine the butter and granulated sugar. Let this beat for a few minutes until the consistency becomes light and fluffy.

Add in the egg, combine completely and then pour in the vanilla extract. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if things aren’t mixing completely. Then add the flour and give everything one last good mix.

Things may be a little sticky, but transfer the batter to your 8 x8 inch with the parchment paper. Sometimes I struggle with parchment paper because it just doesn’t want to stay in place when I add the first bit of batter. But just add it all in and then spread it out. You’ll gain control over the paper! You also may need a little sprinkle of flour on top of the batter if things get a little too sticky. Spread everything out to all the corners and try to make an even surface for a consistent cookie! How disappointing to have a few thick bars and a few skinny minnies!

Pop the shortbread batter into the oven and let bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges will become a crispy, golden brown and the middle will still be lighter in color.

Let the shortbread crust cool for about 20 minutes. During this time you can prepare the icing if you need to. I had actually just made the perfect serving of vanilla cupcakes the day before: a serving of two! I had made a quarter serving of my mom’s chocolate icing and had leftover icing! A lucky leftover for me and this is how I decided to put it to use!

Once the crust has cooled, transfer the crust to a baking sheet and spread your icing on top of the crust.

Halve your marshmallows and arrange them on top of the chocolate icing, cut side down.

Put the pan in the oven (still at 350 degrees) for just four short minutes! Remove the pan and crank up your oven to the broiler setting. Here’s where the fun begins! Pop the bars back in the oven under the broiler and let the roasting begin! Keep a really close eye on things, as it will take mere seconds for the marshmallows to slowly start getting gooey and changing from bright white to a toasty light brown!! Once you see this happen, promptly remove the pan from the oven and let cool for a few short minutes.

The time for these to cool can be the longest few minutes because of course the moment they come out you want to dive right in! I can’t say I blame you and that I didn’t have that exact feeling! I made these right before dinner though so we ate while these cooled and the wait was well worth it! The shortbread is the perfect buttery consistency that all shortbread should have with the hint of vanilla peaking through on each bite! ┬áThen you get to the chocolate icing and while you could use store bought or something like nutella, homemade really just amplifies all desserts in my mind! It’ll take you no more than five minutes to mix together! And of course there is the perfectly gooey marshmallow on top to finish it all off! Everything you love about a S’more (minus the open flame to roast the marshmallows of course) in a single bite! They are tasty hot or cold so take them to your parties, give them as edible summer treats, or overcome a dreary day and make up a batch on a rainy day! OR better yet, you could be like me and make them for no other reason than because you love S’mores and had the perfect amount of leftover chocolate icing! For whatever reason, make them, eat them, and you’re sure to love them! Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July! For now, that’s S’Mores Shortbread Bars…in the shell of a nut!

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