…or, for those more musically inclined, we have the alternate puny title of “♪ How Do You Like Me? How Do You Like Me? S’More, S’More, S’More ♪”
I mean…S’Mores. Need I say s’more here? I don’t know about you guys, but I am full-on ready to embrace the end of the horrible season known to everyone else as “winter”, but privately to myself is known as the “season of all things vile and shudder-inducing (both literally and figuratively)”. Winter really stands for “When Icy Numbing Temperatures Everlastingly Renew”. I hate you winter, so definitely don’t take that previous sentence to somehow be love poetry. It’s really more a “love to hate you” poetry. Or, to put it in more visual terms – this is me to a T (well, except that I don’t wear flip flops, but you get the gist):
So this week, let’s embrace the concept of summer at the very least. Campfire’s, after which your hair and clothing have that deliciously smoky aroma for weeks (oh, you’re saying apparently I have to take this thing known as a “bath” or “shower” to get rid of that? Hmmm…what is is this mystery ritual of which you speak? 😉 ), ooey gooey marshmallows…..mmmmmmmmmmmm…..summer, why aren’t you with me now???!!! What have I done to forsake you?
If you do a little searching online, you can probably find about a billion recipes for s’mores bars in various incantations. I still nonetheless had to put my own spin on things. One thing I did that was most definitely missing from literally every single recipe that I came across (which in my opinion was a massively huge oversight on the part of bakers across the globe), was including a soupçon of liquid smoke in the base of these. That’s one of the key elements to a s’more in my personal opinion. You want that wood smoked flavour in addition to the crispy and gooey and meltyness. I happen to love liquid smoke in general, so if you’re like me, feel free to add more than I recommend. I do understand that it’s very easy to be a little too heavy handed in this department, so for most people, err on the side of adding just a few drops so you just get it as a nice subtle background flavour.
My other addition was completely inspired by Kevin’s genius. He used to find it frustrating (as many of us do I believe), that the chocolate in the s’more would just never really get melty enough from just the heat of the marshmallows. Then one day a few years ago, the inspiration fairy struck (luckily, not this one):
Now, whenever we’re at the cottage/ around a campfire and he’s making s’mores, he spreads on a generous helping of Nutella and it’s off to the races! (actually, it’s off to sitting on your duff in your camp chair and stuffing your face with chocolaty goodness. Maybe while watching some squirrels engage in racing (or racy if it’s spring 😉 ) activity).
How can we replicate this in our bars? Super simple, let’s make some chocolate ganache, toss in some hazelnut liqueur and some hazelnut extract for super hazelnut flavour, drizzle all that goodness over your smoky graham cereal bar crust. Final step is simply liberally topping that choco-bot goodness with some vegan marshmallows, pop those puppies (note: no puppies were harmed in the writing of this sentence 😉 ) in the oven under the broiler for 1-2 minutes and presto-shazaam-o, you’ve got yourself some s’mores for all seasons. *swoon*
We’re mere moments away from it not being winter any-s’more, so camp-fire up your oven and usher in the season that will crush that f#$@ing Jack Frost under it’s heel like the garbage season we all know it is (can you feel the hatred?).
Yield: 2 dozen
- 4 cups Golden Graham’s Cereal
- 1 bag mini marshmallows, divided in 2
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1/4 cup honey (or agave or maple syrup if avoiding honey)
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips/chunks
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
- 1-2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
- pinch coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to broil and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray
- Pour cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
- Add half of your bag of marshmallows, butter, honey and liquid smoke to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly, until melted and smooth (I find this typically takes longer with vegan marshmallows, so don’t be concerned if it’s taking awhile, it will become like fully melted marshmallow fluff eventually). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal, stirring until well coated.
- Firmly press marshmallow cereal mixture into the bottom of the dish, spreading out as best you can. Place in the refrigerator while preparing hazelnut ganache.
- Place chocolate into a small bowl. Microwave (or heat on the stove) canned coconut milk until just starts bubbling. Pour over chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is fully melted. Stir in hazelnut liqueur, hazelnut extract and salt.
- Remove marshmallow cereal dish from the fridge and evenly pour the ganache over the cereal, smoothing with the back of a large spoon or spatula. Refrigerate bars for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and sprinkle remaining marshmallows over the top. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until marshmallows start to brown to your liking. WATCH CLOSELY!!! They start to burn really fast, so definitely keep an eye on them.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator before slicing into bars.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.