For The Cookie Plate: S'more Squares
As you're thinking about your holiday cookies, consider these adorable, little s'more squares. As a lover of all things little, baked goods especially, I couldn't keep myself from picking up a copy of Flo Braker's Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts. Reading the introductory chapter, I did that thing where after every sentence I found myself saying, yes, yes, or that's me, that's totally me. She completely embraces the concept of making miniature desserts in the same way I do.
"Before you eat a miniature, you fall in love with it. After all, it's all yours. Who would ask you to share something so small and perfect?"
"The trim size of miniatures makes them desserts that are quite a bit less intimidating than a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream." - Flo Braker
I definitely fall in love with my baked goods, and I always opt to make small desserts for parties and events because I know that people are more likely to try something if they can just have a taste and not have to commit to a whole big slice. For this reason, I cracked open Sweet Miniatures to look for ideas of what to make for a recent blogger event hosted by Public Radio Kitchen.
I thought these s'more squares would be perfect. There are very few pictures in the book, just a small chunk of glossy pages in the middle, but these bars happened to be pictured and grabbed my attention. (I had also made another recipe from the book for this event, but it was a complete flop, so I'll spare you the details until I figure out how to fix it.)
I spiced these s'more squares up a little by using cinnamon graham crackers instead of plain graham cracker crumbs. I love the cinnamon-chocolate combination.
S'more Squares (adapted from Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker)
Makes 36 squares
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ounces milk chocolate, melted
36 mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil.
To make the crust: In a large bowl combine crushed graham crackers with brown sugar. Add the melted butter, and mix well, making sure all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture into bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
To make the filling: Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda into a small bowl. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in microwave. Add chopped chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in the water. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl, and let it cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla, just until blended. Add flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Pour filling over crumb mixture in pan.
Bake for 30 minutes only. The cake may be slightly gooey and you may be tempted to leave it in, but do not overbake it. Cool completely on cooling rack. Then lift the cake out of the pan using the foil, and place it on a cutting board.
For the topping: Place melted chocolate in a sandwich bag, and cut a very small piece from one of the bottom corners to make a piping bag (or form a paper cone using parchment). Pipe zigzag lines over the surface of the cake.
Cut into small squares (6 by 6 worked best for me).
Center a mini marshmallow on each square.
Pipe a small dot of chocolate on each marshmallow.
I would let the chocolate harden before attempting to move the squares. The squares can be stored in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Besides that the marshmallows were not warm, gooey, and toasty, these really did taste a lot like s'mores.
I thought they were flavorful, had great texture, and could definitely satisfy a s'more craving when a campfire is just not an option. Those who tried them at the blogger event seemed to like them too.
For a detailed write-up of the event, which focused primarily on the local food scene in Massachusetts, check out A Fete for Food, which is written by Jess, one of the bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting at the event!
P.S. Do you know why they call them s'mores? Because you always want some more!