Sunday, July 24, 2011

.have s'more brownies.

one of my sweetest friends from back home in florida was all set to come visit us for the first time. being a bit, ok a great deal, of a planner had me wracking my brain for just the right things to do and places to see during her long weekend in memphis. with almost every restaurant, nightlife spot and tourist stop planned out, there was only one thing left to do before her arrival.

ask her what her favorite dessert-like-treat was.

now, i know she's always liked chocolate and i've never seen her pass up a strawberry, but sometimes those favorite things aren't what people end up choosing when i ask. in my friend's case, she immediately responded with chocolate chip cookies or brownies. neither one of these choices surprised me because they fit her so well. she's the uncomplicated, trustworthy, dependable type with a true sweetness that is immediately apparent as soon as you meet her. just like some of those classic desserts we all love.

after teetering back and forth, i decided to go for the brownie. much unlike my dear friend, i am complicated, difficult and challenging. so, i couldn't just make a simple brownie and instead opted to go for a s'mores brownie recipe i found on foodnetwork. you can make it yourself with the recipe all the way at the bottom.

this delicious creation started with a layer of graham cracker crust. this wasn't just crushed up crackers, oh no, this was buttery and sugary and probably pretty darn good without the brownies resting on top even. however, i didn't just stop there. whipping up a brownie batter and pouring it on top of this crust felt seriously sinful.

after reading many reviews of this decadent dessert, i tweaked the recipe a little. not that it was probably necessary, but i added some chocolate chips in the batter for a little more decadent pizazz.

because the crust had to cook separately first, it gave me time to mix up all the components for the actual brownie portion and then that part went into the oven atop the partially cooked bottom layer of graham heaven.

once both the bottom and middle layers were baked as best i could, it was time to really doll it up with the essence of any s'mores creation- the marshmallows. floating on top of the brownie like clouds over a chocolate wonka river, this would surely please the taste buds. the recipe calls for whole marshmallows. to avoid an ooey gooey mess, i opted to cut the marshmallows in half and line them up across the top of the brownie. setting the oven's broiler on 'low,' i stayed nearby.

using the broiler can sometimes be a little heated and especially with marshmallows, i wanted to make sure they didn't catch on fire. it truly was approximately two minutes and they were really dark on top- it happened quickly.

after pulling what looked like thanksgiving's sweet potato souffle out of the heatbox, i carefully removed the whole thing in foil from the glass dish. pulling the foil away from the marshmallow sides had to be done carefully and of course there was some stickiness to deal with. after these babies cooled completely, i used a big knife to cut them. the key to not making a terrible, sticky mess was for me to continually re-wet my knife as i sliced.

not to break any of my own patterns, i had to do an immediate taste test. i'm trying to avoid using a ridiculous amount of exclamation marks in expressing to you how completely wonderful these tasted. my husband isn't a big chocolate lover, but even he couldn't get enough of these. they were beyond your wildest dreams. ok, maybe i'm getting carried away, but man are they good! (just one)

.go ahead, take a bite.

before my inspiration for these s'mores brownies even arrived in town, i forced us to put the plate away before we made too big of a dent. luckily, there was enough to share with some other girlfriends and my sweetest friend. if you feel like you deserve some chocolate chugging, make these.

s'more brownies recipe

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups large marshmallows

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.

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