smores bars

These are addictive.

Highly addictive.

Eating them was descirbed to me as “floating down a chocolate river in a graham wafer boat with marshmallow sails” … I kinda totally agree!

I have loved smores … since … well … since forever.

Who doesn’t love an ooey-gooey bite of delight?

Because that’s what graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows are … bites of delight.

Especially when you add a little momofuku twist to the recipe.

Actually … I should call these twisted smores.

You’ll see that these are easy to make … as easy as making them on a campfire … you start with the graham cracker base …

then you make the chocolate layer … melted chocolate and milk … stirring in mini marshmallows and the cornflake crunch (flaked coconut is a supurb susbstitute as well) …  

Finishing it off by spreading even more mini-marshamllows on top; then broil for 3 minutes.

That’s it.  Simple eh?

Oh wait!!!!

I do recommend that if you line the pan with parchment paper … don’t place the rack too close to the broiler … otherwise … a fire might ensue.

True story … it happened to me ;0)

I guess I really wanted to make smores by the campfire!

twisted smores bars

ingredients:

the base:

2 c. graham cracker crumbs

7 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Line a rectangular pan with parchment paper, and then spray it with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; stirring with a wooden spoon.  Press the crumbs into the base of the pan; make sure that the base is spread out evenly.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat, turn off your oven and set the pan aside to cool slightly.

chocolate mini-marshmallow-crunch filling:

ingredients:

1 c. milk

16 oz chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or chips)

4 c. mini marshmallows, divided

2 c. momofuku cornflake crunch (or flaked coconut)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the chocolate and milk together; slowly melting the chocolate.  The mixture should never get to a boiling point.  Remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl (this will allow the mixture to cool immediately).

Add 2 cups of the mini marshmallows and the 2 cups cornflake crunch.  Stir in … and then pour the mixture over the graham cracker base.

Top with the remaining 2 cups of mini marshmallows.

Turn the broiler on in your oven … move a rack close(ish) to the broiler and toast the marhsmallows… this takes about 3 minutes.  I do tend to move the pan around to ensure that they are all evenly toasted.

Remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours (or over night).  I don’t cover the pan right away … but once firm, I do cut the smores into squares and store in an airtight container.

I’d say they will last up to 1 week in the fridge … only they won’t.  Because you’re gonna want to eat them … pretty much immediately.

No lies.

I can’t stop eating them! 

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oh what a week it has been…

I don’t know where to begin.  This past week has been chalk full of activity!  The market, a bonfire, a trip to Antigonish, a cocktail party … and baking for all of it!

Let’s start at the very beginning (“a very good place to start” … name that tune!), last weekend’s lime explosion  at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market with little red kitsch’n.

It was ridiculously DE-LIC-IOUS (and adorable, non?)

You saw my post on the lime-blueberry cheesecake cupcakes … this is what they looked liked when all was said and done.
These were the first goodies to go.

The lemon-lime cupcakes (filled with lemon-lime curd and topped with lime cream cheese frosting) were also super popular.  A little labour intensive (piping and filling on the spot) … but oh so wonderful.

Since the entire theme was based on that bon appétit magazine (“lime juice is the new salt”) – we swapped out Jenna’s usual lemon meringue tarts for some lime raspberry meringue tarts (the bon appétit recipe used blackberries – but since they aren’t in season, we used raspberries).

And then … the pièce de résistance … cranberry-lemon-lime-white chocolate mousse squares.

Intense?

Amazing?

Yes … and … yes.

Another bon appétit recipe (from their desserts cookbook), only, we played around with it to make it work for our purposes.

We wanted squares.

We wanted a graham cracker base.

We wanted to switch the layers around.

It was a S-U-C-C-E-S-S.

Tart and fresh.  Not too heavy (the white chocolate mousse was a nice surprise), the addition of chinese five spice to the cranberry compote was pretty spot-on, and my graham cracker base was epic (Jenna’s words, not mine).

Since this is a layer dessert, you’ll probably expect me to tell you it isn’t difficult, but it does take a little bit of time.  Don’t worry – you can basically make everything in one go, and then just assemble in stages … in the end, not overly labour or time intensive, and oh so worth it.  Seriously … I can’t wait to whip these up again!

cranberry-lemon-lime-white chocolate mousse squares

(based on bon appétit’s cranberry-lime tart)

ingredients:

graham cracker base

*this is completely unmeasured … I used two sleeves of graham crackers (the large ones) and pulsed them in a food processor.  I then melted (about) 1/2 cup of butter, and slowly poured it into the food processor and blended everything together.  You want the base to hold together when you pinch it together … but not get so saturated in butter that after you bake the base it would harden because of all the excess fat.

lemon-lime curd

zest of 1 lemon and 2 limes

1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon & 2 limes)

1/2 c. sugar

6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

cranberry topping

1/4 c. water

1 1/2 tsp cornstartch

2/3 c. sugar

3 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp chinese five-spice powder

1 12-ounce bag (3 cups) fresh or partially thawed frozen cranberries

white chocolate mousse

5 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Once you get all those ingredients together … it’s time to start baking!

base:

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, spray with non-stick spray.

Press the graham cracker base into your prepared pan.

Trick of the day (thank you Jenna): in order to get an even base, press the graham cracker base with the base of a measuring cup … you’ll see that by pressing the base of the cup across the top of the crust you’ll get a pretty perfect graham cracker base.

Bake for about 12 – 17 minutes.  You want the crust to be firm.  Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack in the pan.

lemon-lime curd:

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the lemon – lime juices, lemon – lime zest, sugar and butter.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.  When the butter has melted in the saucepan, whisk some of the warm liquid into the beaten eggs, whisking constantly while you pour (this prevents the eggs from curdling).  Once done, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan (that is still over low heat).  Cook, whisking constantly, the curd will start to thicken – don’t let it start to boil.  Remove from heat.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl.

Pour the curd into the strainer – this will remove any little bits, and make for a silky smooth curd.  Allow to cool slightly, then pour into the pre-baked graham cracker base.

Bake in the oven (again, at 325 F) until set – about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (stick it in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap to speed up the process).

white chocolate mousse:
Stir chocolate on top of a double boiler over simmering water until it’s melted and smooth.  Remove from the water and heat and whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.  Cool completely (speed up the process by putting it in the fridge – remember to cover it with plastic wrap).
cranberry topping:
In a medium saucepan (and off the heat), whisk the water and the cornstarch until blended.  Add the sugar, honey, and five-spice powder.
Stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
Add cranberries, cook until the mixture boils and berries just begin to pop but still retain their shape, occasionally stirring gently, about 5 minutes.  Cool completely – don’t worry if you think this topping is too thin… it thickens in the fridge.  I decided to cool it overnight … it got nice and thick.
At this point you’re ready to pull the white chocolate mousse from the fridge and gently spread it over the baked and cooled graham cracker base and lemon-lime curd filling.
Before you start cutting – you need to allow this to cool and firm up.  Again, I allowed this to cool overnight in the fridge … bon appétit recommends freezing it for 15 minutes.  You could try that as well :0)
Once set, it’s time to lift it out of the baking pan and then trim the sides … there are two reasons for this: (1) it makes for perfect squares and (2) it allows YOU (the baker) to taste-test.  Nibble on one of those cast-off trim pieces …
Once the trim is removed, you should be able to cut out 16 pieces … if you have a nice little square cookie cutter you would get perfect pieces ;0)  Top with the cranberry topping and serve immediately.  If you aren’t serving right away, don’t top the squares, return them to the fridge and finish assembling them as needed … and if you don’t need the whole lot of them at once, freeze them, uncovered by the cranberry topping in an airtight container.

banana-butterscotch cream tarts

These. are. RIDICULOUS.  Not just a little.  They are majorly ridiculous.

You want to make these.  Today.  Right now.  Seriously.

Remember how enthusiastic I was about those ginger-molasses lemon cookies?  That’s kinda how I feel about this.  Only … they are totally not the same.

Where the cookie is chewy and sweetly tart, these tarts are creamy and sweet.  Really sweet.

Bananas.  Butterscotch.  Whipped cream.  Winner … Oh yes.  Holy heck yes!

I would tweek one thing about this recipe … the size.  Holy heck – 4-inch tarts are too big.  It took 5 of us to eat one.  Mind you we’d all just eaten some monkey bread … but still.  2-inch tarts would do.  They would hit the spot.  They would be perfect to offer on your holiday buffet.  How about you make these for tomorrow night.  You know you want to impress people, but you don’t want to spend another entire day in the kitchen slaving away.  So don’t.  Make these and get outside.  Enjoy the snow.  Or curl up with that book you got for Christmas.  Basically – this is the perfect dessert to make, assemble and then … chillax.

Let’s do it!

Be forewarned – this tart is made in three steps.  Steps one and two can be completed very quickly and can be refrigerated up to 2 days before finishing it.  The third step needs to be done the same day as you are serving this dessert.  So plan accordingly.

fyi – this is another David Lebovitz recipe.  His genius astounds me.  Oh how I heart his book, website, recipes.  I hope you have started to heart him too.

banana – butterscotch cream tarts

ingredients:

crust

1 1/2 c. crushed chocolate cookie crumbs and graham cracker crumbs (combo)

3 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Generously spray your mini tart pans (or a 10-inch pie plate) with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter together.  You’re looking to get a moistened, almost muddy texture (take it from a sandy texture to a muddy one).  If making small individual tarts (12 x 2-inch mini, 5 x 4-inch medium), evenly divide the cookie base between them – patting the mixture into the bottoms and sides of each tart pan.  If making the larger tart, simply pat the mixture evenly across the base of the pie pan and up the sides.

Refrigerate or freeze for 30 minutes.

Bake the crust until it feels slightly firm, about 6 minutes (mini), 8 minutes (medium), and 10 minutes (large).

Let cool completely.

Make the filling.

filling:

1 c. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp cornstartch

1 1/2 c. whole milk

1/2 tsp salt

3 egg yolks, whisked together

2 tsp rum (sailor jerry’s of course)

1 tsp vanilla

3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces

Combine the brown sugar and butter together in a small saucepan.  Stir while the butter melts.  Once melted, pour into a large bowl.  Set a strainer across the top of the bowl.  Set aside.

Grab a small bowl.  Whisk together the cornstarch with just enough of the milk to make a smooth slurry (David’s words … not mine.  Basically you want the cornstarch to dissolve and create a thin paste – similar to thick honey, not tomato paste).

Now … grab your medium saucepan (I promised easy – not easy on the dishes!) and heat the remaining milk and the salt.  When the milk gets hot, stir in the cornstarch – whisking everything together.  Cover over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and boil.  It doesn’t smell great … not at this point anyway.

Whisk a small amount of the milk/cornstarch mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  Whisk quickly and drizzle the warm mixture slowly … it’ll prevent curdling of the egg yolks.  Once tempered, return the egg-yolk mixture into the medium saucepan – returning it to the heat.

Cook, again, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and resembles mayonnaise (thickness).  Pour it through the strainer into the brown-sugar butter mixture (the strainer will catch any of those lumps and curdled pieces).

Add the vanilla and rum.  Whisk to combine.

Scatter the slices of banana in the base of the tart pans.

Pour the butterscotch filling into the crust, covering the bananas.  Cover the tarts and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I left mine overnight).  This is when you should (1) go play outside or (2) curl up with a book.  Relax.  You’re almost done.

When you are ready to serve the tart – work on the topping.  You need to pull out your rum for this portion as well :0)

topping:

1 c. heavy cream

1 tbsp powdered sugar

2 tbsp rum (again… sailor jerry’s)

1 tsp vanilla

chocolate sprinkles to garnish

You haven’t had to use a stand-mixer or hand-mixer yet.  Now you do … unless you’d like to whisk.  If you do – then by all means … giver!

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, whisk the heavy cream on high speed until it begins to forth.  Add the sugar, rum, and vanilla, continuing to whisk until the cream holds peaks.  You want a pretty stiff cream.

Spoon the whipped cream into a large piping bag.  Now pipe each tart … creating a beautiful, creamy topping.  Sprinkle with the chocolate sprinkles.

Done.

Festive and beautiful.  And not too difficult!  In the course of an afternoon you’ve created an amazing dessert AND enjoyed some quality relaxing time.

Brilliant.  Perfect to celebrate the end of 2010 and the beginning of a new year.