Brits don’t really do s’mores, that all American sweet treat. Probably because camping in the UK is about as far removed from the idyllic “camp” experience that we are told in countless movies that American kids have, where they spend the entire summer out in sprawling, evergreen woods, building rafts, going on treks and toasting marshmallows on the campfire as everyone sings or tells ghost stories.
I may have watched too much American TV, and been seduced by this glorious idea.
As anyone who knows me in real life will tell you – there’s absolutely no sodding way I’ll be found out in the woods with all the bugs and dirt but thankfully, with my S’mores Brownies, I can get a little taste of the American “camp” experience whilst watching American Pie on Netflix in the safety and cleanliness of my kitchen 😉
Now in case you don’t have the same obsession with all things American as I do, let me tell you what s’mores are. They are Graham crackers (which are a slightly less sweet version of our beloved Digestive biscuits here in the UK) sandwiched with a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate.
Gooey, sticky and super sweet. You can imagine why kids love them! Toasting a marshmallow on a long fork over a campfire is definitely on my bucket list. The reason s’mores are so named is that a kid who first tried one apparently asked for “some more” and being overcome with greedy marshmallow lust, it came out “s’mores” and there you have it.
The thing with using a biscuit base for a brownie in the same way as you do for cheesecake, i.e. crushed biscuits with extra melted butter compacted into a tin, they don’t slice terribly well. Instead, I mix up a simple vanilla cookie dough and bake the brownie layer on top.
You need to chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes before baking but it really is worth the extra effort. It rises beautifully and you get a gorgeous lightness from the cookie, which is much needed against my extra rich and chocolatey brownie layer.
Use really dark chocolate for a grown up bitter edge. When baked, I let the marshmallows melt onto the hot brownie layer and leave it overnight (oh the torture – you can imagine the smell!) and they form one single layer of melty marshmallow goodness.
Talking of marshmallow goodness, this recipe was inspired by the Caramel Latte Marshmallows my blogging friend Mary has on her site – after I made a great big batch of these incredible ‘mallows, the idea for my s’mores brownies came into being. They are superb.
Mary adds some espresso powder to the mix and folds caramel in to give a ripple of richness throughout. I add some vanilla to give a vanilla latte vibe and as we don’t have light corn syrup here in the UK (at least, not domestically), I used Golden Syrup in it’s place.
Once toasted, the coffee and caramel flavour comes through beautifully and pairs extremely well against the cookie and chocolate layers (my brownies are more semi-set choccie than cakey). You can of course buy a bag of marshmallows but if you have the time, get whisking. They are easy peasy to make and I bet kids would love making their own! Maybe without the coffee though 😉
Thick and rich fudgy chocolate brownies with a vanilla cookie base and toasted marshmallow top.
- 125 g soft butter
- 175 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg (whole)
- 1 large egg yolk (save the white for the brownie layer)
- 250 g plain flour
- 200 g soft butter
- 175 g dark chocolate
- 100 g caster sugar
- 175 g soft brown sugar (muscovado if liked)
- 3 large eggs (whole plus the white reserved from the cookie layer)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 140 g plain flour
- 1/2 batch caramel latte marshmallows* (or about a 200g pack of bought marshmallows)
Grease and line a 9 inch square tin with baking parchment.
Start by beating the butter and sugar until well combined then beat in the vanilla. Next, beat in the whole egg and the egg yolk (keep the white aside for now) and then fold in the flour. Dollop into your prepared cake tin and chill for thirty minutes.
When chilled, preheat the oven to 180˚C and set a shelf no higher than half way up in your oven - you don't want the brownie to burn.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan over low to medium heat then whisk in the sugars. Take off the heat.
Beat in the 3 large eggs and the reserved egg white, followed by the vanilla. Fold in the flour. Pour on top of the chilled cookie dough layer then bake for 35-40 minutes until the brownie layer is dry on top but a skewer has one or two damp crumbs on it when inserted into the centre. It will rise very well.
Whilst still hot, cover the surface of the brownies with marshmallows and leave in the tin until absolutely stone cold. They will start to melt and form a nice even layer by the time it's cold.
When cold and the marshmallow layer is set, take it out of the tin, remove the baking parchment and using a blow torch, lightly toast your marshmallows. This should take seconds only. If you don't have a blowtorch, do this under a hot grill (broiler) - set the brownies now further away than 2 inches and stand and watch. The marshmallows will colour very quickly.
When cold, the marshmallow will be firm enough to slice. Slice up your brownies using a very sharp knife that you have carefully oiled, wiping as needed. They slice very well. Dig in!
*= I can highly recommend my friend Mary's marshmallow recipe here - the coffee note is very good against the chocolate and sweetness of the mallow. Note that for UK readers, use golden syrup in place of the light corn syrup - it is oh so good here!
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