So I was recently discussing the name "s'more" with one of my students. Why is it called a "s'more?" What do those letters have to do with chocolate melting over baked marshmallows and sandwiched between crumbling graham crusts?
"It's because you always want 's'more,'" said he.
"Well, maybe I might want 's'more' beef or 's'more' smoothie," I replied. "It should be called a 'ch-ma-gra' or something that actually relates to the ingredients."
He agreed. We came up with possible acronyms for a while, then moved on to the actual business of our class, which was to write travel pieces. Evoke sensory details. To make the reader feel as if she is in a place, having an experience she has never had.
"When I opened the squeaky broiler drawer, I saw a clean square of flames sitting in my brownie pan. As I had done with so many flaming s'more marshmallows before, I blew as hard as I could into the quickly charring marshmallows adorning my brownies. A few minutes layer, the trash can was a bit stickier and my second attempt at the broiled marshmallow layer was browning to perfection. This time I left it in for only 8 seconds. Soon a dorm full of boys demolished the s'mores brownies, never knowing of my pan-shaped fire. My first ever kitchen fire was over."
Adapted from Mom's Book of Cookies
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup plus 1 TBSP sugar
3 oz (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini-marshmallows or large marshmallows cut into slices
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 176 C. Line an 8 X 8 inch pan with foil.
2. Melt 4 TBSP of the butter and stir into the graham crackers and 1 TBSP of sugar. Press the mixture evenly across the pan, packing it tightly with your fingertips. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown.
3. Put one inch of water in a saucepan and place a stainless steel bowl over the top, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl if you can. Combine the rest of the butter and the chocolate in the bowl, whisking occasionally, until melted. Set aside to cool a little.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
5. Whisk together the remaining sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the chocolate/butter mix and the vanilla. Gently stir in the flour mix until just incorporated. Pour over the graham crust and bake until set in the center, 30-35 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and heat the broiler. Scatter the marshmallows over the top and broil, checking OFTEN until the marshmallows are brown. This could take 8 seconds (my oven) or 1-3 minutes (the oven of my cookbook's author).
Cool on a wire rack. Spray your knife with cooking spray before attempting to cut through the marshmallow layer when you cut your brownies into squares!
Yep, looks like my s'mores used to. Don't let this happen to you! But if it does, just peel off the top layer and try again, like me.