It's the Friday before July 4th!!! Have you planned out your menu yet? Do you make a big deal over this most patriotic of holidays or keep it low key? Tell me--I love to hear how other people celebrate! For this edition of Famous Fridays, as our thoughts turn back to the American Revolution now over 200 years ago, I thought it would be fitting to take a revolutionary turn on S'mores, that most classic of BBQ treats and at the same time, highlight the Food Network, the cable channel that has "revolutionized" the way we think of cooking here in the good old USA.
It's hard to believe it's been over 20 years that the Food Network has been in existence. What the heck did we watch before then?! From Chopped to Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to the Pioneer Woman to The Next Food Network Star, Americans are hooked with the network that is totally devoted to how and what we eat. Say what you will and I'm sure there's plenty of valid criticism out there, but you can't deny that FN has made cooking infinitely more popular than it was 20 years ago and provided a lot of people with some very lucrative careers!
But enough talk--it's time to eat and believe me, people will want to eat these amazing S'mores brownies. They're like ordinary s'mores on steroids and not hard to make at all! Here's how:
First you press a simple graham cracker crust into an 8x8 pan lined with aluminum foil and bake.
Once that's done, you make a very simple brownie batter (you can use this recipe or substitute it with your own favorite), pour it over the baked graham cracker crust and bake that too.
Now comes the exciting part! Once the brownies are done, you layer an entire bag of marshmallows over the top of the cooked brownies, wedging them in if necessary and then toasting them under the broiler for a few minutes, so that they get gooey and melted and perfectly browned, just the way they would if you roasted them on a barbecue!
What you wind up with is a triple layer threat of graham cracker crust, rich chocolate brownie and gooey marshmallow top--a S'more, yet not a S'more. Plus you can make these ahead and they're easily portable, which makes them perfect for any weekend picnics, beach outings or get-togethers when you crave s'mores but can't actually make them. Revolutionary, no?
So hats off to the Food Network for this delightful twist on our favorite national treat and for other great recipes and food-related entertainment as well! And hats off to all of you readers who make writing this blog so satisfying and fun for me! Have a wonderful, happy, yummy and safe July 4th!!
Food Network's S'mores Brownies-Famous Fridays
Makes about 20-24 small brownies (these are pretty rich, so you want to cut them fairly small)
Prep Time: 40 minutes; Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 10-12 graham crackers)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
For the Brownie layer
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4-5 pieces
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, cold
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Marshmallow topping
- 4 cups large marshmallows ( I used 1 large bag)
1. Make sure oven rack is in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil, making sure it hangs over the sides.
2. To make the crust: Brush the foil in the pan with a little bit of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, stir the rest of the butter with the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup to push it down all over to achieve an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. While crust is baking, prepare the brownie batter. Place the butter and chocolate in the top of double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir every now and then until completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir in both the sugars, the vanilla and the salt. Add the eggs and stir vigorously until batter is thick and glossy. Add the flour and stir just until incorporated.
4. As soon as crust is done, remove it from the oven and pour the brownie batter over it. Smooth the top and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the top is crispy and cracked and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.
5. Move the rack to about 6 inches away from the broiler and turn on the broiler. Layer the marshmallows across the top of the baked brownies, wedging any in if necessary. Place the pan under the broiler and toast for 1-2 minutes until marshmallows start to turn golden brown. Watch carefully--these can go from brown to burnt in a matter of seconds! You may need to turn the pan around halfway through the broiling time so that all the marshmallows get evenly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
6. Use aluminum foil overhang to remove brownies from the pan. Carefully peel away the marshmallows from the foil and transfer brownies to a cutting board. Cut into small squares and serve. Brownies can be made 1 day ahead and stored, well-wrapped at room temperature.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Food Network.