When we were kids, every family barbecue ended the same way. We'd run around the backyard looking for long thin sticks and load them up with marshmallows. Then, as the fire on the charcoal grill began to die down, we'd toast them over the glowing embers.
My little brother was all about instant gratification. He'd jam his marshmallows right into the coals, which usually caused them to catch on fire. I, being older and wiser, patiently held my marshmallows over the coals, turning them every few minutes, until they were a nice golden brown. My brother would look at the charred, black blob on his stick, and then at my perfect toasty specimens and turn on the waterworks. What else could I do but share some of mine? As much as I loved toasted marshmallows, I loved my little brother more.
Sometimes, my mother would present us with a box of graham crackers and some Hershey's chocolate bars and we'd make s'mores. What bliss! Seriously, is there anything better than a sticky, gooey toasted marshmallow sitting on top of melty milk chocolate and a crunchy Honey Graham? I think not. And boy, were they messy! After eating them, my dad would have to hose us down before my mother would let us back in the house.
When my daughter was little, she loved s'mores too — and made just as big a mess! Since I wasn't too keen on hosing down my sweet little cherub, or cutting strands of melted white goo out of her mass of golden curls, I came up with a much neater way for her to enjoy s'mores: Indoor S'mores.
Indoor S'mores have all of the essential elements of traditional s'mores — marshmallows, chocolate and graham — but without the mess. They are so ridiculously simple to make, that I'm almost embarrassed to share them with you. But they are also so incredibly good, that I'm willing to risk the humiliation. Actually, they're just an amped-up variation of Rice Krispies Treats, except without the Rice Krispies and with chocolate.
To give these bars their "s'moreness", I use Golden Grahams cereal and milk chocolate chips. I suppose that I could have fancied things up a bit, added bacon or used some exotic fair trade-certified chocolate. You know, to try and impress you. But these are cereal bars, people. Sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone.
Makes approximately 25 bars
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a dab for greasing the pan
1 10.5-ounce bag miniature marshmallows
1 12-ounce box Golden Grahams cereal
1 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and stir, stir, stir until marshmallows have melted. Remove the pot from the heat and mix in the cereal and 1/2 of the chocolate chips. The chips will melt a little and that's okay.
2. Press the mixture into a lightly buttered 9-inch square pan. Gently press until evenly distributed and slightly compacted. Set aside to cool.
3. When completely cooled, melt the rest of the chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars and let set until firm.
4. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.