Fall is a lovely season, and we’re all very excited about the whole pumpkin spice world domination thing. However, if you, like me, are still clinging to the sunshine and blue skies, hoping for one more summer heat wave, I’ve got something for you. Let’s send summer out in style with a fancied-up, apartment-friendly take on the campfire classic: the s’more.
If you’ve visited any bakery, coffee shop, macaron parlor, or other sweet-centric establishment in the last few months, you may have noticed s’mores-inspired confections popping up all over the place. Maybe it’s a bit of summer camp nostalgia, or perhaps the combination of melted chocolate, toasted marshmallows, and graham cracker is simply unbeatable. The s’mores obsession hit me hard this summer, but since my campfire access is limited here in Manhattan, I was reduced to toasting marshmallows skewered on a chopstick over the stove. That happened more times than I care to admit, and after setting a chopstick or two on fire, I decided a different approach might be in order.
Combining the flavors of a s’more with another childhood classic, the rice crispy treat, seemed like a great solution to my s’moresy woes. The first time I made a batch of these “S’morecrispies,” as I nicknamed them, I was completely in love. I even murmured “S’morescrispies” in my husband’s ear before falling asleep that night, but he knew it meant love. After many tests of various marshmallow toasting strategies and research on the best fluff to ‘mallow ratios (**see note below**), I would like to present you with an EVEN BETTER version of these treats.
I’m not the first to add s’more flavors to rice crispy treats, but my recipe includes a few extras that take these treats from Styrofoam-y to soft, gooey, salty-sweet treats swirled with plenty of chocolate—and a hidden layer of toasted marshmallow. It’s a beautiful thing. The first boost in flavor comes from browning the butter, a simple extra step pays major dividends in the flavor department and gives the treats a hint of salted caramel flavor. I’ve also found that using marshmallow fluff as well as marshmallows helps the treats stay soft. As for adding a layer of chocolate and toasted marshmallows in the middle, well, why wouldn’t you?
S’mores Crispy Treats
Tip: Kraft’s Jet-Puffed brand of marshmallows now makes what they’ve dubbed “Stacker-Mallows,” which are basically flattened large marshmallows. I used these for my layer of marshmallows in the middle, and they were super easy to work with. You could also use regular large or mini marshmallows.
For a 9×13 inch pan
- 16 tblsp. (2 sticks) butter, unsalted
- 16 oz. marshmallow fluff
- 10 oz (one bag) mini marshmallows
- 4 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
- 18 graham crackers (this was two sleeves of the brand I used)
- 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 heaping tsp. salt, preferably kosher
- additional marshmallows to layer across your baking dish (I used about ¾ of a 10 oz. bag
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat your oven’s broiler on its highest setting. Grease 9×13 pan with a light coat of cooking spray or butter; set aside.
- Measure crisp rice cereal into a large bowl. Break graham crackers into small bits, none larger than a quarter; the easiest way to do this is to smash them up with your hands before taking them out of the plastic sleeve. You can also use the bottom of a mug or a rolling pin to crush them. Add to rice cereal and stir to combine. (Usually, I skip these “mix the dry ingredients” steps, but this step will make adding the cereal and cookie bits to the marshmallow while it’s still soft much easier.)
BONUS TIP: Using a large pan for the melting the butter and marshmallows means you can pour everything else in there later, then only clean up one sticky item.
- In a large (5 qt or bigger) pan, melt butter over medium low heat, stirring often and scrapping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or a stiff heat-proof spatula. The butter will melt slowly, then begin to foam and brown. As soon as it begins to brown and smell nutty, add salt, reduce heat to lowest setting and add marshmallow fluff, a bag of mini marshmallows, and vanilla. Stir until combined and with a few small marshmallow lumps remaining. Pour in cereal and graham cracker blend, and stir until well combined. Sprinkle with 1 cup milk chocolate chips and all dark or semi-sweet chips. Stir until just combined—more chocolate will be concentrated in some areas and that’s okay.
- While still warm, press half of the mixture into greased pan. Top with reserved 1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips (feel free to use more if you like—I don’t think anyone will mind). Layer marshmallows evenly over chocolate chips and place pan under broiler. Marshmallows will toast quickly, so keep a close watch on them. I found that moving the pan’s position under the broiler about every minute, shifting from one side to the other, helped the ‘mallows brown evenly. When marshmallows are dark golden brown, remove from oven (use hot pads! That pan is scorching hot around the edges now!) and carefully (remember, hot!) top with remaining rice crispy mixture. Press the marshmallowy rice crispy and graham goodness over the toasted marshmallow layer, packing down to bind layers together.
S’mores Crispy Treats can be served immediately for extra-gooey goodness or will keep covered in plastic wrap for up to five days.
**HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC NOTES on Marshmallow Types/Torching/Toasting/Etc.**
Those of you who care deeply precise methods of marshmallow toasting and torching may be happy to know that this recipe went through rounds of stringent testing. Aided by my lovely assistant Brenda, I compared the merits of Marshmallow Fluff and regular Jet-Puffed Marshmallows in the hidden marshmallow layer. Both options were tested for their flavor, texture, and overall deliciousness in two preparations of S’mores Crispy Treats.
We tried toasting both the Fluff and the regular marshmallows two ways: under the broiler in the oven and with a torch (because if you have one, you are always looking for new ways to use it). The Fluff is a bit messy to work with, while the marshmallows—especially the flat “Stackers”—are super simple. And while torching the marshmallows is great fun, both Fluff & ‘mallows blackened very quickly, providing a nice toasty flavor, but not as much as we expected. And because they were only blasted with quick heat, the regular ‘mallows stayed firm with no change in texture.
Under the broiler, the Fluff toasted somewhat unevenly, still leaving us wanting more marshmallowy flavor. The regular marshmallows, however, puffed up and toasted to a lovely golden brown. Any uneven toasting is easily remedied by rotating your pan under the broiler. And the slower, even heat from the broiler softened the ‘mallows, giving us that perfect, ooey-gooey toasted marshmallow layer. But keep an eye on them, they toast fast.
VERDICT: Sometimes the simplest method is the best. I love it when that happens! Spreading a layer of marshmallows over the crispy treats and popping them under the broiler yielded the best texture AND flavor. You can use minis or large ‘mallows, but the Stackers make it super easy.