It had been ages since I’d done any baking, and this was a great recipe for a return to it. I saw these bars in Food and Wine magazine back in April and made a mental note that I must try them. Anything of or related to s’mores is an easy sell on me. Whether it’s fancy s’mores with homamde graham crackers and marshmallows with divine varieties of chocolate, s’mores cookies, or any other similar concoction, I’m game. I deemed the 4th of July a good occasion for all-American S’mores Bars and brought these along to a party. The recipe is from Cheryl and Griffith Day of Back in the Day Bakery fame, and it’s definitely a keeper. I had my fears going into this project. I wasn’t sure the meringue would hold up after the bars were cut. I was sure I’d have drooping, sliding meringue that wouldn’t stay where it belonged on each bar. I was also a little uncertain about the fudgy chocolate layer since it’s baked just to the point of jiggliness. Again, I imagined a possible runny mess upon cutting. And, I was wrong on all counts. The bars cut easily enough and everything stayed just where it should. It was actually a very fun recipe to make especially since I got to use one of my most favorite kitchen tools: the torch.
There are a few steps to making the bars. First, the crust was made by pressing a mix of graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and a little salt into a nine-inch baking pan lined with foil. It’s important to line the pan with foil to make it easy to remove the finished bars before cutting. The crust was baked and cooled. Next, the filling was made by melting butter and chocolate together in a double-boiler. Sugar, vanilla, and salt were whisked into the chocolate mixture followed by two eggs. Flour was folded in, and the batter was poured over the crust. This was baked for about 25 minutes until the edges were set, and it was left to cool completely. Last, the meringue was made by whisking egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water until the sugar dissolved. I used the mixer bowl and then transferred it to the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Vanilla and cream of tartar were added, and the meringue was whipped until firm. Swooping meringue about and making curlicues is almost as much fun as pulling out the kitchen torch and browning the swirls. Once I’d had enough fun torching the meringue, I removed the whole block from the pan and cut it into bars. It helps to rinse off the knife between each cut to keep the edges slightly neater.
As I tasted one of these glorious bars, I wondered how many tries it took for the recipe developers to arrive at the perfect balance of crust to chocolate filling to meringue topping. I wouldn’t change a single thing. I predict this will be an often-used recipe.