So, it’s my birthday tomorrow. Usually I’m one of those really annoying 20-somethings that complains about birthdays being nothing more than reminders of my slow and interminable march toward the grave, but I’m feeling pretty zen this year. Life is good, no complaints here. So, instead of being filled with gloomy thoughts of mortality, I’ve been thinking about what dessert I want to eat on my birthday.
If I had actually gotten lemon and lime trees last year like I had planned to, I would have a wealth of citrus fruits right now that I could turn into delicious citrus-y desserts. I didn’t, of course, so I don’t, and can’t. But Dan’s parents, who are awesome, heard me talking about wanting to cultivate fruit trees and bought us a lemon tree and calamondin tree while they were in Florida last week. So, this time next year I’ll be up to my ears in lemon pies/curds and calamondin cocktails. I can’t wait!
But that brings us back to my present day dilemma: what to do about my birthday dessert? I don’t like birthday cake, I was tired of cupcakes, and I definitely did not have the energy to make anything super complicated. Flipping through my bookmarked recipes yesterday, I was growing increasingly frustrated and considering just buying a fruit tart from Safeway when I stumbled across a recipe for Peanut Butter S’mores Bars on my new favorite food blog. The pictures looked amazing, the ingredients were simple, and the recipe was short and sweet. I had found my birthday dessert.
Since I don’t like peanut butter, I swapped that out and replaced it with Nutella. Fantastic decision. Nutella makes everything more delicious, and in this case elevated an already divine dessert into a something magical. The pictures show the bars being eaten daintily from a plate with a spoon, but that’s all for show. I mostly ate these babies straight out of the pan with my fingers, and each warm, decadent bite left my hands/face just a little more coated in sticky, gooey chocolate-marshmallow filling. Mmmmmmmm. Happy birthday, indeed!
Nutella S’mores Bars (Slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum’s recipe)
– 1 stick margarine, softened
– 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 6 graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs (You can use a food processor, but the method that always works best for me is to stick the crackers in a gallon bag, zip it closed, and crush with a rolling pin.)
– 2 Giant Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, 7 ounces each (Or, 3-1/2 regular sized milk chocolate bars)
– 7 oz marshmallow cream
– 1/2 cup Nutella
(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a square baking dish with parchment paper.
(2) In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until fluffy.
(3) Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
(4) Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt, then stir in the graham cracker crumbs until well incorporated.
(5) Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the baking dish.
(6) Press the chocolate bars on top of the dough. They should make an even layer in an 8×8 pan.
** Using regular sized bars, I was able to get 3 full bars in a row on top of the dough, then broke up 1/2 of another bar to fill in the gaps along the bottom/right side.
(7) Melt Nutella for about 30 seconds in the microwave and gently spread it over the chocolate bars.
(8) Spread the marshmallow cream over the chocolate and Nutella.
(9) Roll the remaining 1/3 dough onto a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. When you’ve made an even square, gently peel it off and press it on top of the marshmallow cream.
** It’s ok if pieces break off or the top looks lumpy — once it’s in the oven everything will bake together and no one will be able to tell you had to cobble together a top layer.
(10) Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
(11) Let cool, then slice and serve.
** The original recipe says that for best serving results, you should let your bars cool for 12 hours or overnight before slicing. There was no way I could wait that long before tasting these, so that’s why mine are a gooey mess while Pinch of Yum’s look pretty and clearly distinguishable between layers. Oh well.