Something strange happens during October… I develop a sweet tooth. Specifically for chocolate candy bars, the kind you find in Halloween variety bags for trick o’ treaters. I decided to make some of my own, but getting inspiration from an all-time favorite summer treat: s’mores. These layered bars feature homemade cinnamon sugar graham crackers, topped with homemade toasted marshmallow, and coated in dark chocolate. The best way to have s’mores whenever you want!
These bars are relatively easy to whip up and would make the best gifts. It’s primarily made in one 9 x 13″ pan, in layers. Really the biggest chore of this recipe is waiting around for things to cool or set! It starts with making a cinnamon graham cracker crust. I made mine rather thick because I wanted to ensure it could support the marshmallow. If you would like a thinner crust, halve the graham cracker recipe and spread it thinner. Or you could make regular graham crackers with the extra!
After the graham crackers cool, you can go ahead and make the marshmallow. Don’t be intimidated by homemade marshmallows, they’re actually rather easy to make! It’ll be extra easy if you have a candy thermometer but it isn’t necessary. The marshmallows take at least 6 hours to set but to make it easier, you can leave them overnight. Halfway through, I toasted the marshmallow in the oven to achieve a slightly toasted taste (like you were roasting them over the fire!).
Once the marshmallows are set, all that’s left is to cut your bars and coat them in a chocolate of your choice! These would be great with a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top as well. You can leave them in the fridge, as the chocolate will ensure the marshmallows don’t harden too much. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (or longer).
S’mores Candy Bars
For the graham cracker crust:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 tbsp cold water
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
For the marshmallow:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup water, for gelatin
- 7 tsp gelatin
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- vegetable shortening
For the chocolate coating:
- 2 10 oz Ghiradelli dark chocolate melting wafers (you may need slightly more)
Make the graham cracker crust:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the pieces of butter and mix well using a pastry cutter or your fingers.
- Add 3 tbsp of water, honey, and vanilla, and stir to combine. If the dough is too dry, add the 4th tbsp of water, and then 1/2 tsp at a time afterward.
- Gather the dough into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9 x 13" pan with parchment paper with an overhang (so you'll be able to pull it out after the marshmallows set). Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge and evenly spread it over the bottom of the pan. Pat down to create an even crust.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Generously sprinkle the mixture over the crust. Using a fork, poke holes across the entire surface.
- Bake for 20-45 minutes, depending on how you prefer your graham crackers. I cooked them closer to 45 minutes, because I wanted them to be rather crunchy. This recipe also makes a thick crust, so make sure to bake them all the way through.
- If you pull the crust out of the oven and you find that the crust is not the right texture (after allowing it to cool), you can always pop it back in the oven.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
Make the marshmallow:
- In a small to medium pot, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until combined.
- Place over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Gently swirl to evenly distribute the heat.
- Cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes. The condensation that will run from the lid will wash away any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot.
- Remove the lid and clip a sugar thermometer to the side of the pot. Let the sugar cook until it reaches about 242-245°F. If you don't have a sugar thermometer, you want it to reach the firm-ball stage. Test it by dropping some of the sugar into a bowl of cold water. It's ready when you are able to form a ball with the sugar (it is NOT ready if the sugar just dissolves).
- Prepare the gelatin while the sugar cooks. Place 1/2 cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) with the whisk attachment. Add gelatin to the water and mix to moisten. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- When the sugar reaches the right stage, remove from heat and allow bubbles to subside. With the mixer running on medium-low (or with a hand mixer), pour the sugar into the gelatin, making sure it runs along the wall of the bowl (you don't want to pour directly into the gelatin, as it'll be too hot).
- Add the salt and increase the mixer to medium-high.
- Whisk on medium-high for 3-5 minutes, until doubled in size and fluffy and smooth. Mix for another 3-5 minutes on high speed, letting the marshmallow grow to 3 times the initial size. Do not mix any longer if the marshmallow cools down.
- Add vanilla extract and whisk for a minute to combine.
- Brush vegetable shortening on the sides of the 9 x 13" pan (the same one the graham cracker crust is in). Brush more shortening on a spatula (and really on anything that'll touch the marshmallow mixture).
- Use the prepared spatula to spread the marshmallow into the 9 x 13" pan. Evenly spread the mixture onto the graham cracker crust.
- Allow the marshmallow to set for about 2-3 hours. Then, broil in the oven until the top is golden brown (you can use a hand torch as well).
- Allow to set for at least another 4-6 hours (letting it sit overnight is the easiest).
Coat in chocolate:
- Once the marshmallow is set, pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment overhang. Place on a cutting board. Brush shortening on a large knife and cut into small squares. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure none of them touch.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Using chopsticks, your fingers, small tongs, or whatnot, coat each bar in chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with each bar.
- Place the bars in the fridge until the chocolate is fully hardened. Enjoy!