I’m not a big marshmallow person, but who doesn’t love a s’more? My family is mostly vegetarian, and we only rarely eat seafood and free-range chicken. I often get the question why I’m vegetarian, and it’s because my mom raised me that way. She believes in ethically raised food, which means free-range chicken. We also avoid animal products in general, such as leather, fur, and gelatin. Gelatin is found in marshmallows and lots of gummy candies, so I didn’t really eat those growing up, except for gelatin-free marshmallows. A lot of the time when I was younger I didn’t really think about it and ate gummy candies outside the house, but recently I’ve started abiding more strictly by my mom’s standards. Most s’mores bars recipes call for marshmallow fluff, which I’m not sure if it contains gelatin or not. It’s also an extremely processed food, and something about marshmallow fluff in a jar throws me off, so I decided to make my own for these bars. This is pretty much my own original recipe, very roughly based on these bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Instead of marshmallow fluff, I made a marshmallow meringue, which is less dense and less chewy than marshmallow fluff. I like the fact that it’s not too sticky, so it doesn’t stick everywhere, including your face, when you bite into it. In an attempt to prevent the meringue from getting weighed down by the top layer of dough, I didn’t chop the milk chocolate kisses, and balanced the top layer of dough on the tips of the kisses in order to provide support. Due to the more airy nature of the meringue, it did still disappear a bit during the baking, but a thin layer of fluffy white remained, so I consider this recipe a success!
½ cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed (could be reduced to 1/3)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for sprinkling (about 5 crackers, plus one more for the sprinkling)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
25 Hershey’s milk chocolate kisses
1 egg white
1/2 cup white sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with aluminum foil and grease.
Cream the butter and brown sugar in a medium-large bowl. Add the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined.
Spread ¾ of the dough evenly in the pan and top with the kisses, pressing each slightly into the dough.
Whip the egg white to stiff peaks using an electric mixer. Make sure there is no yolk, oil, or anything else in the egg white or the bowl, or it will not form peaks. Once stiff peaks form, fold in the white sugar until combined. Spread the marshmallow meringue evenly over the bars and chocolate kisses.
Divide the remaining dough into 25 small balls and flatten. Place one flattened round over each chocolate kiss. The support of the kiss will make sure the marshmallow meringue is able to rise. Sprinkle the reserved graham cracker crumbs over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the marshmallow meringue is puffy and the bars are golden brown. Let cool, then cut into bars.
There’s some marshmallow meringue peeking through!