It’s spring, which means it’s almost summer, which means it’s almost camping season, which means we’re thinking about s’mores. Okay, we’re always thinking about s’mores — the sticky, nostalgic campout treat made of fire-roasted marshmallows, melted chocolate, and graham crackers. It’s a classic combination that we’ve learned is made even better with the addition of some dark beer.
The beer we use for this grown-up s’mores recipe is Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Crème Brûlée Stout, which is brewed with vanilla beans. On its own, the beer is a bit too sweet for our tastes, but in this recipe (and paired alongside the finished product) it truly adds to the overall s’moresiness of the dish. We pour the beer into the chocolate brownie layer mix for a rich, smoky sweetness. The end result is a sweet, slightly salty, crunchy, chewy dessert bar that will blow your mind — whether you’re camping out in the woods or on the couch.
For the crust:
1 package graham crackers (about 9 full crackers)
¼ cup sugar
½ tablespoon kosher salt
½ cup melted butter
For the brownie mix:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1⅓ cup sugar
¾ cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, but use if you want to amplify that vanilla flavor in the beer)
¼ cup Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout (or other dark stout)
1⅓ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
24 individually-wrapped Ghirardelli Squares (we prefer the dark and sea salt caramel but any will do)
24 jumbo marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350º F and prepare a 9×13 pan by slathering it with about 2 tablespoons of soft butter.
Begin by making the graham crust. Crush up the graham crackers (either by hand or with a food processor) and add them to a mixing bowl with the salt, sugar, and melted butter. Squish together with your (clean!) hands until the mixture resembles wet sand. Push the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake, uncovered, for 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a new mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla (if using), and beer. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and then add that mixture to the wet ingredients in three portions, mixing in between each addition until just combined. Pour the brownie mixture over the graham crust.
Gently push the chocolate squares about a half inch down into the brownies in a 6 x 4 pattern. Bake, uncovered, for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Add one marshmallow directly on top of each square of chocolate. Return the dish to the oven under the broiler and let the marshmallows expand and brown for about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch closely or else the marshmallows will ignite — trust us, we know from experience.
Remove the pan and allow the brownies to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces, so each has its own square of melted chocolate in the center and a browned marshmallow on top. Serve with more of the beer and enjoy.