I love to make complicated multifaceted desserts, the kind that require careful planning and preparation, the kind that will definitely impress the crowd. But it's also great to just be able to quickly toss a few ingredients together and still get the delicious aroma of fresh baked goods wafting out of the oven and through the house. Plus, the child-like simplicity of a brownie or S'mores bar can't help but make me smile. Here are some other things that always make me smile:
Puppies, especially my dog Tsuki
Little girls on Halloween
A beautiful sunrise over the ocean
A happy baby
And, p.s., here's something that definitely makes me smile: did you know that marshmallow fluff is vegetarian? Hooray! Jello was the first meat product I gave up when I was little. I couldn't believe gelatin was an animal product. In my 17+ years of vegetarianism, though, gelatin is the only meat product I have ever ingested (knowingly anyway). It's everywhere! Infuriating...
S’More Cookie Bars (adapted from Baking Bites)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
12 ounces chocolate chips (or 2 giant-sized Hershey's chocolate bars)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff (not melted marshmallows)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with baking spray. I usually use a glass pan.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. Press about 2/3 - 3/4 of the dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.
Scatter the chocolate chips evenly over the dough.
Spread the marshmallow fluff over the chocolate chips - this is harder than it sounds as the fluff wants to pull up the chocolate chips. Luckily this is the hardest step of the whole recipe. You can replace the chocolate chips with 2 giant sized (bigger than king-size) Hershey's chocolate bars which are heavier and therefore more stable under the fluff.
Scatter the remaining dough in clumps across the top of the chocolate chips. Don't leave any big gaps.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool completely before cutting into bars (though I think they are best still warm and gooey).