In Canada the May Long Weekend is our summer safe zone. Gardeners move plants outside, people bring boxes of summer clothes up from the basement, and the most optimistic among us go camping (and it almost always snows for them). May Long Weekend was last weekend, and I’ve been daydreaming about camping for months now. And that’s where these amazing brownies come in. They help bridge the gap between now and true s’mores season, and they’re still amazing enough to take camping for those moments when you don’t have a campfire going.
These beauties are triple-decked dangers, but they’re surprisingly easy to make—yes, even the homemade marshmallow topping. You’ll want to set aside at least an hour to pull everything together, but once the marshmallow topping is on, all that’s left is to toast it under the broiler just before serving, and wait for the praise to pour in.
Start with the graham cracker crust. While that’s baking, pull together your brownie batter. This is a nice, easy brownie batter—you’ll only really need one saucepan, and there’s no fussing with melted chocolate.
And then, while the brownie bakes, it’s time to make the marshmallow. If you want to spread this out a bit more it’s probably a good idea to let the brownie cool to room temperature after baking before topping it with wonderfully fluffy marshmallow, but I couldn’t be fussed to do that, and it still turned out brilliantly.
Then we’ll let the whole thing set for two hours or so whilst you prepare and eat a healthy dinner (being sure to save room for dessert, of course). Just before serving, remove the entire thing from the pan (three cheers for parchment paper here), peel away the parchment, and slide the brownie onto a cookie sheet. Pop it under the broiler for 30 seconds(ish) until the top of the marshmallow is golden and delicious looking. Then, slice, serve, and float off into nirvana. You’re welcome.
Graham Cracker Crust
1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
170g (¾ cup) butter
56g (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee powder
330g (1 2/3 cups) white sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks (save the whites for the marshmallow)
1 tsp vanilla extract
128g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
4 tbsp gelatin
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup water
2 cups white sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
¾ cup water
2 egg whites, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8″ square pan with two 8″ wide stripe of parchment paper so it hangs over on all edges, like this:
Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together in a small bowl, and press them into the bottom of the parchment lined pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are a bit golden.
Set the pan on a cooling rack—it’s time to make the brownie!
Leave the oven preheated to 350°F.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and remove from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa, coffee powder, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in the egg and yolks one at a time. Stir in the flour in three separate additions.
Dollop the batter over the graham cracker crust. You won’t really be able to spread it or it’ll tear up the crust, so drop blobs of batter around and let them ooze into one another. Smooth it out as best you can and then bake the brownie for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with moist, clumpy bits stuck to it. Set on a rack to cool.
Now, you can get started on the marshmallow while the brownie bakes, but I’d only recommend doing that if you’ve got a kitchen helper, and if you’ve made marshmallows before. If you haven’t, let the brownie bake up and make the marshmallow while it cools. The timing is a bit tight if you don’t have help and/or aren’t sure what you’re doing.
Combine ¾ cup water with the gelatin and the vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat to dissolve the gelatin in the liquid and keep heated.
Combine the remaining ¾ cup water, white sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan, preferably one with high sides. Heat until the sugar dissolves, and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil until the thermometer reads 250°F (121°C). Do not stir—disturbing the mixture will encourage it to re-crystallize, which will result in a rock hard clump of sugar that will be really hard to clean up. The syrup will hold at boiling, 100°C (212°F), for quite a while before heating further as all the water evaporates off.
While the sugar mixture burbles away, beat the two egg whites in a clean glass or metal bowl until they form medium-stiff peaks.
When the sugar mixture reaches 250°F (121°C), whisk in the gelatin mixture. Be careful when doing this, as the temperature difference will cause the mixture to burble up like mad. You need to work quickly at this point. With the beaters running, slowly add the sugar/gelatin mixture to the egg whites, beating until the mixture is thick and silky—it’ll take a while (at least 5–10 minutes).
At this point you should have the brownie out of the oven, cooling (or cooled) on a rack. Dump the beaten, silky marshmallow goo overtop of it, spread it out, and let it set for at least two hours.
Before serving, remove the entire brownie from the pan using the handles of the parchment. Peel away the parchment and discard it. Carefully transfer the entire brownie to a metal cookie sheet, and pop the whole thing under your broiler to toast the marshmallow. Watch it carefully, it will go from golden to torched very quickly.