S’mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Happy fall, y’all! I know it hasn’t really felt like fall, at least here in central Illinois, but technically it is and that means bonfires and making s’mores and drinking hot cocoa! Sometimes having a bonfire isn’t feasible but thankfully there are about as many variations as there are leaves to rake.  Take these S’mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats, for example.  They have all the ingredients of a traditional s’more without the requirement of fire.  This recipe makes a lot of treats so it’s perfect for taking to festive fall gatherings.

S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

S’mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats
slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 10.5-ounce packages mini marshmallows, divided use
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
7 cups crisped rice cereal
9 full graham cracker sheets, chopped into small pieces
1 cup milk chocolate chips
optional: about 1.5 – 2 cups of mini marshmallows and about 1/2-cup of milk chocolate chips (sorry, I didn’t measure, just sprinkled them on)

What To Do
Spray with non-stick spray and/or spread some softened butter along the sides and bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and set aside.

In a large pan, melt butter over low heat.

Set aside 2 cups marshmallows.  Add the rest of the marshmallows to the pan and stir until completely melted.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Gradually add crisped rice cereal and graham cracker crumbs; stirring until well coated.  Fold in the reserved 2 cups of marshmallows and chocolate chips until thoroughly incorporated.

Using a buttered spatula, or clean hands, firmly press the mixture into the prepared pan.

If desired, top with additional mini marshmallows and place on the center rack of the oven.  Turn the broiler on low and broil for about 5 minutes, watching carefully, until the marshmallows have browned to your liking.  Remove from oven and sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top.

Cool completely before cutting and serving.

My Comments
The bags of mini marshmallows I bought were 10 oz each.

9 full sheets of graham crackers is one full sleeve of crackers that come 3 sleeves in a box – I think this is pretty standard.

I both sprayed my pan and spread butter in it and it was super easy to get the bars out.

I think next time I will also sprinkle some chopped graham crackers on top.  I couldn’t really taste them in the bars and I think extra on top would look nice and give an extra graham cracker flavor boost.

Some Photos Along the Way
Butter and mini marshmallows melting together
S'mores Marshmallow Rice Crispy Treats

Stirring in cereal and graham crackers
S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Adding mini marshmallows and chocolate chips
S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

The mixture pressed into the pan
S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Extra mini marshmallows on top
S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Turning the broiler on
S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Extra chocolate chips sprinkled on top
S'mores Marshmallow Crispy Treats

 

All I can say is YUMMY! I recently took these to a family function (where there was no bonfire) and they were a big hit.  So if you can’t have a real s’more, try this twist and I think you’ll be happy!

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

AHHH! It’s the last day of August! Time to prepare for fall, even though this week is to be very hot and humid here.  We’ve been enjoying some very fall-like weather, which has been great (except for my garden deciding to pretty much be done for the season) and I was recently given a bag of apples from my friend’s tree.  I wasn’t really anticipating anything apple-related for another couple of weeks but whatcha gonna do? I was actually kinda sad because my counter wasn’t full of some kind of produce so I welcomed the apples and got busy.

And boy am I glad.  These Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars are wonderful!!! When it really is fall, I think I’ll make these every day.  Well, maybe not every day….but I sure would like to eat one every day.  These bars scream fall goodness.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Yup, see those layers? A wonderful crust, topped with cheesecake, topped with spiced apples, topped with streusel, topped with caramel? It doesn’t get much better than this! I just made a half recipe but next time I’m making the whole thing!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
from Our Best Bites (the bars) and the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion (the caramel)

Ingredients
Bars – Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter (12 tablespoons), cubed

Bars – Filling
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Bars – Streusel
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), cubed

1/3 c caramel sauce

Caramel Sauce
You can buy caramel sauce to drizzle on top but I chose to make some.  There are several recipes out there, but I chose to make one from my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.  In fact, it’s the same as the Caramel Frosting recipe I posted a while back – just don’t do the last step of adding powdered sugar.

What To Do
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  In a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  Press into a well-greased 13×9 baking pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.  Spread over crust.

In a small bowl, toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar; spoon over cream cheese layer.  In another bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and oats; cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over apple layer.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set.  Drizzle with caramel topping; cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour.  (OR reserve caramel for later.  They can be served without caramel sauce, or sauce can be drizzled on before serving. ) Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

My Comments
I lined my pan with foil and sprayed the foil with non-stick cooking spray.  That way it’s so easy to just lift out of the pan and makes it super easy to cut into bars.

In the streusel, I used old-fashioned oats.

I made half the caramel recipe and chose to reserve it to drizzle on as needed.  It does thicken up after cooling so just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and it will be drizzle-ready.

Some Photos Along the Way
Crust Ingredients
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Dicing the Apples
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Adding the Cheesecake Layer
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

The Apple Layer
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

The Streusel Layer
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Sauce
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Drizzle Time
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

 

I am always sad to see summer go but I do enjoy fall produce like apples.  My counter won’t be empty for long.  More apples and pears and squash are all coming soon.  I think I’ll sit back and enjoy this time between summer and fall produce with another Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bar and a good book.

Have a great week!

Lemon Meringue Bars

Can you believe it’s August already? To me, August means the “dog days of summer” have arrived.  We now need a refreshing treat more than ever.  I know you may not want to turn your oven on, but trust me, these Lemon Meringue Bars are worth it.  A cross between lemon bars and lemon meringue pie, this treat really hits the spot.

 
Lemon Meringue Bars

 

Lemon Meringue Bars
from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients
Crust
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)

Filling
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
grated rind (zest) from 2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Topping
3 large egg whites (from above)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan; line the pan with parchment paper or foil, with the edges of the paper going up the sides.

To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in half the dry ingredients, then add the egg yolks. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough comes together.

Pat the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the oven.

To make the filling: Combine the condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice, stirring until blended. The mixture will thicken slightly. Spread it on the cooled crust and set aside.

To make the topping: In a clean bowl with clean beaters or whisk, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until foamy. With the mixer running, add the sugar gradually and beat until thick, and the whites hold a medium peak.

Spread or pipe the meringue over the filling, and return the bars to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, loosen the ends of the bars from the pan, and use the parchment or foil to lift the whole recipe straight up out of the pan onto a cutting surface. Now the bars will be much easier to cut into squares.

My Comments
I made this in stages and it worked out really well.  I made the crust one day.  The next day made the filling and kept it in the fridge.  The next day I made the meringue and assembled everything and baked.

When patting the crust dough into the pan, I found it worked a lot better if my hands were wet.  That kept the dough from sticking to my hands.

For the topping, I spread the meringue on top with an offset spatula.  Then I used the back of a spoon to make little peaks all over by lowering the back of the spoon onto the meringue then lifting up quickly.

Some Photos Along the Way
Lemon Meringue Bars

Lemon Meringue Bars

Lemon Meringue Bars

Lemon Meringue Bars

Lemon Meringue Bars

Lemon Meringue Bars

Lemon Meringue Bars

 

Get ready to pucker up for this refreshing summer dessert.  Lemony goodness all around.  Have a great weekend!

S’more Granola Bars

For a lot of people, summer means travel.  Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a road trip across the country or even a trip overseas, you’ll need sustenance.  I’m only going a couple hours away for a day and felt the need to have snacks ready.  I know I’m not the only snack packer out there.  I love a good snack.  Snacks keep you going.  And these S’more Granola Bars hit the spot for sure.  I’ve made these a few times now and have loved them each time.

Gooey marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers all in a easy-to-pack, easy-to-eat bar.  What more could you ask for when you’re on the go?

 

S'more Granola Bars

 

S’more Granola Bars
from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients
6 T unsalted butter
1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
6 T golden syrup, maple syrup or dark corn syrup
2 1/4 c rolled oats
1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1 c semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 c miniature marshmallows or 1 c marshmallow creme

What To Do
In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, melt and stir together the butter, sugar and syrup, cooking until the sugar has dissolved.

Stir in the oats, flour, salt and graham crackers crumbs.

Press slightly more than half of the mixture into a lightly greased 9×9-inch pan.  Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top, then the marshmallows.  If using marshmallow creme, oil your fingers and a spoon and drop by teaspoonfuls evenly over the chocolate chips.

Top with the remaining crust mixture.  Bake the bars for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them rest for 20 minutes, then cut into squares while still slightly warm.

My Comments
For the syrup, I used maple syrup.

I used miniature M-n-M’s instead of chocolate chips, just because…

I lined my baking dish with foil so it’d be easy to take the bars out and then slice them with a large knife.  I sprayed the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

I let mine rest for more than 20 minutes – it still seems pretty hot so I waited.  I still didn’t get a super clean cut but these taste so good, I don’t really care!

Some Photos Along the Way
S'more Granola Bars

S'more Granola Bars

S'more Granola Bars

S'more Granola Bars

S'more Granola Bars

 

I can’t wait to eat these and am so happy they’ll be available to munch on during my tiny little excursion.  Happy snacking, my friends!!

Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Hello! First and foremost, Happy Veteran’s Day! A big thank you to all you veteran’s out there! If it weren’t for you, our lives would be much different.  And I, for one, am very thankful for all the blessings in my life that come from such freedom.

Over the weekend I was able to get to the farmer’s market and purchased two pie pumpkins.  I’m now all set to make all kinds of pumpkin goodness.  If you’ve never made your own pumpkin purée, be sure and check out my step-by-step post on how to do so.  Today I decided to try something new and made these granola bars.  Everyone needs a good seasonal snack, right? I think these could possibly double as breakfast too!

 

Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

 

Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
slightly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients
3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (want to make your own?)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin purée (want to make your own?)
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries

What To Do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

My Comments
I would wait more than 5 minutes to cut into bars.  I think I waited about 10 and they were still fairly warm and I didn’t get a clean cut.

These are the chewy kind of granola bars – not hard and crunchy.

 

Oh, I love leaving the oven door open after baking on a cool day and today’s a great day to do so.  It’s chilly and rainy out – a recipe for the perfect day to bake up something scrumptious, like these Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bars.  Share one with a friend today!

Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars