Summer. Doesn’t the word just illicit thoughts of endless days, popsicles, sprinklers, warm nights – the sound of kids laughter carried along the breeze? When the kids were younger it was visits to the Zoo. It was trips to parks and the sound of the ice cream truck. As they get older, I am frequently reminded of my fav book when I was a young teen “Are you there God, It’s Me Margaret?” and those opening chapters when life as a young girl was so simple, yet fraught with the issues of adolescence. Don’t we all want to live in this fairy-tale version of summer? Now we hope for a moment with a beach read, BBQ’s, a cold beer after a game of golf, or an amazing rosé on the patio with a girlfriend. AHHH, Summer…
To me, Canada Day always seems to mark the start of summer, even though our solstice lands a few weeks prior – probably because “School’s Out,” and we are all exhaling a sigh of relief. I know many of you will head to camp grounds this weekend in search of the perfect start to your summer fun. Perhaps you will head to your cabin, the lake, the mountains or some (including me) will find refuge in your backyard.
No matter what you are doing this Canada Day long weekend, no doubt it will involve food. Good food. Fun food. AND, I hope it involves dessert.
There is nothing that says Summer / camping / backyard bbq more than the classic S’more. As a mom of teens, I know I can still get them out by the fire pit and spending time with good ol’ mom and dad if I announce that the ingredients for S’mores are in the house. Time around the fire, a little sugar, darkening sky… just the perfect recipe for finding out their latest crush, or friendship woe.
Being more “kid friendly,” S’mores aren’t really the kind of dessert you want to serve if you are having a bbq or hosting people at the cottage. BUT… really, do you know an adult who doesn’t love the blend of marshmallow, graham crackers and silky chocolate
Canadian baking fav, Anna Olson has created the perfect dessert to bring the campfire feel to your bbq or Canada Day potluck in 20 minutes. If you don’t have a fire pit, or your area is under a fire ban, or heaven forbid there is RAIN in the forecast – this is S’mores in a pan – quick, easy and so delicious.
TIP: If you are going up to a friend’s cabin for the weekend, pack the ingredients into a small bag, and whip this up for the crowd. Your host will love you. They are gooey and I found them just a little hard to cut perfectly – but hey, who says you can’t all gather around the pan with a fork?
HINT: once cooked and cooled, transport these in a tin foil packet to the camp ground. Heat on top of the grate on the fire for a few minutes and you will have gooey, yummy squares your kids will brag about to their friends. 🙂
Anna Olson's S'mores Bars
A Canada Day, summer fav
whole graham crackers (about 14)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chunks
3 cups mini marshmallows
1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 inch square pan. Line pan with parchment paper so that paper hangs over two sides of the pan. Line bottom of pan with a single layer of whole graham crackers (about 4 1/2 crackers).
2. In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in brown sugar, milk and vanilla until dissolved Remove from heat and stir in graham cracker crumbs (this will make a soft paste). Spread half of the graham mixture over the cracker-lined pan. Sprinkle with a third of the chocolate chunks and half of the marshmallows. Top marshmallows with another layer of whole graham crackers and spread with remaining graham mixture over top. Top with another third of chocolate chunks and the remaining marshmallows. Finish with a last sprinkle of chocolate chunks and bake for 12 minutes, until the marshmallows have browned. Cool completely before slicing.
3. Can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.
Make these this weekend and you can fold out your camp chair, wave your Canadian flag and feel just a little like a dessert hero.
Happy Canada Day everyone!