You know that conflicting feeling when you’re incredibly sad to see summer already gone but also intensely excited at the promise of fall’s arrival? That’s where I am right now.
Where does my loyalty lie? Can fresh stone fruit and pumpkin spice share the space in my heart that’s reserved for my most adored ingredients? Can I love them equally, but not exclusively? As a devotee of seasonal baking, these are the things that sometimes keep me up at night.
As I stared at the ceiling fan making its rounds the other night, pondering the perfect transitional dessert for this post, I couldn’t get s’mores out of my head. While not the most, shall we say, innovative of desserts, s’mores are a sweet treat that evokes a sense of nostalgia that, like clockwork, pops into my conscience each year around this time. School supplies, swimming pool closures, store shelves stocked with Halloween decorations, campfire weather — I can’t help but imagine s’mores as the perfect dessert for packaging up all of these little experiences we share around the changing of seasons into dessert form. So, filled to the brim with sentimentality, I set out to take your average s’more and and kick it up a notch.
And that leads us to skillet desserts. They’re some of my favorites. Skillet cakes, cookies, cobblers and pies are down-to-earth and often simple, which makes them appealing to a crowd but all the more impressive when a skillet-baked gem completely blows the socks off unassuming eaters. They’re the I woke up like this of desserts, similar-to but completely unique from the galettes I shared last month. (I guess I’ve got a theme going.)
These Skillet S’mores Brownies are no exception. They’re the kind of brownies that are relatively effortless to make (box recipes excluded) but are sure to impress at a gathering.
To start things off, a thick, rich chocolate brownie base is studded with mini marshmallows and graham cracker chunks and then baked to perfection.The cast iron vessel makes for the most perfectly chewy and slightly crispy brownie crust I’ve ever encountered, which just so happens to be my favorite part of the brownie so you can see why I’m such a fan. At this point, you already have yourself a s’mores masterpiece.
Then, to really take the s’mores theme to the max, the baked brownie is topped with more marshmallows and toasted to a perfect golden brown under the broiler. And since I couldn’t resist, I also browned some graham cracker crumbs and butter on the stovetop for sprinkling over both the brownies and the ice cream sidekick because no warm brownie is complete unless it’s served à la mode.
The result: pure, nostalgia-packed heaven. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 7 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
- 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs + a few graham crackers broken into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, 6 oz. of chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- While the chocolate mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a cast iron skillet.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir well to combine but do not beat.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and gently mix until mostly combined, then add the remaining chocolate chips, graham cracker pieces and mini marshmallows and gently fold them into the batter.
- Pour the batter into your prepared skillet and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. It's better to under-bake than over-bake so you get that signature fudgy texture.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and turn on the broiler. Top the brownies with the remaining mini marshmallows then place under the broiler to toast. This should only take 1-2 minutes. Keep a very close eye on the marshmallows to avoid burning.
- When your marshmallows are golden brown, remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
- To prepare the graham cracker crust topping, place the graham cracker crumbs and pieces, butter and brown sugar in a small skillet. Heat until the butter is melted and soaked into the crackers and everything smells delicious and toasty. Set aside to cool.
- Serve the brownies with a scoop of of ice cream and a generous sprinkle of graham cracker topping.
- This recipe was tested in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. You can use any size skillet however you may need to adjust baking time -- more time for a smaller/deeper skillet, less for a larger skillet.