meringue

Mini S’mores Brownies

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Mini S’mores Brownies: Dense. Fudgy. Perfectly decadent. Easy. Everything you love about s’mores and brownies is compacted into this delicious dessert no one will be able to turn down! 

Mini S'mores Brownies | Sempre Dolce

Happy Friday! Today I’m coming at you with these Mini S’mores Brownies, which I think you are going to ♥. If you’ve been hanging around here for a few of years (if you have, I’d like to know who you are!), you might remember these that I posted back in 2014? This is a variation of that recipe.

I made a few tweaks which make these even better than the original and also a bit simpler; specifically in the just-as-tasty-but-easier-to-make meringue.

Mini S'mores Brownies | Sempre Dolce

The original recipe uses a marshmallow meringue which is good, but a little more time consuming than I like. So for the version here today, I used a Swiss meringue. Much simpler, but just as good. In fact, I might even prefer it over the marshmallow – though that could just be the lazy inside of me speaking there… It seriously is so simple to make and yet provides you with the effect of marshmallow.

Another change made was to chop up the milk chocolate bar and incorporate it into the batter, instead of using whole squares placed on top. I was pleased with the results of this because it almost gives off the taste of a milk chocolate brownie and adds more to the overall s’mores effect.

Mini S'mores Brownies | Sempre Dolce

The end result is so amazing, you guys.

These Mini S’mores Brownies are super easy to make and will be ready in under two hours! The serving size is perfect (helloo, no sharing!) and they are the perfect amount of dense and gooey; choc-full of chocolate, and also, who can resist a pillowy cloud of toasted meringue on top??

Not me.

Enjoy and cottura felice!

Mini S'mores Brownies | Sempre Dolce

Some Things to Note:

Baking: Please, please try not to overbake your brownies, you want them fudgy! (If you don’t, then this recipe is probably not for you!) They should be done in no more than 25 minutes (mine were done in 25). And when testing, remember that there is a lot of chocolate in there, so examine your toothpick/cake tester closely to see whether you are getting batter or chocolate. You want to look for some moist crumbs attached to the toothpick/tester; you will also be able to tell somewhat by looking at the tops. You do not want a center that looks dark and fudgy, if that makes sense. Here is a bit from Epicurious on the matter of baking brownies:

When done, the edges of the brownies will be visibly baked through and the center will be set (that is, not wiggly) when you shake the pan. Guy-Hamilton looks for the first sign of cracking on the brownie’s top—which should be shiny and set—and then pulls them out. These cues override the recipe; even if the instructions suggest baking for five more minutes, when your brownies exhibit these signs and look done, take them out.

Meringue: When adding the meringue, you can use two methods. You can pipe large dots like I did (see photos) or you can place in mounds and swirl it. I must confess that I did the dots for the sake of the photos alone (shame on me) and would actually recommend the mounds as you will have a LOT of meringue left otherwise! (Between you and me, I actually went back after the shoot and added the rest of the meringue, so they looked like they do here – the more the better, right?)

Mini S’mores Brownies
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Ingredients

    For the Brownies:
  • ¼ C. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ C. granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ C. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of kosher salt (sea or table salt is fine too!)
  • 1 tsp. coffee granules, or espresso powder, optional
  • 1 (4.4 oz) milk chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 mini ready graham cracker crusts (I used Keebler)
  • For the Meringue:
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¾ C. granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. and place mini crusts on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Add egg and whisk to combine.
  4. In a small bowl (I actually used a cereal bowl!), whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and optional coffee granules.
  5. Gradually add to wet ingredients, whisking (or stirring) briefly after each addition until just combined.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, stir in chopped chocolate.
  7. Divide batter evenly between crusts and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick/tester comes out with moist crumbs attached. * Please see note in post!*
  8. Transfer brownies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  9. Once brownies are cool, make meringue.
  10. For the meringue:
  11. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar.
  12. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch water) and whisk until mixture reaches a temperature of 160° F., or until sugar is completely dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 3-5 minutes.
  13. Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form and mixture is thick, glossy, and marshmallow-like in texture, about 5 minutes.
  14. Add meringue by placing mounds on each brownie and swirling around with a spoon. Again, see note in post!
  15. Using a kitchen torch, brown/toast the meringue. Alternatively, you can place under the broiler for about 30 seconds, until browned.
  16. Serve immediately (< recommended!) or place in fridge and bring out 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving to allow the brownies to come to room temperature.
  17. Enjoy!
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https://sempre-dolce.com/mini-smores-brownies/

Brownies adapted from allrecipes.

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Espresso S’more Bars + News!

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Hello there!

Wow. What a last couple of months it has been! I suppose you might be wondering what I have been up to? OK, maybe not, but remember in my last post I mentioned that I was working on a big and exciting project? Now I’m thrilled to be able to tell you more about it.

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

Since March, my brother and I have been working together to start a magazine devoted to the subject of food photography. I’m super pumped about this. It was a rather quick progression of events, starting with one of my brothers mentioning the idea at lunch one day. I took the idea, played around with it, and then it sort of became a “why not?” situation. It was such a good idea. So after some time on the internet, I approached Landon (my 4th brother and the dude behind most of the photos on here) with a serious proposition to start this magazine thing. Not only did he agree to do it, but to my surprise, he was rather excited about the idea (he’s usually an Eeyore with new ideas).

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

Long story short, here I am with a deadline to meet and very little time for blogging these days. If you would like to know more about the magazine and its purpose, please visit our website (and PLEASE give us some social media! Though, I have yet to become very active on the social webs yet… one thing at a time, right? ;) – to tide you over until you do though, here is the gist of it: the name of the magazine is Whisk & Camera (“The Art of Food Photography”). It is going to be an online magazine with an option for print-to-order copies published quarterly (3 issues a year). The first issue will be available on August 29th – 9 weeks away!!

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

We are starting Whisk & Camera primarily because in our current culture that seems to be enamored with food, as well as the photographing, blogging, and Instagramming of food, we truly believe that there is a need for a publication that could help others in their (food) photography endeavors. I know that I, personally, have wished for a magazine geared to food photographers and have been bummed at the lack of one. There are a lot of resources to help people with food photography and photography in general (workshops, countless blog posts, books, etc.), but not one place where a person can find tips and information from multiple food bloggers and photographers… in the same place!

It’s Awesome. So awesome.

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

So there you have it. I do hope you will visit the website (of which I put a lot of time and effort into… ;P) and I hope even more that you will join us come August!

OK, item No.1 on the list is done, now onto item No.2: these Espresso S’more Bars. These bars have been floating around in my mind for quite some time now.

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

They are: easy, quick (excluding cooling and chill time, but even then…), tasty, tasty, TASTY! And the oven is hardly needed – 5 minutes of baking time, that’s all. No advanced skills needed for this one, folks. They are a super summer (or any time) treat! I mean, when is graham crackers + ganache + espresso + marshmallowy meringue ever a bad idea? Like, never.

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

A couple of things to note: I like espresso in my desserts and really liked the idea of espresso combined with s’mores, but, if this combination doesn’t send you delicious thoughts, cut out the coffee granules – no biggie. Secondly, the meringue is technically a Swiss meringue which to me, tastes like marshmallow. I believe I slightly prefer the texture of the Swiss than that of that of a marshmallow meringue, but if you would rather use marshmallow then I recommend this recipe here.

Enjoy!!

Espresso S'more Bars | Sempre Dolce

 

The lowdown: This recipe provides all the delights of s’mores in bar form. A thick graham cracker crust is topped with a lush layer of espresso ganache and then finished with a toasty Swiss meringue. Easy to put together and super delicious, these Espresso S’more Bars will be sure to make your summer extra special!

 

8

Espresso S'more Bars
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Ingredients

    Crust2 C. finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Filling9 oz (about 1 ½ C.) chocolate, chopped *see note below!!
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. coffee granules (espresso powder would probably work as well)
  • Meringue3 egg whites
  • ¾ C. granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° f. Line a 8x8 square baking dish with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir to combine.
  3. Press mixture evenly in pan (I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup for even spreading). Bake for 5 minutes, or until crust is firm.
  4. Place pan on a cooling rack and let crust cool completely.
  5. While crust is cooling, make ganache.
  6. For the ganachePlace chopped chocolate and espresso powder in a medium-sized bowl.
  7. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until almost simmering. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Whisk until completely smooth. Cover bowl (I used a kitchen towel) and let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour, stirring with a rubber spatula every 15 minutes.
  9. Pour ganache over crust, cover pan and transfer to fridge. Chill for 1 hour, or until ganache is firm.
  10. Make the meringueIn the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch water).
  11. Whisk until mixture reaches a temperature of 160° f. or until sugar is completely dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 3-5 minutes.
  12. Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form and mixture is thick, glossy, and marshmallow-like in texture – about 5 minutes.
  13. To finishRemove pan from fridge. Pull bars out from pan and carefully slide off of foil and onto desired serving platter. Spread meringue evenly over top of bars. Using a kitchen torch, toast meringue to desired toastiness – serve immediately or return to fridge until ready to serve.
  14. Leftover bars (what are those?) can be stored in fridge.

Notes

For the ganache, I used a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate (1 C. chopped bittersweet and 1/2 C. chopped - or chips - semisweet). I highly recommend this combination but you can use whatever type of chocolate you desire! :) For my bittersweet chocolate, I used Trader Joe's 72% cacao dark chocolate - super yummy (super yummy in cookies too)! For measuring purposes, my measuring cup was a heaping 1 1/2 cups of chocolate, so don't worry too much getting a perfectly even measure.

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https://sempre-dolce.com/espresso-smore-bars-news/

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