When my husband and I were dating he loved hearing the Minnesota accents of my family and would try to mimic them. Unfortunately for him, by the time we had met my accent had faded considerably and just wasn't quite strong enough for him. However, when I'd mention making either a "hot dish" (that would be Minnesotan for "casserole") or "bars" (Minnesotan for any finger dessert baked in a pan), he would break out his pretend Minnesota accent and poke fun at me, trying to strike up a conversation about one of those previously mentioned dishes. But luckily for him, he didn't take the teasing too far, since he wanted me to actually offer him some of that yummy food I was making!
It's good to have a decent lineup of different bar recipes so that you're not bringing the same thing as your neighbor to the church picnic, neighborhood block party or work function. Or maybe you're just dessert crazy like my 5 kids and you want to try something new. Either way, these were definitely worth making. The kids loved these and so did about 30 neighbors at a farewell party for one of our friends. They were so gooey and delicious, and I'm not even a huge marshmallow fan. I really liked the topping - peanut butter, melted chocolate, rice krispies. Eat it with a spoon!
As I was making them, I decided to change them up a little bit. I couldn't stop thinking that they would be even more delicious with graham crackers in the topping. Sort of like a smore with peanut butter. And while I think that the rice krispy version is super yummy, after tasting both of them my favorites were the ones with the graham crackers. To make them, I just eyeballed it and crunched up a bunch of graham crackers into the melted chocolate/peanut butter mixture (no rice krispies in that batch).
Marshmallow Crunch Brownie BarsYield: 24 bars
For the Brownie Base:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Toppings:
1 bag (10½ ounces) miniature marshmallows
1½ cups chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter (don’t use natural peanut butter)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal (or equivalent broken up graham crackers!)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan.
2. For the brownies: In a microwave safe bowl, melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and ¾ cup of the semisweet chocolate chips. Stir occasionally while melting. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl , whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Stir the melted ingredients into the egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in the dry sifted ingredients and mix well. Fold in the remaining ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the corner of of the pan comes out with moist crumbs.
5. Remove the brownies from the oven and immediately sprinkle the marshmallows over them. Return the pan to the oven for 3 more minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and tablespoon of butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cook in 30 second increments until completely melted. Remove from heat, add the Rice Krispies and mix well. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.
7. Spread the mixture evenly over the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate until chilled before cutting.
Note: I used crunchy peanut butter and loved the extra peanutiness (is that a word?) that it added. Also, I found that it was much easier to spread the final layer (the chocolate/peanut butter/crunch), if the marshmallows had cooled and firmed up a bit. And drop the chocolate mixture in blobs all over. That made spreading much easier. Otherwise you're in danger of a big, gooey marshmallowey mess. With chocolate mixed in. Hey, that actually doesn't sound so bad!
Source: Adapted from browneyedbaker.com who adapted it from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody; originally from Buttercup Bakes at Home by Jennifer Appel