I stand before you with a giant smile on my face.
I imagine that rainbows and shooting stars light up the sky behind me. I imagine I have the ability to summon a parade of ponies and sea horses… that’s how (humbly) excited I am about these cookie squares.
They’re so simple: vanilla bean crust, cherry jam, and toasted marshmallows. I know I haven’t invented cookies… I just feel particularly proud of these.
The possibilities with these cookie squares are endless, and yours to create. I know you’re thinking Nutella… I know you.
However you fancy, I promise that when you make these squares, you’ll feel like summoning the pony parade. This is real!
My favorite kind of dough is a press-in situation. This is that.
Dough is simply sprinkled with with flour and pressed with clean fingers into the four corners of the pan.
Totally like adult play-doh.
Adult play-doh that turns into a giant cookie!
This is a shortbread-ish cookie, thought it’s softer and more chewy. Less crisp that a traditional shortbread. We want it more pliable that crumbly.
This is the part when the spreadables come in. I chose a good cherry jam.
This might be the part where you start yelling.
Why did you use jam and not Nutella!? Whhhyyyyy!? Why did you not use Nutella!?
Well… sure, chocolate hazelnut spread is totally an option. An awesome option. Surely.
There’s something you should know about me. I like Nutella two ways: with pretzels or with a giant spoon. Not complicated into baked goods.
So cherry jam it is!
Marshmallows are sliced in half before being lined atop the jam.
Now we work the oven.
The marshmallow topped cookie is placed in a 350 degree oven… just to warm the marshmallows, making them smashable.
Marshmallows must be smashable to be toastable. It’s like science… but not really at all.
This is the part when hot hot fire gets thrown in the mix.
We’ll need some broiler action to toast these marshmallows. Please trust me when I say that these marshmallows only need about 3 to 5 seconds under a gas broiler to toast. Translation: I set my first round of marshmallows ablaze. Don’t even close the oven door.
Yea… it’s that serious.
Imagine all the combinations you could use in this preparation: orange curd and chocolate chips, nutella, caramelized bananas and toasted peanuts, dulce de leche!? SO MUCH!
Think of these marshmallow squares in math terms:
Lemon bars – lemon + vanilla bean + cherry jam + toasted marshmallows = perfectly perfect.
Toasted Marshmallow Squares
makes 9 squares in an 8-inch square pan
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pressing dough into pan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fruit preserves
15 marshmallows, cut in half
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper (leaving some overhanging paper flaps on two ends) and grease parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in vanilla bean scrapings (or vanilla extract) and egg yolk. Beat until well incorporated. Stop the mixer and add flour. Beat on low speed until completely incorporated.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with flour. With clean fingers, press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Use a bit more flour as necessary so that the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. Try to make the crust as even as possible.
Bake crust for 20-24 minutes until golden brown around the edges, but still slightly soft in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Run a thin butter knife around edges of the pan. Use the two parchment paper flaps to carefully remove the crust from the pan. Run a butter knife between the crust and the paper and carefully slide the crust from the paper and onto a unlined baking sheet.
Top crust with a thin layer of fruit preserved. Arrange marshmallows on top of jam. Return to the 350 degree oven for about 4 minutes. This will warm and soften the marshmallows. Remove from the oven and turn the oven onto the broiler setting. Use the back of a spoon to gently press and smash the top of each marshmallow.
Once all the marshmallows are smashed, return to the broiler. Keep a very very very very close eye on the marshmallows. They’ll toast in seconds. They’ll burn in seconds. I didn’t even close the broiler door. They just need a kiss of broiler action.
Remove toasted marshmallow cookie from the oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Cookies can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. Cookies can be left, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.