Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of two of our sweetest friends, chocolate hazelnut spread and toasted marshmallows, in holy matrimony. And by holy matrimony, I of course mean, cookies.
It’s summer (and wedding season, but that analogy is over) and listen… as much as I’d like to picture myself around a campfire toasting s’mores every night, the reality is that these Real Housewives episodes aren’t going to watch themselves (although… we know ALL of the real housewives ladies totally watch themselves), so I settle into my couch even in the summer months when sure… there are all sorts of festive, s’mores-friendly bonfires likely happening somewhere close by.
There’s something about toasting one very lazy, individual marshmallow over a stove that just feels not right although, in a pinch I’ll torch that thing right up. Besides, why make one cock-eyed indoor s’more when you can make a whole pan full with a cookie crust? We’re on to something –
I think we know what to do here…
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Ingredients to make a shortbread crust: butter and sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract, flour and salt. We’re making a crisp cookie base.
• Nutella. The tough part is not eating the entire jar with a bag of pretzels while the cookie base bakes.
• Marshmallows, we’ll toast to melty inside and golden outside – with little burnt bits if we’re lucky.
First we’ll cream together the room temperature butter and sugar.
We’ve done this before. We’re aerating the fat and sugar creating a fluffy paste.
To the butter and sugar we’ll add an egg yolk for binding and richness.
Vanilla extract, too. Everything is better with a dash.
And the dry ingredients: simply flour and salt. The dough will be soft but come together.
I lightly greased a square pan, just so the parchment paper would stick. Then I lightly greased the parchment paper.
We’ll use lightly floured fingertips to evenly press the dough across the pan. Try to make sure the dough is an even thickness across the bottom of the pan so the base cooks evenly.
Bake to golden around the edges, just like this!
I let the cookie crust chill in the refrigerator before taking out of the pan. The cooler the crust, the easier it will be to take out of the pan.
Now – before we add the spread and marshmallows and set the whole thing under the broiler, remove the parchment paper by either removing the crust from the paper OR cutting around the crust, removing the paper.
And now, the reason we’re all gathered here: CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SPREAD.
And marshmallows, sliced in half to top the spread in rows.
Set the oven to broil and here’s the thing: set the pan right under the broiler and don’t walk away. We’ve gotta sit and make sure all of the marshmallows don’t burst into flames. They could. I promise they might.
Allow to cool slightly. Testing our patience. And slice into single marshmallow squares or two-by-two. They’re crisp and gooey and toasty and completely indulgent.
I wish you you many a Real Housewives episode and a campfire or two.
Photos with my friend Jon Melendez.Print
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
- 15 large marshmallows, cut in half
- Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then scrap the vanilla seeds into the bowl. Add the egg yolk and beat well. Stop the mixer and add the flour and salt. Beat on low speed until completely incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with a little flour. Using your fingers, press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Try to make the shortbread crust as even as possible.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown around the edges, but still slightly soft in the center, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven ( leave the oven on) and let the crust cool for 20 minutes.
- Run a thin butter knife around the edges of the pan. Use the parchment paper to carefully remove the crust. Run a butter knife between the crust and the paper and carefully slide the crust from the paper and onto a baking sheet.
- Top the crust with a thin layer of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Arrange the marshmallow pieces on top.
- Broil the marshmallows. Keep a very, very, very, very close eye on them, because they’ll toast in seconds. They’ll burn in seconds. Don’t even close the broiler door. They just need a kiss of broiler action. Remove the pan from the oven and let the s’more rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The squares can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. They’ll keep, well-wrapped and at room temperature, for up to 4 days.
- makes 9 squares