My mom’s 60th birthday was yesterday, December 21st and we kicked it off (and her time in Vancouver) with a surprize visit from my sister, a trip to Cavalia’s Odysseo and dinner at Sula. It was an incredible day, and truly it was also a celebration of my mom’s retirement which began on Thursday! Odysseo was incredible, the horses were beautiful and so well trained. There were often 20 horses on the stage and as many people, moving around without problem. The acrobatics were incredible, as is to be expected from a Cirque du Soliel show. The set was incredible, with a hill climbing up the back, the set was like a real field. It’s hard to describe the vastness of the set, but trust me, it was amazing and I would recommend anyone to go.
Also, and probably most importantly, after my sister, mom, and I finished our dinner, Kellie went up to pay for her part while I went to the washroom. Kellie mentioned that I, her sister, would be paying the other half. The cashier said, “Oh nice, are you all sisters?” Well my mom was just tickled! She does look young for 60, and clearly they thought she was young enough to be a sister to us, her daughters in their 20’s! There mom, now EVERYONE knows!
One of my greatest joys of working at Appetite by Random House was of course editing the incredible recipes that we were putting into publication. I joyously whisked them home and baked and cooked up all the delicious treats that I could. I was tortured while holding onto this recipe, one of my absolute favourites from Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes from a Little Neighbourhood Bakery, until after the book was published this October (seriously pick it up, it is gorgeous and the recipes are insane!). These bars are decadent and so delicious, made with Butter’s famous marshmallow recipe, they taste like the best s’mores, without the fire! These were the first thing I made from the manuscript and the thing I’ve made the most since the book came out.
From Butter Baked Goods: Recipes from a Little Neighbourhood Bakery
Yield: 9- x 13-inch pan (cut into sizes you desire)
- 2 cups graham crumbs
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 ¼ cup condensed milk
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
- 1 batch Butter’s Famous Vanilla Marshmallows recipe (see below)
- 3 envelopes of unflavoured Knox Gelatin
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup clear corn syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp pure vanilla
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish and line with a large enough piece of parchment that it hangs over two sides. Then butter the parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat and set aside to cool.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, using a spatula or large spoon combine the graham crumbs and melted butter. Then using the palms of your hands press the graham crumb mixture evenly and firmly into the prepared pan to create the base for the bars.
- Whisk together the condensed milk and melted chocolate until well combined and pour over the graham crumb base.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the chocolate has set. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare the vanilla marshmallows:
- In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, pour in ½ cup of water and sprinkle it with the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak.
- Combine the sugar, ½ cup water, corn syrup and salt in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk the gelatin mixture once or twice on low. Continue mixing on low while you slowly pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. You want to be really careful at this point because this stuff is smoking hot!
- Increase the speed of the mixer and continue whipping on high for another 10 to 12 minutes. Your marshmallow batter will almost triple in size and get very thick at this point. It may want to climb out of the bowl as it grows so make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the vanilla and whip again just to incorporate.
- Spread the prepared marshmallows evenly across the top of the cooled bars.
- Once you have spread the marshmallow, grease a large piece of plastic wrap with butter lay it directly on top of the marshmallow and press firmly to flatten it smooth and cover tightly. Allow the marshmallow to set for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Once the marshmallow has set, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the handles created by the parchment paper (keep bars in pan if using broiler to brown). You may need to run a small knife along the sides of the pan without parchment to loosen the marshmallow. Carefully pull back and remove the piece of plastic wrap.
- Using a small kitchen blowtorch (or keep the bars in the pan and broil until just browned and then refrigerate again for 1 hour to set then lift bars out of the pan before cutting), carefully brown and toast the top of the marshmallow to create a true campfire effect. Allow the marshmallow to cool before cutting into approximately 2”x2” bars. Make sure to use at least a 10” knife to avoid cutting and dragging across the bars when cutting.