Indoor S'mores

Oh my dear, darling readers. How have you been?! I hope you've all been having a wonderful summer doing very exciting things, while I've spent most of it being rather boring, and seemingly in hiding from an interwebs perspective (except for Twitter; I can't seem to quit The Twitter). I wish I had a whole lovely list of things that I've been doing to share with you and an adorable Instagrammy collage to accompany it, but alas, I don't. We've really just been lazy around here, people. Lazy, and not too interesting, and yes, there's been some time spent in the kitchen, but not to produce anything of note. I mean, delicious things, thankfully, but mostly what have become go-to classics around here, like a certain banana bread, oatmeal cookies, and ice cream I've told you about before.

And isn't that so nice sometimes, just to fall back on the things that work? To slow down for a while, stop the wheels from turning, turning, turning, and try to flip that dang switch off, the one that always makes us feel like we've got to be doing something new and different at all times in order for our days to count for something? (Who invented that, anyway, this constant need to be in motion? It's kind of overrated. Trust me, I've been on the couch a lot over the past month and let me tell you, doing nothing has its benefits.)

Anyway, to completely go against everything I just said, I wanted to share a new and completely addictive recipe with you, for what basically amounts to Indoor S'mores. However, it is sort of a riff on something we've already talked about, so I guess in some ways it 's in keeping with my Summer of Sloth. And what's even better is that I get to tell you all about it on National S'mores Day, which in spite of my strong stance of doing nothing, motivated even me to cook up something to celebrate this most joyous of ridiculous holidays. Plus, it's a holiday that involves marshmallows, and I've kind of positioned myself to be responsible for producing something of merit on marshmallow-related holidays.

Now, truth be told, this recipe just might teeter on Sandra Lee territory, which is always a very fine line, indeed. (When I visualize this line, I picture an army of from-scratch bakers sneering in a superior fashion on one side, and a Migraine-inducing circus of tablescapes on the other, with each table featuring something made of frozen waffles or cheese from a can or somesuch. But that is neither here nor there.) But you know what? Sometimes the simple act of taking ready-made things that are already good and giving them some innovative oomph to make them greater than the sum of their parts is the order of the day. And when those things are graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, I'd say we're off to a very, very good start. Nary a can of cheese in sight, friends!

And can I just tell you about the secret glue here that holds this whole magnificent combination together (quite literally)? It's a sort of quick, salted brown sugar caramel that's been pumped up with vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. The whole thing comes together so gloriously fast and is so perfectly craveworthy, it is absolutely worth the time not spent on the sofa to put this recipe together. Take it from me--I should know.

Indoor S'mores Makes 2 dozen

Of course this recipe can be made entirely from scratch, using a good homemade graham cracker recipe, and making your own mini-mallows (just pipe the batter into long lines on a Classic Coating-dusted baking sheet, let set, and then snip the marshmallow rods into bits)--I imagine this whole thing would be even more delicious if you went the extra crazy mile to make everything homemade. But I sort love the simplicity here, the ability to run to the store, grab a few things, and satisfy a craving in no time. It reminds me a lot of Rice Krispie Treats or these craveworthy gems in that way.

I used Hershey milk chocolate bars because, HELLO, S'MORES!, but you can use any chopped bar chocolate you like.

The final step of toasting the marshmallows under the broiler or with a kitchen torch isn't essential, but it does give that roasted-over-a-campfire flavor that's just so dang good.

This recipe can easily be doubled--just use a 12x17-inch half-sheet pan or 10x15-inch jelly roll pan or thereabouts.

8-9 full graham cracker sheets (about 1 pack from a multi-package box) 1/3 cup unsalted butter (a little over 5 tablespoons) 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups miniature marshmallows 2 1.5-ounce bars Hershey's milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or other bar chocolate that you prefer, chopped

Position a rack to the upper thirs of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Line a quarter sheet pan or 9x13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Line the foil with graham crackers, with as little space as possible between the crackers (break them into pieces to fit into any open spaces).

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Melt together over medium heat, stirring often. When the mixture comes to a boil, continue to stir constantly until the caramel is thick and homogenous, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the caramel over the crackers in a thin stream, and use a thin spatula to spread evenly. Bake until the caramel is bubbly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the marshmallows in an even layer over the caramel, followed by the chocolate pieces. Return to the oven to bake until the marshmallows are puffed and soft and the chocolate has gone melty, about 5 minutes. Finish under a hot broiler for just a minute, or use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the marshmallows. Cool completely in the pan before removing the s'mores from the pan and cutting into squares. Best eaten the first day--store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for another day or so.