Hay bales in the field, Skagit Valley

“Thus harvest ends its busy reign
And leaves the fields their peace again
Where autumn’s shadows idly muse
And tinge the trees with many hues.”
— John Clare, “The Shepherd’s Calendar”

Successful marshmallow harvest!!

The final hay harvest of the year

I was captivated by this Skagit Valley field in the late afternoon light.  The plastic-wrapped round hay bales look so much like giant marshmallows!  Delightful!

 

 

 

My daughter with the perfect toasted marshmallow (photo 1996)

My daughter with the perfect toasted marshmallow (photo 1996)

Campfire in a cup

Campfire in a cup

One of the pleasures of camping is toasting marshmallows and making s’mores. On one car camping trip with my daughter, I did not have room in my Honda Civic to carry dry firewood for a campfire.  So instead of having a big evening campfire, we gathered around a votive candle in an old coffee cup.  We actually roasted marshmallows, one at a time, over the tiny flame.  We called this our “Campfire-in-a Cup.”

I haven’t made a s’more since last summer, and since I’ve no camping plans, I’ve been looking for a s’mores recipe that might replicate the taste I’m craving.  Here is one recipe I came across in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  The rich dark chocolate means that this is intensely chocolate-flavored.  A little serving of this recipe goes a long way.

S’More Nut Bars

2-1/4 c graham cracker crumbs (about 17 – 20 crackers)
1 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 c unsalted butter, melted
7-1/2 oz milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
7-1/2 oz dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
1-1/2 tsp light corn syrup
1 c heavy cream
10 marshmallows, cut into quarters
1/2 c lightly salted whole peanuts
1/2 c chopped lightly salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar.  Add the butter.  Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it out into the prepared pan.  Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a perfectly even crust.

Bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

In a large heatproof bowl, toss the chocolates together.  Drizzle the corn syrup over the chocolate and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil.  Remove from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate mixture.  Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes.  Startling in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture in a circle until completely smooth.  Fold in the marshmallows and the whole peanuts.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle the top with the chopped peanuts.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until set.  Cut into squares and serve.  The bars will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.

Chopped chocolate and graham cracker crust

Chopped chocolate and graham cracker crust

Preparing the marchmallows and peanuts

Preparing the marshmallows and peanuts

S'More Nut Bars

S'More Nut Bars