The last time I made s'mores was in a toaster oven in Paris.* The s'mores were in there, I mean. Not me. They were the best approximation of traditional s'mores we could manage after carefully combing the aisles of a Franprix, a Monoprix and a Casino (all local grocery chains) for graham crackers and still coming up short.

The biscuit we ended up with was crunchy and kind of crumbly, with a mild coconut flavour. The marshmallows were Haribo—a mixed pack of strawberry and vanilla. The chocolate was Lindt. Once we'd perfected our technique, we invited our Scottish friend L. over for a batch. She'd never had a s'more, so expectations were low. We couldn't lose really. That's my kind of odds.

Speaking of odds (albeit poor ones), since we're in the middle of January (Official Navel-Gazing Month), it feels like the right time to throw a few resolutions/intentions/whatever you want to call them out there. In honour of s'mores, let's frame them like this.

In 2014, I want:
S'more fresh air, less time at a desk
S'more trails, fewer sidewalks
S'more words on paper, fewer clicks on a screen
S'more news, less gossip
S'more dinner parties in, fewer drinks out
S'more making, less buying
S'more adventure, less routine

What do you want s'more of this year?

* I make a lot of noteworthy stuff in Parisian toaster ovens, evidently.

S'more Bars
This bar converts the gooey campfire favourite into a sliceable kitchen concoction, so you get all of the good stuff (plus peanut butter!), minus the smoky fleece, cold feet and drippy tent.

Graham cracker base:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, melted 

Chocolate peanut butter layer:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips (dark or milk)
1/3 cup peanut butter 

Marshmallow top:
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup hot water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Grease and line a 9" square pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

Begin by preparing the graham cracker base. In a medium bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs and white sugar. Stir in the melted butter until evenly distributed. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the next layer.

Move on to the chocolate peanut butter filling. In a medium saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and peanut butter. Heat the pan over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate chips are melted. Pour the mixture over the cooked graham cracker crust and smooth, as needed.

Finish with a marshmallow top. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water.

Meanwhile, cook the sugar, corn syrup, hot water and salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and boil the mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 115 degrees Celsius (240 degrees Fahrenheit). Immediately pour the hot sugar mixture over the softened gelatin, stirring briefly until gelatin is dissolved. With a stand or hand-held electric mixer, beat the mixture on high until it is white, thick and nearly tripled in volume (about 6 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 minutes with a hand-held mixer).

Spread the marshmallow mixture evenly on top of the chocolate peanut butter filling. Broil for several minutes (watching the pan closely!) just until the marshmallow top begins to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the bar cool before cutting.

Store at room temperature.  

Source: Inspired by Handle the Heat's S'mores Fudge Bars. 

Notes: This recipe differs from the S'mores Fudge Bars mentioned above in two ways: (1) peanut butter in the fudge layer; and (2) a true marshmallow—rather than marshmallow cream—top.