S’mores Bars

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One of my coworkers recently left our office to work elsewhere, and so in the spirit of tradition, we threw her a going-away party.  I love work parties.  Birthday parties, going-away parties, engagement parties, parties surrounding sporting events – you get the picture.  I love work parties for a lot of reasons, the main reason being that they allow me to bake three dozen chocolate chip cookies without the burden of having them stare me in the face every time I walk into my kitchen.

My coworker who just departed, Cass, is a huge fan of s’mores.  Don’t ask me how that ended up determining the theme of the party, but it did, so we had a s’mores themed going away party.  There were s’mores cookies, s’mores cupcakes, and some s’mores bars that I provided.  The bars were such a hit that there weren’t even any left for me to try by the time I got back to the party.  They were also so good that I decided to make a second batch the next night with my leftover marshmallow fluff (I mean really, though, what was I going to do with a half a jar of marshmallow fluff other than eat it with a spoon… not acceptable).  These were meant for a party that my chief of staff was throwing for the incoming chiefs of the new Senate offices, but I “accidentally” offered them up to my coworkers before the party (read: I hadn’t gotten to try them yet and temptation got the best of me).  Needless to say, my chief of staff claimed that I “stabbed him in the back front,” to which my coworker Beth responded, “they were worth it, I regret nothing.”  Needless to say, these bars are awesome and you should make them.

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S’mores Bars (from Wit and Whistle)

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

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In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

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Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars (seriously… you have to wait).

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Chocolate Caramel Brownies

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I live for office parties.  Birthdays, holidays, farewells, sporting events, and basically any other excuse for celebration.  I love work parties because they give me a justification for baking, and since someone else eats the fruits of my labor I don’t have to worry about having 2 dozen cookies staring me in the face every time I walk into my kitchen.

A few of my coworkers were celebrating birthdays in mid-November, so we had a party to celebrate.  I volunteered to make something chocolate and went to work tracking down something delicious looking on pinterest.

I came across these brownies and they looked delicious and easy – always a plus when baking on a weeknight.  They were the perfect combination of fudgy and cakey – moist but not too rich – and the caramel in the middle added a little something extra.  Warning: these are not diet approved….

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Brownies That Will Change Your Life (from Zesty Cook)

  • 1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 35 (10-oz. pkg.) caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put cake mix in large bowl. Stir in 2/3 cup evaporated milk and butter (batter will be thick). Spread half of batter into ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Heat caramels and remaining evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Sprinkle morsels over brownie; drizzle with caramel mixture.

Drop remaining batter by heaping teaspoon over caramel mixture – don’t worry if there is space between the mounds of batter, they spreads out quite a bit while cooking.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set.  Cool in pan on wire rack.