Saturday, 20 September 2014

Please sir, may I have S'more?

Last night, having broken Sober September for a bottle of prosecco, I rashly agreed my middle child could have two mates for a sleepover tonight. Discovering this heinous betrayal this morning, Miss B was incandescent with outrage. "He has sleepovers ALL THE TIME. That's SO unfair!" She has a point - some weekends we barely see Zach for sleepovers, or his room is filled with sleeping bags.

As it turned out, one of his mates couldn't come. But the other could - the one whose younger sister is a big mate of Miss B's. At a stroke I could make her happy and give my lovely mates Kirsty and John a child-free night. So I did.

A chance comment of B's reminded me I had nothing in for snacks.  I had foolishly established a 'Midnight Feast' tradition for sleepovers many years back.  That translates to snacks in bed  - usually eaten within 10 minutes of bedtime rather than late at night - and is a crucial part of the fun of a sleepover.

It's raining. I'm wearing not-suitable-for-viewing-by-other-humans clothing (old stained T shirt, long comfy skirt in jersey, no bra because I hate the uncomfortable things). I've been doing stuff in the kitchen, so the Tshirt is more water and ingredient splattered than normal. I am NOT popping to the shops.  So I rooted around in the kitchen and online for ingredients and inspiration respectively.

I decided to try a bar tray bake based on S'mores.  The recipe I saw was here. But I don't have graham crackers, I don't have digestive biscuits (the usual UK replacement) and I repeat I am NOT popping to the shops in this outfit. Or in this rain. Heck, I don't have chocolate chips either (used them all up earlier in the week) but I have a bar of chocolate I can smash up.

My kids love shortbread. I figured shortbread was worth trying as a graham cracker replacement. It works for millionaire's shortbread and at least one of my offspring thinks that's the pinnacle of baking. Here's the recipe I usually use :

  • 250g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 50g corn flour
  • 200g plain flour
Cream the butter and sugar until nearly white, add the cornflour and plain flour and combine thoroughly.  

You can use damp hands to roll it into balls and squash them into biscuits, form it into a sausage wrapped in cling film and popped in the fridge until you slice circles off to bake as and when, mix in chocolate chips or fruit zest or poppy seeds and make flavoured biscuits. Or, in this case, press the dough into the base of a lined tray. mid was 23cm square (9 inches in old money)

Bake at 180 until done - usually about 13-15 minutes for biscuits, more like 20-odd for a tray bake. Then I pulled the shortbread out and turned the oven off.

I let the shortbread cool for a couple of minutes while I turned the grill on high. I sprinkled enough mini-marshmallows to mostly cover the base and popped it under the grill for a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on it if you try this - it can burn really quickly.

I battered the hell out of 100g of dark chocolate and sprinkled the bits over the toasted marshmallows. Back it went into the oven where the residual heat melted the chocolate over a few minutes. Then I left it to cool.

Incidentally, the corn flour makes shortbread crisper while remaining buttery. I like that in shortbread but if you prefer your a little softer reduce it or leave it out.

When it came time to sample the results, I found no shortage of volunteers.  The bars were lovely! Mark pointed out the shortbread was a little over baked. I'd left it in an extra 5 minutes because I was concerned about the centre being undercooked and the marshmallows making it gooey. I needn't have worried, 18-22 minutes would have been fine.
I'm sure there were more than that a minute ago

The visiting mates are here, the pull-out beds are made up, we're all set for Doctor Who tonight and we have shortbread s'mores. What more could a Saturday night offer?

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