S'mores Brownies

I read an article about how sugar is addicting. I totally believe it. I never had a sweet tooth growing up. My mom was really strict about regulating how much sugar and salt was incorporated into my diet. She wasn't too strict with my sister, but that was only because up until junior high, my sister didn't eat and had to be force-fed. She says that she never felt hungry and that eating was boring. WTF?

Anyway, we never really had sweets or desserts in the house growing up. Once in a while, my parents would take us to the mall to run errands and shop and before heading home, we'd go to a bulk candy shop. The shop was called Candy HQ, and they would let my sister and I buy 1/4 lb. of candy each, yeah, that's all. I would go for the gummy Coke bottles, maybe a sour punch straw or two, rock candy - basically anything that looked cool and fun. I did my best to slowly savor each piece and hope to save some to enjoy later in the week. Alas, the candy never lasted that long because as soon as my sister finished her candy (which was on the car ride home) she'd whine and cry to my parents who would tell me to share my candy. I presume they did this because it was easier to make me share and shut her up than it was to explain to her that she'd eaten her share.

Yeah, so I owed my lack of a sweet tooth to my mum (and sister). But lately, here and there, I get a hankering for dessert. And I don't mean dessert like the cut up fruit that Koreans like to put out after dinner. I mean dessert like gooey caramel-covered cupcakes or coconut pie. And that craving seems to be growing. I can only blame myself. I keep sharing sweets on the blog and I gobble them up (happily) and it's feeding my sugar addiction. Maybe I need to go to therapy.

Inspired by my candy-stealing sister (as well as a jar of cookie butter in the pantry), I decided to make s'mores brownies one evening when my sweet tooth was being particularly vocal. Let me just say, I totally didn't invent s'mores brownies. Someone smarter, cooler, and more accomplished did way before me and several people since then have made their contribution. This is my own take. Nothing really novel except for one crucial ingredient.
Ingredients [8" x 8" pan]:
4 oz. 60% cacao chocolate
¾ cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa powder (I like dark chocolate cocoa powder)
+ ½ cup cookie butter
+ 10 to 15 large marshmallows (or 5 jumbo or 20 to 30 mini)
+ ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
+ 2 graham crackers, crushed

I used my go-to brownie recipe (which I also used when I made salted caramel & Nutella brownies a month or two ago) except I used one less egg because I wanted terribly fudgy and decadent brownies.

So, start by adding chocolate, espresso powder, and butter to a saucepan. Heat it up over low until the chocolate and butter melt. Let the mixture cool.
In a mixing bowl, dump in sugar and salt. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Add in vanilla extract and eggs and give it a good stir. Gently whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until the batter just comes together. Don't overmix, of you'll end up with a tough, dense brownie.
Line an 8" x 8" baking dish with butter and parchment paper. Spread about half of the batter into the bottom of the dish.
And now for the special ingredient that sets this s'mores brownie apart from other s'mores brownies: cookie butter! Spoon big globs of cookie butter all over the brownie base. Cookie butter is awesome because it tastes like crushed graham crackers so it's perfect for this s'mores-themed brownie.
Cut up a handful of marshmallows (if you're using big marshmallows) and dot them all over, pressing gently to stick the mallow to the batter.
Dump the rest of the batter on top and spread to smooth it out.
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
While you wait, grab the s'mores toppings.
Pull the brownies from the oven. The batter will still be loose. Sprinkle the top with crushed graham crackers, marshmallows (halved if they're large), and mini chocolate chips and pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes to set up the batter and melt the chocolate and marshmallows.
Then, pop the pan into the broiler for 2 minutes just to toast the marshmallows.
Let the brownies cool. I like to let them cool just long enough so that I can touch the pan without burning myself. I love a still-warm brownie and especially so when marshmallows are involved.
Look at that ooey gooey goodness!
When you're ready, dig in. These are so divine.
And if you're feeling extra gluttonous, might I suggest a scoop of ice cream and some hot fudge? I went with some Haagen Dazs dulce de leche ice cream because if I'm going to be gluttonous, I'm going to go all the way.

Here's the recipe page: