Yesterday I woke just before dawn to the sound of loons calling. I’d heard them the night before too, and the nights before that, as I fell asleep in my tent. There’s something so reassuring about the beautiful, mournful wail of the loon – the haunting lullaby of the wild.
I was fifteen kilometres down a lake or two, one beaver dam, and two portages into Killarney Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, and just over 700 kilometres from my home, on a Wild Women Expedition. This was my second trip with the all-women outdoor adventure company, who are less about ‘women going wild’ than they are about getting women into the wild.
Tonight I was back in my kitchen in Kingston, still thinking about being out on the open lakes, about finally being able to stern a canoe, about swimming in crystal clear water, about campfires in the evening, about owls calling during the night, and loons and whippoorwills, about beaver dams, full moons and jack pines, and thick mist hanging over the mornings.
I was also thinking about the fantastic S’mores we had around the fire on our last night. S’mores have gone upmarket since I last had them years ago. We made them with premium extra dark chocolate and they were wickedly good. So tonight, feeling the loss of the lake and the eight women I was canoeing with, and missing the call of the wild, I made a batch of S’mores Bars. Not quite the same as S’mores made around the campfire but a pretty soothing alternative.
I looked at a dozen or more recipes online, before using a combination. Most of the recipes call for Marshmallow Fluff. I can’t bring myself to actually buy this. It seems hypocritical to have a shopping cart full of healthy things like organic greens, yoghurt, honey, apples, dark chocolate – and a jar of Marshmallow Fluff. I know that marshmallows aren’t exactly under-processed – but still – they seem more excusable than a jar of Fluff, particularly in combination with graham crackers and dark chocolate.
Also, most of the recipes call for an awful lot of sugar. I’ve cut the amount drastically – so that you can actually taste the chocolate. I served the squares warm with rich vanilla ice cream. I’m thinking S’mores Bars would be fun on a dinner party menu. They’ll keep me going until I get back onto the water again next summer.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
2 cups DARK semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s Premium dark chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously grease a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan.
Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture to form soft dough. Press ⅔ of the dough into the baking dish. Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Spoon or somehow place the rest of the dough over the top. I used my hands for this. It does not need to be evenly covered – clumps of dough are fine.
Bake until golden brown – about 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares as desired.