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These brownies started off as a s'mores brownie, which sounds great, right? I mean s'mores are perfection - graham cracker + chocolate + marshmallow, usually while around a campfire and pretending you aren't terrified that Jeffrey Dahmer is lurking in the forest behind you. But you can't get graham crackers in London. And that, is a huge problem. Don't come at me saying digestives are the same - THEY ARE NOT. I know. Because I made my own graham crackers to prove that they aren't. So while yes, I could have also provided a graham cracker recipe this seemed like overkill.
So I scrapped the cookie/biscuit part of the recipe and instead added pretzels! So they were no longer s'mores brownies, but campfire brownies (because you eat pretzels by the campfire.. right? Don't ask me. I think I've been by a campfire twice in my life and I spent the whole time worried about bugs and serial killers)
- All the Chocolate - While a lot of brownie recipes use either cocoa powder or melted chocolate, this recipe uses both!
- Cool Down - Make sure to let your brownies completely cool to room temperature before you make and add the marshmallow meringue on top!
- Swiss Meringue - This is the same Swiss meringue base that I used in my yellow cake recipe!
- Marshmallows - If you aren't keen on making your own meringue, you can substitute actual marshmallows! I haven't tried this myself but you could try adding in marshmallows on top of the brownie batter when you put it in the oven.
- Pretzels - I added a broken up salted pretzels to give the recipe some saltiness to offset the amount of sweetness you get from the marshmallow. You could sub in broken up graham crackers to make this a true s'mores brownie.
- Size Matters - EYOOO! But really. Pan size matters. Don't do what I once did, where I used a much, much smaller pan for the same recipe and while I got monster brownies they also took double the amount of time to bake.
Marshmallow Meringue Tips
- This marshmallow meringue uses a Swiss meringue base. We heat up egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla over a double boiler
- You'll need to constantly whisk the mixture for about 10 minutes, you'll know it's ready when it goes from a yellowish, granular mix to a white, opaque mixture.
- Usually you would use a candy thermometer to check it had reached 175 degrees, but if you don't have one you can check by rubbing the mix with your fingers. You'll know it's ready when you don't feel any granules.
- We then whisk the mixture on high until we get stiff, fluffy peaks. You'll know it is ready when you take the whisk out and you get firm peaks, that only droop at the tip!
- You'll want to use the mix right away. Spread it on the cooled brownies, then use a blowtorch (carefully!) to toast the marshmallow.
- Because of the meringue, be sure to store the brownies in an airtight container.
- 96 grams all-purpose flour
- 85 grams cocoa powder
- 255 grams unsalted butter
- 128 grams dark chocolate, broken up
- 340 grams granulated sugar
- 43 grams light brown sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- 45 grams salted pretzels, broken up
- 3 egg whites
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly. Sift together flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside.
- Melt butter over low heat, then increase to medium and simmer. Continue cooking until it has browned, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate, until chocolate has melted.
- Combine sugars, salt, eggs, vanilla and espresso powder in a stand mixer with a whisk. Whip on medium/high until thick, about 8 minutes.
- Reduce to low and pour in chocolate butter mix. Make sure it is completely incorporated.
- Add flour/cocoa powder mixture and mix until well combined. Stop mixer, and using a flexible spatula fold in pretzels.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Brownies should be glossy and firm. Cool to room temp.
- Fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water, and place over medium/low heat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla. Place over water, whisking constantly until it goes from a yellowish mixture to white and opaque. This takes about 10 minutes
- You'll know it is ready by using a candy thermometer, you should have a reading of 175°. If you don't have a candy thermometer, rub a bit of the mixture with your fingers. You shouldn't be able to feel any sugar granules.
- Place the bowl in a stand mixer and whip on high until it is glossy and thick, about 5 minutes. You should have firm peaks.
- Spread on cooled brownies. Use an offset spatula to create swoops and swirls. Use a blowtorch to toast the marshmallow.