Even before tapeworm came into the picture, I craved foods from my childhood. I tried to recreate certain things (like this), but mostly I just wanted and pouted and desired foods – from Cinnamon Toast Crunch to Smartfood – that I probably wouldn’t even like anymore. Seeing as tapeworm is in the picture, and the cravings turned into dreams, I gave in and placed an order with a website that imports Canadian goods into Australia.
A few days later, two boxes of Golden Grahams and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese arrived. I ripped into the cereal, shoved a handful in my mouth and….realized they tasted a little like cardboard. For a few days I had it for breakfast, dressed up with banana or plums, but it was still vaguely yet unmistakably bland. Unwilling to toss the whole box, I decided to use them to make something else I’d been fantasizing about: s’mores.
Though s’mores are a completely foreign and unappetizing notion to the rest of the world, we seem to be quite proud of them. I suspect this has less to do with the taste and more to do with the process: finding the perfect stick, sticking your marshmallow on the end and burning it to death over the campfire. I love when things (and especially goods) are so wholesome and iconic, but my memories of s’mores involve disappointment (the chocolate never melted properly) and, despite a strong stomach (maybe my most prized feature), an overwhelming sense of quease.
No matter, I still wanted them, if only because I can’t find graham crackers in Australia. Good thing Golden Grahams cereal are the second best (if slightly stale tasting) thing. Better still: I had a bag of marshmallows (that I swear I never bought) in the cupboard taunting Francesco who does not tolerate such things. Killing two birds with one stone, I followed the lead of a few other people and whipped up a batch of s’mores bars in no time at all.
Despite my lack of corn syrup (they use golden syrup instead in Australia), they turned out okay. Not quite as scrumptious and exciting as the s’mores of my past, but not quite as messy and disgusting either. I gave them away to friends and neighbors touting them as “American” but they’re really not. They offer a balance, a lame metaphor for expat living, tapeworm’s cravings and the sometimes joys of processed foods.
While they weren’t as good as some bars I’ve made, I kept going back for more. I still have another box of Golden Grahams somewhere, so who knows? Maybe these bars will be cooling on my counter again very soon.
If you use a whole box, this makes a lot of little bars, so be prepared to feed the troops. I used half a box of cereal and halved all the other ingredients accordingly. I’m sure you could use another cereal…you may lose the s’morsieness but not the yum. Try to use corn syrup, but golden syrup can be substituted in a pinch. Recipe adapted from this one on Grandma’s Desserts.
3/4 cup light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
3 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
1 package (12 ounces / 350 grams) milk chocolate chips (or milk chocolate, chopped roughly)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups miniature marshmallows (or regular marshmallows chopped up)
1 box Golden Graham cereal (9 cups)
Grease a brownie pan or a jelly roll (lamington) pan. You may want to line the pan with baking paper and grease that for even easier cleanup.
In a large pot, bring syrup, butter, chocolate and vanilla to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat. Place cereal in a large bowl and pour the warm chocolate mixture over. Use a wooden spoon to stir to combine and stir in the little marshmallows. Mix until all cereal is coated. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and press it down evenly. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour until it cools completely. You can speed this up by placing the tray in the fridge.
Once cooled, slice into squares or rectangles. Enjoy.