Nutritionists warn us that sugar is a drug, but if it takes the form of these matcha s'more brownies then sign me up for a life of sin. I'm pretty late to the foodie crazes of s'morifying chocolate-based desserts and adding matcha to basically anything you can think of, but combining the trends together just had to be done! Here, dark chocolate and grassy matcha's inevitable bittersweet rendezvous gets a lift from the sugar syrup used to make the green tea marshmallow fluff. The two flavor profiles are seamlessly compatible - both are bold and earthy, complex and deep - but also challenge each other for top seat. I considered adding more matcha to the topping or bringing it into the brownie base; dark chocolate is an imposing ingredient that tends to overpower others. But if chocolate wins this battle, it's as it should be - the last thing you want is for brownies to be deemed "herbaceous". Ultimately the ratios here are flexible, and to your taste.
When thinking through this recipe, I wavered on a few things:
- Cakey vs. fudgy? I settled on dense and moist; a s'more after all is melted chocolate with gooey torched marshmallow and there is nothing light or airy about it. This meant less flour and no leavening agents in the brownie batter
- How many healthy substitutions to attempt? Here I was more conflicted, but chose a happy medium - half butter half full-fat Greek yogurt, mostly whole wheat flour because I ran out of all-purpose, and starting with 100% dark chocolate to get the perfect level of sweetness. So no chickpeas or black beans in this recipe, but I've definitely had delicious superfood brownies!
- Best way to incorporate graham crackers? I actually don't like graham cracker crumb crusts... all you can taste is the butter! (Personal pet peeve) I made parchment paper circles to line the cupcake pan and then used them to trace and cut graham cracker circles for the base. The leftover crumbs and broken crackers I stuck to the top of the brownies with a dab of green tea marshmallow fluff, and piped more fluff on top to cover them. This gave height without overdoing the fluff to brownie ratio (who ever eats all the icing on a cupcake? Not me...)
S'mores cakes, brownies, and ice cream have been done so many times that it almost seems excessive to think through it this much - but I love the recipe development process. Baked goods generally require more thought than stovetop meals, and honestly are a bit more of a nuisance to test. How often should one realistically have an entire batch of brownies on hand within one week? But these came together like a dream on trial one. And how could it not? Chocolate, butter, sugar; a crumbly graham crunch; matcha, egg whites beaten into fluffy peaks and rendered into a sticky marshmallow mass through the addition of a molten stream of caramel syrup. All delicious alone, and even better together. Sometimes it's just that simple.
Matcha S'more Brownies (makes 12)
For the brownies:
- 6-8 large graham crackers
- 3 oz 100% dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup butter (4 tbsp, or half a stick), cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
- Pinch of salt
For the green tea marshmallow fluff (you will have ~1 pint leftover - use to make Rice Krispies!)
- 3 room temperature egg whites
- 3/4 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 tbsp matcha, more to taste
Brownie prep: Oil the bottoms and sides of a a 12-muffin tin, and line the bottoms with parchment paper circle cutouts. Use these cutouts as a guide to cut graham cracker circles from the crackers (or you can make a graham cracker crust). Press firmly into the bottom of the tin and reserve the larger graham cracker scrap pieces for later. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brownie batter: In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate at 10-second intervals, stirring between each interval. Stir in the sugar, and when the mixture is cool add in the eggs and vanilla. When well-combined, add salt and flours and mix thoroughly.
Baking: Fill the cupcake tins with the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until just set in the center. Set aside to cool. Brownies will be easy to remove from the pan once they have cooled, otherwise they will break.
Make the green tea marshmallow fluff: As you wait for brownies to cool, begin the fluff! Whip the egg whites to soft peaks using a hand or stand mixer. Then, combine water, sugar, and honey in a large saucepan (this bubbles up). Heat the mixture at medium heat, swirling so that the ingredients combine, but don't stir. When the mixture reaches 240 degrees (candy thermometers are fairly cheap - use them!), remove from the heat. Pour a very small amount into the egg white mixture to prevent scrambling and beat on low speed; repeat 2 more times. Then, pour all the remaining sugar syrup in a steady, gradual stream, beating all the while. Add the salt, vanilla, and matcha. Raise the beating speed to medium and continue whipping the mixture until it turns thick, glossy, and a little sticky.
Assembly: Pipe a small circle of marshmallow fluff onto the top of each brownie. Pile graham cracker pieces and crumbs atop this circle. Pipe marshmallow fluff around and on top of the graham cracker pieces, making sure to completely cover the top. Torch the fluff until lightly caramelized using a kitchen blowtorch (optional).