Like asparagus and Meyer lemons, marshmallows are a seasonal food. In our home, they appear in the summertime for s'mores, disappearing for the fall and then returning in time for holiday hot chocolates.
We are not otherwise what I would characterize as a particularly marshmallow-centric family. This means that any given time of the year, there is a half a bag of unused marshmallows taking up space in my pantry, looking less and less appetizing every time I open the cupboard until I just throw them out in disgust.
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But for 2022, I finally decided to break the pattern and figure out how to use up that damn bag. It was tougher than I thought it would be. If your family is noncommittal about Rice Krispies treats and strongly opposed to marshmallows in their non-melted — or as I call them, raw — form, the options become surprisingly limited.
It didn't take long in my quest to realize what I was really looking for. What I wanted was a sticky, salty, Fluffernutter-esque experience, a childhood throwback to what I still consider the ultimate luxury confection. I wanted marshmallows and peanut butter, oozing together but clearly distinct. I wanted one bowl and one pan, and as few ingredients as possible.
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My search ended at Inspired Taste's aptly named "no-fail blondies," a quiet knockout of a base recipe designed to be personalized. There's just one kind of sugar involved and just one egg, so it's dense and fudgy. It comes together quickly and bakes in less than a half hour. And if the recipe can support its suggested an array of potential mix-ins like nuts, chips, dried fruit and even booze, I knew that surely it could handle my dream too. The comments on the original recipe prove other home bakers have taken similar liberties, with everything from applesauce to banana custard.
My own final product isn't pretty, but it sure is good. The marshmallow gets bronzed and gooey, the peanut butter gets melty, and conversation while eating becomes completely impossible. They disappeared, nibble by stealthy nibble, when I left a tray out on the kitchen counter recently. I'm going to have to buy another bag of marshmallows.
Recipe: Fluffy marshmallow peanut butter blondies
Inspired by Inspired Taste
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted (or even better, browned)
- 1 cup of lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter (not natural style), chunky or creamy
- Roughly one cup of marshmallows, either full sized or mini
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with lightly oiled foil or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir melted butter and brown sugar until blended. Add egg, vanilla and salt and stir to combine.
Add flour and stir thoroughly, or beat with a mixer until well combined.
Pour batter into your pan.
Dollop your peanut butter over the top in small spoonfuls. Take a knife and drag it and swirl it through the batter. You want it just marbleized.
Scatter your marshmallows over the top and gently push them in to the batter.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the batter has pulled away from the pan and is a little golden. The center should still be a little jiggly but the marshmallows should be puffed. Do not overbake.
Allow to cool, but it's optimum to eat them a little warm. They will be a sticky challenge to cut into neat slices, just go with it.
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