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These Marshmallowy Brownies Are The Best Kind of Insane

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The freezer!

The mini Dove bars are in the freezer, and my brother can fit two in his mouth at once. No brain freeze or anything.

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Upon bolting into my grandparents' house, that's the first thing he does—as an eight-year-old, a twenty-year-old, and, I predict, as a thirty-five-year-old, too.

Silly brother, to fill up on Dove bars before the really good stuff. That always comes later, when we're sitting in the living room, schmoozing. On neat trays, nestled into mini muffin tins—paper or metallic, whatever Grandma has on hand—are pecan bars (a mini pecan pie, each one) and, for the real prize, marshmallow-topped brownies portioned into two-bite pieces (one-bite, if you're my brother).

Grandma Joan's Marshmallow Brownies
Grandma Joan's Marshmallow Brownies

In a house full of treats—crystal bowls of chocolate-covered almonds, a perpetually half-full Jelly Belly dispenser (the age of those beans, I dare not consider), rugelach from who knows where, plastic tubs of toffee from Costco, every cereal a kid could dream of—nothing beat the brownies. They more than made up for all the dinners of egg salad and hummus, both meant to be eaten with a spoon (the vegetarian option, as far as Grandma was concerned).

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Like many of her baked good recipes, this one is simple but smart: The base, standard enough, is hammered with quartered marshmallows as soon as it comes out of the oven. Those are partially melted when a thick, hot fudge-like frosting, made from more unsweetened baking chocolate melted with more marshmallows, is poured over top.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Photo by James Ransom

The result is a very sweet and rich, triple-layer bar: sturdy bottom; mounds of airy marshmallows with their rounded butts towards the sky; chocolate sauce that sets to a smooth, truffle-like consistency in the fridge.

You can tell by now that these are sugary and rich and very chocolatey. I would not recommend giving them to your children if you're about to spend time in an enclosed space, like an airplane. (My parents were brave.)

So keep close tabs on the brownies and cut them small, like Grandma does. The good news: You can eat more of them this way.

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Grandma Joan's Marshmallow Brownies

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Makes 5 dozen tiny pieces

For the brownies:

  • 4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • Marshmallows (enough to cover the pan)

For the frosting:

  • 2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 12 marshmallows

What's your favorite type of brownie? Tell us in the comments below.