Smores Cereal Bars
Smores Cereal Bars

Before writer Justin Burke knew he was gay, his grandmother made room for him to make him feel accepted (and yes, chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers were involved).

Growing up, I rarely saw my mother’s side in the family. Most lived in different states, liked their space, and appreciated limited family time. Regardless of their preferred distance from each other, my mother’s parents drove across country from Northern California to my grandfather’s home state of Indiana every summer, stopping to visit their children and grandchildren along the way. My mother and I accompanied these summer family reunions on wheels from the age of five until I was fourteen. I loved these trips; it gave me three weeks of uninterrupted time with my grandparents. I found it fascinating because I knew little about her and she knew little about me.

When I was nine years old, during one of those summer car trips, we stopped to visit my grandmother’s entire family in Illinois, where I first met several of my mother’s relatives. One person who particularly fascinated me was my mother’s cousin. She was queer, open, and not a single person in the family avoided acknowledging who she was. It was so accepted that they were even disappointed that their partner was unable to attend the reunion due to work commitments.

One evening after being there for a few days we had a big family dinner followed by a campfire in the backyard. My outwardly not-so-loving grandmother and I sat around the fire where she showed me how to make s’mores. Between the steps of assembling the perfect s’more, out of nowhere, my grandmother simply explained to me that my cousin was no different from anyone else. That it was okay to be queer and that they have every right to love, happiness and respect. I just smiled, nodded and said “okay”. She leaned down and kissed my cheek and we ate our perfectly cooked s’mores together around the campfire surrounded by our extended family. I felt calm knowing that when the time came to acknowledge my authentic self, my mother’s family would love me no matter what; plain and simple.

My grandmother’s openness and warmth was an unexpected acceptance I didn’t know I needed at the time. It meant so much to me that she took the time to speak to me personally. She knew I was gay before I did, and she wanted to make sure I knew everything was going to be okay. To this day, every time I eat s’mores, I think about how lucky I am to have a family that gave me a space to be my authentic self when I was ready. This recipe takes all the good parts of s’mores — gooey toasted marshmallows, rich chocolate, and graham crackers — and serves them up in a non-traditional way. They’re just as good, just a little different.

Tips for making S’mores Granola Bars

Roast your marshmallows for that classic campfire flavor. The best part about making s’mores is roasting marshmallows over an open flame to get the perfect charred to gooey center ratio. Scatter some marshmallows on top and toast them with a kitchen burner for that popular campfire flavor that s’mores are known for.

Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon. After a few stirs, the melted marshmallow chill will make the mixture more difficult to mix. Using a wooden spoon adds extra strength and stability while mixing the granola and melted marshmallow together, ensuring the extra toasted marshmallows and chocolate chips are evenly distributed and not clumped together.

Any chocolate chips will work. You can use any type of chocolate chip: milk, semi-sweet, dark, or a mix of all.

S’mores cereal bars

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

total time
15 minutes

12 squares

Optional special equipment: kitchen torch


  • Cooking spray, for the pan

  • 2 (10 ounce) bags of mini marshmallows, divided

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 9 cups graham cracker cereal, like Golden Grahams

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Prepare the pan:

    Lightly spray a 9×9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. put it aside

  2. Melt butter and marshmallows:

    Set aside 1/2 cup marshmallows. You will use them later to top the treats.

    In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the remaining marshmallows, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until melted and there are no visible lumps. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt.

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients:

    In a large bowl, add the graham cracker muesli. Scrape in the melted marshmallows and stir until evenly combined. The mixture should have cooled just a little. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. They will melt a little, but that’s okay!

  4. Assemble Poles:

    Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Use your hands to press it into an even layer. Scatter the 1/2 cup marshmallows on top and if you like, use a kitchen torch to lightly toast them: light your torch. Keep the flame about 4 inches from the marshmallows. Move the flame over the top of the marshmallows until they are toasted and brown.

    Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips on top. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then cut into square bars.

    Did you like the recipe? Let’s star down!

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!