When I was younger, the highlight of Guide camp for me would be the evening of the bin fire. It wasn’t quite a campfire, in that the flames served a dual purpose for licking at marshmallows to toast them to a crisp but to also heat the vast metal bin that held the water for our nightly wash. Before we soaked sticky fingers and washed dirt from our faces, we had marshmallow sandwiches. Sat around the fire singing songs in our camp blankets, tin foil sausages of banana and chocolate would be thrown into the ashes to melt into a gooey puddle to prise at with a fork. And those marshmallows, carefully added to large prongs would be thrust into the flames, mostly charring and bubbling over. You were handed two digestive biscuits and used them like oven mitts to prise a molten marshmallow off the skewer and into the middle to eat as a sweet nighttime sandwich. It tasted of smoke, crisp and burnt on the outside, soft and elasticky in the middle. Your camp blanket would be covered in crumbs and marshmallow smears but you didn’t care too much.
It took me years to realise our marshmallow sandwiches were really American s’mores without the square of chocolate. It became ritualistic, long after Guide camps ended, that the last embers of a barbeque were for toasting bags of marshmallows in pink and white and stuck between any biscuits to be found in the cupboard. It’s such a simple combination, but every taste reminds me of smokey cups of cocoa, singing songs, soggy wellies, sleeping bags and never enough blankets. So in time for Bonfire Night, a campfire of sorts with a Guy on the bonfire, fireworks and the dull pop of sparklers, I wanted to create a recipe that evoked those memories of camp. These brownies are dense and fudgey, full of soft and crumbly biscuit pieces and covered in marshmallows, some crispy and toasted and others soft. A sprinkle of popping candy bring real fireworks to the tastebuds and a literal sparkler in the centre makes a slab of brownie a November 5 showstopper. I hope this taste of my childhood marshmallow sandwiches will go down a storm at your Bonfire Party – luckily you won’t have to line up for a scoop of hot water afterwards to wash the crumbs off your face.