Mike and I share a love for sugary breakfast cereal. We buy the Malt-O-Meal varieties that come in huge plastic bags, because eating vast quantities of puffed sugar is a responsible choice if you're getting it for a fraction of the cost of name brand. I always eat breakfast cereal dry, nibbling it piece by piece as a dessert or afternoon snack. For Mike, it's his go-to breakfast, served with whole milk and the occasional drizzle of chocolate syrup.
Our cereal rotation has long included Cinnamon Toasters, Golden Puffs, Frosted Flakes, Berry Colossal Crunch, Frosted Mini Spooners, Tootie Fruities, and my beloved Marshmallow Mateys (bonus points if you can figure out which brand name cereal inspired which knock off). But lately, we discovered what might possibly be the most delicious offering in the Malt-O-Meal line up: French Toasters, crunchy little squares of wheat, sugar, and corn flavored with just enough maple syrup to make the ingredient list. The sane adult opinion of this product would be "Huh. That's a rather sugary and slightly interesting cereal option." My reaction was "This is amazing! And I should make a pie crust out of it!" And Mike's reaction--this sums up why we're married--was "That sounds incredible!"
My initial plan was to do a riff on a s'mores pudding pie, with a crushed cereal crust standing in for the graham crackers, a chocolate pudding filling, and a topping made with Marshmallow Fluff (for which Mike and I also share an inordinate fondness). But in the process of researching crust recipes, I came across a recipe for s'mores brownie pie on Sally's Baking Addiction. The fudgy brownie filling and layer of toasted marshmallows made it much richer option than the pudding pie concept, so it was obviously perfect.
Since French Toasters are much sweeter than graham crackers, I cut down the amount of sugar in the crust; otherwise, I followed the original recipe as written. I crushed the cereal in batches in a food processor, but you could also seal the cereal in a plastic bag and crush it with a rolling pin. My flat-bottomed metal measuring cup was the perfect implement for pressing the crust mixture into the pie dish.
When broiling the marshmallows, watch them very closely so that they don't burn. I broiled mine for 2 minutes, which was a bit too long; 1 1/2 minutes probably would have been perfect. Although the original recipe recommends cooling the pie to room temperature before serving, I recommend eating it while still warm. Your slices will not be photogenic--the brownie layer has a molten, gooey quality--but they will be incredibly delicious. And that's really what a s'mores brownie pie is all about.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground Malt-O-Meal French Toasters cereal crumbs (about 3 cups cereal)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- about 21 large marshmallows
Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine cereal crumbs, 6 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Firmly press mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish.
Make the brownies:
Combine the 10 tablespoons butter, 1 1/4 granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Stir again. If needed, continue to microwave in 30 second increments until butter is completely melted.
Stir in the vanilla. Add eggs and mix until completely incorporated. Add flour and mix just until smooth. Pour batter into prepared crust and spread evenly with spatula.
Bake for 28 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange marshmallows on top of pie in a single layer.
Bake for an additional 3 minutes, and then broil on high for 1 to 2 minutes to toast marshmallows.
Cool pie on a wire rack and serve slightly warm. Store covered at room temperature and warm leftover slices in the microwave for about 15 seconds before serving.