Truth be told, I don’t like my birthday very much.

I mean, the date is fine – February 25th. Precariously close to being a leap year baby, but other than that – totally reasonable.

It’s more that I find the ordeal of actually having a birthday to be quite stressful.  Everyone wants/expects you to be so happy(!) and joyous(!) and high on life(!) and so you feel this intense pressure not to disappoint. You do the things that people think you should be doing to celebrate even if they’re not what you want to be doing…which really is just for it to be a totally normal day.

But with cake at the end.

Is that really so much to ask for?


I know, right, how very birthday-scrooge of me.


My dad never particularly liked his birthday either, at least not as far as I can remember. According to my mom, after his sister died (nine months before I was born) he just didn’t want to celebrate. And I can understand that.

I’ve felt that way about every holiday since he died.  Because maybe, if we just pretend that it’s a totally average normal run-of-the-mill day…it won’t hurt as much when he’s not there.


Last year, my parents and siblings came to my “friends” party.  My dad brought champagne even though I insisted that he didn’t.

But he was just so happy to be there.  To be included. That there was no stopping him.  If he wanted there to be champagne then damnit there was going to be champagne!!!

He was quite a force, that’s for sure.

So I don’t foresee myself being able to be particularly happy(!) and joyous(!) and high on life(!) on Monday.


But I can be happy today.

Because it’s just a normal, average, run-of-the-mill day.

The kind where a s’more nut bar will be enjoyed all the more because it’s such a surprise. You weren’t expecting to eat something this addictively delicious today.  But here we are.

Chocolate, peanuts, and marshmallows all rolled out on top of a graham cracker crust.  It really doesn’t get any better than that.


One year ago…Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup, Barley Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Champagne Honey Mustard
Two years ago…African Curried Coconut Soup with Chickpeas
Three years ago…Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread Pudding

S’more Nut Bars and Black Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches
Can't wait until summer for a good healthy dose of s'more flavor? Try out these s'more nut bars!
Yield: 24 bars
  • 2¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 17-20)
  • 1 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 oz milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 7½ oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3½ oz mini marshmallows (I used vegan marshmallows)
  • 1 cup lightly salted whole peanuts
  • 1 cup chopped lightly salted peanuts
  1. Preheat oven to 300. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add the butter. Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it onto the prepared pan. Press the crust into an even layer along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  3. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.
  4. In a large heatproof bowl, toss the chocolate together. Drizzle the corn syrup over the chocolate.
  5. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil. Pour it over the chocolate mixture and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out, whisk the chocolate mixture into the cream until it is completely smooth. Fold in the marshmallows and whole peanuts. Pour into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Sprinkle the top with the chopped peanuts.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until set.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar


Have you guys ever heard of Graeter’s ice cream?  The company has been around, churning out ice cream since 1870, and is now in it’s fourth generation of family ownership.  They make their ice cream using the French Pot method  and each batch is only made two gallons at a time resulting in an insanely awesome creaminess. It is denser than most ice creams out there since it is gently folded instead of whipped, giving you more bang for your buck as well as an amazing texture.  In addition, they use only fresh REAL ingredients (cream, milk, cane juice, fruit, chocolate chunks and BEET JUICE to color, if applicable. How rockstar is that?).

They are coming out with their first new ice cream flavor in 3 years – black cherry chocolate chip – and they sent me a few pints to try it out, along with their blackberry chocolate chip and vanilla chocolate chip flavors for comparison.  I have to say, the black cherry chocolate chip was my favorite of the three. In a world where artificial cherry flavor abounds, this ice cream actually tasted like REAL cherries.  And the HUGE chocolate chunks mixed throughout were no laughing matter either.

I used two pints of this ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches for The.Boy and I for Valentine’s Day using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the cookies.  They were so easy to work with and put together that I will surely be making them again…and the chocolate cookie/black cherry chocolate chip combo was spot on perfect.  If you happen to have a Graeter’s near you or a vendor that sells it, I would highly recommend picking up a pint (or six!).


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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84 Responses to S’more Nut Bars and Black Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

  1. I’m glad you’re happy and joyous today… and I can see why those s’mores nut bars would do that! I hope you have an awesome birthday as well and think of some happy times your dad was there to celebrate with you. 🙂

  2. Oh, Joanne, you’ve done it again! Made me drool on my computer after looking at one of your awesome baked creations on a Friday morning. 😉
    Thinking of you over the next few days… I hope you can find some joy in your birthday and remember many wonderful times with your dad!

  3. Being super happy on your birthday is supremely overrated. Enjoying one or ten of these any other day of the year? Seriously perfect. I wish I could be around to give you a giant birthday hug and bake you a cake:-(

  4. Foodycat says:

    Birthdays are overrated. This birthday, without your dad to bring the champagne, even more so. Hope Monday is a lovely day for you, honey!

  5. Audra says:

    Hello fellow Pisces! I understand about mixed feelings about Birthdays. If a normal regular day makes you the most happy- thats what you should have!

    Love both these treats. Never tried that ice cream but now I want to!

  6. Danielle says:

    oh my goodness this looks fabulous. I think you should start a champagne tradition on your birthday. Celebrate your dad.

  7. Lora says:

    Celebrate or not any way you choose. There’s no roadmap for missing a loved one. Those bars look scrumptious. I worked in Cincinnati for a few months in the early 90’s and fell in love with Graeter’s. Used to have it shipped to my back in NYC. Love the new flavor

    Sending you a big hug on your birthday.

  8. I understand about birthdays! I like to celebrate because the attention is on you, but for me I don’t like the number. It just makes me realize how much older I am. When I look at movie stars from when I was a kid, I think OMG, they are old now. What happened. That will be me one day! Ugh!! You’ll have a beautiful birthday because you are beautiful!

    The smore bars look crazy good!!

  9. Oh, my dear friend. You are not a birthday scrooge. On your birthday, you do and feel however you damn want to! These smore bars look delightful, by the way 😉

  10. Happy early birthday Joanne and have a great trip to NOLA (this weekend right?). xoxo

  11. marie says:

    Yes, the expectations of it all. I am more of a go out to dinner with a few close friends. My idea of a nightmare would be a surprise party with a ton of so-so friends, I would be completely uncomfortable in that situation.

    I am making those smore’s. I need to get out of my chocolate chip cookie making rut.

  12. Beth says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ll be greeting your birthday with mixed feelings. Days of celebration can be so special when things are going well, but so low when we’re missing someone we love. Take care, and may you take comfort in the memories.

  13. Amy says:

    Ya. Birthdays. Meh. I’ve never gotten very excited about my mine. But I do find joy in watching my kids get excited over theirs (although I wish the festivities didin’t carry on for days on end…my, how the times have changed.) The loss of your father was so tremendous, it will no doubt make a void in a lot of special days for you, for a while. ((((hugs))))

  14. Yes, please to allllll of the above deliciousness!!!

  15. Here’s to a happy, joyous run of the mill day today. AND, to celebrating or NOT celebrating however you damn well want to!

  16. Black cherry chocolate chip ice cream sounds delicious! Don’t worry about what other people expect of you on your birthday – it’s your day, and you can feel and be whatever you want! Take care, sweetie, and stay strong! xo

  17. I TOTALLY know what you mean regarding birthdays — I cry almost every birthday because of all the pressure for it to be perfect (which it almost never is, even when it’s good). That said… I hope that the happiness and joy you feel today will carry through to your birthday… in a very normal, everyday kind of way. 🙂

    Also, these desserts? WANT.

  18. Erica Berman says:

    Those bars look amazing! Happy birthday. February might not have the best weather, but at least, unlike myself and everyone in my immediate family, your birthday doesn’t also happen to be the date of a major historical catastrophe!

  19. These look so delicious. It’s good for you to define what kind of birthday you want and stick to it! If you want an average day, go for it. It’s not scrooge like, its honest, and your honestly will probably make other ppl who don’t want their birthday to be a big deal more comfortable to say so. And maybe on that average day, have a class of champagne for your dad with cake.

  20. You’re birthday is so close to mine! Happy early birthday! It’ll be awesome. Especially if these nut bars are involved.

    And that ice cream looks amazing. Sure wish I could pick some up!

  21. Pam says:

    I hope you have as an enjoyable birthday as you want. Bad sentence, but you know what I mean.

  22. Gloria says:

    I understand Joanne, these last times wasnt easy for you. But for your birthday only make that you feel or you want:)
    The last years I dont celebrate especially my birthday but I make something because the twins asked:)
    But like you I love aomething quiet!
    These bars and cookies look awesome!

  23. sandra says:

    I’ll be checking out this brand of ice cream for sure. Cherry is my favorite flavor for jam so I am sure I’ll love this as well. And you used Deb’s cookies too!! How funny. I guess they were irresistible, eh?

    ps. happy birthday.

  24. Pam says:

    I know this will be a tough birthday without your dad by your side but remember…he’s there with you in your heart and your memories. The smore bars look amazing and that ice cream sandwich has me drooling. Seriously drooling.

    ? Happy birthday Sweets! xoxo ?

  25. “I’ve felt that way about every holiday since he died. Because maybe, if we just pretend that it’s a totally average normal run-of-the-mill day…it won’t hurt as much when he’s not there.” This brought tears to my eyes because I know exactly what you mean.
    I am so sorry – my thoughts are with you and I hope that you can feel your dad toasting your birthday and smiling down on you!

  26. Joanne, your dad sounded like a total rock star. Maybe a glass of champagne and one of these s’more nut bars on just an average Friday is all you need. Happy early birthday. you are amazing!

  27. Know that I will be thinking of you… Your dad really does sound awesome, I know you all miss him very much.

  28. Those are some of the best s’mores bars I have ever seen! I love how you elevate a childhood treat with extra salt and nuts. More seriously, I understand what you mean about birthdays not being the same without a parent. I loved my birthday as a kid, but now that my mother has passed, it is a day that is only extra-special to me, not to her as well. I think trying to make new traditions is the only answer, even if it is impossible to recreate the past…so I always make a point of trying to do ‘all the things I like’ on my birthday, whenever possible, even if it isn’t a conventional celebration. I hope you still have a good day, and good luck on your race.

  29. Jessie says:

    Holidays and other special days are never quite the same after someone you love is gone. You’re perfectly entitled to spend the day however you’d like, especially as a normal day (with cake). Hugs for you on your birthday and every other regular day *HUGS*

    Enjoy your s’more bars and ice cream sandwiches! They look wonderful, Joanne 🙂

  30. Happy Bday and I hope your day is sweet and special in it’s own (bittersweet) way. Thinking of you!

    And Smores Bars are a great place to start to brighten any day!

  31. Eileen says:

    Yeah, birthdays are not really my thing either. Last year John and I were busting ass pre-product launch for our whole birthday week–it was even the landmark 35 for me–and it was fine. You should celebrate your birthday in just as low a key as you’re comfortable with. 🙂 Either of these delightful concoctions would make a great celebration!

  32. Hotly Spiced says:

    I do hope you have a lovely birthday on the 25th however I can imagine it will be difficult not having your father with you. Your slice is gorgeous. I love all the layers. Wish I could reach through the screen and grab a few xx

  33. Guru Uru says:

    Happy Happy Birthday my friend, this looks like a sweet treat and a half indeed 😀
    LOVE IT and you deserve it on such a special day 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  34. Kim says:

    I can’t say I get overly excited about my birthday either. I think you should celebrate your birthday however you choose. The trip to NOLA sounds like just the right way:)

    I love Graeter’s ice cream! It’s the best. We have the ice cream shops down here and it is definitely the best (and creamiest) ice cream around. It’s some high dollar stuff though. $15 for a half gallon in the stores.

    Love those s’mores bars. They look incredible.

  35. P says:

    On my 18th and 19th birthdays, I felt so depressed even though I couldn’t pinpoint a reason as to why. I just didn’t feel like celebrating at those times :/

    I still wish that you have a happy b-day though, and indulge in lots of yummy sweets and treats :)!

  36. Love, love, love Graeter’s! It has been available here in Miami since last spring. I just finished a carton of mint chocolate chip. I need to get some more.

  37. Dining Alone says:

    My Mom died a couple of days before my birthday so that time of year is always really hard for me. I totally empathize with you and can tell you it does get easier. I know that is cliche and all, but I hope it helps a little.

  38. Debbie says:

    Ah, what a great treat! Wish I could have one right now. Can’t resist chocolate with marshmallows! Do whatever makes you feel good on your birthday. All holiday firsts are difficult after we lose someone we love. Sending good thoughts your way…..

  39. Geni says:

    These s’mores bars look so addictive and crazy delicious! The dark, dark chocolate is calling my name Joanne. I am so very sorry you are missing your dad so. It is terribly painful not to have someone in your life that you loved so much. Just get through the day piece by piece and eat some really, really good cake. Take care sweetie.

  40. Pam says:

    I totally get it, I’ve had mixed feelings about birthdays also. In your case, you’ve had a difficult time lately concerning your father. Just celebrate the way you want to! Your goodies look fantastic, esp. the ice cream sandwiches!

  41. Mary Younkin says:

    oh my GOSH, woman. Two mouthwatering desserts? You rock. Do whatever it takes to make this birthday work for you. ~hugs~

  42. OohLookBel says:

    This is absolutely mouthwatering. Enjoy each day as it comes, and hope that your birthday is a good one.

  43. That Girl says:

    It’s great that your dad was so involved in your birthday, but it can definitely make things harder now that he’s gone.

  44. I’m pretty much the same. I always feel super awkward celebrating myself, but I DO like choosing what the boy will make for me! I think we have to wake up at a crazy person hour on Monday, so we can celebrate the fact that you’re alive and awesome tomorrow and Sunday! BEIGNETS!! So much yumminess to look forward to!

  45. These look too good! My boyfriend walked by while I scrolled through the pictures and saw the “oh my goodness that looks amazing” face and wondered what I was looking at.

  46. I hope that Monday is a good day for you! It doesn’t have to be great, just good. I made a black cherry ice cream so I can imagine how good the addition of chocolate will be! I’m going to add some chocolate sauce to my next bowl 🙂

  47. Two absolutely droolworthy desserts! Enjoy this moment and today!

  48. Kari says:

    I feel exactly the same about my birthday. Totally unreasonable amounts of pressure.

    I do, however, love the look of this smore slice and if you have any of that left for your birthday – I suspect that will probably help. I hope you have a great day when it rolls around 🙂

  49. I definitely know how you feel about birthdays, so much build up & expectations you can’t escape. These s’more bars looks great though and may be a good way to brighten any blue day. Happy birthday!

  50. Our birthdays are super close! Mine is the day after yours 🙂 I’m with you though, I don’t really want a big party or celebration for my birthday – low key is the way to go.

    The s’mores bars look amazing, love the big pieces of marshmallows so visible in them!

  51. The s’mores bars sure looks delicious! I can totally relate to how you feel about any special occasions now. Think about those good times with your dad on your birthday. He wouldn’t want you to be sad. I will be thinking about you (((birthday hugs))).

  52. teresa says:

    this brought tears to my eyes, i wish i could give you a hug! your dad sounds like such a sweet person.

    i’m not a huge fan of birthdays either. i often wish we could just skip over it and continue on. i do like getting to eat as much cake as i want though.

    maybe instead of cake though, i’ll try these bars, they look fantastic!

  53. grace says:

    since your pop obviously wanted you to feel special on your birthdays, i hope you’re able to enjoy monday–i’ll be thinking of you!
    i love your s’more bars, and who doesn’t love an ice cream sandwich? 🙂

  54. Natalie G says:

    Your pics always make me HUNGRY! I am loving the smore nut bars, i love anything sweet and salty!

  55. Kathy says:

    Joanne, So sorry for your loss! It is so hard to lose a parent.
    Your s’more nut bars and black cherry ice cream sandwiches are just perfect for enjoying today!!
    Be happy on your birthday…your father would want that for you!

  56. Hannah says:

    I’ve always hated my birthday too, and with extra emotional weight to the day, I don’t blame you for being less than thrilled about your own. If you’re not happy on Monday, I think you’re perfectly entitled to that feeling. Don’t force yourself to put on a happy face if you’re not into it, because it’s your day, after all. Do what makes sense, but regardless, I do hope you find some comfort, please, and/or joy- If that’s what’s in your heart. Happy early Birthday, my dear.

  57. Erica says:

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday,Joanne.Those bars look amazing..I always leave your blog drooling!

  58. Laura says:

    I live in Graeter’s country and oddly enough have never been sold. 🙂

    Both of my dad’s parents died in December. To this day my Christmas-loving dad is also generally bummed. When he got grandkids it helped. 🙂 The point being, I am sure it is normal. (((HUGS)))

    And pinning the S’Mores bars…

  59. Hello! I recently just started a youtube Korean food channel, EasyKoreanFood, where you can learn how to make fast & easy Korean food! It would mean the world to me if you could check it out because I’m just starting out! Thanks!

  60. Lynn says:

    I know exactly how you feel – my father died during Christmas week three years ago and my mom died last year, the day after my birthday. Neither holiday will ever feel quite the same. Having said that – I hope you get cake on your birthday and that it is a nice, normal day. xo

    Those bars look divine!

    And I just flipped to page 154 of the March issue of Cooking Light and there you are! That’s exciting!

  61. Johanna GGG says:

    Great recipe – happy birthday – it wont be the same without your dad but I have a feeling he would want you drinking champagne even if he wasn’t there (and of course he might even hope you miss him a little too – that is natural)

  62. Happy Birthday! this recipe is fabulous and your photos are gorgeous!!
    Mary x

  63. Sara says:

    These desserts look totally to-die-for! 🙂 I love Graeters, so tasty. Their black raspberry chip is my favorite, so I definitely need to get my hands on the black cherry chip when I am back in Ohio! 🙂

  64. Claudia says:

    I’m going through a year of “firsts” so many days are mixed-feeling days. But unbirthdays can be quite, quite wonderful. And these s’mores comfort with just a hint of celebration. Don’t know Grater’s at all – but it looks like rock-star quality! The color makes me smile. And everyone needs more smiles.

  65. Reeni Pisano says:

    Reminds me of that old song it’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to. . . I completely understand. My birthday is the same as my Grandma’s – we always celebrated together – since she’s gone it’s just a sad reminder. Anywhoo I’m very into s’mores these days and those look pretty incredible! Plus the ice cream sandwiches! Super yummy.

  66. daphne says:

    Those look amazing!!! Happy BIRTHDAY because of u who is born who created all those lovely recipes!

  67. Natalie says:

    happy almost birthday dear! I’ll be thinking about you tomorrow-and somewhere your dad is watching over you and toasting to you with champagne 😉

  68. These look amazing.. I don’t think you can go wrong with anything from Baked! It seems like everyone else is always more interested in what you’re doing for your birthday than yourself.. I don’t like feeling pressure from everyone else to plan something so I don’t usually do anything and am much happier and stress free that way anyway! Spend your birthday however you like!

  69. happy birthday joanne! i hope you enjoy your day (and cake!) with your dear family and friends in the most low-key way possible 🙂

  70. Well, whether or not today is particularly joyous, I hope you feel happy and loved – happy birthday my friend. Now, pass one of those there delicious smore nut bars! 😉

  71. Hope you have a good birthday. These desserts look super yummy and great for a birthday or any day, really.

  72. smores bars make a run of the mill day a fantastic day, ifidosaysomyself. have a wonderful one!

  73. Happy birthday! I’m not huge on birthdays either, but great food never hurts 🙂

  74. Kerstin says:

    Happy Birthday! Wow, these look soo addicting! These would definitely elevate any day 🙂

  75. Chris says:

    Happy belated birthday, Joanne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  76. OK, not kidding, there is NO WAY I could have these around my house! I have bought similar items before and they disappeared way too quickly, haha! BUT, these look awesome! They would be fabulous birthday eat on its own. They look like party to me 🙂

  77. Candace says:

    I am so sorry that I missed your birthday. As you can see, I’m playing catch up tonight. I hope your birthday was fantastic and that you enjoyed lots of happy memories. *hugs*

  78. and where is the cake?
    what did the boy get you for your b-day?

  79. elly says:

    Those bars look amazing. I feel like I really need to hurry up and make them because at least I’ll have pregnancy as an excuse to eat too many. 🙂 I hope you had a good birthday!

  80. Kelsey says:

    Happy birthday! You and my sister share the same birthday. She would definitely approve of these dessert choices!

  81. Happy b day darling. I know its hard to celebrate, but remember his energy is ever present and he wants you to be joyful. He will be celebrating with you…just in a different way.

  82. I’m trying desperately to catch up after our vacation, Joanne, so please forgive me if I don’t comment on all of the posts I’ve missed. I scrolled down and had to stop at this one 🙂 How delicious they look!

    I also wanted to say Happy Belated Birthday!!!

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