My friend and I went on a hike and our trail ended, so we were forced to take another smaller trail, which led to another smaller trail, which branched to three smaller trails in which we had to choose one, and so on. Eventually, our trail straight ended and we were forced to walk on a very faintly traveled trail through about 1/4th of a mile of blackberry bushes.
If you’ve never seen a blackberry bush, it’s lush and green and sprouting with juicy blackberries — and is completely and utterly smothered in thorns. Thorns everywhere. Which of course I didn’t realize existed on blackberry bushes until they started slicing us every which way and getting caught in our hair.
When we exited the thorny blackberry bushes covered in scratches and prickles, we ended up in the middle of the freakin’ wilderness. No trails in sight. No signs of human life. And no sense of direction whatsoever.
We began wandering around, trying to figure out our sense of direction with no cell service or way of indicating where we were. The land was barren and dry; the air was hot and stagnant with nary a breeze in sight. I felt like vultures were probably waiting for us to keel over and die right there, and as we sucked the last of our edamame beans up I wondered if that would be my last meal ever.
We shuffled our feet over huge mountains of rocks and hiked for almost an hour and a half with no idea where the hell we were. Our water supply was running down and I began to wonder if we would be murdered by some scary mountain man or mauled to death by some hungry mountain lion babies. Or perhaps we would slip and fall off of a rock mountain and be dragged into an underground cave by blood-thirsty lizards. We were delirious, okay?
Plus, I know nothing about wilderness survival. I don’t know how to start a fire with sticks, and when I see moss on a tree, I just think, there is moss on that tree. I don’t know which direction the sun sets, only that the sun is beating down directly on my head and I am pissed that I forgot to bring a spare deodorant because I’m sweating profusely. And besides the blackberries, what was I supposed to eat? If my friend died, I could never eat her. Not that she wouldn’t taste good — I’m sure she tastes lovely — er.. I mean.. you know.. Ugh.
Just when we were about ready to lose it, I saw a biker in the distance and we made it to the parking lot. Granted, it was the parking lot a mile away from the actual lot where we parked, so after walking another mile in the heat (at least this time, along other hikers, bikers and humans), we pretty much collapsed and bought out the water supply at the nearest liquor store.
So anyways. My wilderness experience is very limited and while I like the great outdoors, I only like it in small quantities. Preferably when my odds of getting lost are incredibly slim, and when my odds of getting s’mores are incredibly high. You know — a normal balance.
Speaking of s’mores… these bars are the ultimate. Chewy bars topped with a THICK ribbon of toasty, gooey marshmallow, then smothered in Rolos, Reese’s Cups and Ritz Crackers. Irresistible and heavenly on a whoooooole ‘nother level.
*recipe adapted from Kevin & Amanda
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 sleeves Ritz Crackers
- 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme/fluff
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (8 oz) pkg Rolo Minis
- 1 (8 oz) pkg Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, allowing the sides of the foil to extend over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil lightly with baking spray, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, butter and egg with a rubber spatula or spoon until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan; top with a layer of Ritz Crackers (4 x 6 crackers, for a total of 24 crackers covering the surface of the bars).
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the marshmallow creme and the sweetened condensed milk and pour the mixture evenly over the top of the bars. Sprinkle evenly with the Rolos, Reese's Cups, and the remaining Ritz Crackers (roughly crush the remaining crackers with your hand).
- Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the center is just about set and the top is golden brown. Allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature before cutting into bars. You can also refrigerate the bars briefly after cooling to help them firm up. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature.
These bars are one of my new favorite recipes! There are SO many different and fun flavors and textures happening at once — a total flavor explosion and such a unique twist on s’mores! I love the surprise buttery caramel from the Rolos and the creamy, salty peanut butter from the Reese’s combined with the crunchy, buttery Ritz crackers — such a great substitution for the classic graham cracker. And the sweetened condensed milk adds a warm and toasty flavor to the marshmallows which creates this irresistible gooey ribbon throughout the bars. I guarantee you won’t be able to stop at just one bar!
Have a fantastical day!