Homemade Caramel S’mores Bars – Long weekend eating never looked (or tasted) so good!

Some Canadians look forward to the first long weekend of summer for an ‘extra’ day off….others, (like myself) can’t wait to hop into the cottage kitchen and get cooking!!

Savoury Trail Mix

A decadent, and good-for-you dockside nosh.

2 packages (18 g – each) Ivanhoe Nothing but Cheese, Cheddar

2 packages (18 g – each) Ivanhoe Nothing but Cheese, Monterey Jack

1 cup (250 mL) mixed salted nuts

½ cup (125 mL) mixed dried berries (*such as dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries)

⅓ cup (75 mL) green pumpkin seeds

Toss all ingredients together and serve.  Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

*this trail mix also makes a nutritious salad topper.

Triple Chocolate Whisky Brownies with Maple Vanilla Cream and Berries


Celebrate the long weekend with a decadent chocolate treat.

No weekend at the cottage is complete without a pan of homemade brownies.

Maple Vanilla Cream

1 ½ cups (375 mL) Gay Lea Premium Gold Sour Cream  

1 vanilla bean, scraped (*using vanilla paste/seeds only) or 1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp (45 mL) Canadian maple syrup

Stir together all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


2 oz (60 g) each; bittersweet and 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

⅓ cup (75 mL) 35% whipping cream (*or milk)

⅓ cup (75 mL) Gay Lea unsalted butter

1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

2 eggs


Always a good time with Dylan and Roula on Daytime Ottawa!

⅓ cup (75 mL) Canadian whisky *optional

¾ cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour

¾ cup (175 mL) cocoa powder

½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder

pinch salt

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

Garnish: Maple vanilla cream, mixed berries and Gay Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).  Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.   In a large glass bowl, over a double boiler, melt: bittersweet and dark chocolate, cream and butter.  Remove bowl from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.  Stir in vanilla, eggs and whisky.   Add remaining ingredients (*except garnishes) and stir until well combined.  Place batter into prepared pan and bake in center of pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes (*or until toothpick placed in center comes out with little crumb).  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Cut into 12 squares.  To Serve: Dollop each brownie with prepared maple vanilla cream, fresh berries and Gay Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream.

Baked Oscar Stuffed Potatoes


Stuff baked potatoes with any leftovers you have off the grill. Grilled meats, fish or veggies – and top with the most decadent dollop: Premium Gold Sour Cream.

A meal in itself, or, serve with poached eggs – Cottage brunch done right!!

1 cup (250 mL) Gay Lea Premium Gold Sour Cream

¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh dill

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 baked potatoes

12 asparagus spears, grilled

1 (1lb./500g) strip loin steak, grilled and thinly sliced

1 (120 g) can, quality crab meat, drained

Garnish: chopped green onion and pea shoots

Stir together sour cream, dill, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Cut baked potato lengthwise, about ¾ of the way through.  Divide asparagus, steak and crab meat evenly between potatoes.  Top each potato evenly with sour cream and garnish evenly with chopped green onion and pea shoots.

Homemade Caramel S’mores Bars  


Cottage cooking FUN with Melissa Lamb on CTV Morning Live Ottawa!  Click here to watch the segment.

No campfire required for these bars!!

Base: 2 cups (500 mL) crushed graham crackers (*about 30 crackers) + 1/3 cup (75 mL) melted Gay Lea unsalted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).  Combine cracker crumbs and butter.  Measure out 1/2 cup (125 mL) of mixture and set aside.  Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a parchment paper lined 8-inch square baking pan.  Bake in center of oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden.  Remove from oven and cool completely while making chocolate marshmallow layer.

Chocolate Marshmallow Layer

1 l.b (500 g) dark chocolate, finely chopped

1/3 cup (75 mL) Gay Lea unsalted butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) dark corn syrup

3 cups (75 mL) mini marshmallows – divided

Over a double boiler, melt chocolate.  Stir in butter and corn syrup until butter has melted.  Remove from heat and let cool, about 10 minutes.  Fold in 2 cups (500 mL) marshmallows.  Spread mixture evenly over base.  Top evenly with remaining 1 cup (250 mL) marshmallows.  Chill while preparing caramel.

Caramel Layer

*note: you can use 3/4 cup (175 mL) prepared caramel sauce instead of making your own*

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar

1/4 cup (60 mL) Gay Lea unsalted butter

2 tbsp (30 mL) dark corn syrup

1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda

Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small sauce pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring only once or twice until mixture comes to a gentle boil.  Continue to cook for about one minute without stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.  Stir until caramel lightens in colour.  Cool slightly.

To assemble bars: Drizzle caramel evenly over chocolate marshmallow layer.  Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture evenly over caramel and lightly press down with your hand.  Refrigerate for at least one hour, or over night.  Remove from refrigerator about 15 minutes before cutting.  Cut into 12 bars.  Enjoy!!

For more summer inspired Gay Lea recipes, click here.

Charmaine is a regular guest on Rogers Daytime York Region, CHCH Morning Live, Canada AM & Breakfast Television and food writer for Running Room Magazine sharing DSC_1081her love and enthusiasm for all things food, cooking and running.

Charmaine is a proud ambassador of Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon: a celebration of Women & Fitness, come join in the FUN June 6th, 2016.  Hope to see many of you at the start line in 2016!  Click here to register.

Most importantly; Charmaine is the mother of two active boys, Tyler & Colgan.

Charmaine understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping budget and time in mind. For more tasty recipes visit

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