Tuesday, January 3, 2012

S'More Cupcakes

 Yep.  I made those. 

Sometimes the things I am able to make astound me.  I am, generally, not a crafty person.  I don't scrapbook.  I don't knit.  I definitely don't draw.  Sometimes I don't even write neatly.  So, when these things I bake turn out pretty, it always surprises me.  Every single time.

I'm not going to lie-- these suckers are MESSY.  Messy to make, messy to assemble, messy to eat.  If you have an aversion to things that are sticky, you may want to avoid these.  But if you do decide to make them, they are totally worth the messy and the sticky.  The only hiccup with these cupcakes is that they do seem to reqire some special kitchen equipment; however, if you are not me and you did not receive every kitchen gadget known to man for Christmas, do not fear.  I can help with the modifications. :)  It will be fun!  Just pretend we're outside...then you won't freak about the frosting that is flying all over your kitchen.  This will happen.  It's unavoidable.  Be prepared.  We're pretending to be Girl Scouts!

S'More Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Cupcakes
(Adapted from Ming Makes Cupcakes)
Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Graham Crust Bottoms
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Mix all ingredients together until the sugar is absorbed and all the graham cracker crumbs are wet.  Press into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  It took about a tablespoon to crumb mixture to cover the bottoms.

Graham Cracker Cupcakes

1 cup flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 5-7 pieces
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400.  (Or, if your oven is as hot as mine, 375.)  In the large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt.  Mix in the butter a piece at a time.  Beat in sugar thoroughly-- at this point, the mixture will look pretty sandy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Next, add vanilla and milk. mixing until just incorporated.  Spoon the cake batter on top of the graham crusts already in the cupcake liners.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack, then core for filling. (For this recipe with pictures and commentary, click here.)

Milk Chocolate Ganache
(Adapted from Joyofbaking.com)

3-4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (You should definitely use milk chocolate if you're looking for the classic s'mores taste.)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Place chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring cream and butter to a simmer.  Pour cream-butter combination over chopped chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes.  This is important!  Don't be impatient and try to stir too early (like I did the first few times I made ganache).  Then, whisk until smooth.  Let the ganache cool-- it will thicken a bit as it cools.  Fill cupcakes with milk chocolate ganache.

Seven-Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used the clear stuff here)

Place sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler (or in a clean mixing bowl that can fit over the top of a saucepan).  Beat with a mixer for about a minute, then place over boiling water (either over the bottom of your double boiler, or over your regular saucepan.  (Be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of your double boiler/mixing bowl.) Beat for seven minutes (hence the name).  Be warned: this is the messy part.  The frosting will greatly increase in volume, and, depending on the depth of your double boiler/mixing bowl, may start to get flung around the kitchen.  Just get through it.  Remove from heat and beat in vanilla.

You have already filled the cored cupcakes with the chocolate ganache-- now it's time to frost the cupcakes.  I have icing bags and tips, but the thought of trying to do more with that sticky frosting just about sent me over the edge.  So, do what I did-- put some in a baggie, snip the corner off the baggie, and voila! Disposable icing bag!  Once you've frosted the cupcakes, it's time to toast them.  You can do this with a kitchen torch (I just got one! Excitement!) or by putting them under the broiler for a few minutes.  Either way, watch the cupcakes carefully to make sure you don't burn the frosting.



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