S’mores Cupcakes (dairy-free, if you prefer!)

S'mores Cupcakes

I have been meaning to post about these cupcakes since last summer, and I keep putting it off… because every time I pull up photos of the damn things, I am overcome with the urge to bake (and subsequently EAT) a giant batch of them. And let’s be honest, now that I’m over 30, any sort of over-indulgence results in a stern talking-to from the waistband of my pants, so… I try not to torture myself by gazing at photos of baked goods, is what I’m saying. ENJOY YOUR METABOLISM WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG, KIDS!

S'mores Cupcakes

(That got off track quickly, didn’t it?)

My point is: these cupcakes are mighty delicious! I would like to say that they’re less messy than eating an actual s’more, but that would be a straight-up lie, and I won’t do that to you. So, pull your hair back, roll up your sleeves, and just get comfortable with the idea of having bits of marshmallow stuck to your face all day. They’re worth it.

S’mores Cupcakes*
adapted slightly from here and here
makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk

S'mores Cupcakes

For the ganache filling:
6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the frosting:
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

Special equipment needed:
a kitchen torch**

S'mores Cupcakes

1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until well-combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt). Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the butter, sugar, and eggs, and mix until just incorporated. Then add half the milk, another third of the dry ingredients, the remainder of the milk, and the remainder of the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix with each addition.

3.) Place cupcake liners into cupcake tins (or spray them with nonstick cooking spray), and fill each one about 2/3 full with batter (I like to use a 4T metal scoop so all my cupcakes are even – and err on the side of underfilling the cups). Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

4.) While the cupcakes bake, make your ganache. Place the chocolate and heavy cream into a small glass bowl, and set the bowl over a small pan of simmering water, making a double boiler (keep in mind: you do not want the simmering water to touch the bowl, just the resulting steam. You only need a small amount of simmering water at the bottom of the pot, and the bowl should be a bit bigger than the pot, so it will rest nicely in the opening). As the chocolate and cream heat up, gently whisk the two together until they’re completely melted and cohesive. Carefully remove the bowl from the pot (it will be hot!) and set aside.

5.) When your cupcakes are completely cool, take a small paring knife and cut a small hole out of the middle of each one, a little larger than the size of a quarter. Eat the resulting cupcake bits as a reward for all your hard work.

S'mores Cupcakes

6.) When the ganache has totally cooled (you can toss it into the fridge for 15 minutes or so to speed the process up), it should be relatively firm. Use a small metal scoop (I like the 2t size) or two spoons to scoop a small amount of ganache into each cupcake.

7.) Time for the frosting. Set the metal bowl of your stand mixer over a pot of simmering water – again, making a double boiler. Add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar (if using) to the bowl, and whisk to combine. Whisk the mixture constantly, until the sugar is totally dissolved, and the egg whites are warm to the touch (the sugar is dissolved when you dip your finger into the mixture and it no longer feels grainy – this should take 2-3 minutes).

Marshmallow Frosting

8.) Place the mixing bowl on to your mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and set it on low. Gradually increase the speed on the mixer as the egg whites thicken, and beat until the egg whites are about tripled in volume, and very glossy, about 6-8 minutes.

Marshmallow Frosting

9.) Pile the marshmallow frosting into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice (I prefer one of the star tips, so the resulting ridges will brown nicely). Pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes, and then go over the frosting with your mini kitchen torch to toast it lightly**.

S'mores Cupcakes

*These cupcakes are easy to make dairy-free, if that’s your thing. Substitute Earth Balance for the butter, and a dairy-free milk of choice for the whole milk (I went with Lactaid, but unsweetened almond milk would also be fine). The frosting is dairy-free on its own, and for the ganache, you can either use a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and coconut oil (about 2T for 6 ounces of chocolate), or totally skip the ganache filling, and instead just melt some semi-sweet chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the frosted, toasted cupcakes.

IMG_1355

**If you don’t have a kitchen torch, I understand you can pop these suckers under your broiler to toast the marshmallow frosting – I have never tried this, so your mileage may vary. Please report back if you give this method a shot. Also, for the love of all things holy, KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. You don’t want your beautiful cupcakes to go up in flames because you got distracted by yelling at the couple on House Hunters who insist that they can’t buy that house because the paint colors are ugly. FOCUS.

Man, these cupcakes are gooooood. The graham cracker cupcake is just slightly sweet, and the chocolate ganache is chocolate ganache, so you’ll find no argument there. Add a big pile of sweet, fluffy marshmallow with delightfully brown, toasty edges, and your guests will be putty in your hands. They’ll also probably leave sticky piles of marshmallow all over your house, but that’s why the nice people at Mr. Clean make Magic Erasers.

S'mores Cupcakes

As you’ll note in the photos in this post, these made an excellent addition to a Fourth of July celebration, but I also made them for a Christmas party, and they were well-received then, too. The allure of the s’more knows no season.

You’re welcome, and also, I’m sorry,
Tina

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