Okay. So. I’m off island. I’m staying with family again. I’m in the Great White North (that’s actually still green and lovely). But the hubster and our boy are still on island. And they had a big storm this past weekend. Her name was Irene, and she was way more of a bitch than any Irene I’ve ever met.
Voldemort said it best: “Hurricane Irene? Who names these things? Irene is one of the least threatening sounding names ever. Why not name it “Hurricane Flobberworm”?”
Except. She knocked the crap out of the power and cell service where hubs and the kid are. Le sigh. I haven’t really talked to them in three days because they’re conserving cell power, and obviously, there’s no interwebs. Blerg. I miss ‘em.
The hubster reassured me this morning, though, that they’re partying like it’s 1699, so I shouldn’t worry. I’m picturing them doing all the nerdy things that they both love to do anyway, but electronics always get in the way. I’m sure there’s plenty of reading going on, but there’ll also be chess. I love that my geeky boys love chess.
I also pictured them spearing marshmallows and toasting them over the blue flames of the gas burners on the stove, since we don’t lose that when the power flees. And then I got a little jealous. Cause I love toasted marshmallows and s’mores. Especially when they’re a the-power-is-out-let’s-do-something-fun-and-goofy kind of thing.
And then I was all like, “Oh yeah. They haven’t had power in three days. That means not really any water in three days. That means no showers in three days. Ew.” Then I was all grateful that I’m somewhere where I can still shower and not have to be around stinky, dirty boys, sitting in the dark getting my ass kicked at chess.
While you check out my lost-power-inspired cupcakes, I’m off to make them a care package. It’s going to have cookies and candy and special little treats that they can’t get down there. And air freshener.
I knew I wanted graham cracker crust on my cupcakes, instead of giving my cupcakes a little bit of crust on the bottom, I decided to give them a whole graham cracker cup. I never think there’s enough graham in s’more treats, so I wanted to add lots to these. After all, actual s’more are full of graham cracker yumminess. I put three tablespoons of the crust mixture into each cup, pressed it into the bottom and up the sides firmly, and baked it until it was golden and smelled amaziiing.
Since the graham crust recipe has plenty of butter or margarine in it, it doesn’t stick to the edges, but I wanted to be extra careful, so I gave the whole pan a light spray of non-stick cooking spray. Oh. And P.S. Use margarine and Nabisco Original Graham Crackers to make this portion vegan.
Next I added two level (almost scant) tablespoons of chocolate cupcake batter to each cup. You can really use any cupcake recipe here that you love, or even a boxed cake mix. Just be aware that the amount of graham crust that my recipe uses is only enough for 12 graham cracker cups, so if your cupcake recipe makes more cupcakes than that, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. You can even make these with yummy vegan cupcakes.
Immediately after these come out of the oven, I gently pull the edges away from the pan to help prevent sticking. Once the edges are pulled away, you’ll find that the cupcakes turn in the cups freely, thanks to the light coating of cooing spray that we added earlier.
Rather than removing these individually, like I would with most other cupcakes, I decided to cover them with a clean dry towel, and flip the whole pan over. Look how pretty the little golden graham cups turned out! They taste just as lovely too.
Now it’s time for some fluffy marshmallow frosting. I actually went with a pretty basic meringue for these. In fact, it’s the same frosting that I used on my Mexican Hot Chocolate Donuts. It’s fast, easy, and tastes just like marshmallows.
When all of the ingredients are combined and whipped to perfection, you should have stiff peaks that don’t fall over when you shake them.
Now put a big old, happy dollop of frosting on each cupcake. I used a large French star tip for decorating my cupcakes because I knew it would toast beautifully. Even un-toasted, though, I think it looks gorgeous.
Unfortunately, I still don’t have a little kitchen torch, so it’s back to the dumbest broiler ever for me. I lined my cupcakes up in a row, toasted one side of them, rotated them, toasted, rotated, toasted…and so on. It was tedious, but since I have a stupid, stupid broiler, it was my only option. It only took about 5 minutes to do every, single one of my cupcakes, though, so it’s not a big deal.
For the coup de grace, I finished my s’more cupcakes off with a milk chocolate ganache (to simulate the melted Hershey’s bar), and tiny dehydrated marshmallows. And I love how they look! Mostly, though, I love how they taste. These are seriously incredible.
I have to admit, I am not happy with the ganache recipe that I used. It tastes fantastic, but I could never get it thicken up properly. It was just a little too runny and thin (as evidenced in the photos), even after chilling it. I’m hoping I can chalk this up to the humidity on the island, because the recipe comes directly from Martha Stewart, but I’ll have to make it in a normal atmosphere and let you know. I had hoped for a thick, glossy ganache that would hold it’s place and not run down the cupcakes and get messy. Not the case. However, it really, really is delicious, and it was a perfect compliment to the cupcakes, flavor-wise, so if you don’t mind a little mess, I still recommend it (recipe is below).
The crisp graham crust is so amazing with the soft, rich cupcake, and the marshmallow frosting and chocolate ganache really help these taste like a perfectly toasted, campfire s’more. It makes me so happy when something ends up being this delicious! I know these seem like a lot of work, but I promise, they took less time than you think. Twenty minutes to prepare and bake the crusts, another 20 minutes for mixing and baking the cupcakes, and less than 15 to make the frosting once the cupcakes cooled. As for the ganache, please. It took less than five minutes (although I chose to chill mine for at least 30 minutes to help thicken it up a bit).
with Graham Cracker Cups [Printable Version]
Makes 12 cupcakes (maybe 13 or 14, if you’re lucky!)
FOR THE GRAHAM CUPS
9 sheets graham crackers
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 56 grams) unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 grams) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup (153 grams) sour cream
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (165 C). Lightly spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Either crush the graham crackers by hand, until they are like rough sand, or process in a food processor for several pulses. Add the sugar and mix, or pulse, to combine. Add the butter and mix until thoroughly combined and resembling wet sand. Press firmly into the cups of the muffin pan, being sure to push it up the sides of the cups. Bake until golden and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling.
To make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture into the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Add half of the sour cream, mixing until just combined. Repeat, alternating the remaining flour in 2 more additions with the remaining sour cream in one more addition (ending on flour).
Place 2 scant tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back lightly when touched.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Toasted Marshmallow Frosting [Printable Version]
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated or superfine sugar (I prefer superfine, as it dissolves faster)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a medium bowl set over a pot filled with a couple of inches of barely simmering water. Whisk the mixture frequently to prevent the egg whites from cooking. Continue whisking lightly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the mixture on high until the whites are shiny and hold stiff peaks, about 7 to 8 minutes. Gently stir in vanilla extract.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
4.5 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
scant 1/2 cup (about 125 ml) heavy cream
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl; set aside.
In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 10 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Allow to cool completely before using, whisking occasionally.
Recipe by Darla