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Saturday
Feb252012

Sweet Design Company - S'more Love

By Catherine McCulloch

I promised my children cupcakes for their classes for Valentine's Day. I was thinking something simple -  chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and a few candy hearts scattered on top.  My children were thinking S'mores cupcakes with graham cracker crumb crusts and marshmallow frosting fire-kissed by a blow torch.

But S'mores are really more a summer thing than a Valentine's thing I suggested to them ever so hopefully. (Truthfully I just didn't want the extra work of perfectly pressing graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of the cupcake liners with a shot glass, chopping chunks of chocolate for the next layer and then lighting the blowtorch for the fire-kissed effect on the frosting - I'm secretly afraid of lighting the kitchen for the up-in-flames effect on the cabinetry.) But we love S'mores cupcakes they countered -  Valentine's Day is about love after all.

The compromise was 60 S'mores cupcakes with pink marshmallow frosting decorated with heart and cupid pics, and sugar sprinkles. Where is the compromise you wonder? No blowtorch..... everyone has their limits.

 

S'MORES CUPCAKE RECIPE (adapted from 6Bittersweets);

1 cup MINUS 2 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs (from 15 to 17 squares)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
5 to 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

3/4 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp flour
7 Tbsp cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

Marshmallow Frosting (Recipe below)
Extra chocolate or graham cracker pieces, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners; set aside. Place the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl; stir until well combined. Place scant (just under 1 tablespoon each) tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture prepared earlier into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping. Place 2 teaspoons of chocolate in each muffin cup. Set pan aside.

Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Mix these together until evenly combined. In a separate large bowl, mix together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.

Transfer the muffin pans prepared earlier to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with the remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin pans to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.

Transfer marshmallow frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round, star, or French tip. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet or other heat proof surface. Pipe frosting in a spiral motion onto each cupcake. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Top each cupcake with a piece of chocolate or graham cracker, if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Marshmallow Frosting
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water, making sure the water is not high enough to touch the bowl. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately - and I do mean immediately.

 

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