S’mores cupcakes

20120817-151803.jpgLet’s face it. Sometimes pregnancy and food blogging don’t mix. Like when you’re constantly nauseaus for four months straight and can’t keep anything down, much less cook. Then there’s the part where I’m at now. The end of pregnancy when I feel gigantic, sometimes burn my belly on the stove attempting to cook, and every part of my body hurts.

These things happen. It’s real life. It’s messy and it gets in the way.

Somehow I still managed to pull off a birthday feast for my husband back in July. I’m not sure how I managed. I know there was a day off of work involved and some smart planning and preparation. And then there was cake. And cupcakes. And maybe I made a third dessert too but really my memory these days is almost nonexistent so I’m not sure.

20120817-152200.jpgI know for a fact there were little s’mores cupcakes. I know that I reallllly liked them. My crazy pregnant brain had an after thought of putting chocolate pudding in the center to sort of mimic the melty part of a s’more so go ahead and do that if you’re feeling bold. Also I don’t 100% remember how I made these little dandies. So bear with me. I needed to share them with you but I just maybe forgot how I made them.

20120817-153033.jpgThe trick to a good chocolate cupcake, or cake or brownie is really good cocoa powder. Not the kind you can buy at the grocery store. I’ve been fond of some varieties from King Arthur Flour lately. Another fabulous ingredient for chocolate cakes and cupcakes is sour cream. It adds moisture, depth and a tiny hint of tang in the background. Bring your campfire into your oven this week and try out these little beauties. And don’t worry, my pregnancy brain will be going away quite soon with the arrival of my baby. I plan on spending the 13 weeks I have off doing lots and lots of cooking and baking while baby wearing my new addition!

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S’mores Cupcakes

For the Graham Cracker crunch:

2 cups crushed graham crackers
6 tablespoons melted butter

For the cupcakes:

Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Marshmallow Frosting:

Frosting recipe from Joy the Baker

4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

Makes 48 mini cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.

2. Make the graham cracker crunch: Mix crushed graham crackers with melted butter. Depending on what brand of graham’s you use you may need slightly more or less butter. Mixture should hold together when pressed. Set aside half of graham mix for topping. Distribute remaining half among cupcake wrappers and press down. Bake for 5 minutes until just set. Allow to cool.

3. Make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with flour. Divide cupcake mix evenly among pan, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Top with remaining graham cracker crunch. Bake for approximately 11 minutes until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.

4. Make the frosting: In a large pot, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer. In a large, heat-proof bowl(I use the bowl from my mixer) whisk together egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk as it heats. The sugar will dissolve after about 5 minutes. If you want to check the temperature, it should get up to about 160 degrees. Transfer the egg white and sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. With a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, on high, until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes) The mixture will be fluffy and glossy and look like melted marshmallows. It’ll be sticky too. Beat in the vanilla extract last.

5. Assembly time: Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a large piping bag. Heat the oven to broil. Place the cupcakes in the oven for 30 seconds, no longer!!! The marshmallow meringue toasts almost immediately and any longer will cause it to burn. Serve while warm for the most s’more like experience!

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