Thursday, September 2, 2010
As the final 3 day weekend of the summer approaches, we all realize that fall is coming! School is starting (or already has for most of you), summer is ending, and it's time for one more barbecue before we prepare for winter.
However, if you are in a part of the country like me, where the forecast is for rain, and you are ALSO under a burn ban, you realize one final summer barbecue may be out of your reach.
Never fear, as far as dessert goes, I've got you covered. S'more cupcakes are my answer.
I wanted to recreate the flavors and most of the textures of s'mores in a slightly unique ways. I realize it's a stretch calling this a cupcake, but it has been judged a 5 star hit by my family. It has the crunch of graham crackers, a fudgey, chocolatey brownie middle, and a home made marshmallow topping. All enclosed in a cupcake liner.
I discovered a few things when working with this recipe. First, and most importantly, cupcake liners are pretty flammable. Don't panic, just have a damp towel close by to take care of it. I used a fudgy brownie recipe, and added about 1/2 c. chopped chocolate bar. Milk Chocolate chips work great for the flavor.
It's important for this recipe to use cupcake liners! The marshmallow frosting needs something to form to, so the cupcake liner works very well. And, I know it's difficult, but resist the urge to fill them to the top with that delicious brownie layer!
I want to encourage you to try this recipe. If you feel intimidated by making marshmallows, you can easily slice a marshmallow in 1/2 and toast it with the same result. Or buy little ones to use. I think putting the mini marshmallows on top would be very cute. I actually did that in an earlier version of the cupcake, but thought (incorrectly), that I could pipe a cute marshmallow swirl on my cupcakes. Since I liked the flavor of the marshmallow, I was willing to accept the fact that my cute little swirl wasn't going to happen with these.
As with my post on danishes, I've included a pdf version you can download and print here. Enjoy, and have a great Labor Day!
Makes 12 cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes (approx.)
For the Graham Cracker layer:
1 cup graham crackers
¼ c. sugar
¼ t. cinnamon
1/3 c. melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Mixture should be a little wet. For the cupcakes, place about 1 T. in the bottom of cupcake liners. For the mini cupcakes, place about 1 t. in the bottom of the liners. Press firmly in liners. Bake 5 minutes for the mini’s, and 7-8 minutes for the cupcakes. Let cool while you make the brownie mixture
Brownies (adapted from Fine cooking)
5 T. softened butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ c. sugar
½ t. espresso powder
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 c. all purpose flour
½ c. milk chocolate chips (or one milk chocolate bar, cut in pieces the size of a chocolate chip)
In a double boiler (or the microwave), melt the butter and chocolates together until just melted. Cool slightly. Whisk in the sugar, salt, vanilla, espresso powder, flour, and egg. Fold in chocolate chips. Place on top of slightly cooled graham cracker layer, having the brownie layer go up no more than 2/3 the way in your cupcake liner.
Bake in the preheated oven 13-18 minutes for the mini cupcakes, and 20-25 minutes for the regular cupcakes. Use a toothpick to see if your brownies are done. Set wire rack to cool before beginning frosting
Marshmallow frosting (adapted from Alton Brown Marshmallow recipe)
1 package unflavored gelatin
1/3 c. cold water
½ c. sugar
1/3 c. corn syrup
¼ t. salt
½ t. vanilla
In the bottom of your mixing bowl, place ½ of the water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let set. Combine remaining water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until a vigorous boil (240 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat.
Turn the mixer on low, and slowly add the hot sugar syrup. Be careful to pour down the side of the bowl and not on the beaters (it could splash back on you if you pour on the beaters). Increase the speed to high and mix for 10-15 minutes until mixture is cool (a little warmer than room temperature) and white and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix one more minute.
While your marshmallows are mixing, prepare a piping bag and a rubber spatula to work with the mixture. I lightly sprayed the inside of a piping bag with cooking spray, as well as the spatula. It’s easiest to pipe with a plain tip and not try for a pattern, it won’t set into a pattern. It’s also easiest to place your piping bag inside a tall glass to fill (one of those HUGE 32 oz glass fits my piping bag almost perfectly).
As soon as you are finished beating your marshmallow mixture, quickly fill your piping bag with your marshmallow and pipe on the top of your cupcakes. Fill to the top, and don’t overfill (the marshmallow will ooze over the sides). Let cool and set.
Just before serving, place under a broiler to brown the top, or brown the top with a blow torch. Serve with the marshmallow warmed.