living the sweet life

S’more Cupcakes

Summer doesn’t technically start for another few weeks but it sure feels like summer.

Memorial Day always feels like the start of summer, kicking off the fun summery activities like BBQs, bonfires, beach days, and relaxing and having fun. While Los Angeles hasn’t changed weather wise – it’s still mid 70s almost all the time – there’s definitely a more summer like atmosphere. Or maybe that’s just this East Coast girl’s interpretation of events.

I love summer. Growing up in NJ on a small lake with a beach was incredible. We would walk down the 4 houses to the beach for swim practice every morning and then spend the entire rest of the day swimming, playing in the sand, tormenting the lifeguards, and playing with friends. There was something magical about summers because there was never a need to make plans with anyone. It was just assumed that everyone would be down at the beach almost every day so you would just see your friends there. It was the best.

One of my favorite summer activities is making s’mores. Well, truthfully, it’s making 1 s’more and then just roasting the rest of the marshmallows over the fire and just eating those. It’s my weakness. I just loooove toasted marshmallows. And what better way to bring s’mores to the next level than making a s’more cupcake!

I had made a version of these about a year ago with my friend Carolyn. She and I are baking buddies and we ended up making s’mores cupcakes late one night at school and they were a huge hit amongst our friends. We didn’t have graham flour or know what that was, so we crushed up graham cracker crumbs and used that instead and it was such a delicious substitution. I’m pretty sure my friends moaned when they tried these. And I know of the dozen that I got to take home, I ate an embarrassing amount of them..

So when I wanted to bring a dessert to a friend’s BBQ this past weekend, these immediately came to mind and I am so happy it did. The cupcake is a denser cupcake but it’s moist and a perfect compliment to the chocolate ganache filling and marshmallow frosting. It really does taste like a s’more. It has the graham cracker cupcake that is the vehicle for the chocolate (that’s always better when slightly melted/softened when making a s’more) and then the gooey marshmallow frosting. It’s perfect.

If you have a summer BBQ or party to go to, go ahead and make these s’more cupcakes. It’s a great way to have s’mores without having to build a fire. And I’m pretty sure no one will turn down a cupcake.

S’more Cupcakes

makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the ganache:
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup marshmallow fluff
12 regular marshmallows
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, honey, and brown sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, light, and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Divide batter evenly, about 1/4 cup. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool for about 15 minutes in muffin tins and then turn out and cool completely on wire cooling racks.

While cupcakes cool, prepare ganache. Add chopped chocolate to a medium heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until it begins to boil. Take off the heat immediately and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk until combined and ganache is smooth throughout. Set aside.

While ganache sets up, prepare frosting. Set oven to broil. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Put marshmallows on the cookie sheet and then place in the oven. Check on them after 30-60 seconds. When they start getting toasty and inflated, take out cookie sheet and gently flip over each marshmallow. Broil for another 30-90 seconds until lightly toasted. Take out cookie sheet.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in fluff and toasted marshmallows. Mix until just combined. Add in vanilla and gently mix. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated.

To assemble the cupcakes: Core the cupcakes using a small sharp knife or an apple corer, by cutting a conical/cylindrical hole into the center of the cupcake. Be careful not to go all the way down. Repeat with all cupcakes.

Spoon about a teaspoon of ganache into each cupcake, making sure each hole is filled. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

[sources: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker & How Sweet Eats]

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