So this past winter I got to a point where I completely missed summertime and the one thing I could do to put a little summer spirit back into my life was making some s’more cupcakes. S’mores always remind me of those warm summer nights and the smell of a bonfire. With the urge to confectionate I raided my pantry and for once it appeared that I had the basics to make something.
yields :: 36
For the crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
11 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. milk chocolate, chopped and melted
For the cake:
2 cups plus sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter and salt; mix well with a fork. Line the cupcake pans with liners and fill the bottom of each with the graham cracker crust mixture, completely covering the bottom of each. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture in to the bottom of each cupcake liner.
Bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven. Maintain the oven temperature.
While the graham cracker mixture is baking, place the chopped milk chocolate pieces in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals stirring at the end of each interval.
Stop when chocolate is almost completely smooth. Do not over cook. (You can also use a double boiler to melt them if that is what you prefer. It took me a long time to master perfecting melting chocolate in the microwave.)
Place melted chocolate in to a sandwich size Ziploc bag. Once the bag is filled with the chocolate, snip off about a 1/4 inch of one of the bottom corners of the bag.
Pipe a quarter size amount of chocolate on top of the graham cracker mixture in each cup.
To make the cake batter, sift together the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed just to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract; whisk together. (Reminder! Start to boil 1 cup of water.) Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each to just below the top of the cupcake liner. Place pans in the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. For even baking, rotate the pans halfway through. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. Heat the mixture on medium heat whisking frequently. Whisk until the mixture reaches 160° F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in the vanilla until combined.
Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. I placed a large dollop of frosting on each cupcake and used my kitchen blow torch to “toast” each cake.