You stick a jumbo marshmallow, perhaps even two, onto a wooden stick. Sit by a campfire and roast it to your heart’s content. The marshmallows get a little burnt and gooey. You stick them in between two graham crackers, and some Hershey’s chocolate. The hot marshmallow melts the thin chocolate perfectly. You squeeze your sandwich so that the marshmallow and melted chocolate ooze out on all sides. Quickly, you lick the delicious runny confection. Why? Because you don’t think anyone is looking, but more importantly, perhaps because you don’t care. That’s the effect this creation has on people. Sitting around the blazing fire, surrounded by the people you love, all is forgotten, all expect this heavenly treat at the moment. You devour your first one, quickly realizing that you’ve gotten sad for no immediate reason you can comprehend, other than the fact that it hits you, you’ve eaten it too fast. Your mind is made up. You’ll need another, this time to savor it slowly. To eat it slower and enjoy each of these simple yet complex flavors. Individually you wouldn’t think much of these ingredients, but together they work in unison. As if the world is saying, “These three products” just go hand in hand. They were meant to be together. Like some sort of “Big Love” creation. A threesome that the world accepts, without a doubt or criticism.
What am I talking about? S’mores of course. That childhood classic that makes the summer and the unbearable heat enjoyable. Those trips to the beach, when the sun sets, are worth every golden ray of heat, because you know at the end there is a chance, a high possibility, that there will be s’mores to enjoy. As an adult, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m still addicted to these. Something so deliciously simple, gets me every time. I can’t resist them; I’ll never turn one down. What can be better than a simple S’more on a cool evening? Well how about a S’mores cupcake? Yes, I think that is better.
The other day my sisters were over and they wanted something sweet. For one of the few times in history, I didn’t have anything baked and ready for them. I hadn’t had a chance to make anything, what with school, projects, shooting and developing. After hearing a lecture as to why I should always have something on hand. And hearing a spiel that was something along the lines of, “What kind of Bake Monster are you? To not have anything sweet here is ridiculous!” They challenged me to make something for them. The rules: I had to make something delicious, with only ingredients that I had on hand already. I couldn’t go to the market, or look at recipes. I had nothing better to do, and I really did want to bake something, so I accepted. What I came up with: S’mores cupcakes that they devoured in a matter of minutes. At the end of the day the girls walked away with a box full to take home. If I didn’t love them so much, I would say I was duped into making some desserts for them to take home for later, not really for a fun challenge. They were just looking for something to take with them, and not leave any for me. Their enthusiasm and awesome feedback, made it all okay. I think I’ll keep them…I wont trade them in just yet.
Here’s what you’ll need:
First things first, mix the dry ingredients.
Drop the sugar into a mixer bowl.
Add the flour. I would have used cake flour, but I didn’t have any on hand. And since I couldn’t go to the market, per the rules, I used all-purose. Darn that yellow cake I made before, that of which used up all my cake flour!!
It woudn’t be chocolate cake without some good ‘ol unsweetened cocoa powder.
I used Hershey’s, as a nod to the classic S’more.
Dump it in along with the rest of them.
Turn on the mixer on low, to combine it all together. Watch out. Step back. A flour bath in inevitable.
Don’t fight it. There’s no use. The sooner you come to the realization that there isn’t anything you can do about messes in the kitchen, the more fun you’ll have cooking. It’s all part of the great art of baking and cooking.
Did anyone call for the wet ingredients?
Its time for them to join the party.
I’m most happiest that I had this ingredient on hand. Phew.
I’m thanking the market for having a special on it just the other day.
I always like to use buttermilk in my cake recipes. It makes them moist and, and, and, moist. Okay, so I only had one adjective for it. It makes them moist okay, that’s sufficient enough for me to use it.
Some veg oil. That’s vegetable oil for all you non-foodies out there.
I don’t care how many people tell me, that apple sauce makes cake healthier and moist, without all the fat that oil has. I’m still going to use oil. I don’t want apple sauce in my cakes, thank you very much.
If I want cake, that means I want cake. Something that isn’t meant to be healthy. So leave the apple sauce for babies, and out of my desserts.
A little secret ingredient.
I’m going to pretend like I always add it to my chocolate cakes, but in reality, I just thought of it that day. I saw it in the pantry and I yelled out loud “If it’s good just by the spoonful, why wouldn’t it be perfect in this batter?” I waited for a response, but quickly realized I was alone in the kitchen. Okay, so I talk to myself.
Everyone does it, right?
Let me rephrase.
Every crazy person does that right?
Just what I thought. I’m a little crazy. Oh well, I can live with that.
Even now I’m talking to myself. I’ve deterred and run on a tangent.
Back to the task at hand.
Reel it in Jonathan. Reel it in.
Scoop it in.
Make sure you get every morsel. This stuff is too precious to waste any drop.
Whatever your spatula doesn’t reach, your fingers sure will. And your mouth will be ever so thankful.
Half way through, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Mix again until the batter is evenly incorporated and it appears thick and creamy.
I do have to admit that I made a mistake.
At this point I realized I had forgotten to add some very crucial ingredients at the beginning. As I looked around my kitchen I spotted 4 little cups with some dry ingredients I forgot to add. Oops.
I could have easily edited this for you all, but I thought, NO. No, I wont. I’ll show you guys that I’m human and make mistakes as well. I won’t pretend like I’m perfect.
Luckily for the cupcakes and for myself, as my sisters would have gone crazy had I messed these up, it was easily fixed.
I just added them to the batter at this point.
Okay mix again.
This time for sure, I didn’t miss anything else.
See, no harm done. It’s all good.
Now for the very last ingredient.
Some scorching hot, boiling hot, be-careful-because-you’ll-get-a-third-degree-burn hot, hot water.
Add it slowly to the batter, while the mixer is on. Be careful because you might get burned from the boiling water.
Mix until the batter is well combined.
It will appear very runny. That’s okay, you’ve done it right young grasshoppers.
It’s supposed to be a runny batter. Don’t get alarmed.
Next up: Time to fill.
Grab A Cupcake Pan Line It Fill It
Bake Them Cool Them Invert Them
While the cupcakes are cooling, let’s make some toppings.
Because I wanted the effect of the oozing chocolate you get from the real S’mores, and because I simply love melted chocolate, I thought it would be a good idea to top each cupcake with a little melted chocolate.
So that’s what I did.
I nuked mine in the microwave in 10 second intervals until it was smooth and melted through.
You could use a double boiler if you’d like to get all fancy. I use it at times, I didn’t feel like it then.
Set aside. We’ll use you later chocolate.
The missing component to our s’more cupcakes….Marshmallow.
So of course, the only natural thing to do is make marshmallow frosting.
First we need a simple syrup. Which is just a mixture of water and sugar that has come up to a boil.
Add in some cream of tarter as well. It helps with the egg whites, makes them fluffy and stable.
Meanwhile, lets whip up some egg whites.
Whisk at a high speed until it starts to get white and fluffy.
It’ll happen fast, right before your eyes. Like magic.
It’s the coolest thing ever.
You want it fluffy and light.
We’re looking for stiff peaks and the best way to test it, is to grab the whisk, when the machine is off of course, and hold it up to the sky. The ceiling will do just fine.
Now slowly, and oh so very carefully, stream in the very hot simple syrup.
Continue to whisk rapidly until the frosting is shiny and glossy.
Add in some vanilla extract.
When finished, it will look like this.
Marshmallow Frosting. I’d climb those mountains any day. With my mouth.
Smear each of the cooled cupcakes with the melted chocolate from earlier.
One down….hundreds more to go.
Okay, not really, just 27 more to go.
Frost them with the marshmallow frosting. Pile it on high!
Now I know what you all must be thinking, “These don’t look like S’mores at all! Where are my burnt oozy melted S’mores!!!”
Well, we’re not finished yet.
Pop these under the broiler for a few seconds-minutes. It depends on your broilers.
Watch them very carefully as they could burn very fast. A kitchen torch would work great here as well. But alas, I don’t own such a fancy piece of kitchen equipment. I’m making sure to ask Santa for one this year.
We’re just trying to brown the tops, heat up the frosting and melt the chocolate so that it resembles the campfire classic.
It happens rather quick….like magic. The smell is divine.
Yup, these look amazing!
Resist the urge to dig into one! We’re not finished just yet.
We’re missing the last key component of a s’more. The Graham Crackers. We must not forget those.
Top each of these….
….With some graham crackers.
I always have cinnamon graham crackers on hand, for snacking at school. Along with some juice boxes. So what? I like kiddie snacks. That’s okay.
Since I couldn’t go to the market, again because of the challenge, I just used the cinnamon ones. They tasted great!
And that’s all I wrote. We’re finished. Finito. Dunzo. No more. Completely erledigt!
Devour them now. Place them in the fridge for later.
Give them away as gifts (Although I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to keep them all for yourself! Be stingy. Its okay)
Or arrange them on a fancy platter, to show off.
Either way, serve yourself one. Relive some childhood memories. It’s okay, I give you permission to. We’re all kids at heart. We have to remember to let them out every now and then. We deserve to be happy and carefree just as much as they are.
I have to thank my sisters for challenging me to make something that day. If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have thought to make these….or I would have eventually, but I’m happy to report that it was sooner rather than later. My tummy was happy too. I hope you all enjoy. Sit by your fireplace and have some of these with your friends and family. Go on and make some new happy memories.
Makes about 30 cupcakes.
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Nutella
- 1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, nutella and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
Line muffin cups with paper bake cups. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost with the chocolate glaze, marshmallow frosting from below, and top with graham crackers. Enjoy.
For The Chocolate Glaze:
- 1 Cup Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
For the Marshmallow Frosting:
- 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3-4 Whole Graham Crackers, broken up. (For The Cupcake Topping)
Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.
When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting.
Frost each of the cupcakes with the marshmallow frosting.
Place under a pre-heated broiler, and allow the tops to brown slightly. Remove from the oven.
As the cupcakes cool, top each one with broken graham crackers and crumbs. Serve right away and refrigerate any leftovers. Enjoy!