Saturday, March 16, 2013

S'mores Cupcakes!

Every time I see something on pinterest I like, I try to improve upon it in some way, and make it my own.

I borrowed the cake and frosting recipe from Sugar High, who borrowed them from Martha Stewart and Nabisco.

Now, a disclaimer... For those of you not used to many dirty bowls, and who don't like a big sticky kitchen mess after a baking project, you should probably just admire the photos and not make these delicious cupcakes. Having been warned, the mess is worth the reward.

Graham Cracker Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups graham crackers, finely crushed - about 1 pack of Nabisco crackers.
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk

In a small bowl, combine graham  crackers, flour, and baking powder. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating well after each addition.  Divide the batter into lined muffin cups, 1/2 to 3/4 full.  Makes about 16 total.

Bake at 350*F (180C) for 22-25 minutes or until done.  Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Nutella Buttercream

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Cream butter and Nutella in large bowl of stand mixer or with a handheld mixer.  Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until incorporated.  Add milk and beat until smooth. You can add up to 1 Tbsp more milk if needed, but only a little at a time, until it is spreadable consistency.

Fill cooled cupcakes with Nutella buttercream.  I use a strawberry huller to pull out the cupcake centers. You could use a tip fitted onto a pastry bag to inject the buttercream, but I find it's more of a fight and doesn't get an even amount of filling in each cake.  The tops will be covered anyhow, so just pull a chunk out of each one and fill the hole. I didn't want to wash my pastry bag in between buttercream and marshmallow, so I just cut the tip off a plastic sandwich baggie and piped it in.

Marshmallow Frosting

8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3-4 minutes.

Remove bowl from saucepan, and beat in stand mixer with whisk attachment, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form (5-7 minutes). Add vanilla and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Final Touches

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcake tops. I used a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallow frosting. You could put it under the broiler quickly, but watch it closely!!! I always seem to put things in the broiler "quickly" then I see shiny squirrels run by... what was I doing again? So if you broil, watch!

Lastly, I drizzled Hershey's syrup over the toasted marshmallow frosting, and used some leftover graham cracker to sprinkle on top.

They will be a huge hit, so be sure to make extras!

Leave me a comment and let me know how yours came out, and how you improved upon them!