For anyone who may have been living on another planet all their life, a s’more (sometimes spelled smore, both as shortened versions of some more) is a traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the US and Canada, consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. The first recorded version of the recipe is in a Girl Scout publication.
I'm not necessarily on a s’more kick. It’s more of a marshmallow-creme, Italian-meringue-frosting kick. I’ve just discovered how great the homemade stuff is, vs. the plastic jars of fluff. Not that the fluff is bad. I can remember eating it with peanut butter on Ritz crackers ad nauseam, when I was younger. It’s just that the homemade version is so much better. It’s fluffier yet somehow more substantial, not as sweet, and tastes like a delicious, delicate cloud of marshmallow. Put a torch to it, and you have the nostalgic taste of charcoal-toasted marshmallows.
The internet is rife with s’more cupcake recipes, but most are for chocolate cupcakes, and I wanted to make a graham cracker cupcake. Vintage cookbooks have recipes for graham cracker cake, and I thought about using one, but decided to search for other recipes on the net. Most had questionable reviews, or none at all. Then I found it. In January 2011, Bon Appetit published a recipe from Society Bakery in Dallas. It was a little complicated, with marshmallow creme pushed into a hole in the cupcake, then chocolate ganache spread over top. That wouldn’t be too hard, but then dollops of marshmallow creme are placed on a baking sheet, broiled till charred, and slid on top of the ganache. Whew. Reviewers said the dollops slid right off. They also complained that the cupcakes were too dry. Turns out, after some experimentation with the recipe on my part (using oil first and then butter), there’s nothing wrong with the cupcake recipe except that the instructions say to bake for 22 minutes. Mine took 15, and they were nicely moist, whether made with oil or butter. I filled them with ganache, piped homemade Italian meringue frosting on top, then torched them to char the frosting.
What you don’t get from these cupcakes is the crunch of the graham crackers. What you do get is a graham cracker-flavored cupcake and the reminiscence of a s’more with the soft ganache (resembling melted chocolate) and the charred Italian meringue (resembling a toasted marshmallow). Want to go back to your younger years? Try this recipe.
P. S. I took these to our annual crab party this past weekend and they were a big hit. Guests were raving over them.
|S’Mores Cupcakes |
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2011 and Society Bakery, Dallas TX
Rating: 10 out of 10
Click for PRINTABLE PAGE
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 package of 9 crackers)
3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided use
1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract)
3/4 cup whole milk
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
About 2 cups Italian meringue frosting (or 3/4 cup + 7-oz. jar marshmallow creme)
Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In work bowl of a food processor, combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Pulse till very finely ground. Add flour and baking powder; pulse briefly to blend.
In bowl of standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar on medium speed till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating till blended after each. Beat in vanilla with the second egg.
On low speed, add graham cracker mixture in three additions alternately with milk in two additions, beginning and ending with graham cracker mixture. Do not overbeat at this point. Divide batter evenly among paper cups, using about 1/4 cup batter for each. Bake 14-16 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center of cupcake returns with just a few crumbs. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, heat cream till very hot and steaming but not boiling. Pour over chocolate chips. Stir till smooth; set aside to cool.
With sharp knife, cut a wide cone-shaped circle from top of each cupcake, starting about 1/2” from edge. Fill with about 1-1/2 tsp. cooled ganache. Replace tops.
Pipe or spread Italian meringue frosting (or commercial marshmallow fluff) over each cupcake top.
Apply kitchen torch to toast meringue, or place 4-6” under broiler for a few minutes.
Yield: 12 amazing cupcakes