When I say “S’Mores” what comes to mind? Perhaps a campfire, or maybe summer camp? Me? I think of the beach.
I’m from southern California, and the beach played a big role in my high school social life. Come the weekend, we’d head to the beach early in the evening to stake out a bonfire pit – there were never enough to go around. Once the sun went down, we’d take out our precious provisions of graham crackers, Hershey bars and marshmallows. We’d inevitably share our pit with latecomers who didn’t get their own, making these beach nights a fun mix of making new friends and seeing old friends.
My love for S’Mores grew strong- I even wrote one of my college essays about the delicious treats. And when I studied abroad in Spain, I had my parents bring graham crackers so I could teach local friends the beauty of the S’More. These days, I have to try S’Mores-inspired desserts wherever I see them. Recently, that has included the Frozen S’More at Dominique Ansel in NYC, the S’Mores Bread Pudding at Lambert’s in Austin, and the gourmet plated S’More at Aqua Nox in Vegas.
I love baking S’Mores-inspired desserts myself, too. So you can imagine my glee when I found this recipe for S’Mores Cupcakes over at the fantastic blog Shutterbean. I save tons of S’More-like recipes, but this one stood out for its use of graham cracker in the cupcake itself. It’s a hearty, taste, if that makes sense, just a tinge of sweet with a satisfying, buttery cake. Then there’s a layer of chocolate ganache, rich without overpowering the cake. A bite of ganache and cake together is pure magic.
The proverbial cherry on top, in this case, is a marshmallow topper. Shutterbean’s recipe calls for plumped, golden marshmallows. Remember when I said that if you make mistakes baking, you should just run with it and see what happens? Well, here’s a good example. I baked my marshmallows too long, resulting in flattened, crispy marshmallow bits rather than fluffy toppers. I ran with it- and I actually liked it! The crisp marshmallow adds a nice crunch to the top of the cake. I’ll have to try these again to get the marshmallows just right, but I was actually pretty happy with my accidental “twist.”
I made the cakes at night, then the toppings in the morning since I was concerned about the mallows holding up. And then my boyfriend and I carried the container of cupcakes all around San Francisco running errands before work. As one does.
S’Mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Crispies
Source: Shutterbean, which is one of my favorite blogs these days- especially since the author also lives in San Francisco and I get all fan-girl-like when she posts gorgeous pictures of my beloved city or references places I recognize
Yield: ~15 cupcakes. My tin makes 12 and I didn’t have time for Round 2, so I just baked the remaining batter in free-standing muffin liners placed in a pan. They were very short and stout since nothing structured their shape- but they still tasted great!
Suggested equipment: mixer
Total Time: ~1 hour
Cook Time: 20-24 minutes (mine took 22)
Italics below are my own comments on the original recipe. I broke the directions into a few more steps, too.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (You can put them in a bag and smash with a rolling pin, use a mortar and pestle, smash with your hands, etc. Just make sure you get the crumbs fine enough to mix into the flour, you don’t want pieces in there)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips instead of chopping chocolate)
- 12 large marshmallows
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
Step by Step Directions
Make your batter
- Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
- Beat the butter and sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing well between additions. Mix until just combined
Bake your cakes
- Heat oven to 350° F with the racks in the middle and top positions
- Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups
- Bake on the middle rack, rotating once while baking about 20-24 minutes. (You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, without any batter on it)
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes; then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
“Roast” or “Crisp” the marshmallows
My “crispie” directions: Place the marshmallows on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 until the marshmallows are deflate – they will look like marshmallow puddles. These puddles will firm up as they cool, becoming crispy wafer-like treats that you can break into pieces
Shutterbean’s “roasted” directions: Place the marshmallows on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2½ inches apart. Bake on the top rack until golden and deflated, 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool
Make the ganache
- Bring the cream to a boil in a small pot
- Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes
- Whisk to combine
After both the ganache and marshmallows cool a bit, assemble your cupcakes! Spread a layer of ganache on each cupcake, then stick your mallow of choice on top.
Final step: Share with friends, and let the S’More-fueled nostalgia commence!