Saturday, July 31, 2010

S'mores Cupcakes

YUMMY!  I have been reading the Pastry Queen's party cookbook and loving all the recipes and family stories that center around Texas cooking.  We have an abundance of influences here in the Lone Star state, which was my inspiration for the "Six Flags over Texas" cooking class.  I just found this cookbook and I actually read through it like a novel.  So many of the recipes are on my list to try, but yesterday I finally made the S'more Cupcakes for our church small group.  They tasted great (almost like chocolate pie) with the graham cracker base, chocolate-chocolate chip cake and homemade marshmallow frosting that you toast on top.  We enjoyed them with homemade vanilla ice cream!  This is a must-try for chocolate lovers.

S,mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Base
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
1/2 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup brewed coffee
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flower
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) bag of Ghiradelli large milk chocolate chips

Marshmallow Topping
8 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar

TO MAKE THE GRAHAM CRACKER BASE:  In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, the 1 cup melted butter and the 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Set Aside  **I had to make another half batch of this to make enough for all the cupcake batter.

TO MAKE THE CUPCAKES:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line Texas or standard-size cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.  For the crust, press the graham crackers base into the bottow of each well: about 3 teaspoons for a Texas-size cupcake; about 2 tablespoon for a standard size cup.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth.  Add the coffee and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Pour into mixing bowl.  Add the 2 cups sgar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the flour, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk until incorporated/  Stir in chocolate chips.

Evenly divide the batter to fill each cup to the top of the muffin papers.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cupcakes feel firm when lightly pressed in their center, 20- 25 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before icing.

TO MAKE THE MARSHMALLOW TOPPING:  Set a large, perfectly clean metal or pyrex bowl over a pot filled with 2 inches of lightly simmering water.  Add the egg whites and 1 1/2 cups sugar and heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar melts and there are no visible sugar grains in the meringue.  (Rub a little bit between your fingers to make sure all the sugar has melted).  It doesn't take long.  Remove the meringue form the heat and beat it with an electic mixer on high speed until the meringue is stiff and shiny, about 5 minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CUPCAKES:  Spoon the marshmallow topping into a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip.  Pipe the topping onto each cupcake in a circular motion, starting at the outside and working toward the center piling in high in the center.  Or pile the topping on the top of the cupcake, swirling the center into a peak with your fingers. 

Using a kitchen torch, brown the marshmallow by moving the flame slowly around the cupcake.  You can brown the cupcakes under a broiler just be VERY careful.  Watch the cupcakes closely, as they can go from browned to burnt in seconds.

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