For my first post, I thought it made most sense to start with the object of my greatest affection: the cupcake.  That’s right.  Long before the days of Cupcake Wars, I’ve had an uncanny–and often obsessive–fascination with these perfectly portioned treats!  And in honor of my beloved summer coming to a close (and my Aunt’s birthday), I thought ‘what better than to kick off this blog with a S’mores cupcake’!

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These little gems are made with a graham cracker based cupcake, filled with a Hershey chocolate ganache, and topped with a toasted meringue frosting and a piece of a Hershey bar!  It’s healthy too!**

**Okay, that’s totally a lie.  If you can’t help but eat seven of these like I did, I suggest you get your sweet little butt to a treadmill and up that incline setting to the max.  It’s worth it.  Trust me.

Now, I have seen a few different ways to make these cupcakes, but none of them seemed to be exactly what I wanted.  Rather than following one specific recipe, I decided to take bits and pieces and put them together, and I’ve gotta tell you — I wouldn’t have changed a thing!  You can find the recipes I used at the bottom.  Here’s a high level view in the form of photos along with some tips:

The Ingredients

My secret weapon? Ah yes, the most expensive recipe stand on Earth…the iPad. What can I say, I’m a techie at heart.  Is it wise to use your $800 baby in the kitchen while you bake?  Maybe not.  But I like to live on the edge….clearly.

:)

The graham cracker crumbs make the cupcake extra moist and delicious. They’re even good plain or with just a little powdered sugar…but why do that when we can fill them with chocolate and top with marshmallow, right? Right.

While my cupcakes cool, I make the Hershey’s Chocolate ganache. You want the consistency of the ganache to be similar to that of hot fudge once it has began to cool.

Once the cupcake has cooled, I core them using a melon baller. But you could use a small spoon if you haven’t got a melon baller handy.

Once the ganache and cupcakes have both cooled completely, I spoon the ganache into the cupcake.

While the cupcakes are cooling, I begin the meringue frosting. You want to make sure the frosting forms soft peaks after you’ve whipped it, similar to the consistency you see here.

Then I fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the meringue frosting and pipe it on to the cupcakes. I pop them under the broiler for about 5 minutes until they start to lightly brown. Be careful because they go from lightly browned to completely burnt in a matter of minutes! You could also torch them with a kitchen torch if you have one.

I then proceed to text photos of my little beauties to friends and family, take 7 of them to the face, and whine for two days that I have a stomach ache.  Go ahead, now you try. Happy feasting!

Graham Cracker Cupcakes
(from Nabisco Graham Crackers)

 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
½ cup of flour
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ cup of butter, softened
¾ cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ cup of milk

In a small bowl combine the crumbs, flour and baking powder; set aside.

Beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture with milk, beating well after each addition. Divide the batter into two muffin tins lined with 16 cupcake liners total.

Bake at 350F degrees for 22-25 minutes or until done. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
(From Martha Stewart, aka Seven Minute Frosting)

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and egg whites. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

Attach bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately.

Hershey Chocolate Ganache

4 1.55oz bars of Hershey chocolate (approx 6oz)
1/2 c of Heavy Cream

Place the unwrapped chocolate bars in a medium sized bowl.

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Just as cream begins to boil, remove from heat.  Keep a close eye on the cream when on the stove, as it will boil over pot very easily and quickly.

While cream is still hot, pour over the chocolate bars and whisk until smooth.  Allow the mixture to cool before using in cupcakes.  It will continue to thicken as it cools, but should remain a hot fudge like consistency.

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