S'mores Cupcakes.

I personally invented S’mores Cupcakes a few weeks ago when I was munching Trader Joe’s dark chocolate with graham crackers, which reminded me of s’mores minus the marshmallows. (I was at work, so it would have been too messy, not to mention dangerous and dismissal-worthy, to add a campfire and toasted marshmallows to this mid-afternoon snack at my desk.)

Smores cupcake visionThis was my vision!

I envisioned a graham crackery cupcake spread with a layer of chocolate ganache and crowned by marshmallow frosting. I'd never seen a recipe for graham cracker cake before. I Googled.
Smores cupcakes dough prep
Which is when I discovered that, indeed, I had
not invented the S’mores Cupcake. But while I found a number of nice sounding recipes, I didn’t find my S’mores Cupcake -- with a simple graham cracker cupcake base and the chocolate ganache layer. Many of the recipes sounded too fussy, with chocolate chips (too provincial) and mini marshmallows (too sticky!) or frostings with a dozen ingredients (too MUCH). So I pulled together several recipes and DID, sort of, invent my own version of this s’moresy confection.

Smores cupcake batter
I found a nice
Graham Cracker Cupcakes recipe at the Gigi Cakes blog, who used the original recipe from Nabisco. If you've got one, use a food processor -- or better, a mini chopper -- to make grinding up the graham crackers easy and a little less messy. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not a fan of graham crumbs flying hither and yon all over the kitchen.

Smores cupcakes in the oven
These cupcakes don’t puff up like regular cake, so you can fill the paper liners 3/4 full. They rise but cook flat, all the better for spreading chocolate ganache on top! I refrigerated the plain cupcakes overnight, partly to break up the preparation process and partly to keep the ganache layer and marshmallow frosting from melting on warm, freshly baked cakes. I’m confident these would freeze nicely too, tucked into a ziploc bag. And they are perfectly delicious unadorned accompanied by coffee or tea. Next up: the ganache!

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

3 oz. sweetened dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/8 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk

Put both ingredients into a heavy bottomed pan over low heat.
When chocolate starts to melt, stir ingredients together until chocolate
is fully melted and incorporated with the cream or evaporated milk.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Smores cupcakes chocolate melting
I spread about two teaspoons (but feel free to use more) of chocolate ganache on top of each cupcake and let it set for a few minutes. The recipe above should top 16 cupcakes with some leftover for dipping your finger into.

Smores cupcake ganache topping
While there are plenty of marshmallow frosting recipes, including some that use marshmallow fluff as an ingredient (plus
additional sugar and/or corn syrup -- yikes, that's got to be sweet!), Martha Stewart’s Marshmallow Frosting (technically belonging to Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle) has only four ingredients and is super easy to make.

Smores cupcakes frosting action shotFrosting prep action shot. Note the pink Cook for the Cure Komen Foundation handmixer, in honor of my sister Mary Jane.

I halved Martha's frosting recipe, and quartered the vanilla extract. It tasted perfect! Just the right marshmallow flavor, spreadable, and not too sticky. And even at half the amount there was plenty of frosting for 16 cupcakes, with lots left over.

Smores cupcake marshmallow frostingLook at those perfect peaks! It only took about five minutes to whip up this frosting.

I used a small plastic spatula to spread and shape the frosting, instead of a pastry bag. Even if you want a fancy, fluted tower of frosting, as shown on Martha’s site, half the recipe should still be enough. I refrigerated the leftover frosting in a plastic container, and a week later it’s still holding up well in the fridge. It will make for great peanut butter and fluff sandwiches! Oh boy, yum.

Smores cupcake frosting process 2
Once the wee cakes were ganached and marshmallow frosted, I broiled them for exactly a minute -- just enough to brown the tops without burning them. I kept them in the cupcake pan to make sliding them in and out of the oven easier. And I kept a watchful eye on them! I tested one cupcake first, to gauge the broiling time and temperature.

Smores cupcakes broiled 1
Broiling took place in my electric oven, which I’m not terribly fond of. I grew up cooking with real flames, on the stove top and in the oven. This oven is small and narrow -- it just
barely held the turkey we cooked for 15 people a few years back, and cookie sheets have to be shimmied in and out. Plus, we have to set the temperature high by at least 20-25 degrees to get anything to cook within the suggested time on the recipe. One of the few positives about this odd oven is that broiling takes place on the top rack and with the door open, so monitoring food under the broiler is much easier than with a gas oven whose broiler is at floor level. Anyway, watch these pretties carefully when you’re broiling the tops. Just a minute or so should do (and maybe less under a real flame). Or if you’re truly fancy, use a creme brulee torch!

Oh my,
look at those lovely cupcakes. They turned out quite nicely, if I say so myself.
Smores cupcakes broiled 2
But of course, the true test is the taste.
Smores cupcake visionCome to me, o vision come true!

Mmmmmmmmmm, they are delish. If I humbly say so myself. A perfect combination of graham, chocolate, and marshmallow.
Smores cupcake eatenCareful--it takes only a few seconds to eat one of these things.

They refrigerate well in a plastic container and the frosting stays put. When you’re ready to eat, leave them out at room temperature for a few minutes and dig in. Or, skip the waiting and just dig in!