Thursday, August 14, 2014

CTB 2014 - Marshmallow Madness!

I hate to admit this, but I haven't sat by a campfire in 4 years. The last time I sat with friends and toasted marshmallows was the summer of 2010. Weeks away from picking up once again and moving from Boulder, Colorado to New Haven, Connecticut, I just spent the day on the reservoir with my fitness family.

With the sun setting over the Rocky mountains, we settled into foldout chairs with fuzzy blankets and bags of marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars. I learned that the best way to enjoy a s'more is to stuff a Milk Dud into the center of a marshmallow before toasting it. Chocolate, caramel and marshmallow. So amazing.

Since moving from Boulder to the East coast, I haven't found myself in the presence of a campfire. You aren't really allowed to start fires in an apartment building. In order to fully enjoy this summer, I wanted to recreate a summertime treat in my kitchen. No fire required.

This s'mores cupcakes was the perfect way to reminisce, without setting fire to my kitchen. Though I'm not going to lie, there totally was a series of small fires when I made these beauties. Did you know that cupcake liners are flammable? When toasting the marshmallow frosting, be careful not to light the actual cupcake on fire!

One Year Ago: Stuffed Chicken & Quinoa Pilaf
Two Years Ago: Gorgonzola & Leek Risotto
Three Years Ago: Pork tenderloin Salad
Four Years Ago: Soy-lemon Broccoli

S'mores Cupcakes
From Marshmallow Madness!

3 ounces graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
6 tablespoons strong coffee
6 tablespoons buttermilk
 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toasted Marshmallow frosting

        1 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
        1 tablespoons cold water
        3 large egg whites, room temperature
        1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
        1/2 cup sugar
        1/4 cup light corn syrup
        1/8 cup water
        1/8 teaspoon salt
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.

In a food processor, pulse together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Turn processor on and slowly stream in melted butter. Once crumbs are evenly moistened, turn off processor. Ad 1 tablespoon of crumbs to each paper liner and gently press into the bottom.  Bake until crusts are firm, about 5-7 minutes.

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together egg, coffee, buttermilk, canola oil and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir for about 2 minutes, until the batter is smooth.

Divide batter between cupcake liners, cups should be about 3/4 full.  Bake cupcakes for 22-24 minutes, or until tops are set and spring back when gently pressed.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting...

Stir together gelatin and water in a small bowl. Set aside to bloom while you prepare the egg whites and sugar syrup.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar. With the whisk attachment, beat on high until you reach soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a 2-quart pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Clip on candy thermometer and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir, let mixture come to 230 ºF.

Once the sugar syrup reaches 230 ºF, remove from the heat. Turn the mixer onto medium and slowly add 3 tablespoons of sugar syrup to the egg whites. (This will keep the whites from scambling). Add 2 more portions of sugar syrup to the egg whites. Finally, drizzle in the remaining sugar syrup and turn mixer to high. Beat on high until the mixture has tripled in size, about 8 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.

Place a large, circular tip onto a pastry bag. Add frosting to the pastry bag and pipe large blobs onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes. Let frosting set for 30 minutes. Use your kitchen torch and toast the tops of the marshmallow frosting.

These cupcakes are best eaten the same day that they are made. You can always prepare the cupcakes earlier and make the frosting when you are planning on serving them. Again, be careful when toasting the marshmallow! Paper liners are flammable!
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