Indian Summer S’mores
Summer is over ahhhh!!!!! and I feel like a barely enjoyed it. I still long for the freedom of an elementary schooler having nothing to worry about except making friends at day camp.
Now we enter what is traditional known as Indian Summer. Not so long ago I got to spend my uninfringed upon summers at a camp my family shared on Lake Bomoseen in VT. My great grandfather had bought this humble lot of land in the 1940’s when few people inhabited the area and even still its not over run with tourists. I learned to swim on the sharp slate shore and spent my evening braiding my sunsoaked lake dampened hair by the fire in a big baggy sweat shirt. At that point in my life we’d come up with all sort of methods for roasting marshmellows. The patience required waiting for those hot coals to form along the fire’s edge and the persistence in finding the perfect long stick to roast with was scientific. Many years later my family still tries to spend a week or two on Bomoseen though the family camp is no longer ours. This time of year was my favorite as there were always a few weekends right as school began that my parents and me, and my brother would sneak back to the camp and enjoy the changing late summer weather for an evening or two. It is definetly the best time for pie, leaf peeping, and marshmellow roasting.
So a recipe for wishing you had more vacation /beach time or time round the fire. I’m already wishing I had more time to do absolutely nothing (I’m up to my elbows in a wedding cake as we speak ahhhh!!!)…and this recipe is another excuse to use that chef’s torch.
I’ve tried lots of S’mores cupcakes recipes out there. I like the one in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The one big mistake I’ve made with those was I decorated with chocolate frosting, then shoved pieces of graham crackers and marshmallows on top…Graham crackers get mushy really quickly. If you still want a cool presentation cover the back of the crackers with melted chocolate– this way they won’t fall over when they soften. I’ve also tried Natalie’s recipe for S’mores cupcakes from Bake and Destroy. She’s reinvented the wheel a couple times and the variations are all good.
I decided to go after Martha (Stewart) though for a couple reasons 1. I’m on a mission to make my Cupcakes book look more and more seasoned and dog earred. 2. Her frosting seemed really interesting (and came out amazing)– plus you burn it wiht a torch and 3. I attempted her French Macarons recipe this labor weekend and couldn’t be more pissed at how craptastic the came out!! I’m less pissed at Martha, and more pissed at my impatience in not allowing those egg whites to come to the proper stiff consistency… but more to come with that later.
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/3 c graham flour (wtf graham flour?? see below) I substituted 1 package of crushed graham crackers– it works out to 1 1/3 c exactly though its a bit different then the flour.
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 c (2 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
2 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c honey
6 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
For topping Chocolate Ganache and Marshmellow Frosting…(this is where it gets fun!)
Alright first off : graham flour– what is this anyway? Well i came across a passage in one of those “Answers to completely unimportant questions” books– the one people have on their coffee tables or better yet bathrooms, and discovered that once upon a time circa turn of the century there was a Reverend withthe last name of Graham, who preached that you could with stand the evils of deviant behaviour such as alcoholism or drug abuse by eating a healthy vegetarian diet. A company promoting their wholewheat flour named their product after this preacher, which is now most noteable when eating a particular cracker– the graham craker. So Graham flour is really jsut a wholewheat flour. Bob’s Red Mill brand has an array of flours and meals and I often find myself staring at the large selection of their products whenever I’m in a large grocery store that carries the full assortment. Rather than buy one more specialty thing (seriously i have lavander extract in my kitchen right now) I thought I should go with whats already in my pantry so Should you not have graham flour substitute with crushed graham crackers.
Combine your dry ingredients: all purpose flour, graham cracker crumbs/ flour, powder, salt and cinnamon and mix.
In a separate bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each. Add honey and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide batter into lined cupcake trays and bake at 350 approximately 25 minutes. Recipe yeilds apprx 24 cupcakes.
Ahhh so this frosting is really interesting. So typically you’ll find most s’mores cupcakes topped of with Marshmellow frosting. Usually this consists of butter, vanilla, Fluff and confectioner’s Sugar. It is absolutely devine, and a complete disaster in terms of stickiness…think cotton candy. This recipe is another take on marshmellows– more along the basis of homemade marshmellows. Its pretty easy too.
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 water to boil
1 c sugar
Combine gelatin and cold water in a mixing bowl– preferably to a standing mixer. Let rest for apprx 5 minutes — or until gelatin is soft. Meanwhile combine 1/4 water with sugar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and stir. Once combine place a candy thermometer in pan. Brush sides of pan with a wet pastry brush assuring sugar crystals don’t form. Sugar will thicken and begin to boil. Heat until sugar reaches the soft ball stage 238 degrees F. Carefully pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture while whisking. Its recommended you whisk by hand for about a minute as mixture cools, then use electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (not dry peaks).
Martha says it takes about 8-10 minutes. I feel like it took about 15-20, maybe it wasn’t soo long, but it felt like it. Use immediately as frosting will harden. I also recommend you double the recipe if you intend on being able to cover all 24 cupcakes generously. i ran out after the first dozen– which were for a colleague at work, so I improvised with the last 12, using a little of the remaining frosting and then adding a good ole marshmellow on top. Holding 3-5 inches away use butane chef torch to singe one side (or all sides) of frosting. A real marshmallow burns very easily so take heed.