Smore’s Cupcakes

    My idea of camping is a reservation at a Holiday Inn.  With that said, I do enjoy the benefits of camping…….like smores.   Who doesn’t love smores?   Warm melted chocolate and marshmallowey goodness. (is that a word? Yes,  I think it is now)

    I got an idea for this cupcake when I saw a brownie recipe where they added a couple of mini marshmallows.  I started imagining how melted marshmallow would taste in a cupcake and before you know it my mind had me sitting outside the Holiday Inn at a fire pit and I had smores in my hand.  A chocolatety smores cupcake. (and yes, chocolatety is a word too)

    This recipe does take a few steps but the process is worth it.  You will not be able to do this over an open fire but you can make them and eat them in front of a fire.  It’s the same thing.  Just like a reservation with the Holiday Inn is like camping.  It’s all how you look at it.

    I hope you enjoy these.  Bon Appetite!

    Smore's Cupcakes

    Prep Time 45 minutes
    Cook Time 16 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 1 minute
    Servings 4 dozen mini cupcakes

    Ingredients

    CRUST

    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

    CUPCAKE

    • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 3/4 cup hot water
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
    • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (3 sticks)
    • 2 1/4 cups sugar
    • 4 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature

    MARSHMALLOW FROSTING

    • 8 large egg whites
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    Instructions

    1. Place graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
    2. Line mini muffin tins with cupcake liners. Place approximately 2 teaspoons graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of each liner and pack crumbs into the bottom of the liner. Place 1 teaspoon of the chopped bittersweet chocolate on top of the graham cracker crumbs. Transfer the muffin tins to the oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

    3. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

    4. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium low-speed, beat until mixture has cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, and then cocoa mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beating until just combined after each.

    5. Add batter to graham cracker crust, filling liners approximately three-quarters full. Push two mini marshmallows into the batter and bake cupcakes approximately 16 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer tis to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

    6. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

    7. Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat, starting on low-speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Use immediately.

    8. Frost cupcakes and lightly brown if desired with a kitchen blow torch. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes with Rum Flavored Cream Cheese Icing

I make cupcakes.  The funny thing is, I don’t really like cake.  I don’t make the big cupcakes that are all the rage now – the ones where it’s loaded with a pound of sweet icing and you can only eat a half of one and even that makes you so full you can’t even finish it..   No, I make the mini ones.  It’s one bite and you get all the flavors together.  You can even eat two if you like them enough.

I got the idea for this by watching a show on the food network.  Pineapple upside down cake in a cupcake.  Genius!  That got my mind racing.  Tropical, rum, coconut…it all goes together very well with pineapple.  And that my dear friends is how this cupcake came about.  I hope you are going to love it as much as I did.  YUM.

Mini Blueberry Pies

I’ve never made pie crust.  Ever.  I was the girl who would buy it in the grocery store, unroll it and bake.   My mom always made good pie crust.  Everyone loved her pies because the crust was always good and flakey. I just never learned.

I don’t know what made me decide to try it after all these years but I thought I finally would.  I wanted to make these little mini pies that looked so cute….but I needed to learn crust in order to do so.  Crust was my nemesis.

I thought I was going to lose this challenge.  It was almost an epic fail.   However, to my surprise, mixing the crust turned out to be the easy part.  It went together so effortlessly and it appeared to turn out as the instructions directed.  However, when I went to roll it out, it was like the crust was fighting back.  It was sticking to everything!  The cutting board, the granite, the rolling-pin, my hands…!Perhaps I was afraid to use too much flour or perhaps it didn’t go together as well as I thought….  whatever the reason, it got to the point I wanted to trash everything and quit.  I almost cried.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

This being my first time in making the crust, it wasn’t pretty.  I really thought it was going to taste like a big handful of flour. But it didn’t. The texture and the flavor were just like I had hoped.  Flakey and light, not tough and thick like I expected.   I know I have a lot more to learn with making a perfect crust, but in the end I’m glad I challenged myself.   Perhaps it was a little difficult, but certainly not as hard or as scary as I thought it was going to be.

What did I learn from this?  Don’t be afraid to use flour, and don’t give up.  It might not turn out exactly like you had hoped but nothing ever does the first time.  Practice makes perfect and I hope there will be a lot more practice with this recipe.  I loved it and everyone else did too.

Mini Blueberry Pies

Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 16 small pies

Ingredients

Blueberry Filling

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 fresh vanilla pod

Pie Crust

  • 3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes, frozen (3 sticks)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • raw sugar

Instructions

Blueberry Compote

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, add about one-third of the blueberries, the sugar and juice of 1 lemon. Reserve the remaining blueberries. Using the back of a knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds and add the seeds and pod to the saucepan. Stir and continue to cook until the blueberries break down and the compote has a syrupy consistency, 5 to 10 minutes.

  2. Create an ice bath by placing a mixing bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice. Pour the compote into a strainer over the mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to help work the compote through the strainer. Let the compote cool until it's cold to the touch.

  3. Once the blueberry compote has cooled, add the compote to the remaining blueberries and gently mix together to create your pie filling.

Pie crust

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter, pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (no big pieces of butter should remain.) With motor running, slowly drizzle 1/2 cup ice water through feed tube. Pulse until dough just begins to come together.

  2. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball, flatten into disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic. Chill for at least 2 hours.

  3. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.

  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until very thin, about 1/16th inch thick. Using a circular cutter, cut out into 16 circles.

  5. Brush edges of 8 circles with beaten egg. Place 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each egg washed circle. Top with remaining circles to form 8 pies. Using a fork, crimp 1/4" around edges to seal. If desired use cookie cutter to clean edges. Repeat with remaining dough, egg and filling.

  6. Divide pies between prepared sheets, chill for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Working with 1 baking sheet of pies at a time, score dough, forming a small X int he center of each pie. Brush tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.

  7. Bake pies until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles out of X's, 17-20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining baking sheet of pies.

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