S’mores Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

I’ve been waiting for a free evening to try out this recipe..and low and behold, I got to leave work at six thirty yesterday. This recipe has four components: the graham cracker crust, the chocolate cupcake, the chocolate glaze, and the toasted marshmallow frosting. When these elements combine, you get an amazing variety of texture, and flavor. And despite the lengthy recipe, I bet that you can find most of the ingredients in your pantry.

Graham Cracker Base

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong black coffee (or 1 T espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup water)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate Glaze

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tsp. light corn syrup

Marshmallow Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

I used half the batter to make mini cupcakes, and the other half to make regular sized cupcakes. The recipe yields about 24 regular sized cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line the cupcake tins with baking cups. Crush a sleeve of graham crackers into fine crumbs. You can use a food processor if you have one, or simply place the crackers in a ziplock bag and crush them with a flat object. I used the bottom of a metal mug. Pour the crumbs into a medium sized bowl, and add the melted butter and sugar. Mix until the crumbs are evenly coated in butter, the spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into each cupcake liner (1 teaspoon for the mini cupcakes). Using a shot glass (or other flat bottomed object), press down on the graham cracker crumbs to form a crust in each liner. Let these bake for 5 minutes, then cool them completely to allow the crust to harden.

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As the graham cracker crusts are baking, begin to make the batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, until the ingredients are fully incorporated. The batter will be a bit runnier than regular cupcake batter. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 15-18 minutes (about 10 minutes for the mini cupcakes), or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.

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In a saucepan, melt together the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup over medium low heat, and stir until completely combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occassionally. The glaze should thicken to a spreadable consistency.

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In a double boiler, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are warm to the touch, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff, shiny peaks (about 5 minutes).

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Using a knife or off-set spatula, spread a thick layer of chocolate glaze on top of each cupcake, extending the chocolate to the edge of the cupcake. Let this set for a few minutes. Fill a large, sealable, plastic bag with the meringue, snip off the corner, and pipe it on top of the cupcakes.

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Turn the oven onto broil and place the cupcakes on a cookie sheet in the top shelf of the oven. Leave the broiler door slightly ajar, and keep an eye on the cupcakes as they toast. Leave the cupcakes in the broiler for 1-2 minutes, and remove immediently once you see the meringue browning.

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I packed these up and brought them all the way to Iselin, NJ. My work team and client contacts really enjoyed them, and so did I 😀

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Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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I cannot begin to say how happy I am that we issued last Friday! I think our client contacts are equally happy….we requested things left and right last week. As a little thank you for all of their help, I wanted to bake them treats. In the spirit of fall, I decided to make these brown butter cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The ingredients included:

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sour cream

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to cool.

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Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and whisk until just combined.

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Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 12 minutes for mini cupcakes, 15 for regular sized cupcakes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Repeat until all the batter has been used. This recipe makes about 60 mini cupcakes, and 18 normal sized cupcakes.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy (2 to 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low, and add sugar (1 cup at a time), cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

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Once the cupcakes have fully cooled, frost, and garnish. This recipe makes a ton of batter, so I made one  batch of regular cupcakes, and one batch of mini cupcakes. I’m not the biggest pumpkin fan, but these have changed the way I feel about pumpkin desserts 😀 This is the best pumpkin recipe I’ve made!

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

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When my team at work realized that we’d be working the entire weekend, I think we all needed a little pick-me-up…so I decided to make breakfast for Saturday morning! I wanted to make something that would be a crowd-pleaser, and decided to make these caramel apple cinnamon rolls. The ingredients included:

Sweet Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Apple Filling

  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large can apple pie filling, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1.2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon milk or cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Caramel Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Disclaimer: I don’t have a kitchen aid or stand mixer, so I kneaded my dough by hand.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons luke warm water with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let this proof for about five minutes to make sure your yeast is still good. In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat milk at a low power until it is lukewarm. Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter, and egg to the flour mixture and mix with hands until ingredients are combined. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Rinse out mixing bowl and spray with cooking spray and place dough back into the bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).
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Roll dough into a large rectangle, until it is about 3/4 of a cm thick.  Melt the butter and spread over the entire dough rectangle. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the dough, then cover with the chopped apple pie filling. Roll up the dough horizontally from the far side. Roll dough into a tight roll. Cut dough log into 8 equal pieces (you can cut it into more peices if you want smaller cinnamon rolls), and place in a greased pan, leaving about half an inch between each roll. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again (about 30 mins). Bake at 350 for 30-35minutes, or until rolls are golden brown and the centers seem firm. With the moist apple filling you will want to make sure they are cooked through or they can get soggy. While the rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting and caramel sauce.
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To make the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together. Stir in the vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice, and then mix in the powdered sugar. For the caramel sauce, combine brown sugar and corn starch in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and heat on medium. Stir continuously, and cook until thickened (about 10 minutes). Drizzle the warm caramel sauce over the rolls and serve.
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My team loved them, and I was really pleased with the way they turned out!

Seven Layer S’mores Cake

The past few weeks have been phenomenal. I saw my sister marry the love of her life, spent a week in a tropical paradise, then another week at home in Seattle. I also moved to a new apartment! In the midst of all of this, I was out of town for Alan’s birthday and only now have had the time to actually make him a cake. The only way I could make up for this was to make an epic birthday cake. Alan loves anything s’mores related, so I decided to make him a massive s’mores cake 😀 It has seven different layers: 2 brownie layers, 2 cheesecake layers, 2 chocolate chip cookie layers, and 1 graham cracker layer. The final product seems a little intense, but it is worth it. I baked each of the layers in the order shown below.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer (I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe)

  • 2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg &1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

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Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, then stir all the ingredients together until fully incorporated. Let the dough chill over night. The following day, spread half of the batch in each cake pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until golden on the edges. Let the cookie layers fully cool, then transferred them to a cooling rack and made the brownies.

Brownie Layer (Adapted from King Arthur Flour Fudge Brownie recipe)

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line two round nine inch cake pans. In addition, be sure to grease the lining as well.

In a saucepan heated to low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir until combined. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it’s hot (but not bubbling). Heating this mixture a second time will continue to dissolve the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on the brownies.

While heating the sugar a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until completely combined. Slowly pour the hot butter/sugar mixture into the eggs, stirring until smooth. Once all the wet ingredients are combined, stir in the flour and chocolate chips, again stirring until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly between the two cake pans, and bake the brownies for about 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before assembling. While the brownies cooled, I began to make the cheesecake.

Cheesecake
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese (20 oz), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add in sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Lastly, beat in the sour cream. My batter was a bit thick, so I added in a splash of heavy cream.

Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a springform pan, and spray with non stick spray. Pour half of the filling in each pan, and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the cheesecake has just set, and the edges are lightly browned.

Remove the pan from oven, and let both cheesecakes cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of the pans to loosen the cheesecake from the sides, then let it cool completely. Cover both layers and let them chill in the freezer while preparing the frosting.

Chocolate Frosting (Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita)
Ingredients
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and combine with a hand mixer until smooth.

Marshmallow Filling (Recipe from My S’more Refrigerator Cake)

1 tub (16 oz) marshmallow fluff
2 stick butter, room temperature
2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Beat together the marshmallow fluff and butter on medium speed, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy (about 2 minutes).Reduce the speed to low, and add the powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat for another minute, then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Assembly
THE BEST PART. Make sure that all layers have properly cooled before assembly, and that you have a package of graham crackers on hand for one of the layers.

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Begin by placing one layer of brownie on a cake stand. Frost the brownie with marshmallow frosting. Then place a cookie layer on top of the brownie, and frost with the marshmallow filling. Remove cheesecake from freezer, and remove from pan, then peel off parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the marshmallow frosting, and spread a layer of chocolate frosting on cheesecake. Layer graham crackers on top of the cheesecake. You’ll have to break up the crackers to make them fit. Spread chocolate frosting on graham crackers, then place the second layer of cheesecake on the chocolate frosting. Spread the cheesecake with marshmallow frosting. Then place the remaining cookie on the frosting. Spread the cookie with marshmallow frosting and put the remaining brownie on the marshmallow frosting.

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Spread the remaining chocolate fudge frosting on top of the cake and on the side, and swirl top with leftover marshmallow frosting.  Once the cake is completely assembled, refrigerate until ready to serve. This cake is incredibly rich, and could probably feed an army. The variety of layers seems a bit crazy, but they taste wonderful together. We all loved it…and were incredibly full after 😀

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Layered Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have training this week! This means I actually get to work from 9-5, and that I don’t have to commute to New Jersey 😀 My friend Abdul loves red velvet, and since I am sitting next to him this week, I decided to make our training group some red velvet treats. I used my favorite red velvet recipe, and altered the cheesecake filling to lighten the texture of the cupcakes. The ingredients included:

Red Velvet Batter:

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp red food coloring
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line or grease mini muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Combine with a hand-mixer on medium-low speed, until blended (about 1 minute). For the filling, cream together the cream cheese and sugar, then add in the eggs, flour, and vanilla. My filling turned out a little runny, so I added a bit more flour than the recipe calls for. The filling should be slightly thinner than the cupcake batter. If your filling is too thick/runny, adjust by adding another egg or additional flour.

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Fill cups 1/3 full and then add in a teaspoon of filling. Top with more red velvet batter until the cup is 2/3 full, then bake for 10 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached).  Remove from tins, and fully cool on a wire rack. Repeat this process until all the batter has been used.

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When the cupcakes are cooled, lightly dust each cupcake with powdered sugar. I decided to make hearts with the top layer of the red velvet batter on one of the batches, and ended up swiriling the top layer on the last few batches.

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I taste tested these before I brought them in for my training class, and I thought they were delicious! I think my training class agreed….at least Uli and Abdul did!

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I really loved the cream cheese layer in the middle, and how the flour in the filling makes the textures of each layer blend together. The filling is a pleasant surprise, and is so much easier than piping on cream cheese frosting.