I'm not sure if I achieved ultimate perfection, but by the end of the reception, there was a happy boy on a sugar high. Mission accomplished.
With this recipe, I struggled with three things. Number one - marshmallow frosting. I really wanted it to taste like a s'more, so I needed a strong marshmallow flavor. I researched a million different recipes. I've made a marshmallow buttercream with marshmallow fluff before, adding graham crumbles, a mini marshmallow garnish, and a chocolate square.
They turned out well, but they just were not marshmallow-y enough for me. I decided to rework the recipe to make a true s'more, one that even a child would find faultless.
I found their is no substitute for actual marshmallow but marshmallow. I found some giant marshmallows on sale and just cut them in three slices. If you cut them neatly, they melt ever so slightly under the broiler (but watch them like a hawk!! They burn easily.) and they have a good shape with that beautiful golden brown color when toasted. After it cools that will make a light crisp over the marshmallow.
My second challenge was the amount of sweetness. The main flavors in a s'more are chocolate, marshmallow, and graham. None of these have any savory or acidic notes to them. So to counteract the sweet - and to amp up my s'more flavor profile, I added a graham cracker pie crust bottom with some salt added. Graham crusts are usually graham crumbs, butter, and sugar. I just added a little salt to this, and it turned out great.
My third and final issue - avoiding a bitter or dry chocolate cake. I do a couple things to avoid this: add pudding & hot fudge. What chocolate isn't better with pudding and hot fudge??? They're delicious and moist. Just be sure to keep the hot fudge in the fridge until you're ready to use it. It needs to stay cold before baking. And make sure you get that little bit of chocolate well covered in the middle of the batter.
Whenever you bake follow the all important rule of beat Beat BEAT the wet ingredients, and fold ever so gently once you've added the dry. You should end up with a nice and fluffy batter, even after dry ingredients have been added.
(Yield: 36 cupcakes)
1 1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp butter
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons instant chocolate pudding
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp imitation almond extract
hot fudge, chilled (use about 1/2 teaspoon per cake)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
4 Tablespoons corn syrup
4 Tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 sleeve graham cracker
12 giant marshmallows, sliced in 3
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2, Mix together graham crust ingredients and press 1 tablespoon into each cupcake liner.
3. Beat butter to cream and gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes, until very light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping the side after each addition.
5. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cocoa, and pudding.
6. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and extracts.
7. Add flour to butter batter, alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
8. Beat at low speed until just blended or fold by hand, scraping the sides after each addition.
9. Spoon into paper lined cupcake pan.
10. Drop hot fudge into each cup, and cover well.
11. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until done.
To make the glaze
1. Combine all ingredients over a double boiler. Heat until mixture begins to thicken. It will look like this:
Assemble by adding about a teaspoon of glaze to each cooled cupcake, spread over the top and add graham cracker, broken in pieces.
Top with marshmallow slice. Place the cupcakes under the broiler and watch them carefully! They will be done in a couple of minutes. Remove when top is a golden brown.
Enjoy your s'more!