Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cinnamon S'mores Cupcakes

I'll be the first one to admit it--I'm not a big cupcake person. I love baking them and decorating them, but not so much eating them. I prefer the dense texture and taste of a cookie. But I had this image in my head of a yummy s'more cupcake with chocolate cake, a chocolate-cinnamon ganache filling, and marshmallow icing (we always make our s'mores with cinnamon crackers). I took one bite and all the work this little time-consuming treat takes suddenly became totally worth it. Grab a cup of milk for these bad boys. 

For the Cupcakes
1 Box Store-Bought Chocolate Cake Mix

For the Ganache
6oz Heavy Cream
1/3cCinnamon Chips
1/2c Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

For the Icing
8oz Marshmallow Fluff
1/2c Butter (1 stick) 
1c Powdered Sugar
1/2tsp Vanilla

4 Whole Cinnamon Graham Crackers

OVEN: 350F
BAKE TIME: 20min

1. Make the cake as directed and let the cupcakes cool completely. I filled my tins up about 2/3 full to have nice plump cupcakes so my batter only made 17. Feel free to make smaller cupcakes. Also, I used a cake mix because it's just plain easier, but if you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, feel free to use it!

2. Now that the cupcakes are baked and cooled, its time to make the ganache. I incorporated cinnamon chips with regular chocolate chips to give it a little kick. They pack a powerful flavor so use them sparingly if you're not a fan of cinnamon, or don't use them at all and just use all chocolate. Whatever you end up using, put the chips in a small bowl.

3. Pour the heavy cream into a small pot and put on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Wait until the cream just begins to boil and then pour it immediately onto the chocolate chips. It is very important to watch the cream closely or this can quickly become a frustrating disaster.

4. Let the mixture sit for about thirty seconds and then mix together vigorously with a fork until it is smooth and begins to thicken. If it's still runny like syrup after about 4 minutes, add another handful of chocolate chips. Let it cool for about 10 minutes overall. Yes, ganache is that easy. 

5. Filling the cupcakes is pretty simple. Take a knife about a centimeter in from the edges, tilt it 45 degrees, and cut a circle out of the middle. The piece you pull out should be shaped like a cone. Trim off the pointed part so you just have the flat top piece left. Repeat until all the cupcakes have been "cored". 

6. The way I actually fill my cupcakes is by lining them all up on my counter in a couple of rows that are spaced three inches apart. I take the tops off of all my cupcakes and lay them to the side, that way you can fill all of them at the same time and don't have to pause to take the top off and replace it between each filling. Use a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop and evenly pour the ganache into the cupcake holes, replace the tops, and you're done!

7. For the icing, combine the fluff, butter, vanilla, and sugar in a mixer until smooth. If the icing looks a little runny, add more sugar. After it's finished, fill up a piping bag (or ziplock bag with a hole cut in the corner) and pipe on the icing. No one can see where you cut the cupcakes open after this step. 

8. For the garnish I put two graham crackers in my mini food processor until they were fine crumbs and sprinkled them liberally on top. I then cut a whole cracker into 12 pieces (break into four pieces and then cut each of those into three small squares) and stuck them on top!

9. Stick them in the fridge for about half an hour to help the marshmallow stiffen. 

When it's all said and done, these are a bit more time consuming than my normal recipes, but they are very cute and very tasty!

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