Monday, July 16, 2012

S'mores & Sunshine

This past weekend, the missing piece to my being came to visit. Katie, my roommate from my first two years of college hasn't seen the beach in 2 years. TWO YEARS. 712 DAYS! I know I know, it's not healthy and I don't know how she is still alive, but she made it. Since I was so fortunate to have the weekend off, Katie came down for a little fun in the sun and her much needed salt water therapy session. We turned it into an affair and had some of my bff's from home, plus Michael and James come along for the fun.

Katie and I went random for our freshman roommates and by God's sweet grace ended up together. We're two peas in a pod, sisters that were separated for the first 18 years of life. Our undying love of Carolina Basketball and our unhealthy hatred of Duke University makes things that much sweeter. We have our handful of strange traditions and started a new one last semester during our Thursday night Swamp People episodes. Microwave s'mores. Sure, it's not as great as the real thing by a campfire, but it sufficed. Thanks to Uma for the Marshmallows, by the way.

I felt it was only fitting that this week's cupcakes be S'mores Cupcakes. I have been looking at S'mores cupcake recipes for forever and ended up collaborating as usual and making up as I go. The chocolate cake recipe I used is known as "The Best Chocolate Cake Ever," which could really be just that, and the Hershey's center and graham cracker bottom made them that much better. As for the Marshmallow Buttercream......we're not friends. Normal buttercream is a guessing game, you make it up as you go and add until it's just right. When you throw sticky, gooey marshmallow fluff in the mix, things get messy. Some cupcakes were topped with just buttercream, others with marshmallows on the buttercream, and others with toasted marshmallows. I mixed it up and they were actually kind of cute. Kind of....not really.

All in all, our beach weekend was a success. Friday was a nice day of relaxing, pizza, and putt putt with some entertaining interruptions added in (aka Jean). We spent Saturday on the beach then finished the night off with dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise and shopping in Myrtle Beach. Soon Katie and I will be reunited for another year in the Happy Chappy except no longer roommates :( Unfortunately, that means summer will be over. Only 1 month left to soak up some sun and enjoy the salt water while it's still warm.

S'mores Cupcakes
adapted from Cookies & Cups and Kevin & Amanda
Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs (use Food Processor to make fine crumbs)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter - melted

Melt butter in microwave. Combine Sugar and Graham Cracker crumbs. Add butter and stir until mixed.
Best Chocolate Cake Ever
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 small pkg Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini chocolate chips

In a very large bowl, mix together everything except chocolate chips until well combined. Batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips.
*I was able to make 30 cupcakes with this amount of batter. It will depend on how deep your tins are. 
Marshmallow Buttercream
1/2 cup butter - softened
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 tbsp Milk 

Mix Butter and Fluff together on medium speed until smooth. Slowly add Powdered sugar with mixer on low. Add milk then beat contents together on medium until smooth. 
*You may need to double this recipe depending on how many cupcakes you have to frost. 

Cupcake Assembly 
4 Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars
Jumbo Marshmallows or Mini Marshmallows
1. Place a heaping tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake tin. Using a small glass or back of a spoon, press the crust down to make it solid. Bake at 350 for approx. 5 minutes.
2.  Add a heaping tablespoon of batter to each tin. 
3. Place 2 squares of a Hershey Chocolate Bar on top of the batter in each tin. 
4. Cover with another heaping tablespoon of cake batter.
5. Sprinkle leftover graham cracker crumbs on top if you wish. 
6. Bake Cupcakes at 350 for 18-22 minutes.
7. Let cupcakes cool then top with Marshmallow buttercream or toasted marshmallows.

**To Toast Marshmallows, place under broiler in oven for a few seconds until the top is brown. Be careful not to burn them! If you use this type of garnish, microwave for a few seconds before serving.


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