Thursday, October 28, 2010

S'mores Cupcakes with Kahula

The kid in me is out and raging. Enter the most fantastic of all fantastic treats from childhood with a little grown up injected inside and you have S’mores cupcakes with a hit of Kahula. Somebody pinch me.
I first saw these cupcakes on Annie’s Eats and then it seemed like the S’mores influence was everywhere with S’mores cakes, snack bars, energy bars, candy bars, you name it. So, this has been on my must bake list forever and I finally got around to making them. The cupcakes shown on Annie’s Eats were beautiful and refined and I wanted mine to be more rustic and, for lack of a better term, sloppy. In my mind, that’s what S’mores are, sloppy kid food that are a mess to eat. That’s the fun of them and being a kid, permission to be sloppy and unrefined. I also have to be buttoned up in a corporate office all day so I like to take a more laid back approach to my baking.
So, I used the Annie’s Eats recipe but I put my own spin on it with the Kahula injection. I also made some minor alterations to bits and pieces to suit my palate.
Enjoy! AJ – xo

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

For the graham cracker crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. salted butter, melted
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the cake:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil (I used Peanut Oil)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. Kahula or coffee liqueur
1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom.
Sprinkle a small amount of the chopped chocolate on top of the graham cracker crusts. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.

To make the cake batter, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed just to combine. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, Kahula and vanilla extract; whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full. Return the pans to the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler.
Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. Brown with a kitchen torch.

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