Even if you don't have access to an open flame to make authentic s'mores on their day of celebration, you can put together these cupcakes and get the same effect. No kitchen torch? That's okay -- your broiler will brown the marshmallows just fine.
Makes about 28 cupcakes
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 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.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and maintain the oven temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk it until it is smooth.
- In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then, whisk it to blend.
- Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until it is smooth.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about 3/4 full.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
- Let them cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water.
- Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160 degrees 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. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.
- Brown with a kitchen torch or broiler (watch carefully!) and garnish with chocolate and graham cracker segments (optional).