maybe i’m more like the keebler elves

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I’ve been a little out-of-touch lately.  Probably because I don’t have a kitchen and I’m sulking.  I haven’t even been out of the house a full week and I already want my double oven and granite countertops back.  And the pantry that was bigger than our first apartment.  Le sigh.  I’m hoping to eventually be back in a baking-friendly environment but during the next three weeks of moving and boxes, I am kitchen-less.  Which is almost as bad as being homeless, in my opinion.  The only upside of not baking is that it gives me time to catch up on a few recipes that have been sitting in my notebook waiting to be blogged.  I’m hoping I can read my handwriting…

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As I was cleaning out the pantry, I got ambitious and decided to make an absurd amount of cupcakes: carrot cake, german chocolate cake, strawberries and cream, and mocha s’more.  True to form, this happened at midnight so the pictures aren’t stellar.  Bear with me.  Next round, I’ll try to do it in the daylight and take better pictures.  But it probably won’t happen.  I’m the midnight baker.  Kind of like the story about those little elves who make shoes at night and when the cobbler wakes up in the morning, the shoes are all done.  When my house wakes up in the morning, there are cupcakes.  Maybe I’m more like the Keebler Elves.  Except they live in a giant tree-kitchen which is way cool and I have no kitchen at all.

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Cupcake Numero Uno in the clean-out-the-pantry bake-a-palooza was Mocha S’more Cupcakes so that’s the first one I’ll give you.  I’ll try to get around to the other recipes as I traverse the country in my gas-sucking SUV (which I love and rides like a spaceship) with a baby, a husband, my parents, two smelly dogs with travel anxiety, and a Uhaul trailer full of kitchen.  Life is exciting.

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S’mores are delicious; cupcakes are delicious. So it only made sense to combine the two. One of my favorite things about s’mores is the gooey chocolate in the middle. Obviously that needed to come into a cupcake as well as a toasted marshmallow topping. Yes.

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mocha s’more cupcakes

graham cracker layer:
2 C graham crackers, crushed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C butter, softened
1 Tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and place liners in cupcake tin
2. Blend all ingredients together in food processor (NINJA!) until well-combined
3. Press about 1 Tbsp of crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake
4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (or shorter if they’re starting to brown). Let cool but retain oven temp.

chocolate cake:
3/4 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C pure cane white sugar
1/2 C pure cane brown sugar, tightly packed
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 C buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 C greek yogurt/sour cream
3 Tbsp strong brewed coffee, room temperature (you’ll need an additional 3 Tbsp for the ganache)
2 C flour
3/4 C dutch-process cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

1. Whip butter until fluffy. Add sugars and continue to beat for about 2 minutes.
2. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well-combined.
3. Add in vanilla, buttermilk, sour cream, and espresso and stir slightly.
4. Sift in flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt a little at a time and stir just until combined. Don’t overmix.
5. Spoon batter on top of graham cracker “crust” until cupcake well is 3/4 full.
6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then place a little dent in the top of each cupcake with your finger – this is where the ganache goes.

dark chocolate mocha ganache:
6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 C heavy cream
3 Tbsp strong brewed coffee
1 tsp vanilla

1. In double boiler, heat cream until just boiling, stirring continuously. Stir in coffee and vanilla and remove from heat.
2. Pour cream mixture over dark chocolate and stir until melted. Set aside and allow to set up, but not harden.
3. Fill each cupcake indentation with ganache. Or just forget about the cupcakes and eat the ganache with a spoon. Ummm…yum.

toasted marshmallow frosting:
from Martha Stewart
8 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. In heat-proof bowl (I used my KitchenAid bowl), heat egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar over a saucepan of boiling water.
2. Stirring continuously, heat until sugar is dissolved (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
3. Whip on high speed with whisk attachment until glossy peaks form.
4. Pipe onto cupcakes and place each cupcake under broiler of oven (or use a kitchen torch) for a few seconds until toasted.
5. Garnish as desired and devour.

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