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Triple Chocolate, Double Graham S'mores Cupcakes

yield: 24 cupcakes
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Special Equipment

  • a fine-mesh sieve
  • a candy thermometer (I use this digital one by CDN and love it so, so much)
  • a culinary chef's torch

Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Double Chocolate Graham Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup graham flour
  • 1 1/4 cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

For the Chocolate Butter Frosting

    (makes about 1 cup, enough for a thin layer of frosting on 24 cupcakes)

    • 4 ounces 70% cacao chocolate, finely chopped
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

    For the Marshmallow Meringue Icing

      (makes about 4 cups, enough for generously frosting 24 cupcakes)

      • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
      • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
      • 1/4 cup water
      • 3 large egg whites
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

      Instructions

      For the Double Chocolate, Double Graham Cupcakes

      • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare 2 muffin trays by lining each cavity with cupcake liners.
      • In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir together 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 5 tablespoons melted and cooled unsalted butter until evenly coated.
      • Use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to portion out a tablespoon sized scoop of the mixture in the bottom of each baking cup. Use your fingers (or one of these nifty tart tampers) to press down the graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of each liner until they form a solid crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes to allow the base to harden, before transferring to wire racks to cool for a minimum of 15 minutes. While the graham cracker crusts are cooling, make the chocolate cake batter. Be sure to keep the oven on!
      • To make the chocolate cake batter, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup graham flour, 1 1/4 cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt in medium bowl until fully incorporated. Set aside.
      • Place 2 ounces finely chopped 70% cocoa chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl (preferably with a spout or a rim to make your life easier) and pour 1 cup boiling water over the chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, and allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes.
      • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Set aside.
      • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk 2 large eggs on medium-high speed until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to its lowest setting and slowly pour in 1/2 cup vegetable oil, whisking for 30 to 60 seconds until combined.
      • With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Once the chocolate has been added, slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue to whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.
      • Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients (from the 2nd step). Use a rubber spatula to mix into the liquid ingredients until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl and lifting and folding in from the bottom and center of the bowl. Whisk until the dry ingredients are just incorporated — at this point, the batter will still look a little lumpy, but that's okay.
      • Pour the batter through a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl to remove any lumps. Use a rubber spatula to press against any solids left in the sieve to push through as much batter as possible, but no need to overdo it. Disregard the remaining large lumps.
      • Use a 1 tablespoon sized cookie dough scoop to divide the strained batter evenly between the graham-crusted cupcake liners, filling each cup up to two-thirds full with batter (each of my cupcakes had about 2 tablespoons of batter). Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the cupcake tops spring back when gently poked. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in the pan. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, make the chocolate ganache and marshmallow meringue frostings.

      For the Chocolate Butter Frosting

      • In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together 4 ounces finely chopped chocolate, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 1 teaspoon corn syrup, using a rubber spatula to stir constantly until completely melted and combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool in room temperature for about 20 minutes until mixture thickens to a spreadable consistency.
      • Once the mixture is spreadable, work quickly and use a small offset icing spatula to spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate on the top of each cupcake. If the frosting hardens too much and becomes difficult to work with, reheat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture becomes spreadable again.

      For the Marshmallow Meringue Icing

      • In a medium, heavy bottom saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/4 cup of water. Whisk constantly until the sugar starts to dissolve, continuing to do so until the mixture reaches 240 (F) as measured by a candy thermometer. When the mixture reaches 240 (F), it should be syrupy. Immediately transfer to a heatproof liquid measuring cup and work quickly to make sure that it maintains its temperature.
      • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine 3 large egg whites and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. With the mixture on medium speed, slowly pour the fresh sugar syrup down the side of the mixer bowl. When all the syrup is added, turn the mixer speed to medium-high and whisk until the icing becomes thick and holds a firm peak. Continue to whisk until the icing is just slightly warm and very thick, about 10 minutes total. DO NOT CONTINUE TO BEAT FOR LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES, otherwise the icing will thicken too much, become cement-like and impossible to spread and pipe.
      • Use immediately by transferring to a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe a generous dollop of icing onto each cupcake. Once the cupcakes have all been frosted, use a culinary chef's torch to gently toast each dollop to give it that pretty toasted look. Enjoy immediately!

      Notes

      Adapted from a variety of sources, mostly Pastry Affair and Miette