Someone pass me a salad: the post-#cupcakecampTO post

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I’m not much of a baker — I’m constantly fucking up even basic cookie recipes. Luckily for me, I have mastered the recipe for the only cookie that matters, a.k.a Pierre Hermes’ fleur de sel and chocolate sables from foodbeam. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve picked up his macaronage expertise, but I digress.

I signed up to bake foodbeam’s so horribly fluffy s’more cupcakes for the second annual CupcakeCampTO, which happened yesterday. Aside from getting to stuff your face, the proceeds go to the Daily Bread Food Bank, so it’s win-win-win (except for this morning, when I struggled to button up my jeans). Most camp bakers tend to be professional ones, and I thought I’d be outmatched in technique and taste. But lo and behold, I won in the “Best Twist on a Classic” category, so there’s hope for my pathetic not-baker ass yet. Thanks judges!

For those that feel inclined to recreate that campfire goodness in their own kitchen, my adaptation of Franny’s recipe is after the jump: a sweet-salty graham cracker crust and cinnamon-scented, brown-sugary cake, piled high with Italian meringue and a just-right amount of gooey chocolate.

This recipe is weight-based. Since I have been converted to this more accurate, consistent method, I refuse to offer measurement alternatives but instead beseech you to buy a food scale:

S’more Cupcakes
Makes 12 regulars or 24 minis

Graham crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp fleur de sel

Mix everything together.
Spoon mixture into cupcake liners in pan — a heaping teaspoon for minis, a heaping tablespoon or more for regular-sized.
Press evenly into bottom of pan — I used a small rolling pin that resembles a drink muddler. A shot glass would be dandy too.

Cake batter:
160g flour
3/4 tsp fleur de sel
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
60g butter, at room temperature
85g light brown sugar
one egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g milk

Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F.
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in egg, until fully incorporated; then add the vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in three parts, each time alternating with the milk, until mixed.
Divide batter evenly among the paper cups (fill below the top of the pan — you want a relatively flat, slightly domed cake to allow for lots and lots of delicious fluff, right? For minis, I found an even tablespoon was the perfect amount). Bake for 20 minutes (13 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into centre of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack before frosting.

Italian meringue:
one egg white
75g caster sugar (though granulated worked fine for me as well)
2 tbsp water

Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt at low speed until it foam throughout. Gradually increase the speed to high, and beat to soft peaks. Turn the machine to slow as you complete the sugar syrup.
Bring the sugar and water to 115°C/240°F. (My burner maxed out at 200°F, but I had no problems with “cooking” the whites adequately.)
With the mixer at medium speed, pour the boiling syrup into the whites in a thin, steady stream. Increase the speed to high, and beat until the bowl is no longer hot (it should still feel slightly warm).
Pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes with a round tip. From here, you can keep the swirl, or smooth it into a neat dome with a spatula. Chill while you make the ganache.

Ganache coating:
150g double cream
150g dark chocolate

Bring cream to a boil on the stove.
Pour over chocolate in a big bowl and stir until smooth.
Dip cupcakes. I had to double-dip these suckers, because it was quite thin and the meringue was showing through.

A few notes about the coating: You’ll have extra ganache — use it as a dip, whip it into a frosting, or make truffles. In retrospect I would have used a ratio closer to 2:1 or even 3:1 of chocolate to cream. As delightful as it is to recreate the texture of melted chocolate, it was far too runny and sticky, and never hardened in the slightest. Next time, I even might try a tempered chocolate coating instead of a ganache dip — I think a crisp coating would be really nice.

In a test batch a few weeks ago, so as to be completely authentic, I tried adding wheat germ and bran to the recipe, in the proportions called for in graham flour. Do not do this. You end up with whole wheat muffins with meringue and chocolate.

Thanks again to Michelle and Monica for all the fun, and the sugar coma. Can’t wait to try another recipe for next year’s.





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