Sunday, September 13, 2009

School Daze

I haven't blogged in almost three weeks.

How can that be? Could I have a touch of "blogger's block"?...Oh wait, I remember now. My life got in the way. Lot's and lots of life. All good stuff. Some great stuff, but "stuff" none the less. But I have been baking. Lots and lots of baking, so I have a lot to get caught up on, or "blogged up" as the case may be. So here goes....

You would think that the first day of school would be just a bit more traumatic for my sister Kathy's kids.

For example, my third grader nephew Cody, nearly jogged all the way to the bus stop. He was so excited for his first day!

While Brenna, just entering first grade, was more intent on making a fashion statement.

Which she did.

Cam was the only one not deliriously happy. But then again, he's in eighth grade.

Is anyone ever really happy in eighth grade?

Anyway, to celebrate the first day of school and wind up another fabulous summer, I decided to make the kids a batch of S'more Cupcakes. Which I thought would be brilliantly received until Cody wrinkled up his nose and said, "Ewwwww, I don't like marshmallow".

*Sigh*. Sweet Maria, give me strength.

Anyway, I've found that most of the world are total suckers for a S'More, everyone except Cody of course, but I'm going to share the steps with you anyway. I found these fabulous nutcups that I'm using for cupcakes. They are freestanding so you can put about 35 on a cookie sheet. Talk about crankin' out cupcakes!

I mixed 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup melted butter.

Okay, let me explain about the mini Bailey's bottle. I want it made crystal clear that I am not a booze bag. (Okay, okay......a jigger mixed into a cup of coffee is a slice of heaven )It's best to use something about the size of a shot glass to press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cupcake cup.

But I don't own a shot glass. I do however own a couple of little little mini's, purchased on my annual Girl's Weekend to North Conway, N.H. Wahoo!!! (Oh, sorry about that) Anyway, this mini bottle was the perfect size to pound down those crumbs. Once all the crumbs are packed down, pop the pan into the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. This will set the graham cracker "crust".

Then, I filled the cups about halfway with chocolate cupcake batter.

Bake 'em at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Now, the fun truly begins. Using a double boiler (or a bowl suspended over another bowl of boiling water), add 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, 3 large egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Mix together, then using a hand mixer on the high setting, whip the ingredients for 12 minutes over the pan of slow boiling water. Yes you heard me. Don't stop for a minute! I know twelve minutes is a long time. An eternity. I usually sing or dance in place while I'm doing this. It helps to break the monotony.

Just don't let the neighbors see you.

After twelve minutes, the mixture should make a stiff peak when you remove the mixer. Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and continue mixing for another 2 minutes.

Voila! Marshmallow!

Next, I fitted my largest pastry bag with a star tip, waited until the marshmallow cooled a bit then piped it onto each cupcake. Once all the cupcakes were covered with marshmallow, I popped them into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so to give them a chance to cool down and let the marshmallow set.

Now comes the fun part. Working with a kitchen torch has to be one of my favorite parts of baking. I fired up my little friend, and carefully directed the flame onto each cupcake. I have to tell you that it's so easy to completely torch and blacken the marshmallow. You'll be tempted......but don't you do it. You'll be shunned from the cupcake world. Your friends and family will blackball you from all social events and you'll be talked about over the backyard fence.
So much fuss! Trust me, it's easier to just be really careful with the blowtorch.

So remember.... when there's spring in your step, a song in your heart, enough fluid in your torch and the planets are all aligned..... too can make the world your perfect little cupcake.


Lisa said...

Oh! Yum!

Can I have Cody's cupcake?


Do you know where that big blue bowl is that my mother had???

Just looking for it...That's all:-)


Amiyrah said...

Wow, you make marshmallow the hard way! lol Alton Brown has an awesome recipe for it and it lets the stand mixer do most of the work.

Great cupcakes though, and welcome back!

SimplySweeter said...


I know, I know. When it comes to baking and my blowtorch, I'm a hopeless overachiever. LOL

Great to be back, thanks!

The Amazing Trips said...

YAY - Anne Marie is back!!

I'm so glad that you made it down to SC. Although, I am a little disappointed you didn't make it down THREE WEEKS EARLIER WHEN WE WERE THERE so that you could bake for us.

Whatev. It's cool.

If you come out to California and throw cupcakes at us while we do the 60-mile breast cancer walk in November, all will be forgiven. :)

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' bout.
Looks so good!

Love, Marg.

Of course - it's a good thing - WE ALL have a blow torch among our kitchen tools!?!?! Right Ladies?

Aunt Grace said...

I love the idea of the nut cups, what a great idea. Just enough for a nice bite. It was really great to see you, everyone is still quoting you. I love Brenna's skirt, and where did you get that hat??

Mama Zen said...

Those look amazing!

One of many cuzzins! said...

Yum! Those look delish. Welcome back...thought you were being held hostage in the Graceland kitchen!
One of these days I'm gonna blow the dust off my kitchen counters, wash the bugs out of my baking dishes and really attempt to recreate one of your recipes. Or better yet, how about you just bake something and let me come pick it up? ~R