Is there a flavor that screams SUMMER louder than s’mores? Not in my book. Just the thought of s’mores and I’m immediately transported to summers at my parents lake cottage. With the 4th of July quickly approaching, I knew chocolate s’mores cupcakes were the way to go.
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Making S’mores Cupcakes
These s’mores cupcakes are made with a rich dark chocolate espresso cake batter, then baked up in muffin tins, dunked in chocolate ganache and graham crackers, and finally topped with chocolate buttercream and a toasted homemade marshmallow. This recipe has a lot of steps and takes a little time. But it’s worth it. And sometimes I like a little challenge in the kitchen.
Let’s Talk Homemade Marshmallows
First of all, have you ever had one? Me either. Until I made this recipe. Annnnnd honestly I feel kind of emotional about it. Like it’s SO MUCH BETTER than any store bought marshmallow I’ve ever had. So much better that I feel like I’ve been lied to my entire life about what a marshmallow even is. Is that dramatic of me? Probably. But I’m not kidding.
The marshmallow recipe is from Ina Garten. I don’t think I’ve talked about my obsession with her yet. But, if you follow along with this blog, I’m sure you’ll soon realize how real the love for Ina is. Anyway, the marshmallows – surprisingly easy to make, and WELLLL worth the added effort. It’s basically a meringue with gelatin to get that marshmallow texture. How bad could that be? HA! Couldn’t help it.
How to Make Homemade Marshmallows
The marshmallows need to dry out on the counter for about 24 hours – so make these at least a day before you want to use them!
Preparing the Marshmallow Mixture
First, you need to allow the gelatin to bloom. So just add it to the bowl of your stand mixer with 1/2 cup of cold water, and just let it hang out and do it’s thing while you make the syrup. Easy.
To make the syrup, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan and cool on medium to medium high until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to high, and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on your candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low, and slowly drizzle the sugar syrup in with the gelatin and water mixture. Now I love having my kids in my kitchen helping me make all the desserts. But this part of marshmallow making is not the time. Hot sugar is dangerous so be careful! Once all the syrup is in the mixer, turn the speed to high and whip until very thick, about 13-15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Drying and Slicing
Pour the marshmallow mixture into a nonmetal baking dish (Ina uses an 8X12 – I used a 9X9 because I wanted the marshmallows to be extra tall) that is generously dusted with powdered sugar. I would also recommend dusting the rubber spatula and your hands – this stuff is stiiiiicky. Spread it out and dust with more powdered sugar. Leave it out on your counter overnight uncovered.
The next day, turn them out onto the counter and cut into squares. It will help to spray the knife with nonstick spray and dust it with powdered sugar. And add more powdered sugar to the knife between each cut. I didn’t need to add nonstick spray after the first time.
The marshmallows are delicious just like this, but if you’re going for s’mores, toasting them is a must. I used my kitchen torch, but you could roast them over a campfire or put them under the broiler as well. Just watch them because the torching happens FAST!
Making the Cupcakes, Ganache, Graham Cracker Crumbs and Chocolate Frosting
Start by sifting your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and Dutch process cocoa powder) into a medium bowl and set aside. Usually I’m fine with just whisking the dry ingredients, but I always sift when we’re talking about cake batter.
The Dutch Process cocoa powder gives the cupcakes that extra dark and rich chocolate flavor, don’t sub it out for regular cocoa powder. I talk about the difference between the two in my chocolate peanut butter banana bread recipe, here. It’s super easy to find at your local grocery, and I always keep it stocked in my pantry.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, mix to combine. Whisk together the milk and Greek yogurt. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 of the milk mixture, and repeat. You want to add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
Using a standard 4 ounce ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter. I always use unsalted butter when it comes to baking. This way I can control the amount of salt in the recipe. If you only have salted butter, that will work just fine, but don’t add any extra. Cream the butter for 5-7 minutes. The butter will lighten in color and become very soft and fluffy.
Add a pinch of salt, and begin adding the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, add the cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add vanilla extract. The frosting will be a little thick. Add cream, 1 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. I like it on the thicker side for piping onto cupcakes. If you add too much cream and the frosting gets too thin, just add a little more powdered sugar.
Graham Cracker Crumble
Now for this to really be a s’mores dessert, graham crackers have to be involved. All I did was take a sleeve of graham crackers (9 crackers) and crush them. Then, I dunked the cooled cupcakes into some chocolate ganache and then into the crushed graham crackers.
Finally, I topped the cupcakes with the chocolate buttercream using a star tip (Wilton 1M) and finished them off with a toasty homemade marshmallow. Can you even imagine how impressed your friends and fam will be when you roll up to the 4th of July BBQ with these babies?Print
Dark chocolate espresso cupcakes dunked in chocolate ganache and graham cracker crumbs and topped with chocolate buttercream and a toasty homemade marshmallow
Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
- 2 C All Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ C Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
- 1 TBSP Espresso Powder
- ½ C (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter (Room Temp)
- 1¾ C Granulated Sugar
- 2 Lg Eggs (+1 Yolk)
- ¾ C Milk (2% or Whole)
- 1 C Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache and Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 C Heavy Cream
- 9 (1 Sleeve) Graham Crackers
- 1 C (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter
- 4 C Powdered Sugar (+ extra to adjust consistency if needed)
- ½ C Cocoa Powder
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 TBSP Heavy Cream
Homemade Marshmallows – Recipe from Ina Garten
- 3 Packages Unflavored Gelatin
- 1½ C Granulated Sugar
- 1 C Light Corn Syrup
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 TBSP Pure Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar (for dusting)
Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
- Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, Dutch process cocoa powder, and espresso powder) and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for at least 3 minutes.
- Add eggs and vanilla, mix to combine.
- Whisk together the milk and greek yogurt.
- Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Add ½ of the milk mixture, mix to combine.
- Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients, mix to combine.
- Add the final ½ of the milk mixture, mix to combine.
- Add the final ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Mix just until it is just combined and there are no streaks of flour. Do not overmix.
- Use a 4 ounce ice cream scoop to portion out the batter into a lined cupcake pan.
- Bake for 18-20 min. or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Chocolate Ganache and Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Crush graham crackers and pour onto a plate. Set Aside.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, but not boiling.
- Remove from heat and add chocolate.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Dunk cooled Cupcakes into the ganache and then into the graham cracker cumbs.
- Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment for 5-7 minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt.
- Begin adding the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.
- Add the cocoa powder.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Add heavy cream, 1 TBSP at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Homemade Marshmallows – Recipe by Ina Garten
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the gelatin and ½ C of cold water. Let sit while you make the syrup.
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ C water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin. Put the mixer on high and whip until the mixture is very thick – about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and mix.
- Dust an 8X12 nonmetal dish with powdered sugar. (I used a 9X9 for extra tall marshmallows) Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth out the top, and dust with more powdered sugar.
- Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.
- Turn the marshmallows out on to a board and cut into squares. Dust with more powdered sugar.