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Simple Pleasures

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Summertime is all about nostalgia. I love summer nights and crave the childhood treats that made summer so memorable. One of my favorite memories is of making S’Mores. We used to gather round the dying charcoal from a grill or campfire and toast (and burn) marshmallows and assemble the classic and messy delicious sandwiches.

My great grandmother’s graham cracker cake (featured in my cookbook JEWISH COOKING FOR ALL SEASONS-John Wiley and Sons) satisfies my craving for S’mores with a fun and modern twist. I make the cake into cupcakes and decorate them with rich and velvety dark chocolate ganache. Then for a fun twist, I garnish with mini marshmallows which I toast with a mini butane torch. The torch part is optional, but torches can be easily purchased from a hardware store. Hurry up JDaters® — childhood and summer are calling.

S’MORES CUPCAKES

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350

Line a muffin tin with cupcake cups

  1. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar, occasionally scraping down the bowl, until they are light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  2. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and scrape down the bowl, one more time.
  3. Stir together the crumbs, baking powder and salt.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in batches, beginning and ending with the dry mixture.
  5. In a clean dry bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until they are medium peaks. Fold the whites into the cake batter and divide the batter between the cupcake cups filling each one about ¾ up to the top.
  6. Bake the cupcakes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed (about 12 minutes). Cool on a cooling rack.

For the Ganache

2 cups heavy cream

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped, reserve the pod

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, scraped vanilla bean and the pod and salt to a simmer. Remove from heat; add the chopped bittersweet chocolate and let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

Spread or pipe the cooled ganache over the cupcakes. Garnish with mini marshmallows. Brulee the marshmallows with butane torch for toasted marshmallow effect (optional). 

Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here. For more articles by Laura, click here.
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