It has been a rough week. While most turn to cocktails, my vice has been sugar….and lots of it. This week I have found myself eating more chocolate than a seven-year-old on Halloween night. When I think of my comfort food list, I think of mac n’ cheese, oatmeal cookies, pb&j, and s’mores! There is something about cooking marshmallows over an open fire while camping that distances your mind from the normal every day stresses. Just like a fresh warm s’more, cooking and baking is also something that I use as a mental vacation.
If you google s’more cupcakes you will find dozens upon dozens of recipes. I decided to add my twist and use my homemade caramel sauce in the normal chocolate cake mix. Although I know how to make chocolate cake from scratch, sometimes it isn’t always practical. There is no shame in cheating every once in a while, so sometimes I reach for the easy-to-use box mix. Below is a picture of my finished masterpiece.
Caramel Marshmallow Crunch
Start by making caramel sauce. In a pan, pour 2 cups brown sugar and 1/3 cup water and stir. Keep on medium heat until the sugar fully dissolves and the sauce thickens to your preferred consistency. Turn heat off and add 1/3 cup of luke warm whipping cream and 1 tablespoon of butter. Let sit. This sauce should thicken more once it has had time to cool down.
The challenge I find with creating caramel with brown sugar is that you are not able to see the sugar changing colors like you would normally experience when using white sugar. With pure cane sugar, heat will cause the sugar to brown and you can use the color to judge when to remove your pan from the burner. It is very easy to burn caramel by leaving it on the stove for too long, so you must keep a close eye on your sauce pan.
Next make your cupcake as instructed on the box. One secret I have found is to add a little more oil than it asks for in the instructions. This makes the cupcakes turn out extra moist! Swirl in a little of your homemade caramel in the cake mix to give your cupcakes an extra smack of flavor. Finally, fill your cupcake holders 2/3 high.
Cook your cupcakes until they are almost done but not quite, and then pull them out. Next, place a large marshmallow on top of each cupcake and place back in oven to continue cooking.
After about 2 minutes your marshmallow will get slightly cooked, expand, and soften. Take a knife and using the flat edge, smash the marshmallow so they cover the top of the cupcake. Cook for about one more minute to get a golden brown color.
Once the marshmallow is golden brown, take the cupcakes out of the oven and let them sit for 10 minutes. Using the remainder of your caramel sauce, drizzle a light stream on top of your cupcake. Finish by sprinkling crunched graham cracker.
While I am no Shakar Bakery, this caramel marshmallow crunch cupcake turned out more delicious than I expected. Using a marshmallow for frosting is such an easy/tasty substitute. I ended up making two dozen and plan on taking them to a Super Bowl party tomorrow.
My handsome taste tester seemed to like them as well.