The number one tip I can give to those newly betrothed is to take some time and savor the decision itself. Deciding to get married or committed is a wonderful feeling. And before you let 6 months (or more) of your engagement become overshadowed by the stress of planning a wedding, it's really nice to just appreciate the thought of your union. Which is why Travis and I volunteered ASAP to host an engagement soiree for two of our good friends. And luckily these two lovebirds made party-planning a snap (more about that in the upcoming Don't Mind if "I Do" Lemon Cupcakes post).
S'mores are one of my all-time favorite desserts and I've been wanting to try a cupcake version for awhile (spoiler alert: I was wildly successful). So I decided to serve them as one of the desserts at the engagement party. When I think of s'mores, I can't help but recall being in fourth grade on a Junior Girl Scouts overnight camping trip. It was bonfire time and I was foaming at the mouth for some melty marshmallow satisfaction. I wolfed down s'more number one and was ready to continue . . . but like a knife in my heart, the troop leader told me that each girl was getting only one s'more. ONE S'MORE. That's like giving a kid four cheerios and saying bon appetit. "S'MORE," lady - they're meant to be served in multiples!!! She was clearly missing the very essence of the campfire staple.
If you don't have a mini-muffin pan, you can certainly try these with a regular-sized muffin pan. The reason I prefer minis is that you can get a better graham/chocolate/marshmallow ratio.
*Stay tuned for two more perfect engagement party recipes: Don't Mind if "I Do" Lemon Cupcakes and Mint-Lamb Sliders with Apricot Curry Aioli.
Makes 30+ mini cupcakes
8 graham crackers (the large rectangles, like from a Honeymaid box)
3 tbs. sugar
4 tbs. melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 box of devil's food cake mix
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 egg whites, room temperature1 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Recommended: mini-muffin tin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare crust by pulsing graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor or blender until crumbly. Mix with melted butter. Grease muffin cups with butter or cooking spray. Put 2 teaspoons of graham mix into each muffin cup (if using regular-sized muffin cups, use a heaping tablespoon). Press down using your fingers or a small flat item (shot glass works great). Bake crusts for 5 minutes.
Prepare boxed cake mix according to directions. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop 1 to 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup. Cups should be 2/3 to 3/4 full (stick to 2/3 if using regular muffin cups). If you are not using a non-stick pan, give the sides of the muffin cups another grease or spray; non-stick should be fine without. Or feel free to use paper liners; I just liked making the s'more theme visible.
Bake cupcakes for 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (add a few minutes for regular-sized cupcakes). Let cupcakes cool before frosting.
Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar over a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler: fill a medium pot with 1 inch of water and place on the stove; mix ingredients in a bowl that will rest on top of the pot; heat water to a simmer. Whisk the mixture over medium-high heat until the sugar and cream of tarter have completely dissolved - this should not take long, be careful not to cook the eggs (for those using a thermometer, shoot for 140-150 degrees).
Pour egg mixture into a new bowl or stand mixer. Mix at medium speed for 7 minutes or until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add in the vanilla and mix until just combined. Transfer frosting to a piping bag (optional: using a large star tip) or large ziplock bag and frost as desired. Or just spoon the frosting on in large dollops and use spoon to make swirls or peaks. Be sure to remove cupcakes from tin before frosting.
To toast the marshmallow, you can either use the broiler setting in your oven or a kitchen torch. To use the broiler, set oven on the low broil setting and place frosted cupcakes on a pan, on the highest oven rack. Remove after 1 minute. Ovens are all different, so I would check after 30 seconds to make sure there's no burning. If more time is needed, check every 10 seconds or so.
Prepare no fewer than 2 s'morecakes per person to avoid brawling and angry storm-outs.