Back to baking! Yes! I flicked through one of my recipe books and came across these American-inspired cupcakes. If you hadn’t realised, I’m English, I live in the Kentish countryside and even though I’d heard of s’mores, I had no idea what they were. Helpfully, the book explained “A s’more is an American campfire treat: marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between crackers and roasted”, sounds pretty awesome to me!
The topping is just Italian meringue, where you heat the water and sugar before you add it to the egg whites so the eggs cook slightly from the heat – no need to worry about raw eggs. I have a feeling I mis-read the recipe and only used a teaspoon of baking powder instead of a tablespoon (!) so mine didnt rise that much and were a little dense, even so the combination of light and fluffy meringue and moist chocolate cake is just amazing!
Ingredients, Makes 12 – 16 30g dark chocolate, chilled 4 digestive biscuits 80g butter, softened 280g caster sugar 200g plain flour 40g cocoa powder 1 tbsp baking powder ¼tsp salt 2 large eggs 240ml milk For the topping 150g caster sugar 120ml water 4 egg whites 100g dar chocolate, broken into squares to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170°C, or 150°C for a fan oven. Line a muffin tin or two with muffin cases. Using a fine cheese grater, grate the chocolate and set it aside. Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in a bag with a rolling pin.
Using a hand held electric whisk. beat together the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt on a low speed until it resembles chocolatey bread crumbs.
Mix the eggs and milk in a jug then pour half of this into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed and slowly pour in the rest of the milk and egg, mixing until it is smooth and thick.
Fill each case two-thirds full with mixture, and then sprinkle the chocolate shavings and most of the digestive biscuits, saving some for decorating.
Bake in the oven for 18 – 20 mins until well risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool slightly, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
I’ve changed the recipe slightly from 4 eggs to 3, because I ended up with a huge amount of meringue! As long as you use 50g caster sugar to every 1 egg it will be fine!
Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, using a clean electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Let the sugar boil for 5 – 10 mins until it reaches soft boil stage (use a spoon to drop a small amount into a bowl of very cold water. It should form a soft ball that won’t retain its shape in your hand). The easiest way to be sure you’ve got it at the right temperature is to use a confectionery thermometer, once the temperature reaches 116°C or 240°F, take it straight off the heat.
Pour the syrup onto the beaten egg whites while mixing on a medium speed. Turn the speed up to high and whick until the meringue has increased in size, looks smooth white and glossy. It should be sticky and a consistent texture, if you leave it for a couple of minutes and then stir it again it should not have deflated and gone back to looking like half beaten egg whites, if it does it needs more whisking!
Smooth the meringue onto the cooled cupcakes and use the back of the spoon or a palette knife to create waves and flicks. Use a cook’s blowtorch to lightly brown the meringue, or pop the under a hot grill for a few seconds (you have to watch them carefully because the burn incredibly quickly!). Decorate the cupcakes with the rest of the biscuit crumbs and squares of chocolate