S’mores Cupcakes

Ever since coming across the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe I have been creating as many variations as my waistline can afford for me to make. I am determined to try every variety I can imagine. The reason all my cupcake creations tend to have this chocolate base is 1- chocolate is superior, 2- I still haven’t found a vanilla cupcake recipe I love and 3- the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe is just so, perfect, that I can’t imagine anything tasting any better.

So with that said, now that summer is approaching there is one dessert lingering on everyone’s mind: s’mores. Lemon & Mocha has brought you s’mores fudge and now, s’mores cupcakes. These photos were taken quite some time ago before Matt and I had our groove down and I hope to update them in the future, but I couldn’t wait any longer to post this face-stuffingly-delicious recipe.

Gooey marshmallow fluff oozes out of these cupcakes that are topped with chocolate ganache and a super fancy, but simple, graham-coated chocolate-dipped marshmallow. I definitely snuck a few of these on their own instead of topping all the cupcakes. :)

S'mores Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh hot coffee
for the filling and toppings
  • 12 ounces Marshmallow Fluff
  • ½ cup heavy cream, optional
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 24 marshmallows
  • ⅓ cup graham crackers crumbs, divided
  • 1 cup chocolate ganache
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together until combined. Line 2 cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place a tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture into each wrapper and press to evenly cover the bottom of the wrapper. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Once the mixture is combined add the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Carefully stir in the hot coffee until well combined. The batter will be extremely liquidy.
  6. Pour the batter evenly between the 24 paper liners over the pressed graham cracker mixture. Bake on the middle rack of an oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with no batter on it.
  7. Completely cool cupcakes on a wire rack before filling and topping.
for the filling and toppings
  1. Line a baking sheet or firm cutting board narrow enough to fit in your fridge with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Using a cupcake corer, apple corer, or knife create a large cavity in the center of each cupcake. Reserve the top of the removed cupcake piece. Fill the cavity with 1-2 tablespoons of Marshmallow Fluff. If the Fluff is too thick to handle, whip it with some heavy cream, a couple tablespoons at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Place the top of the removed cupcake piece on top of the Fluff filling to seal the cupcake back up. Place the cupcakes in the fridge to chill.
  3. While the cupcakes are in the fridge melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Once melted remove from the heat and stir in the vegetable oil until smooth. Dip half of each marshmallow in the chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet or cutting board. Sprinkle the dipped marshmallows with graham cracker crumbs before the chocolate sets. Place in the fridge to harden.
  4. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge and carefully dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate ganache to coat it. Place a chocolate dipped marshmallow on each cupcakes before the ganache sets. Sprinkle with the remaining graham cracker crumbs, place it in the fridge for the ganache to harden.

Cake from Foodess.

Turkey and Manchego Panini with Sun-dried Tomato Mayo

Sometimes I find myself craving a sandwich. There’s something so satisfying about a fresh deli sandwich loaded with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and of course mayonnaise. Recently, to conquer my craving I decided to take it one step further and make a panini. While still a sandwich, a panini takes it to a whole new level with a crunchy exterior and gooey melted cheese. The panini is the queen diva of sandwiches and this one certainly stands up with the best of them.

There are many stars of this panini and one is the Manchego cheese. Manchego is a firm Spanish cheese that tastes similar to monterey jack with an added nutty flavor. It complements the roast turkey, salty crunchy bacon and the delicious sun-dried tomato mayo. I don’t have a fancy panini contraption and it was still a cinch to make. All you need is a grill pan and another heavy pan to press the sandwich. If you don’t have a grill pan a regular frying pan will do the trick as well. Now please excuse me while I make another one and continue conquering my craving, which is now for this panini.

 
Yield: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces deli turkey breast, about 2-3 slices
  • 1 thin slice Manchego cheese
  • 2 strips cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach leaves
Directions
  1. Heat a grill pan or skillet to medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil cooking spray, or heat 2 teaspoons olive oil.
  2. Make your sandwich by spreading 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato on each slice of bread. Add the turkey slices, Manchego cheese, bacon and spinach then close your sandwich. Place your sandwich on the grill pan or skillet and place a heavy pan on top of the sandwich to weigh it down.
  3. Cook the panini 3-4 minutes per side or until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted.

 

Sun-dried Tomato Mayonnaise

I’m unsure of what reactions I’m going to get about the following confession. I love mayonnaise. Love it with a capital L. I think it tastes fantastic on a wide variety of foods and, this is usually where people draw the line, I could eat it with a spoon. I’m hoping there’s at least a few fellow mayonnaise lovers out there!

Well don’t worry, even if you aren’t as condiment obsessed as I am this sun-dried tomato mayonnaise is still sure to knock your socks off. It is so simple, but really brings something special to your sandwiches, paninis or other mayonnaise needs. I’m picturing this mixed in with some rotini pasta and crunchy veggies for a tasty twist on macaroni salad- yum!

One way I consume mayonnaise if I’m feeling naughty is dipping my french fries in it. This sun-dried tomato mayo would be especially good for fry dipping with the acidity and tomato flavor being reminiscent of ketchup. This delicious habit I got from my mom, who got it from living in the Netherlands for a few years. The Dutch are truly on to something.

When I was 12 my dad, brother, grandma and I went to the Netherlands and it was true, they dipped their fries in mayo. These were my people! Then I opened the mayonnaise packet and to my surprise it was pea green. Pea green mayonnaise? Twelve year-old me was concerned, but mayo-lover me decided to go for it. The verdict? Pea green mayo tasted just as delightful. So if you haven’t tried dipping your fries in mayonnaise before, make this sun-dried tomato mayo, eat some with your french fries and thank me later.

Sun-dried Tomato Mayonnaise
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup minced sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Pepper
Directions
  1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in ⅔ cup hot water until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Place the softened sun-dried tomatoes, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until well blended. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Smoked Salmon Dip

This smoked salmon dip is the perfect conclusion to my Mother’s Day tribute posts. My stepmom is the one who told me about this Barefoot Contessa recipe, my grandma and I end up discussing our love for bagels with lox on a weekly basis and my mom is the one who first got me to try smoked salmon.

Although I was a picky eater as a child there were a few things I loved that most kids my age would not have gone near. Thanks to my mom I had an affinity for smoked salmon, crab cakes and grossing kids out at my lunch table with my liverwurst sandwiches.

My mom would sit down next to me with some odd food and say that she wasn’t going to tell what it was until I tried it. It wasn’t that my curiosity would get the better of me, although I’m sure that was part of it. I had complete trust and faith in my mom that if she thought I should try something then I would like it, and she was always right.

My first taste of smoked salmon came in the form of smoked salmon cream cheese and my mom’s favorite quickly became a favorite of mine. We lost my mom to breast cancer when I was eight years old. I think about her everyday and know she is here with me licking her lips looking at these smoked salmon dip pictures. My mom was an amazingly thoughtful, selfless and kindhearted woman who touched the lives of all her family and friends. She also had a great sense of humor, a fondness for lists and a love of food, so I know we would have been two peas in a pod.

So happy Mother’s Day to all my moms! I would not be who I am today without each and every one of you, and I love you all.

Smoked Salmon Dip
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • Pepper
Directions
  1. In stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Mix in the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, and mustard. Season with pepper.
  3. Mix in the smoked salmon and chill until serving. I kept the smoked salmon chunks larger because I wanted to really taste it, but you can chop it as small or large you would like. Serve on slices of crusty bread, crackers, or toasted egg bagels. Optional toppings include capers and chopped scallions.

Recipe slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

What I love about today’s post is that upon reading the title everyone in my family will immediately know who this recipe is celebrating. My grandma does not like many foods, but she certainly loves her vanilla ice cream. Of course she would not prefer how it’s pictured here; sprinkles and toppings are a huge no-no. But if she were in my apartment this quart of ice cream would be gone in two, three days tops. You may think I’m kidding, but I am not.

In continuing my Mother’s Day celebration I’m posting this vanilla ice cream to wish my grandma a happy Mother’s Day. My grandma lived with us for eight years so I was lucky enough to develop an extra special relationship with her. If your best friend is someone who you can share anything with, who supports you no matter what, who never judges you, who loves you with all their heart, and who can make you laugh so hard you spit milk out your nose, then my grandma was, and still is, my best friend.

Although we now swap stories over the phone rather than during weekly shopping trips since she is many miles away, I am so fortunate to have such a compassionate and strong person be such a large part of my life. So forget a “dear little bit” and treat yourself to a whole quart of vanilla ice cream this Mother’s Day!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
 
Yield: 1 quart
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the sugar, milk, 1 cup of the cream and salt. Once warm, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the scraped bean as well. Cover the saucepan, remove from the heat and steep for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Place the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl then set set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks then slowly pour the steeped milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan. Constantly stir the mixture over medium heat with a heatproof spatula making sure to scrape the bottom and not let any clumps form. Continue stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it through the mesh strainer into the large bowl with the heavy cream. Stir until combined then mix in the vanilla extract. Add the vanilla bean as well.
  5. Insert the bowl into an ice bath and continue stirring until cool.
  6. Chill the mixture in the fridge. Once cold, remove the vanilla bean then the custard into your ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s directions.

Recipe from The Perfect Scoop.