The latest must have cookbook to hit stores today comes from Sprinkles Cupcakes, the picturesque bakery that has multiple posts all over the U.S. (and a dozen more on the way). For the first time ever, chef and founder Candace Nelson is sharing her arsenal of secret recipes with her fans in The Sprinkles Baking Book: 100 Secret Recipes from Candace's Kitchen ($17; amazon.com), and not only does she reveal how to make her best-selling classics (like red velvet), but there is also a chapter devoted to recipes contributed by her celebrity pals that frequently make an appearance in her stores, like Blake Lively, Reese Witherspoon, and Julia Roberts.
Luckily, we’ve got one of these celeb-imagined treats to share with you here: Lively’s S’more Cupcakes. If you know anything about Lively at all, you’re well aware that she’s a total foodie at heart and her passion for cooking runs as deep as her enthusiasm for eating. So when she partnered with Nelson to create this special cupcake flavor (the proceeds of which are donated to her charity, OXFAM), she made sure to step up her creative game to envision this crowd-pleasing dessert. With it’s graham cracker base and dark chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache, it’s richer (aka better) than what we enjoyed as kids, but the toasted marshmallow frosting will take you back to your youth in an instant. “The extra components require a bit more time, but if you’re planning ahead, the ganache and marshmallow frosting can be made a day in advance,” says Nelson. “The memories, though—those will last a lot longer.”
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Lively’s S’more Cupcakes
For the crust:
7 whole graham crackers (14 squares)
2 1/2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
For the cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
10 tsp (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
For the ganache:
Chocolate Ganache Frosting (see below)
Marshmallow Frosting (see below)
Make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a food processor, process the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the melted butter until coated. Scoop 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture into each cupcake liner and press down firmly with the back of the spoon to create an even layer. Bake until the crust slightly pulls away from the sides of the cupcake liners but is still a bit crumbly and soft when gently pressed, 7 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Keep the oven on.
Make the cupcakes:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition.
Divide the batter evenly among the crust-lined liners and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
Fill and top the cupcakes:
Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the center of the cupcake to create a hole about 11/2 inches wide and 1 inch deep (reserve the scoops for snacking!), making sure not to dig too deep into the cupcake so the filling does not leak out the bottom. Fill each cupcake with 11/2 tablespoons of the ganache, then allow the ganache to set for 10 to 15 minutes. Frost with marshmallow frosting and toast with a brûlée torch, if desired. Or, to use your broiler to brown the cupcake tops, preheat the broiler, then place the cupcakes on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until golden, about 1 minute, watching the entire time to ensure they don’t burn.
For the chocolate ganache:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Make the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then gently stir (don’t stir vigorously; this adds too much air to the ganache) until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.
For the marshmallow frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the marshmallow frosting:
In a small, light-colored, stainless-steel saucepan, gently stir together 1/3 cup water, the sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Begin to heat the mixture over medium heat without stirring.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer but leave the whipped egg whites in the bowl.
Once the sugar mixture shows the first signs of bubbles and begins to boil, boil for exactly 3 minutes; the mixture will become thicker, the sugar will dissolve, and small bubbles will form on the surface of the sugar. Do not stir! (If the mixture begins to turn a faint yellow color, you have boiled too long.)
With the mixer on medium speed, slowly stream the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful to avoid the whisk (the syrup can harden into candy strands). Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. During the last 15 seconds, beat in the vanilla until just incorporated. (If not using right away, store in a cool part of your kitchen counter in a glass or plastic container, with plastic wrap pressed directly over the frosting, and sealed with a tight lid.)
Excerpted from the book THE SPRINKLES BAKING BOOK by Candace Nelson. Copyright © 2016 by Candace Nelson. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.