Monday, 30 January 2012

Raspberry & Coconut Brown Butter Brownies...and some super cute Matryoshka measuring cups!

The lovely people over at Find Me A Gift sent me some baking goodies to test out.  I was beyond excited when these oh so cute Matryoshka M-Cups arrived on my doorstep! Have I lost you yet? yes, I learnt something new too.  I always just used to call these Russian dolls but their official name is Matryoshkas and Wikipedia defines them as 'Russian nesting dolls'. 

 I have always loved these little dolls ever since I was a child.  There was a girl who lived on my street who I used to have to play with from time to time, you know because my mom and her mom were friends so while they would catch up on the neighbourhood gossip we would have to play together.  She was a few years younger than me and for whatever reason I wasn't especially fond of I was never that keen on these play dates - but that all changed on the day her dad brought her home a super cool present from his Russian business trip.  You guessed it, it was an amazing hand painted set of Matryoshka dolls and I became mesmerised with them! From then on, I couldn't get to her house fast enough and I would spend hours lining up all the little dolls and then re stacking them again, so of course as soon as my measuring cups arrived I had to line them up and check them out! 

Obviously they're plastic and not hand crafter by Russian painters but I think they're pretty cool all the same! There are 3 of them but they make up 6 different measurements as both their heads and bottom halves can be used.  That was another thing that as a baker I loved, I got a 2/3 cup! Where have you been hiding all this time? My old set of baking cups used to consist of a quarter, a half and one cup measurements.  I lost count of the amount of times I used to ask my husband how I could make 2/3 of a cup using a half and a quarter, he was less than impressed with my poor mathematical skills so this time I got to bake away to my hearts delight and not pick my husbands 'Kumon maths' brain once! 

I think these would make an awesome gift for a baking loving friend, and since I'm particularly into 'themed' presents why not go the whole hog and buy them the matching measuring spoons and some cute Russian doll lipbalms too! 

But onto the brownies...because who doesn't love a brownie - but these aren't just any old brownies.  Oh no, these ones have been building in my mind for a while now.  I knew I wanted to make some brownies with fresh raspberries in because out all the best brownies I've ever had in my life have contained raspberries, and when I came across this amazing chocolate I knew the raspberry and chocolate variation beaten into the mix would take these brownies over the edge!

Of course I needed to add a frosting to combat the richness of these brownies and what better flavour to use than coconut.  Everyone knows coconut & raspberry are a perfect pairing - throw in some fudgy brownie and this turned into one dreamy dessert.  I even toasted up some shredded coconut to throw on top as well.

All in all these could go down as some of the best brownies ever to have graced my oven.

Raspberry & Coconut Brown Butter Brownies with Coconut Frosting:
Makes 18 small brownie squares (these are rich, you don't want big slabs!)

½ sticks unsalted butter
½ cups caster sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons water
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten (at room temperature)
100g dark chocolate with raspberries (70%)
2/3 cup plain flour
½ cups fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.  Grease a 12 x 8 pan and line it with parchment paper (you don't have to do this but I find it easier for cutting the brownies later). 

 Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until the butter begins to turn golden brown (about 5-10 minutes). Stir the butter occasionally, keeping a close eye on it, as it will go from fine to burnt quickly.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, water & salt. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Add the eggs, whisking constantly as you add them and beat until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Put the raspberries in a small bowl and add the flour, using your fingers make sure all the raspberries are covered in flour (this prevents them from sinking to the bottom). Stir in the flour/raspberry mix and beat for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack. When cooled, remove from the pan by lifting the parchment paper out.

Coconut Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup coconut milk

Beat butter until smooth and creamy.
Add sugar and coconut milk and beat until a spreadable consistency.
Spread the frosting over the brownie slab using a spatula or flat edged palette knife.
Toast some shredded coconut under the grill for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
Once the coconut has cooled down, sprinkle it over the frosting and cut the brownie into 18 squares.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Bite Size Twix Banana Bread

Do you have a favourite chocolate bar? I'm the youngest of 4 girls in my family.  When all my older sisters had already started school, my mom and I used to get up to all kinds of fun without them! One of our favourite things to do was day trip it in London, which was only a 20 minute train ride away.  We would go check out all the art galleries and museums - I'm pretty sure I was the only 3 and a half year old who knew my Monet from my Manet! (I'm not sure I could say the same these was I more cultured as a child than a 25 year old?!) but you know what one of my favourite parts of our day was? even before we got to London? It was our little train station ritual.  We would go to the little shop on the platform and my mom would buy me a Twix (because it was my favourite!).  Without fail, every time this is how it went down.  

Until one time when my mom had to go to South Africa because her dad was in hospital, and my aunt came to look after us.  She took me to London one day so I thought I'd bring her up to speed with the Twix tradition.  She was more than happy to oblige, and it was all going so well ...up until the point when she asked me if she could have half - I was pretty horrified.  This was not how it was meant to go! I told her that my mom never asked for half my Twix and I don't remember how the rest of the story goes after that point - whether I did indeed share my Twix or whether I kept it to myself!

One thing I do know is that I'm older and wiser, and hopefully less bratty now and I'm more than ready to share Twix' all round! so here I am sharing this amazing Twix Banana Bread recipe with you after I saw it over at Jocelyn's blog.  The little chopped up Twix bits add a crunchy and chewy surprise to the banana bread and the chocolate melts into it too.  If I could make this any better, I'd probably add some kind of caramel glaze next time.  Otherwise it's a quick and easy treat to whip up for when you have over ripe bananas, one quick run to the shop to get some chocolate and you're good to go! 

Next time around I would think about making a caramel glaze to drizzle on top, it was what I had planned to do when I set out to bake them but the amazing smell in my kitchen was overwhelming and we had to tuck into them while they were still warm, foregoing any glaze making!

Twix Banana Bread:
Makes one regular loaf and 6 mini loaves

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana (about 3)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cup chopped Twix bars

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Slowly add the flour to the mixture while the mixer is running. Do not over beat.

Fold in the bananas, sour cream and Twix bars by hand until incorporated. Pour into your loaf tins that have been sprayed with non stick spray or greased with butter. Bake at 180 degrees C for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Check with a sharp knife or toothpick to see if it is done...if not, bake another 5 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

P.S For those observant ones out there you may have noticed I said I made a big loaf and 6 mini loaves.  Unfortunately the big loaf was not pretty enough to photograph because of the rubbish loaf pan I had bought! I had spotted a silicone orange loaf container in pound land and since I love colour co-ordinating so much I thought it would be fun to use a big orange pan alongside my little mini orange pans but the silicone wasn't sturdy enough and produced a very wonky looking loaf.

Moral of this story: don't purchase your bakeware in pound land! Many of you probably wouldn't even think to do that anyway, but remember I am stuck in North Wales and baking shops are thin on the ground so sometimes you have to take what you can get! 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A Peanut Butter & Brownie 9 Layer Trifle!! and the end of exams!

I am writing this blog post and it feels so good not be doing it sneakily! I'm officially allowed to look at cupcakes and my google reader and blog as much as I like because I am done with exams! Hooray (yes my husband does have to monitor my every internet move because if he didn't I would spend all day looking at cupcakes rather than looking at experimental validity!)

As a consequence of said exams and essays, I am wayyy behind in blogging, how inconvenient of them to get in the way right?! So I bring you the dessert that I made for our Christmas Day feast! In my family growing up, probably like most other English families, we had Trifle on Christmas Day - which is great if you like custard and cream but I don't! My mom used to make me my own special little trifle in a bowl sans custard and cream! 

This year we spent Christmas Day at my mother-in-laws and I offered to make the dessert.  I still wanted to keep it somewhat traditional so stuck with trifle...but as my husbands family are all peanut butter lovers and mine are not I decided it was my chance to unleash this 9 layer beast on them, courtesy of Paula Deen!

Although it seems like it should take alot of preparation, it really didn't.  My husband helped me make it on Christmas Eve and between the two of us it had been whipped up and left to set in the fridge within an hour.  Easy peasy...and for the delicious results it was definitely worth it.  I had never tried Jell-o pudding mix before and was a little skeptical but once you whipped the peanut butter into it it became a creamy peanut butter flavoured dream! Combine that with moist fudgy brownie, bites of peanut butter cups covered in chocolate, a taste of peanut butter frosting and some sour cream and whipped cream to cut through the richness and you're talking about one mouth watering dessert!

This dish was a little pricey to make, I had been in London the day before to source the Jell-o vanilla pudding, peanut butter cups and peanut butter chips from Partridge's because you can't buy those ingredients at regular supermarkets here. So, unless you're happy to spend more on making a dessert than you would on a meal out, it might be best to save it for a special occasion! but if you live in America and those ingredients are freely available on your supermarket shelves then bake away!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Trifle
Makes 12-15 servings

1 (17.6-ounce) package brownie mix, prepared according to package directions, and cut into small squares
2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups whole milk
1 2⁄3 cups creamy peanut butter, divided
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar, divided
4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
1⁄2 cup caster sugar
2 cups double cream
15 chocolate peanut butter cups, cut into fourths
Garnish: chocolate peanut butter cup bells and peanut butter chips (melted)

For pudding layer:

In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix and milk, whisking until combined. Whisk in 2⁄3 cup peanut butter; set aside.
For peanut butter layer:
In a large bowl, combine remaining 1 cup peanut butter and butter. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 1 1⁄2 cups icing sugar and 2 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla, beating until well blended; set aside.

For sour cream layer:

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, 1⁄2 cup caster sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until well combined; set aside.

For whipped cream layer:

In a large bowl, combine cream, remaining 1⁄2 cup icing sugar, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside.

To assemble trifle:

In a trifle dish, place 1⁄3 of brownies in bottom of dish. Spread 1⁄2 of pudding mixture over brownies. Top with 1⁄3 of brownies. Spread peanut butter layer over brownies. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups. Spread sour cream layer over peanut butter cups. Top with remaining 1⁄3 of brownies. Spread remaining 1⁄2 of pudding mixture over brownies. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with peanut butter cups, if desired and drizzle with melted peanut butter chips.

As there were only 4 of us sharing this dessert on Christmas day we had tons left over! It is super rich so small portions are the key! So on boxing day I took the rest of it up to my family, remember the family who don't like peanut butter, and let's just say this dessert changed their mind! Now both sides of my family are peanut butter lovers! 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mint Filled Brownie Cupcakes for Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club

My Cupcakes by Martha Stewart is one of the very first Cupcake books I got waaay back in 2009 when I was just 'getting into' cupcakes (you can tell from the pure delight on my face in the picture below that I was pretty excited to receive it!) Recently I came across an awesome blog full of cupcake loving bakers who are baking their way through that very book - and it's called Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club - don't you just want to be a part of something that sounds so cool?! I know I did! 

This month was the first recipe I've joined in with and how fitting that it is the recipe on the very page that has fallen out of my Martha book because I have used it that much. This brownie cupcake recipe is my go to recipe and I'd say I've baked with it at least 100 times over the past few years and that is not an exaggeration! Remember when I made a zillion mini's for a tea party, and my popping candy rainbow cupcakes for Iron Cupcake, and my patriotic USA stars and stripes cupcakes for a Miss Usa Murder Mystery party, and my double stuff Oreo cupcakes, and my mini festive cupcakes for my church Christmas party, and my red and white heart themed cupcakes for my friend's wedding, and my new baby cupcakes for Baby Elijah and even the peanut butter bauble cupcakes - you guessed it, they were all made using this very recipe! because who doesn't love a fudgy moist cupcake!

However, you may have noticed the title of the recipe is mint filled, and in all the times I've baked them I've neglected to make mine mint filled.  Why you ask? because in England we don't get peppermint patties! but for this recipe I wanted to do it right...I was even going to buy some online from one of the American grocery websites at triple the price! but time ran away from me, so then I thought I'll make my own homemade peppermint patties as I found a great recipe but in the space of 5 days I've had 3 exams and a 3000 word essay to write so time wasn't on my side! so in the end I just bought some Tesco own brand peppermint fondants and hoped for the best!

Unfortunately the moral of this story is if you want something done right, do it the American way! When I got my cupcakes out the oven and cut into them, the peppermint fondant had full on disappeared! it had melted away completely and just left a chocolate-y goo behind! Not quite what Martha or I was going for!  so if you live in the States and have access to peppermint patties I'd definitely advise going that route!

P.S I adapted mine slightly by adding peppermint frosting because as much as I value Martha's opinion, in my book a cupcake isn't a cupcake unless it is accompanied by frosting!

Mint Filled Brownie Cupcakes:
Makes 12
From Cupcakes by Martha Stewart

225g milk chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
12 peppermint patties

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir occasionally until just melted, about 4-5 mins.
Remove bowl from heat.  Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth, whisk in eggs to combine.  Gently whisk in flour and cocoa just until smooth (do not overmix).
Spoon 1 heaped tablespoon of batter into each cupcake case, place 1 peppermint patty on top, gently pressing into the batter.  Top with remaining batter until 3/4 full, covering the patty completely.
Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted halfway in centres (above the mint patty), comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 25-30 minutes.

Peppermint Frosting:
Makes enough to frost the above

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp good quality peppermint extract
500g icing sugar
Few drops of green food colour

In a free standing mixer, beat the butter, milk, peppermint extract and half the icing sugar until smooth - this can take up to 5 mins.  
Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.  
Taste the icing at this stage to see if you want to add more peppermint extract (if you are using standard mint extract that you get in a supermarket you may need to add slightly more than half a tsp).
Add a few drops of green food colouring and beat thoroughly.  Check the colour, add more as needed.

I'm looking forward to next month when we get to bake my choice: the raspberry marble cheesecake cupcake! If you don't already own this book then what are you waiting for - it is an absolute must for any cupcake enthusiast! and if you do buy one you can start baking along with us too! 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Magic Bars from the Loveless Cafe, Tennessee

If I ever find myself in Nashville, Tennessee...I know exactly where I'm headed - The Loveless Cafe.

My sister got their amazing recipe book for Christmas and we spent many days paging through recipe after recipe of true Southern dessert deliciousness! It was just too hard to pick one recipe!

In the end we settled on these magic bars, and baked them together - isn't baking so much more fun with two! 

These bars have been around forever, you may have seen them called 7 layer bars or Hello Dolly's but most commonly they are referred to as magic bars, and The Loveless Cafe call them by this name because they say they disappear off the plates so quick that they must be magic! and in our house when we made them the same thing happened! 

We all know about my love of coconut, so in true obsessive style I had to make them over the top with coconut which included using romany creams for the biscuit base.  They are a South African biscuit that is coconut flavour (I had received some in my stocking from Santa and decided they would provide added yumminess to our bars) and then instead of using just regular white chocolate chips I chopped up my last slab of Lindt white chocolate with coconut, and with the toasted shredded coconut it took the dessert to new heights of coconut deliciousness!

You can choose to go coconut crazy too, or you can just follow the standard recipe below - either way they will be a mouth watering treat enjoyed by all.  

Magic Bars:
Makes Sixteen 2 inch bars

2 cups cookie crumbs (I used coconut romany creams)
1 stick (4oz) plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I used Lindt white chocolate with coconut)
14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.
 Grease an 8" square baking dish.
In a bowl toss the cookie crumbs and butter together.  Press the mix evenly over the bottom of the baking dish
Place the walnuts, coconut & chocolate chips in a bowl and toss to combine.  Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and mix to combine.  Scrape the mixture over the crumb crust.  Press into an even layer.
Bake for 20 mins or until edges are slightly browned.  Remove and let cool on a rack.  When completely set cut into 2" squares with a sharp knife.

Baking tips: to intensify flavour toast the coconut and walnuts for 7-10 mins until lightly browned and leave to cool before proceeding with recipe.
Also be careful not to let bars darken excessively or they will be dry rather than gooey as they should be...and trust me, you want them gooey!

P.S You may have noticed me experimenting with some Christmas Tree Bokeh in the top picture! I was excited to try it after learning how from Kevin and Amanda - you can learn this cool photography trick by following their easy tutorial as well!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Chocolate & Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting & Love Baking Magazine

Last month I was contacted by a new baking magazine to see if I wanted to submit one of my cupcakes to be part of their bloggers gallery.

I was all ready to think up my most inventive and original Christmas cupcake when I was told that the issue I would be published in was actually going to be a Valentine's issue!! So right in the middle of all my Christmas baking, I whipped up these special Valentine's cupcakes! 

If you're visiting my blog for the first time or if you found me through the magazine then welcome! and if you liked the look of my chocolate and coconut cupcakes then you will find the recipe below! 

This is the first time I have baked from my Magnolia recipe book and I wasn't sure what to expect but I am pleased to tell you that these cupcakes were some of the fluffiest and most delicious I have baked in a while! 

Chocolate & Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting:
Makes 14
Adapted from More from Magnolia

For the cupcakes:

185g plain flour
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
90g unsalted butter, softened
125g light brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
125g plain chocolate, at least 60% cocoa solids
235ml coconut milk
¾ tsp vanilla extract
20g desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Line the baking pan with cupcakes cases.

Separate the eggs when cold and then allow them to come to room temp before proceeding with the recipe.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in 30 minute bursts in the microwave.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.  Set aside.
In a freestanding mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks for 2 minutes until thick.  Add them to the mix and beat well.  Add the chocolate, mixing until incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk and vanilla.  Scrape down with a spatula in between additions making sure everything is well blended.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.  Gently fold them into the batter using a wooden spoon.  Stir in the desiccated coconut.
Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cool in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

For the frosting:

375g icing sugar
120g unsalted butter, softened
40ml coconut milk

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding mixer on medium speed until the mixture comes together.
Add coconut milk and beat until it has been incorporated.
Turn up to high speed and beat for 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy

To decorate:

Melted plain chocolate
Shredded coconut
Large red heart sprinkles

Melt chocolate in microwave or in a double boiler.  Leave to cool. Drizzle over the top of the frosting and sprinkle with shredded coconut.  Finish with a large heart sprinkle.

I was very excited to get my copy of the Love Baking Cupcakes & Sweet Treats magazine:

It is sold in WHSmith, Hobbycraft and most supermarkets and is in shops now.  If you turn to page 8 you can see a picture of my cupcakes, along with lots of other yummy looking cupcakes from The Baking Addict, I heart cupcakes, Apple and Spice, American Cupcake in London, The Nom Bakery, American Chop Suey and The Caked Crusader:

and not only that but with each issue of the magazine you always get tons of good freebies.  With this issue I got a free cupcake box, an individual heart cookie box, heart cupcake wrappers, and heart cookie cutters - all will come in handy when my official Valentine's baking begins! 

Not only that, but the magazine comes packed with tons of yummy recipes.  There are so many I want to try, and my favourite part of all is the awesome tab stickers you get! So as soon as I saw this coconut brownie recipe (being the coconut lover I am) I knew I wanted to bake it, and so I could peel off this little tab sticker and bookmark it for later! How cool!

They also do a good feature with each issue where they showcase some of the UK's best cupcakeries.  I was interested to see in this issue that I had reviewed 3 of the same cupcakeries they had here on my blog.  You can read about Dixie's Cupcakery in St.Albans, Sweet Tooth Cupcakery in Manchester and one of my all time favourites - Queenie's in Shropshire.

So what are you waiting for - if you're an avid baker or cupcake crazy like myself then pick up a copy, you won't be disappointed! 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Years Eve S'mores Cupcakes

If you have never heard of s'mores before then allow me to educate you.  They originate from America so I am aware there will be many of my English followers who are not familiar with them.  They are a campfire dessert consisting of a graham cracker sandwich filled with toasted marshmallow and melted chocolate and they first appeared in a girl scout handbook published way back in 1927.  

You may recall that I am a huge s'mores fan! In the past I've made s'mores brownies, s'mores cookie bars, s'mores pies and even s'mores milkshakes so you knew it was only a matter of time before I was going to turn them into a cupcake! 

My whole prezzie from my sister was baking/cupcake themed. I also got cupcake pj's, an amazing toasted marshmallow philosophy set (how s'mores is that!) and some amazing KitchenAid earrings - they are the cutest things ever! 

Luckily for me, I was spoilt with plenty of baking books and cupcake treats this Christmas.  One present I received was Making Cupcakes with Lola.  Not only is it an awesome cupcake book filled with tons of mouth watering recipes, but my sister who gave it to me had gone to their book signing in London before Christmas and even got the authors to hand write me a message in the front - how cool is that! They said they hoped it would provide me with some good inspiration for my blog, and how right they were! 

I decided to make these for our New Years Eve party because last New Year's Eve we were toasting real s'mores by a bonfire on the beach in Turks and Caicos! and so I thought it would be a fun way to incorporate s'mores this year without the beautiful beach and bonfire! 

My whole family decided it was a great idea too! and they were a party hit! With a graham cracker base, crushed up graham crackers in the brown sugar cupcake, marshmallow frosting and melted choc drizzled on top how could they not be?

S'mores Cupcakes:
Makes 12

120g crushed graham crackers (digestive biscuits if you can't get any grahams)
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
180g unsalted butter, cubed and soft
150g packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
150ml semi-skimmed milk

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Mix three quarters of the crushed graham crackers with the melted butter.  Place 1 teaspoon of this into each cupcake case - enough to cover the base of the case.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Add the remaining cracker crumbs and mix well.
Put the cubed butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.  Stop occasionally to scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula, or your KitchenAid beater.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pour in one third of the dry ingredients and beat on low speed, add half of the milk and beat well.  Repeat this process, then finish with the last third of the dry ingredients.
Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases.  
Bake for 25-30 minute or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in cupcake pan for 5 minutes before cooling them on a wire rack.

Marshmallow Frosting:
Makes enough to frost the above

180g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
100ml water
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the sugar, cream of tartar and 100ml of water in a saucepan and mix well with a wire whisk.
Heat until the sugar has dissolved and a sugar thermometer in the mixture reads 115 degrees C.
Meanwhile, in a separate grease free heatproof bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Pour a thin, slow stream of the sugar syrup into the egg whites whisking constantly, until the frosting stands in peaks.  Make sure the syrup goes straight into the egg whites and doesn't hit the beaters otherwise sugar crystals will form (when I first read this instruction I thought it seemed impossible, but I just poured the stream of sugar down the inside of the KitchenAid bowl and that way it didn't touch the beaters even when they continued to whisk!) Stir in the vanilla with a spoon.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes in a covered bowl, or until firm enough to pipe.

To assemble:

3 or 4 crushed graham crackers
12 squares of milk chocolate
Additional milk chocolate for melting (about 15 squares)

Crush the graham crackers in a bowl (I did this using a rolling pin).  Then, transfer them onto a small plate.
Melt about 15 square of chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 30 second spurts, stirring in between.
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe a swirl of frosting on each cupcake.
Roll the edge of each cupcake in the plate of crumbs.
Put the cooled melted chocolate in a piping bag and cut off a very thin opening.
Drizzle each cupcake with the melted chocolate.
Finish, by topping each cupcake with an individual square of chocolate

The final step is to serve them up to the lucky people you baked them for and watch them enjoy how delicious they are! Happy baking! 


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