Pumpkin S’mores Cupcakes.

Oooooh today. Hello three oh. Nice to meet you.

For as long as I can remember, I have ALWAYS wanted to be older. I wanted to be a grown up, if not only because it seemed super fun. You know, doing whatever you wanted and all, whenever you wanted. Doing things that people in movies do. People in books do. Nothing that people I know do, but still. Doing those things. As a kid, I was much more interested in hanging out with my parents and other adults. In high school, I wanted to be in college and in college, I wanted to be in my 20s or 30s, happily settled doing, well… anything else other than being stuck in school.

I don’t sound like too much fun now, do I? I’m really not. Maybe this year I will lighten up. Blame it on my first born child syndrome. But whatever! Right now, I’m exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. I’m not anywhere near what I thought I wanted, or where I thought I would be, but it turns out that right where I am… is perfect.

Even though I lambasted myself last year over the fact that OMGI’vebeenalivefor30years, that feeling didn’t stick around too long. Attribute it to a busy year or simply becoming too annoyed with myself to think about it any longer, I didn’t really consider my age too much these last 364 days except for when I found myself doing things like blasting Rod Stewart while working out or hopping in bed at 7:30 or writing old lady blog posts.

I spent most of my early 20s falling in and out of love Taylor Swift style (yeah yeah, I know… but I’m not gonna pretend to be somebody I’m not), with not only people but with things, careers, hobbies and preferences. I spent my mid 20s trying to decipher exactly which of those things I really loved Taylor Swift style (does she even know yet?) and seriously struggling to “find myself”…aka being born in the 80s and feeling entitled to having theeee perfect life and oh my god what does it all meeeeean. My late 20s consisted of figuring out just how the heck people stay married for real (um this is nothing like my favorite chick lit novels) and wondering how on Earth it will ever be possible to have a child (and actually… birth it) in my selfish world and still be able to lay on the couch for six hours at a time while simultaneously watching absolute trash on TV, talking on speakerphone, painting my nails and playing fruit ninja. Serious first world problems, I’m aware.

If you told me that at age 30 I’d be writing many fragmented and run-on sentences about the food I love to eat on the internet, sharing my life everyday with some invisible internet friends and taking pictures of things I’m about to put in my mouth… I would have clichély laughed in your face. In fact, I still am sort of laughing.

If you told me that at age 30, the age where my dad had two kids, the age where my mom was yet to be married, the age that a fabulous 80s drama was made after and the age that is prime time to be George Clooney girlfriend material… that I would be writing and doing what I wanted to do when I was eight years old, I’d clichély laugh in your face again.

Of course, I’ve learned many important things by this age, including but not limited to the fact that you should never drink a large open cup of liquid while sitting over your brand new computer, that you should always, always be yourself and own it, that way when people talk smack on you (which they always will), it doesn’t really matter because you’re being YOU, how to successfully poach an egg and feel awkward and alone in thinking that it’s really *not* that hard (sorry), the grass is always greener (though it’s truly green where you water it, thanks Justin Bieber) and that making your bed every morning really does make you feel better, as does NOT eating all of the foods or drinking all of the vodkas… all the time every time.

I think those make for an acceptable, fabulous life… right?

Oh and if you were looking for the longer token list of things I’ve learned by 30, I will leave you with perhaps the most important: if you find yourself baking s’mores cupcakes and you do not own a culinary blow torch because you a. are too poor to buy one 2. too lazy to buy one or c. would rather spend that money on shoes (duh), one of those long Bic candle lighter thingies works wonders. Tricks of the trade, my friends.


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Pumpkin S'mores Cupcakes

Yield: makes 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 16-18 minutes

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

graham crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

cupcakes
1 1/3 cups loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup milk

fudge ganache filling
4 ounces chopped milk chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream

marshmallow frosting
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with lines.

Combine the melted butter and graham crumbs together, mixing well until combined. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon into each cupcake liner, pressing with the back of a spoon to form a crust.

To make the cupcakes, whisk egg and sugar together in a large bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla extract and butter, then whisk in pumpkin puree. Add in flour, baking soda, powder, salt and pumpkin spice, then add in milk and stir until combined and smooth. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter on top of each graham cracker crust, filling the liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until cupcakes are set and spring back at the touch. Let cool completely.

While cupcakes are baking, heat the heavy cream until warm. Pour over the chopped milk chocolate in a large bowl, then use a spoon or whisk to stir until melted and combined. Let sit until cupcakes are cool, then fill a pastry bag with the chocolate and insert the top straight down into the cupcake, squeezing the ganache inside. You can also use a ziplock bag as your pastry bag or a small spoon - cutting off a small hole in the top of the cupcake and spoon the mixture down in.

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl, preferably the bowl of your electric stand mixer. Place over top of a double-boiler that contains simmering water, and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are slightly warm. Immediately remove the bowl and place it on your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beating slow at first and gradually increasing the speed to high. Beat for 6-7 minutes until glossy and thick, then beat in vanilla extract for another minute until combined. Frost cupcakes! You can torch the frosting if you'd like, as well as cover the top in additional graham crumbs. I stored these at room temp in a large tupperware container with the layer of plastic wrap over top.

Note: this frosting recipe makes a TON - at least double for these cupcakes. It stores great in the fridge for a few days but you may want to double the cake recipe or halve the frosting recipe if you just want 12 cakes.

[cupcakes from my sweet potato pie cupcakes, frosting from martha stewart]

K. Done talking about being 30. Oh except that I hope this year is EXACTLY like these cupcakes. Injected with fudge ganache and topped with something fluffy and light.