What's the best part about summer? I never find the answer to that question easily, nor do I ever find it consistent throughout the summer itself. During June, my birthday may selfishly win the title, but once July comes along, beach days + s'mores (*cough cough*) will likely steal the show. Well, it's now July, so is my answer "s'mores"?
Is it these cupcakes?
Alas, my answer is not these cupcakes. And no, I'm not crazy or stupid - they ARE unbelievably delicious and soft and chocolatey and everything a s'more morphed into a cupcake should be. However, my friends have stolen the crown of my favorite part of summer, rightfully so. We came home from the beach today sweaty and sunburnt and super tired, but I boldly proposed tonight's menu early on in the morning: homemade (vegan, of course) taco night followed by the best dang s'mores cupcakes they ever did see. SO, we showered and did what we needed to regain our energy before the fiesta-tivities began.
Real talk: I'm usually either a) the only one in the kitchen or b) the one in charge in said kitchen. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind either of those situations (I actually really like being in charge muahahaha) - but tonight, God must've empowered my friends to read my mind and my heart and know that, maybe just maybe, they could make my entire night and light up my heart with their presence, their opinion, their laughter, their ideas.
As I pulled the cupcakes out of the fridge, I couldn't miss the hearts in their eyes nor could I ignore the sound of their salivating when I grabbed the marshmallows and giant jar of chocolate peanut butter. I laid out my rough plan for the method of decoration for these little guys, and my friends jumped on board - tearing marshmallows, proposing improved ideas to "roast" them, frosting the cupcakes, and finally, arranging them for the photoshoot.
"Oooooh wait put that one in front - it has more frosting and the marshmallows are like PERFECT," she said, watching me flip through the previous photos on my camera with a less-than-satisfied face.
"You should do one of those close-ups of a cupcake that's been bitten into!" he suggested, quite possibly motivated by his hunger more so than my picture-quality.
With almost every recipe I create, I always find at least one little flaw, one little blemish I want to go back and perfect, no matter how many times I do go back. But there's none of that here. Not a single thing I would change about these cupcakes. The hands that prepared them were not only mine, but four others working with vibrance and excitement and hunger practically bleeding out of them (note: blood is not an actual ingredient, just a metaphor).
Thanks, friends, for everything - for the beach trip, for the jokes, for the laughter, for the homemade tacos and the juicy watermelon, for the cupcakes, and for being here :)
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. baking power
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup cashew milk + juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal + 5 tbsp. water (mix together and let thicken)
1 cup coconut sugar
Chocolate peanut butter (I used Nuttzo Chocolate Peanut Butter)
Vegan marshmallows (Trader Joe's brand is the best!), halved
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and fill a cupcake pan with baking liners. Set aside.
- Prepare the flax egg by whisking the flaxseed meal with 5 tbsp. water and set aside until thickened, about 5-7 minutes usually.
- In a medium-size bowl, stir the lemon juice into the cashew milk and set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. Once curdled, whisk in the sugar, flax egg, applesauce, and coconut oil.
- In a larger bowl, stir together the flours and other dry ingredients and then slowly pour in the wet, mixing simultaneously. If you have a stand mixer or hand mixer, now is the time to use it! Continue to mix until only a few small lumps remain.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.
- Once cooled, spread a thin layer (about 1 tbsp.) of chocolate peanut butter over the top of each cupcake. Using a lighter or a match, lightly brown or "roast" each marshmallow half, then place it torched side up on top of the cupcake. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.
- Serve immediately and store leftovers (yeah right) in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.