Chef Grayden’s S’muffins

smuffin

S’mores are so delicious. Muffins are really delicious too. How do you make those two things even better? You turn them into a S’muffin of course! It’s the perfect marriage of ingredients and flavor! You end up with the moist, yummy texture of a muffin but with the sweet, gooey, graham flavor of a S’mores.

When my sweet little sous chef wanted to bake on a gloomy, rainy day I was all in but first we had to figure out something easy and yummy to bake. He wanted muffins but also wanted S’mores so he asked if we could mix them all together and make, what he smartly named, a S’muffin. It sounded like a great plan to me so we hopped online to do a little research and we came across this great recipe from the Taste of Home® website. We substituted vanilla low-fat yogurt for the sour cream, added a little splash of pure vanilla extract to the mix and very loosely measured the marshmallow creme. A little extra fluff never hurt anyone! If you have it on hand, feel free to use vanilla sugar instead of the granulated sugar that is called for in the recipe. It adds a nice little extra kick of vanilla flavor. Lastly, we used the leftover graham cracker crumbs that we had to top the muffins off. It added a nice texture to the top of the S’muffins and made them look extra cute.

Gray baking smuffins

The recipe as written only makes about 6-7 muffins so I recommend at least doubling the recipe. You can even triple or quadruple it and then freeze the extra muffins so you have delicious homemade muffins on hand whenever a craving hits. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp granulated or vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 6-7 tablespoons marshmallow creme

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg then add in the sour cream and milk and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Gently beat the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Line six muffin cups with cupcake liners. Fill the cups up about halfway with batter then spoon roughly 1 tbs of marshmallow creme into each muffin cup. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle the tops with leftover graham cracker crumbs.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

*Tip – To make your own graham cracker crumbs simply place a few sheets of graham crackers into a food processor or blender and pulse until coarse and crumbly.*

 

 

“How-To” Baking – Working With Food Dyes

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Food dye is a great way to bring a little color into your baking. Used in the right amounts it can add visual interest and a bright “pop” into otherwise bland colored foods. Food dyes come in a few different forms: natural coloring, powdered coloring, gel or paste coloring, liquid coloring or liquid gel coloring.

  • Natural Coloring – These colorants are usually plant based therefore, they are a healthier option as they contain no artificial ingredients. The color comes from foods such as blueberries, beets, pomegranate juice, etc. Take note, natural colorants do not produce rich, vibrant colors. They generally have a more dull, light appearance which falls short in baked goods.
  • Powdered Coloring – Typically this colorant is found online or in specialty cooking stores. The number of colors available can be somewhat limiting so a good amount of color mixing is required. Take note, using too much powdered coloring to tint baked goods can result it them having a drier consistency. Use powdered colorants sparingly.
  • Gel or Paste Coloring – These colorants have a thicker consistency thanks to the use of corn syrup or glycerine in the ingredients. They are readily available in stores and because they are so concentrated, they produce very vibrant colors. They are a great option for cookie dough, icings and cake batters.
  • Liquid Coloring – These colorants are readily available in all supermarkets and generally come in tiny bottles. Because they are so watery they can thin out batters and icings so they are generally NOT recommended for use in baking. These are best used for coloring eggs.
  • Liquid Gel Coloring – These colorants are a cross between liquid food dyes and gel/paste food dyes. The consistency isn’t quite as thick as in a gel paste but it’s better than the liquid dyes. These are usually found in a squeeze tube or flip-cap bottles and are a great option to use in baking.

When working with food dyes, it’s important to start small when adding the color. Building the color up over time allows for more control, it’s much easier to darken a color than to take color away and lighten it. When tinting batters, icings, fondant etc. it’s important to note that the color will develop and deepen over time. Refrain from adding more and more dye to achieve the desired color. Instead, allow the batter, icing, fondant etc. to sit for 15-20 minutes so that the color has time to deepen on its own. If necessary, adjust the coloring after that waiting period.

When mixing colors, try to do it in natural light which will provide a more accurate view of the colors. Artificial lighting can give an “off” appearance to the colors so if possible, set up your workspace near a window. Lastly, to achieve the best results when tinting it is essential to use the right ingredients/materials. For example, French Buttercream isn’t ideal for coloring as it is yellowish in color. That yellowish hue will mar the vibrancy of the colors that are mixed with it. However, a great choice for tinting is batters and icings that are pure white such as Swiss or Italian Buttercream .

QUICK COLOR MIXES

Purple – Mix equal amounts of red and blue together

Pink – Add a small amount of red

Orange – Mix red and yellow together

Green – Mix equal amounts of blue and yellow together

Brown – Mix equal amounts red, blue and yellow together

 

Kitchen Must Have – Penzeys Spices

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I will preface this by saying I do not in any way work for nor do I get any kickbacks from Penzeys however, I feel that I have an obligation to share when I find something amazing and Penzeys is truly amazing!!! Their spices and seasonings are without a doubt the best I’ve ever had. Everything tastes so fresh and bright as if it was bottled five minutes before they sent it to you. I’ve literally fallen head over heels in love with this company’s products!!

They are also super affordable, their prices are so much better than what you will find for stale, old spices in the supermarket and they run amazing deals on a consistent basis as well. Every order over $30 is free shipping and sometimes they will lower that amount down to only $20! Also, they always include one (or two) of their spices as a free gift when you spend over $50. Plus, if you sign up for their emails, they will also send you a slew of promo codes for free spices and some they will even send to you without having to buy a thing! No obligation. TOTALLY FREE SPICES!! You cannot beat that deal!

They carry every spice and seasoning you possibly can think of and then some! They have baking spices, chili spices, salad seasonings, different types of peppers, vanilla beans, salt free options, and more! All are available in different sizes and at different price points, many coming in at under $3 for the smallest jar. Some of my favorites are:

  • Shallot Pepper – This is OUT OF THIS WORLD! The smell alone will make your mouth water. It contains coarse salt, Tellicherry black pepper, shallots, tarragon, and bay leaves and it can be used on everything from meats to veggies. It’s one of a kind, I am crazy about it!
  • Penzeys Pepper – This is a nice, bold pepper but it’s finely ground so it blends in nicely on your food and in recipes.
  • Sunny Paris – This is a delicious blend of purple shallots, chives, green peppercorn, basil, tarragon, chervil, bay leaf and dill weed. It’s great on chicken, fish, or veggies and you can even combine it in yogurt for a yummy dip.
  • Penzeys Cinnamon – Literally the BEST, most fragrant cinnamon I’ve ever had. A little goes a long way with this one.
  • Lemon Peel – The second you open the jar it smells like fresh lemons are bursting out. This is absolutely wonderful for the times you need a little lemon zest but are out of fresh lemons.
  • Cinnamon Sugar – This has the most perfect blend and balance. It makes for the best cinnamon toast too!
  • Air Dried Shallots – These smell amazing and work great in any recipe that calls for fresh, diced shallots.
  • Apple, Pie, Pumpkin, and Baking Spices – It will smell like fall in your kitchen. Each one of these are amazing and they add incredible flavor to any baked goods.
  • Tuscan Sunset – This is a really fragrant and delicious salt free seasoning that pairs well with most everything.
  • Natural Cocoa Powder – This is a really rich grade of cocoa and it will make your baked goods taste extra awesome.

These are just a few of the amazing products they off but the list of my favorites could go on forever. They really are incredible and because they are so inexpensive, you won’t feel bad trying out a few. Check out their website (Penzeys Spices) and take a look around at all of the wonderful things they offer. They even have a really nice cooking page where a ton of recipes are available. Give them a try and then comment below and let me know what you think. You can thank me later!! lol I have no doubt that Penzeys will become your “go-to” place for spices. Enjoy!