9.08.2009

Busty Baker: In the Wild

Smores CupcakesI’m not really a one-with-nature type of person. Don’t get me wrong—I like nature. From afar. I’m not all for being up close and personal with it. I’m not big on exercise, I hate swimming, I don’t like getting dirty, I can’t stand being hot, and insects and flying creatures give me the heebie-jeebies. Especially spiders. So when Boyfriend suggested we go camping together, I thought he must be joking. After 3 years, he doesn’t realize that camping and I don’t mix? The last “camping trip” I took was staying with The Girls in a permanently parked RV, complete with electricity, running water, bunkbeds, and a screened in front porch. I haven’t been real camping since I was 8. He was insane for even suggesting it. And I was even more insane for agreeing to go.

I let Boyfriend pick where we would go, since I know nothing about camping. He wanted a secluded place to set up a tent; I wanted a bathroom. That was my only request. Unlike Boyfriend, I do NOT pee in the woods. EVER. Luckily most of the state parks have bathroom facilities, so we settled on Burr Oak State Park in Southeastern Ohio, packed up our stuff, and headed out on a wilderness adventure.

Setting up our site was way too easy. Almost completely anticlimactic. I kept waiting for something bad to happen, but it never did. My family is notorious for its ability to bring on inclement weather at the mere mention of partaking in an outdoor activity. There’s never been a time we’ve tried to do anything outside—garden, put up a pool, a tent, move furniture in or out of the house, have a family reunion, just grill out for dinner—that it hasn’t started raining, snowing, or blowing gale force winds suddenly out of a clear blue sky. But the curse held off over the course of the weekend, and even though the forecasts called for it to be rainy and cold the entire time, we had miraculously perfect weather.

The best part of any camping trip, whether it’s in a tent or an RV, is building up a campfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. I was really looking forward to it! The first night, it was almost dusk by the time we came back from swimming in the lake (well... Boyfriend swam. I sat on the beach and read my book.) By the time we cooked dinner on our grill and got the campfire going, it was dark. Perfect time to sit around and eat some gooey s’mores and relax at the end of the day. However, nature had other plans. I was sitting at the picnic table just hanging out while Boyfriend got things organized in the tent when, by the firelight, I saw this raccoon ambling down the hill directly towards me. Of course, being the nature lover that I am, I freaked out, screamed, and jumped up almost on top of the table (like the raccoon can’t climb?). I probably scared it as much as it scared me and it ran off further down the hill behind me. But it wasn’t done trying to get the remnants our dinner. Four more times that thing came back because we foolishly had not put all our food items in the car immediately after we were done cooking and thrown our trash in the dumpster up the hill. After the fifth time of shooing it off, I was sufficiently freaked out, and ready to hide in the tent for the rest of the night. So much for making s’mores.



The next day was more of the same. We hung out doing pretty much nothing, driving around checking out the rest of the park, and swimming in the lake in the evening (again, him, not me). We were smart about our dinner the second night and started before dusk, and got rid of all the evidence before dark. But the first night had left me incredibly paranoid about woodland creatures, and I spent most of the night gripping my flashlight and shining it randomly into the woods every 5 minutes. We never saw a single raccoon the second night, but that did nothing to ease my fear. I made a few s’mores, but when Boyfriend went up the hill and left me alone, I lasted about 2 minutes before I freaked out and hid in the tent until he got back. Needless to say, I never got to really enjoy the s’mores I had been so excited to make. So when we got back home, I still had most of my s’mores supplies left over, and a craving that hadn’t been satisfied. Time to take matters into my own hands, and make something that would quell the craving, without the threat of nocturnal creatures. I’d make myself some s’mores cupcakes.

I’ve had the S’mores Cupcakes marked in my Martha Cupcakes book to try since I got it, but a couple weeks ago, Kiesha (52 Weeks of Baking) made some with a recipe she got from Cassie at How to Eat a Cupcake. Hmm. Which recipe to try? My 2 favorite blogs, or Martha? How about all of them! I used Cassie and Kiesha’s recipe for the cupcakes, and Martha’s recipe for the frosting! The cupcakes were really simple to put together. Just beware that the batter might look a little curdled from the graham cracker crumbs. But it was the frosting I was really worried about. I’m terrified of cooked sugar, but it actually came out really well! Although, next time I think I’ll add a little vanilla extract for some flavor, because right now, the marshmallow is kind of bland. I’m still unsure of the finished cupcakes though. I used my semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, which mostly sunk to the bottom, instead of milk chocolate like the recipe called for. I think I should have stuck with the recipe. The graham cracker crumbs give it an interesting texture, but I don’t really taste the sweet graham flavor once it’s baked. My first taste test, I wasn't thrilled at all. My second try later on, a lot better, but still not shout-it-from-the-rooftops fantastic. It didn’t really satisfy my craving like I hoped it would. But pipe some of that frosting onto some actual graham crackers with some chocolate? Mmm… Now THAT’S what I was missing. If only it was a little toasty and melted… I guess I’ll have to wait for another camping trip to get the true s’mores experience.

Are you one of those people who likes to look at other people's vacation photos? Really? Are you crazy? Well, then by all means, check them out!


P.S.- Taking pictures of those cupcakes outside on my back porch—it totally started to rain. The curse lives on.




Smores CupcakesS’mores Cupcakes
Check out the recipe at How to Eat a Cupcake!

Marshmallow Frosting
From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup, plus ¼ cup cold water
1 cup sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup of water. Allow gelatin to soften for 5 minutes.
2. Heat remaining ¼ cup water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring; clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (238F), brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Remove from heat; add syrup to softened gelatin. Whisk mixture by hand until cooled, about 1 minute, then use an electric mixer to whisk on medium-high speed until soft, glossy (but not dry) peaks have formed, 8 to 10 minutes. Use immediately (frosting will harden).
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6 comments:

oneordinaryday said...

So funny. You're a good sport. I never camped til we had kids, but my one requirement is always, always a clean bathroom. : )
I posted a s'mores cupcake today too!
~Michelle

Jennifer B said...

I suddenly want to go camping! That's a first. It must be the s'mores. :)

Ingrid said...

I've made s'mores cupcakes before but they weren't quite what I hoped for. I need to try again. You need to take a torch to that frosting so you get that roased flavor.

I'm a camp at the Hilton kinda girl myself. It's been a lot of years since I've been. I think it's cool though that you went along.

Btw, I've yet to have a REAL s'mores.
~ingrid

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Ingrid- I don't have one of those torches! I've always wanted one though! I'm totally putting one on my Christmas list, along with the crockpot I've wanted for years. Maybe Santa will bring me one! Cause toasting those 2 marshmallows for the picture.. Disastrous.

Anonymous said...

You can make the smores in the microwave...not toasty, but certainly melted and yummy! I love smores with Reeses Peanutbutter Cups or the Hersey Dark Chocolate!! Put a marshmellow on 1/2 of a graham cracker. Place in microwave for 10 seconds depending on how melted you want it or how your microwave is. Put pbcup on top along with other 1/2 of the graham cracker and voila!

Kellee said...

If you are looking to satisfy your s'mores craving, I suggest going to smittenkitchen.com and trying Deb's s'mores pie. It is amazing and surprisingly very easy to make. I made the homemade marshmallow topping which I was terrified of but it turned out fantastic and wasn't too hard to do.

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