These ultimate s’mores brownie cupcakes are a dangerously delicious twist on everyone’s favorite summertime classic. Complete with a crunchy graham cracker crust, rich fudge brownie center, and a super fluffy brown sugar frosting, this is one dessert you’ll be making all summer long.
The unofficial start of summer is already in the review mirror and I couldn’t be more excited to kick things off with a seriously delicious twist on the classic summertime favorite. Introducing the ultimate s’mores brownie cupcakes. Oh yes I did! Skip the campfire friends and bring the outdoors in with this fun spin on traditional s’mores. These triple layer brownie cupcakes are packed full of all the s’mores flavors you know and love – and then some. They’re crunchy, fluffy, gooey, sticky chocolatey stacks of goodness and trust me when I say that s’mores never tasted so good.
Summer and s’mores go together like Christmas and cookies, Easter and eggs. Roasting marshmallows by the fire brings on all the nostalgia just like pie on the Fourth of July. I’m always on the hunt for new ways to level up traditional favorites and these ultimate s’mores brownie cupcakes are some seriously gourmet s’mores that no one pass up. These bad boys are chock full of crunchy graham cracker crust, fudgy brownie and a super fluffy brown sugar meringue frosting. So basically they are the best thing ever. But really tho.
WHAT MAKES THESE S’MORES BROWNIE CUPCAKES SO GOOD?
There honestly aren’t enough adjectives in the English dictionary to describe just how delicious these s’mores brownie cupcakes are. I don’t call them ultimate for nothing. There is a trifecta of mouthwatering layers happening here and each one shines through all on its own. When combined together they take your standard s’mores stack to a whole new level. No campfire needed. From the buttery, extra thick graham cracker crust and the rich, fudgy brownie cupcake center, this is the perfect summertime splurge. And don’t even get me started on that mile high brown sugar meringue frosting. It’s sooooo fluffy and brings another element of flavor to these ultimate s’mores brownie cupcakes that makes them over-the-top delicious. This three part recipe might seem a little fussy at first but it all comes together easily if you take it step by step. So let’s get right to it, shall we?
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST S’MORES CUPCAKES
To make these ultimate s’mores brownie cupcakes, it’s easiest to break it down by layers. Follow the steps below and for best success, read through the recipe once or twice before you get started.
Graham cracker crust. This signature crunchy graham cracker crust comes together with just three simple ingredients and takes just a few minutes to prepare. First we’ll crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb using a food processor. If you don’t have one, place the graham crackers in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush the crackers into fine bits. Be sure your mixture doesn’t have any large crumbs that will prevent your crust from holding together. Next we add a dash of sugar for sweetness and melted butter to bring it all together. You’ll line a cupcake pan with twelve paper liners and then firmly press the crust into the bottom of the liners. Tah-dah, the crust is done. It’s that easy! No need to pre-bake the graham cracker layer as it will have plenty of time to bake with the brownies.
Fudgy brownie center. Next comes the rich, fudgy brownie filling that bakes up perfectly chewy and deliciously chocolatey. The brownies are made with just a handful of standard ingredients like sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate and flour. A pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla round out the flavor of these classic brownies. I use Dutch process cocoa in the recipe for a deep, dark, decadent brownie. I suggest you do the same for best results but unsweetened cocoa will work fine in a pinch. A friendly reminder not to over mix the batter. Stir the dry ingredients in to the wet until just barely combined and then spoon the batter onto the top of the graham cracker crust. We’ll fill the cupcake liners almost to the top for the perfect brownie to graham cracker ratio.
Brown sugar meringue frosting. The ultra fluffy brown sugar meringue is literally the icing on the cake of this leveled up summertime classic. I’ve been making meringue for awhile now but only recently did I try it using brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. Umm, to say I’ve been missing out would be an understatement. If you haven’t made meringue before, don’t fret. It’s an easy frosting made with just three ingredients and you’ll get all the fluff and feeling of a real marshmallow without any mystery ingredients or funky aftertaste. To make the meringue we simply heat egg whites, brown sugar, and a smidge cream of tarter over a double boiler until warm and foamy. Then we’ll transfer the bowl to a stand mixer and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. It couldn’t be easier and you’re gonna love how crazy delicious it is.
Chocolate + caramel drizzle. Just when you thought we were done, we’re making these s’mores cupcakes extra, extra delicious by adding a drizzle of dark chocolate and salted caramel. Gah! I can’t even. This step is fun to do with the kids so let them get in on the action and have them decorate their own s’mores cupcakes. To keep things easy you can simply melt chocolate chips and use store-bought caramel. If you want to go the extra mile and make your caramel from scratch, check out my favorite recipe for salted caramel here. Simply place the chocolate and caramel in separate plastic bags, snip the edge off of one corner and drizzle away. This might be the most fun you have in the kitchen all summer long!
TIPS FOR THE BEST MERINGUE FROSTING
Okay, let’s talk frosting. Don’t let the word meringue freak you out because this frosting is pretty much fool proof and I promise you this airy, cloud like frosting just might be your new favorite thing. Follow the tips below for the best brown sugar meringue frosting that makes these s’mores cupcakes something extra special.
Separate your eggs with care. One drop of egg yolk can mess up your meringue so be sure to separate your eggs carefully. And for best results, use fresh eggs rather than boxed egg whites. I’ve tried both and fresh is best.
Don’t skimp on the cream of tarter. I know this isn’t always an ingredient you might have stocked in your pantry, but this meringue requires it so pick up a jar the next time you are at the market. Cream of tarter comes in handy for sugar cookies and cakes too so you’ll be glad you have it handy.
Use a clean dry bowl. Any grease or oil on your surfaces can send your meringue on a detour so be sure you are using a clean, dry mixing bowl and whisk to make the meringue.
Whisk until stiff peaks form. To whisk the meringue you’ll need a stand mixer or a hand held mixer with a double whisk attachment. You’ll whip the cooked egg whites and sugar for 5-8 minutes until firm peaks form and the bowl feels cool to the touch. The meringue is ready when your peaks are glossy and stiff and do not fall completely over when the whisk attachment is turned upright. We want the meringue to be firm and sturdy so it holds its form when piped. When the meringue is ready, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a large tip and pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. If you kitchen is warm, you may need to pop your meringue into the refrigerator for a few minutes every so often to firm it up. Now comes the fun part. You can either torch the meringue frosting with a kitchen torch for a classic take on s’mores, or be extra like me and top it with drizzles of chocolate and salted caramel. There is no right or wrong way to top your s’mores cupcakes so follow your sweet tooth.
HOW TO STORE S’MORES BROWNIE CUPCAKES
These ultimate s’mores cupcakes will keep just fine at room temperature for a day or two. But since the weather is heating up I suggest storing your cupcakes in the fridge. Besides, you know how I feel about cold brownies….gah, they’re just SO GOOD!! One of the things I love most about these s’mores in cupcake form is that you can make them ahead and freeze the cupcake portion. Then simply defrost the cupcakes and whip up the brown sugar meringue just before serving. These triple layer goodies will draw a crowd at your next summertime bbq or backyard pool party so take it from me and double the batch.
I hope you’ll kick off summer with a bang and make a batch of these ultimate s’mores brownie cupcakes. These triple layer brownie cupcakes are just as amazing as they sound and they are the perfect family friendly dessert that you’ll have on repeat all summer long. These gems are dangerously delicious and I guarantee everyone will come back for seconds!
If you like these Ultimate S’mores Brownie Cupcakes, you’ll also love:
- 1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 7 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use 70% cocao)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 medium eggs, room temperature
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- ½ cup plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
- ¼ cup Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tarter
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Melted semi sweet chocolate and salted caramel for drizzling. (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
- Use a food processor fitted with the blade attachment to finely ground the graham crackers.
- Add the sugar and melted butter, pulse to combine well.
- Use a spoon to place 1 -2 tablespoons of crushed graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Use your hands of the flat end of an object to press the crust down firmly so there are no loose crumbs. Set aside.
- Set the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a double boiler, making sure the bowl does not touch the water below. Simmer over medium heat and melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring often. Remove from the heat once the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Whisk in the sugar and vanilla.
- Allow the chocolate to cool for 5-10 minutes and then add the eggs.
- Whisk until combined.
- Add the flour and cocoa powder. Mix until just barely combined. Do not over mix.
- Spoon the batter on top of the graham cracker crust, filling almost to the top of the liner.
- Bake on the center rack of the oven for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out with just a few crumbs remaining. If the center is still wet, continue baking.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter in the metal bowl of a stand mixer.
- Whisk to combine and then set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Be careful that the bowl is not touching the water below.
- Whisking constantly, the sugar will dissolve and the eggs will begin to foam on top. This takes about 4-5 minutes.
- When eggs are warm to the touch, transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add in the vanilla during the last minute of mixing. The mixture will be glossy.
- Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe the frosting onto the cooled brownie cupcakes.
- *Note: if making large, tall swirls you may need to double the frosting recipe in order to frost all 12 cupcakes.
- Use a kitchen torch to toast the frosting or drizzle with melted chocolate and salted caramel if desired.
Store cupcakes in a cool, dry place.
Recipe inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction and The Loopy Whisk.
**Recipe inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction & The Loopy Whisk