Thursday, June 7, 2012

Everything Happens for a Reason -- S'Mores Cupcakes

"And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should..."

So, it's been a crazy whirlwind of things happening and not happening in my life. I am constantly super busy and lots of interesting things are on the horizon. I feel like I've been experiencing my "quarter life crisis" on a nearly daily basis--huge moments of "WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE" "WHERE DO I WANT TO BE IN FIVE YEARS" "HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO TACKLE MY CRAZY STUDENT DEBT"?? OH AND WHY THE HECK DON'T I HAVE A BOYFRIEND???

Well, that last one is only minutely important, and pretty much not important at all. So let's discuss the prior questions.

On New Years I made a resolution: within the year I'd move across the country. I've spent 24 years in Massachusetts and though I love it, I felt ready for a change. I began to save my pennies and send out my resumes and make arrangements for where I would live. LA was the goal--sun (NO WINTER!), beaches, the city, food, and friends all in one place so very different from home. Then my gallbladder threw a wrench in my plans and though my health insurance is 90-10, that 10% I had to pay out of pocket was BRUTAL. My Escape Massachusetts fund was more than half gone.

It would be easy to be distressed over this. It would be acceptable to hole myself up and cry and feel miserable because life really doesn't seem fair sometimes. And sometimes, I do. Sometimes I read my Facebook newsfeed and envy my friends who somehow made it out of college with the same degree as me but 75% less debt, who are now living in any number of fabulous cities while I'm in the same corner of Mass, living at home, and wondering why things happen the way they do and hoping I'll randomly come into some money since that seems to be about the only way to make my dreams come true.

But then I think--what if I had made the trip across the country? What if my gallbladder had needed to be removed while I was thousands of miles away, still looking for a job in LA, living off the little savings I had scraped together before the move? I would be alone, far from home, and utterly broke because I'd be paying at least $800/month for rent in addition to my $500 a month in student loans. Having my surgery in this part of the country sadly depleted my savings, but at least I HAD a savings to take money from.

Hospital food. My first meal post-surgery

And, if this hadn't happened to me, I wouldn't have been seeking more opportunities in Mass. I wouldn't have connected with people in the publishing industry, or re-connected with my former internship. I wouldn't be seeking freelance writing work to bulk up my resume (and, admittedly, my income), and maybe I wouldn't be focusing so hard teaching myself food photography and food writing for this blog, which makes me feel happier and more accomplished than I ever thought it could. I do want to get back into the publishing world someday, and I am taking steps to make that happen here. Things are happening for me in Mass, I'm taking a more active role in my career goals, and maybe none of that would have happened if I hadn't been so frustrated and lost feeling.

Artsy photo from a photoshoot I was in

I still don't know what I'm doing with my life, where I'll be in five years, or how I'll get over this crazy amount of debt I'm in. But it'll be okay. I can't be the only one this has ever happened to, and I can't be the last either, or even the only one it's happening to right now.

And, as I discovered the last time I had a near-breakdown because of things like this, S'mores help. A lot. S'mores bring back happy memories of family camping trips, or overnights with the Girl Scouts telling spooky stories around the campfire--my scary stories were the most terrifying, if I do say so myself--or sleepover parties where we'd use shish ka-bob sticks and roast marshmallows over a gas stove. Times when none of these fears were even a grain of sand in my mind. The biggest thing I had to worry about was my favorite Spice Girl leaving the group (oh Geri, you were missed) and me having to pick a different one to dress up like for Halloween. These cupcakes are perfect for a s'mores craving when a campfire is not feasible. Graham cracker cupcakes, filled with chocolate ganache, topped with marshmallow frosting, and drizzled with some chocolate sauce.

S'mores Cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt.  Beat in butter gradually.  Beat in sugar and mix thoroughly. Beat in eggs, then vanilla and milk until just mixed.  Pour into lined cupcake tins.  Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out almost clean.

Ganache Filling:
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cream

Bring one cup cream to a gentle boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over a bowl of chocolate chips (I used milk, but usually it calls for semisweet) and mix until chips are melted.

Marshmallow Frosting
(adapted only slightly from Kraft Recipes)

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 1tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs milk, divided

Beat marshmallow creme, vanilla, and butter on medium speed until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition until well blended. Blend in 1 milk. Add more milk if needed until desired consistency is reached.

PS. I'm slowly phasing out "Bee" as my name and going by "Ashley"--my real name.


  1. Oh those cupcakes are sinful! Love the idea, photos are your recipe!Have a lovely day!

  2. Awesome idea!!! Can't wait to try this!

  3. Awesome idea!!! Can't wait to try this!

  4. S'mores make everything better. Truth. I'm sure things are going to turn out so amazing for you!

  5. These look heavenly! And I know from experience things usually have a funny way of working themselves out ;)

  6. oh wow!!! I would love to devour one of these!!!

  7. Oh man, these just look way to good!
    I just made a smore shake a couple of weeks ago, you should check it out!

  8. wow, those look absolutely outrageous!! yum!!! thanks for sharing!

  9. S'mores AND cupcakes help a lot! At least temporarily. These look so outrageously delicious! I am in love especially with the filling.

  10. What a delicious way to drown your sorrows! These look wonderful!

  11. I know the feeling, it's always there, that niggling, what if, why not.. blah blah blah. I'm always planning for something, even if it is never going to happen. I think that the only way I'll make a life changing move is if I come into money too! Keep holding your head above water :) Your cupcakes look amazing.!