The kids have been begging me to have a lemonade stand.  After all, it is summer!  What better time to set up our out door retail store than summer? And what better day than on the morning of the 4th of July?

(eli’s favorite toy; the kitchen torch)

The kids made posters, I sent emails and we launched our campaign to bake for charity.  I have become somewhat attached to Share our Strength, a charity that wants to make sure that no child in America goes hungry.  I try to remind my kids, daily, how fortunate we all are.  It is nice to come together as a family and as a community to help those not as privileged as we are.

Doing something for others always brings the best out in people.  We sold out in 40 minutes, made $240.00 and even those of you who came by and left empty handed, threw some money our way for this terrific cause.  Just think about it…what if 5 of us did a little something like this each week? We COULD make a difference!

I came up with the bake sale menu and started baking and creating days in advance.  We had s’mores cupcakes = graham cracker, devils food cupcakes with marshmallow cream frosting, butter sandwich cookiessugar cookie bars, peanut butter cookie bar, homemade marshmallows, and s’mores bars. I also made lemonade and a very delicious pomegranate virgin cocktail. There was tons of stuff, apparently not enough.  I am going to have to step it up next time!

S’mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 11 pieces)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz really good bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Devils Food Cupcakes
adapted from Recipes from Home
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups organic white-wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. slat
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Marshmallow Frosting
adapted from Martha Stewart
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
2 tsp. vanilla extract

for the crust:
• preheat oven to 350*
• line 36 muffin tins with paper liners.
• melt butter. put graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it becomes fine crumbs.  add sugar and pulse a few times.  add melted butter and mix thoroughly.
• place 1 heaping tablespoon of graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each muffin liner.  I use a 1/4 inch measuring cup to flatten the crumbs.  press down lightly to create a flat, smooth surface.  sprinkle with a pinch or two of chopped chocolate.
• bake for 7 minutes in preheated oven.  cool on wire racks.

for the cupcakes:
• melt the unsweetened chocolate in a bowl set over a pan with simmering water.  once melted and smooth, set aside.
• sift sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the hot coffee, sour cream, and vegetable oil.  let cool slightly.  slowly whisk in the eggs, then stir in the chocolate.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  mix until blended.
• fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.  bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. rotate pans, top to bottom and back to front half way through baking.  let cool on wire racks.

for the frosting:
• place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer.  set this over a saucepan with simmering water.  don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl as you may cook the eggs.  whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the whites are warm to the touch.  this could take up to 8 minutes.
• place bowl on the electric mixer with the whisk attachment.  start to beat on low speed, gradually increasing to the high setting. once on high, beat for about 12 minutes.  you want stiff, glossy peaks.  add vanilla and beat until well combined.
• place frosting in a piping bag with a large, fluted tip.  use immediately.