Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Ok, I finally broke out Martha Stewart's cupcake book and tried two recipes to donate to the annual Ethnic Food Fair held at our church.

My dilemma - I always want my baked goods to be as fresh as they possibly can be... but then I cut it down to the wire and stress myself out trying to get everything done at the last possible moment.

No different on this occasion.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream causes me stress to begin with - let's call it nervous anticipation instead - it always seems like it's not going to come together, but then it usually does - and I was up to my elbows in Buttercream just moments before we were to leave for church that morning. Of course, coming home to the mess always reminds me again of the chaos in the kitchen hours before...and it's time to clean up...and I loathe washing dishes covered in buttery frosting.

Back to the cupcakes. These Chocolate Mint Cupcakes were light and moist and reminiscent of a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie. I didn't use Martha's buttercream suggestion in the recipe mainly because I was pressed for time and it called for steeping mint leaves and required multiple steps to complete it.

Let's face it, this just wasn't going to happen before 10 o'clock mass in the middle of winter - mint or no mint in the garden.

I ended up making one recipe of Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I divided the icing in half after adding the butter and vanilla, but before mixing until light and smooth. I added peppermint extract to one half and melted and cooled chocolate to the other half, mixing each half separately until the right consistency is achieved. (Post coming soon featuring chocolate buttercream.) I had just enough frosting for all the cupcakes, but didn't divide it so well and had to top some of the mint cupcakes with chocolate icing. No problem - they were all gone by day's end...another successful day of baking!

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes about 18

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)
crushed peppermint candies or candycanes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, water, and peppermint extract, and beat with a mixer on low speed until smooth.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in tins on wire racks for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks, and let cool completely. Undecorated cupcakes will keep, covered, for 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Frost cupcakes with buttercream and sprinkle crushed candy on top.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
From Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes 5 cups (more than enough for this cupcake recipe)

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Combine sugar, egg whites and salt in mixer bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer bowl to mixer; whisk on medium-high speed until whites are fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes. Continue to whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter by the tablespoon, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla and peppermint extracts. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating until smooth. Buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before using; beat on lowest speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

16 comments:

  1. Girlie.....you are waaaaaaaaaay too amazing!

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  2. These look SO good! What tip did you use for the frosting? Yummy!

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  3. Lisa - Thanks! I used a large Ateco 846 tip for this cupcake. It has several "teeth" that curve inward slightly.

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  4. Um YUMMY! Anything chocolate and mint... pure heaven! Can't wait to make these babies!

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  5. Thanks! I'm not familiar with that, but it sure is beautiful.

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  6. Yep! I'm gonna make this. Your cupcakes look fantastic. I wish I knew how to pipe frosting as well as you do. I'll get it one day. :)

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  7. There's no better frosting than SMBC. I"m obsessed with making it because I love watching the transformation.

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  8. Oh. My. Gosh. Are these as delicious as they look?!?

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  9. Flippin' brilliant. I'm trying these next week without fail. Thank clever lady! :D

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  10. I wish I could reach my hand in my screen and have it for my own. But have the fun is baking right? Riiiiight.

    Rachael
    itssimplelove.blogspot.com

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  11. These cupcakes look and sound fantastic. I love anything that combines chocolate and mint. I also appreciate the helpful level of detail you provide. Very nice blog!

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  12. OOh lovely! I made my own version of Baked's Grasshopper Cake frosting flavoured with natural peppermint and used it on dark chocolate cupcakes - they were great but these look even better! Thanks, I'll definitely try themmmmmmmm xox Rachel

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  13. one of my all time favorite cupcake books! Yours look gorgeous :)

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  14. I may have asked you this before, but have you ever seen/used chocolate mint? I forget where we got it, but, like normal mint, it grows like crazy, and really does taste like chocolate mint. The only use I've found for it so far -- and I haven't tried very hard to find other uses -- is to spruce up a chocolate martini. But I suspect you could do some real wonders with it. If you ever see it, I highly recommend picking it up.

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  15. Fillippelli - I have had chocolate mint in my garden before, but that was before I was into creating sweets and so I never used it. It does smell remarkably like chocolate mint! I'll have to grow some next year and see what I can do with it. Thanks for the suggestion!

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