Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Andes Cupcakes

 Another green-ish dessert for St. Patrick's Day!  I'm thinking of starting an official petition to make St. Patrick's Day a "holiday season" like Christmas. This could be huge.

Andes mints make me think of my great-grandfather. He always had them on his coffee table in his living room. I spent countless days munching on Andes, eating corn chowder, and sipping ginger beer on his front porch.

So these cupcakes are dedicated to him.  Love you and miss you Curt :)

In general, I'm not a huge fan of mint in my desserts. It belongs in toothpaste and gum. It does not belong in my desserts messing with my chocolate. I think that's because the mint in candy, like York Patties or Junior Mints, is just way too strong. Andes is the only candy that I think got it right. Also, it's the one that's green rather than white. Green mint desserts are the only ones that are acceptable. Period.

However, I realize that I'm in the minority here. My whole family loves mint flavored desserts. Especially mint chocolate chip ice cream (the green kind... obviously). Because it's such a popular flavor combination, I knew that I needed to be able to make some minty recipes for them. And I wanted to provide something delicious for any mint-lovers who read my blog :)

The mint in this recipe isn't too overpowering because it is in the frosting and ganache but not in the cake.  The cream cheese and butter in the frosting really mutes the mint flavor so it is refreshing but not overpowering.

If you like mint, you'll probably love these. Plus, look how pretty they are! If you want more of a green color, put green food coloring in the frosting. I just really wanted to use a lot of green sprinkles!

Andes Cupcakes (24 cupcakes) adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Chocolate Mint Filling:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
Mint Buttercream:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 32 ounces powdered sugar (about 7 cups)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 24 Andes mints for garnish
1.       For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Using a handheld electric mixer or an electric stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be VERY thin (Don't fret, it works out fine somehow). Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack, after removing them from the muffin tin.
2.       For the mint filling: While the cupcakes are baking, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir. Repeat the process until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract and powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature (but don’t let it get too stiff) and pour it into a piping bag.
3.       When the cupcakes are cool, insert the tip of the piping bag into the center of the cupcake and press gently to fill the middle of the cupcake with the mint ganache.
4.       For the frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the heavy cream and peppermint and vanilla extracts. Beat until light and fluffy.
5.      Frost the cooled, filled cupcakes. Garnish with an unwrapped Andes mint. 

see how thin the batter is? strange...

baked cupcakes

filling the cupcakes with ganache

me trying to be a piping pro.
final product :)


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