Thursday, December 15, 2011

Andes Mint Cupcakes

HAPPY NATIONAL CUPCAKE DAY! Being a cupcake blogger I couldn't resist posting something for today...even if it means staying up way too late on a school night baking(: These cupcakes are seriously so good, just skip the trip to Georgetown Cupcake and make these instead! Mint and chocolate has always been a favorite combination of mine, so when my mom found this recipe for me I dropped all the very important things I was doing(taking a nap) and immediately began baking. The cupcakes are light and airy which is perfect for filling with thick ganache. The cream cheese mint frosting really complements the rich chocolatiness of the rest of the cupcake and holds its shape perfectly when piped (something I always struggle with cream cheese frosting). I love the Andes mint on top because it really ties everything together, not to mention looks super cute! These are sure to be a hit at any holiday party, Enjoy!

 I put them on a cupcake stand to serve.

The Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 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

Mint Ganache:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Mint Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 pkg. (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2-lbs. powdered sugar (7-8 cups)
 heavy cream (until desired consistency)
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Green food coloring

30 Andes mints for garnish


For Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 30 muffin cups with paper baking liners. 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.*

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack, after removing them from the muffin tin.

For mint ganache:
While the cupcakes are baking, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 45 sec. Stir. Repeat the process until the mixture is smooth.( I only had to do this once) Stir in the peppermint extract and powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and pour it into a squeeze bottle or pastry bag.( squeeze bottle is definitely better if available)

For mint frosting:
 For the frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the heavy cream and peppermint and vanilla extracts. Mix well. Add green food coloring until the color you like is achieved.
When the cupcakes are cool, insert the tip of the squeeze bottle into the center of the cupcake and press gently to fill the middle of the cupcake with the mint ganache.
I did it a few times for good measure.  :)

Frost the cooled, filled cupcakes with the frosting (I used a large star tip and a pastry bag) or simply spread the frosting in a large dollop with a butter knife or flat spatula. Garnish with an unwrapped Andes mint and a drizzle of leftover ganache (make sure the ganache is completely cool or it will melt the frosting when you drizzle it on top of the cupcake). Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Recipe Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe