Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thin Mint Cupcakes

Someone once told me that they liked real mint, not peppermint.  Since there there are about 25 different varieties of mint, it cannot be considered a single flavor and/or plant. The two varieties that are most common to the culinary world are peppermint and spearmint. Those are used in combination to create the mint extract that is found at the store.

Remember the Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies? If those were your favorite, then you will certainly enjoy these  cupcakes. If you take the time to make them today, let the flavors meld for one day.  Then tomorrow you can enjoy a moist chocolate cupcake with a delicious mint butter cream filling that is all topped off with a rich chocolate mint glaze.  I added the shamrock for an extra touch, since St. Patrick's day is coming up.

This recipe is for 2 dz cupcakes. The recipe is exact on the number of cupcakes, but I found that the filling as well as the chocolate ganache topping to be way too much.  I have posted the original amounts below, but I recommend making only half or 3/4 of the recipe for each.

Thin Mint Cupcakes
courtesy of Trophy Cupcakes

2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs of dark cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup flour

Grease top edges around each of the12 holders of two cupcake pans.  Fill each holder with cupcake liners.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour in a large bowl (use one with a pour spout if you have it). Stir in cocoa and sugar until evenly distributed. Then beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, milk and oil for 2 minutes with an electric mixer set at medium speed.  Set batter aside.

In a small saucepan over high heat add the water and let it come to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour into batter, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. The consistency of the batter will be very thin. Take the batter and fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full.

Bake each pan in oven for 17-20 minutes, rotating at the half way point.  The cupcakes are done when tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on rack to finish cooling.

Once cooled, take a knife and core out a center circle of cake from each cupcake.  Then move on to the next step of the filling.

Ingredients/Mint Buttercream (see previous note concerning quantity this makes)
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 tsp mint extract
2 sticks of butter (room temp)
pinch salt
1 drop of green food coloring

Place butter in medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.  Then add 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar and beat for 30 seconds.  Repeat this process with the sugar until all is combined and the filling is light and fluffy.  Lastly, beat in the salt, food coloring and mint extract until evenly distributed.

Take a gallon freezer bag and cut off a small bit of the corner.  If you have a metal tip with a large opening, place it inside the bag, poking out the corner.  Otherwise, you can use the bag as is.  Scoop all the mint filling out of the bowl with a spatula and fill the bag.  Twist the top of the bag, taking the air out and pushing the filling down to the corner.

Squeeze the filling into the center hole of each cupcake, making sure it comes to the top.  After all are filled, take a knife and smooth out the top. The next step is the icing.

Ingredients/Mint Chocolate Ganache (see previous note concerning quantity this makes)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp mint extract
1 tbs butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped or chips)

Place the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan.  Then put the chocolate chips into a medium size bowl.  Place the saucepan over medium high heat.  Melt butter and bring mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over top of the chocolate chips but do not stir.  Let mixture set for 5 minutes without stirring.  After 5 minutes, stir with a wooden spoon until no chocolate chunks remain and mixture is smooth and shiny.

Take each cupcake and dip into the chocolate.  It is only to cover the top part of the cupcake, so do not dip past the liner. Lift out and while still facing upside down, let the excess chocolate drip off the top.  Then turn the cupcake right side up and place on wire rack to let the chocolate ganache set.  It should be set in about 1 hour. I did not have any issues, but if the chocolate gets too thick before you are done dipping your cupcakes, microwave in 5 second intervals to get back to the right consistency. Also, if you decide to place decorative toppers on the center of each cupcake (like I did) it must be done before the chocolate set. I placed mine right after all cupcakes were put on wire cooling racks.