Sunday, November 15, 2015

Grasshopper Cupcakes

When it comes to purchasing, everyone has their weakness for something that they have way too much of and want more. Some men have to have every type of fishing lure ever made and there are many women that can never get enough shoes. In addition to having them, they enjoy shopping for them as well.

My weakness is for baking utensils and cookbooks. I try to curb my weakness by being careful of which items are purchased. I ask myself how much use will I get out of it and is the usage worth the expense. Which brings me to the little cupcake separators that it took to make the two toned treat above. Tagged at under $9.00 for 6, I decided they were worth it. I have made several different combo cupcakes in the past and I like the idea of two flavors side by side, rather than top and bottom.

This is a cupcake take on the sweet, after-dinner drink called the Grasshopper. In case you are not familiar with the drink, it is made with creme de cacao and creme de mint. The drink originated back in the 1950's. The owner of a bar located in the French Quarter section of New Orleans, Louisiana came up with this tasty blend.

Chocolate and mint always make a good pairing and this moist cupcake is a perfect example. The frosting is a mix of mint, creme de cacao and cream cheese. Unlike buttercream, the frosting is thinner so no fancy piping was done. In review, I think buttercream would have masked the cake flavor, so I was pleased with the choice. Also, the creme de mint candies on top made them even better. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Grasshopper Cupcakes
adapted from Spiked Desserts

1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
4 oz white chocolate
4 eggs
3 tbs green creme de menthe
3 tbs clear creme de cacao
green food coloring (optional)
1/2 tsp mint extract
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp mint extract
2 tsp creme de cacao
2 tsp creme de mint

Grease the top edge of muffin cavities, then place paper liners in each cavity.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter in bowl and beat until smooth with a stand mixer. Add the sugar and cream both together until smooth and light. Then add each egg, beating about 30 seconds between additions. Turn off mixer and leave bowl set in stand.

Place a double boiler over medium high heat. Once the water comes to a simmer, fill the top pot with the white chocolate and let melt. After all is melted, remove double boiler from heat and remove top pot.

Go back to the mixer and turn on low and start beating the butter/sugar batter again. As the mixer is running, slowly add the melted chocolate and then the vanilla extract. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally. Once blended, turn mixer off. Remove bowl and set aside.

Take out 3 bowls. In one bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the sugar/butter batter. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and blend. Complete this process again and then fold in the last of the sifted ingredients.
Divide batter equally into the remaining 2 bowls.

Mix 3 tbs of creme de menthe, mint extract and green food coloring (optional) into one batch of batter. For the remaining batter, blend in 3 tbs of creme de cacao.

Now comes the tricky part. If you have the separators for the batter it is helpful, just place in the center of each cavity and fill one side up 2/3 of the way with one batter. Then do the same with the other batter and remove separator. Without a separator, just spoon in best you can on each half of the cavity with each flavor of batter.

Once all the batter is in the muffin cavities, place pans in oven to bake. Bake until tester comes out clean. Bake time should be about 16-19 minutes. Remove and let cool in pan 1 minute and then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack. Cool completely prior to frosting.

Start on the frosting by sifting the powdered sugar into a bowl of a stand mixer. Then cut the cream cheese into cubes and drop into the sugar. Add the creme de menthe, cream de cacao and mint extract. Start mixer and beat on low speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium and beat until creamy and completely blended. Top cupcakes with frosting, using a knife to swirl on top. Remove wrappers of candy. Grate, split or do both for the topping. Sprinkle on grating and/or stick 2 pieces of the split candy into the center of the cupcake top.

Tips and Notes:
1. I used Batter Babies brand of cupcake dividers. They do not fit tight into the muffin cavity, but the addition of one type of batter on a side does holds them up so you are free to add the batter to the other side.

2.The frosting is personal preference. It does not have to be a blend of both flavors, so add flavor how you want.

3. As with all cupcakes, frost as soon as cool to avoid having the top of cupcake drying out.
                                             **LAST YEAR: PBC Cookie Biscotti Sticks**