Happy St. Patrick's Day! With all the wearing of the green, St. Paddy Day parades and parties, green beer, and corned beef and cabbage cooking in homes across the world, it is a fun day full of celebrations.
I thought I'd celebrate the day by making cupcakes for my guys and my parents. I found quite a few recipes for St. Patrick's Day cupcakes that included Guinness beer, Bailey's Irish cream, or Irish whiskey, and they all looked tempting, but in the end, I went with something non-boozey - Mint Chocolate Cupcakes. Isn't that an awesome combination, mint and chocolate?!? Mmm...mint chocolate chip ice cream, peppermint bark, York peppermint patties, Andes mints...it's a classic combo! I didn't really feel a need to make green cupcakes for the occasion, but since the layer of mint in between the Andes mints is green, I thought I'd use those in my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe as a show of Irish spirit. Not that the green really shows up in these dark chocolate cupcakes, but I know it's there. It's like wearing green underwear on St. Patty's day. No one can see them, but you know you got the green goin' on.
I thought about going with a chocolate frosting on these cupcakes, but decided on a white chocolate buttercream frosting instead. This is a pretty sweet frosting, but because the chocolate cupcakes aren't very sweet, I think this is a good match-up. You could add green food coloring to the frosting if you want, but I didn't bother. I just sprinkled a few green sprinkles on the top instead.
Oh, and did I mention that I made a mint chocolate ganache with those Andes mints and put it in the middle of these cupcakes? MmmHmmm, I sure did. You don't have to do the ganache, but it makes these cupcakes magically delicious.
Andes Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated's Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 - 4.67 ounce package of Andes chocolate creme de menthe thins (28 mints), chopped
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa (I use Hershey special dark)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Combine butter, chopped Andes chocolate mints, and cocoa powder in medium heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat mixture until butter and chocolate are completely melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
Whisk eggs in standing mixer w/paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) to combine, add sugar, vanilla and salt and mix until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Add about one-third of the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Mix in sour cream until combined. Then add remaining flour mixture over and mix until homogenous and thick.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake 15-20 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from the muffin pan and set on a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Using a small knife or corer (I used a grapefruit spoon), hollow out a hole in the center of each cupcake, enough to add about 2 tsp. of the ganache. Set cupcakes aside. Do what you will with the little cake morsels you cut out of the cupcake. Baker's snack perhaps?
Andes Mint Chocolate Ganache:
1 - 4.67 ounce package of Andes creme de menthe thins (28 mints), chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Place chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until mixture is warm to the touch, about 30-40 seconds. If not warm enough, heat at 10 second intervals until warm to touch. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool. Mixture will get thicker as it cools.
White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
6 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate baking bar, melted and cooled until just warm to touch. Don't let it cool too much or it will start hardening again and you'll have chunks in your frosting.
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-5 tablespoons whipping cream or half-and-half
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or using a stand mixer, beat the butter and confectioners sugar at low speed until fluffy. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate, vanilla, and whipping cream (start with 3 tablespoons and add in more to achieve desired consistency). Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula.
By this point, the ganache should be cool and a thicker consistency. Using a spoon, fill the hollowed out cupcakes with about 2 tsp. of ganache. Frost cupcakes with buttercream frosting using a piping bag or an offset spatula.
My son says these cupcakes beat the reuben sandwiches I made last St. Patrick's Day with kelly green rye bread that was made especially for St. Patrick's Day. He wasn't crazy about the green bread, and now that I think about it, who in the world would think green bread was appealing? Apparently, I did.
Go with the cupcakes, friends! :)
I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Homework