Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day (tomorrow)!  I made these little cuppy-cakes to celebrate.  They're filled with a kind of mint ganache (it has powdered sugar though.... is that still ganache?) and topped with minty cream cheese frosting.  I cut the recipe in half, including the frosting.  I made the full amount of filling, though.  Anyway, this recipe makes a TON of frosting.  I had so much leftover.  It made twice as much as I needed.  That's ok, because I took a package of Maria Cookies and made sandwich cookies out of them, being verrrrrry generous with the frosting.  Then I added some ganache to them, too.  I tried to drizzle extra ganache over top of the frosted cupcake, but I couldn't get it to look good, so I just stopped.

The cupcake recipe is the one on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa box.  You can probably just use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.

Chocolate Andes Mint Cupcakes
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
half-recipe.... makes 12-15 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

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

Mint Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick; 8 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoons peppermint extract
Green food coloring
12-15 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. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 12-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Remove cupcakes from muffin tin and let cool completely on a wire rack.

2.  For the mint filling, while the cupcakes are baking, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a double boiler (I make my own w/a pan and heat-proof bowl) over barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and 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 squeeze bottle or a piping bag (it helps to place the bag, point down, in a tall glass while filling).  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.

3.  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. Add green food coloring until the color you like is achieved.
Frost the cooled, filled cupcakes with frosting (using a piping bag & large star tip, like Wilton 1M) 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, if desired.  Refrigerate until serving.
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