Sunday, February 15, 2009

Channeling the Girl Scouts

I absolutely love the Girl Scouts' Thin Mint cookies...the mint flavor is subtle and perfectly combines with the chocolate. With that flavor profile in mind, I scoured the 'net for the perfect mint chocolate cupcake recipe. As this was (yet again!) a last minute project, I had to also find a recipe that did not call for anything wacky that isn't normally in my kitchen (buttermilk, heavy cream, sour cream, etc...we usually just have skim milk and soy milk on hand).

I came across The Repressed Pastry Chef's recipe for Mint Chocolate Cupcakes. I truly questioned the recipe. No eggs? White vinegar? No dairy to speak of?! Hmm. Since I'd made her basic buttercream recipe before and it was absolute perfection, I decided to give this recipe a try.

OH MY GOODNESS. These were amazing! I want to eat them every day. For breakfast. So light and fluffy. Deep dark chocolate color. The mint in the cupcake gave just the lightest minty hint alongside the chocolate. A batter that was so perfectly runny that I could fill the muffin tins with ease. I also used her buttercream frosting recipe (I made a half batch) and added the peppermint extract into the frosting teaspoon by teaspoon to get just the right minty taste.

My only, only kerfluffle when making these cupcakes was that the bowl of batter seemed never ending! After filling my standard-size 12-cup muffin tin, and then my 24-cup mini-muffin tin, I fill two 4-inch mini cake pans, and still had leftover batter! By that point, I just called it quits and (sadly) chucked the rest. So I would definitely made a half or third batch the next time. But hey, what's wrong with a few too many to-die-for cupcakes?!

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
from The Repressed Pastry Chef

3 cups flour
2/3 cups Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder (or brand of choice)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (pepper)mint extract
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt together.
In a separate bowl whisk together the water, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, mint extract and vinegar.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 of the dry ingredients with 1/2 of the wet ingredients. After the mixture is thoroughly combined, add half of the remaining dry ingredients with the remaining wet ingredients. Combine thoroughly. Lastly add in the remaining dry ingredients. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, continue to mix for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour into cupcake liners or for a full cake pour into a 9x13 cake pan prepared with baking spray. Tap the pan against the counter to break any air bubbles that exist.
Bake for 20 minutes (cupcakes) or 25-30 minutes (cake) or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream Frosting
adapted from The Repressed Pastry Chef

(1/2 recipe)
1/2 stick salted butter - room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter - room temperature
(or just use 1 stick of unsalted butter if that's what you have on hand)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tablespoon peppermint extract (start with less, add to taste)
1 pound confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
2-3 tablespoons very cold milk
green food coloring (optional)

Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the peppermint extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk... one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.


Zaboo said...

Lovely. I'm going to make these today. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mindy said...

Oooo...I love thin mints too, and since I'm in France this year, it doesn't look like I'll be getting any for a while. I'll try these instead!

Erin said...

These look good! I love the chocolate-peppermint combination.

spngebobmyhero said...

I found these on tastespotting the other day and I made them for my class! Everyone loved them! I just wanted to say thank you for the recipe!