Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy National Cupcake Day! - Andes Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Happy National Cupcake Day!!!
December 15th

December 15th is National Cupcake Day.  It's no secret that chocolate and mint are two of my favorite flavors.  I love Andes Mint sandwiches.  A thin sliver of minty green goodness sandwiched between two layers of chocolate.  So, in honor of National Cupcake Day, I present Andes Chocolate Mint Cupcakes.  A chocolate cupcake filled with Andes Mint chips frosted with mint chocolate buttercream, sprinkled with real chocolate sprinkles and topped with an Andes Mint Sandwich.  Yum!

Andes Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Adapted from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted (I use Valrhona)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Andes Mint chips

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until batter is smooth.  Stir in Andes Mint chips.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan lined with paper cups.  Bake in preheated oven for 22-27 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.  Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.  Top cooled cupcakes with your choice of frosting or buttercream.

Fresh out of the oven...

Mint Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from Billy Reece

4 sticks butter
12 ounces Guittard mint chocolate chips
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Real Chocolate sprinkles
12 Andes Mint Sandwiches

Cream (with hand or stand mixer):
4 sticks butter (16 ounces) until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes

Melt (in microwave or double boiler):
12 ounces Guittard mint chocolate chips
Set aside and allow to cool for approximately 20 minutes. After chocolate has cooled, add it to the creamed butter and mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl then …

2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

On low speed of a hand or stand mixer, mix until fully incorporated; no confectioners' sugar should be visible. Mixture should be smooth and medium brown in color.

Do not refrigerate; use immediately or store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

Pipe onto cupcakes, sprinkle with real chocolate chips and crown with an Andes Mint Sandwich.

These cupcakes are perfect for the mint lover in your life.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm finally getting around to baking some of my Holiday favorites in cupcake form.  Christmas always reminds me of Gingerbread and vice versa.  For years I made and decorated Gingerbread Houses.  Growing up my Mother made a delicious Molasses Cookie with Chocolate Frosting that was chock full of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Last year I made Gingerbread Cupcakes for the first time and they are my new favorites.  This recipe is easy and your house  will smell divine while they are baking.

Hot out of the oven
Gingerbread Cupcakes
from Betty Crocker
Makes 18 cupcakes

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup water

Heat over to 375 degrees F.  Place paper liners in each of 18 regular size muffin cups.

In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, 1/2 cup butter, the molasses and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon.  Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and water.  Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks.  Cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butteer or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons milk

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, lemon peel, cinnamon and the vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth.  Beat in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until of piping consistency.

Pipe a generous amount of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Decorate with Gingerbread Men sprinkles.

 These are delicious.  Mix up a batch this Christmas season and enjoy!