Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes for St. Paddy’s Day!

Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

 

 

This is the time of year when I stock up on bottles of Guinness, Baileys and well…..all things Green.

To make dozens and dozens of Guinness and Baileys Cupcakes, of course!

But this year, I wanted to go a different route and since my niece (alright, more like my sister) was selling Girl Scout Cookies, utilizing the beloved Thin Mint® Cookies was a no brainer!

 

 

Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

These cuppies were a great alternative to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Rich and moist chocolate cake filled with chunks of  Thin Mint® Cookies and topped with a lightly minty buttercream and cookie. DEE-LISH!

But if you aren’t big on Thin Mints® (which may be slightly CRAZY!), try one of these other GREEN LOVING cuppies!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

Fluffy Lime Cupcakes with Lime Whipped Cream

Fluffy Lime Cupcakes with Lime Whipped Cream

But no matter which sweet treat you choose, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!!

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Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 2 Dozen Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1¼ Cups Granulated Sugar
5 Ounces Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Strong Brewed Hot Coffee
2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Thin Mint® Cookies (or other chocolate mint cookies), roughly chopped

Buttercream:
4 to 5 Cups Confections Sugar, sifted
2 Cups Unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 Tablespoons Milk
½ Teaspoon Mint Extract

Garnish:
1 Dozen Thin Mint® Cookies, cut in half
Shamrock Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in muffin pans and put one cookie on the bottom.

Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove plastic and stir until smooth. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In a mixing stand, beat egg for a few minutes until it becomes pale yellow. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the chocolate. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chopped Thin Mint® Cookies. Scoop batter into the lined cups–about 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Prepare the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the milk and whip until combined. Mix in the mint extract. Add the rest of the powdered sugar until your desired consistency has been achieved.

Fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with ½ a cookie and sprinkles.

ENJOY!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

It’s hard to believe but it’s been over a year since I’ve made a batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Crazy, eh?

But I think at some point, I had just overdosed on them.

Yes, My Friends…….I had too much of a good thing.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

But then the next thing I knew it, the holidays were smacking me upside the head. Everywhere you looked it was hues of blues, silvers….green, red. I just had to bring out my tried and true Red Velvet recipe to ring in the holiday cheer. The beautiful color is just so darn festive.

And let’s face it. It would be near “Grinch-like” if I didn’t.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

To add a little different flair to my Red Velvet Cuppies, I decided to swap out my favorite cream cheese frosting with a super decadent and sweet White Chocolate Buttercream. It was a nice change from the tangy cream cheese but if you don’t like sweet frostings or want to cut back a bit, you may want to stick with the classic.

But c’mon now—it’s the holidays! I won’t tell if you don’t :)

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
Makes approximately 18-20 Regular Sized Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Batter:
1¼ Cups All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Salt
1½  Tablespoons High Quality Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs, room temperature
½ Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2-3 Tablespoons Red Food Color, depending on desired intensity of color

White Chocolate Buttercream:
10 Ounces Unsalted Butter, room temperature
6 Ounces White Chocolate, melted and cooled
3-4 Cups Sifted Confectioner Sugar, varies due to preferred frosting consistency
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2-3 Tablespoons Milk, if needed

*Optional: White Chocolate Shavings to top the cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 350°degrees and place paper liners in pans.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy for about 3-4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add milk, sour cream, vanilla, and food color. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until well blended.

Fill each lined cup 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway between baking time. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool completely in pans on top of a wire rack.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the vanilla and butter until fluffy.  Add the white chocolate and whip until combined. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Continue adding sugar to desire consistency. Should the buttercream appear dry, whip in a tad of milk.

When cupcakes are thoroughly cooled, frost or pipe decorate swirls on top. Sprinkle with white chocolate shavings.

Happy Holidays!!

My Cupcakes…..on Canvas!

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes: Easy Canvas Print

For some time now I’ve been wanting something special to spruce up the kitchen—- and as luck would have it, the fab folks from Easy Canvas Print  contacted me to see if I wanted to have one of my photos placed on canvas.

Yes, Please!

The site was really easy to navigate and ordering my canvas was a breeze. In less then a week, a package arrived with the gorgeous canvas of my Chocolate Malt Cupcakes! I was so excited—–almost more excited than when I first took a bite of these favorite cuppies!

I was extremely pleased to see how well the photo translated to canvas. Below you can compare the canvas print (top) to the actual digital copy (bottom).


Chocolate Malt Cupcakes: Easy Canvas Print

Pretty snazzy, eh? In fact, I’m in the process of sorting through all of my food photos so I can get them on canvas to create a mosaic on my kitchen wall.

Not only would these canvases be great conversation pieces for your home, they would be awesome gifts, too!!! Head on over to the Easy Canvas Print site for more information and pricing.

THANKS so much Easy Canvas Print!

**I received an 8 x 10 canvas from Easy Canvas Print  ,however, all opinions and views are my own.**

Strawberry Cupcakes and a Surprise 70th Birthday Party

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

The month of May has always been busy for my family — completely filled with TONS of birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.

This May in particular marked a milestone for our family as our parents turned 70! And although our mom is no longer with us we wanted to be sure to have a big celebration for our dad.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This past weekend, my siblings and I successfully threw a surprise birthday party for our dad filled with tons of family, delish food, and good times. Needless to say, Dad was pretty darn surprised when he opened the door to what he thought was going to be a small birthday dinner at my sister’s place. It took him a few minutes to realize that the house filled with people were there to celebrate his birthday!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

As one of the desserts for the night, I decided to bake Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cupcakes. They have been on my “must try” list for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity to give them a roll.

Truth be told, the cupcake itself was just “ok”. But the frosting was TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!! As in OH….MY….GAWD!

It was the first time I had made a true Swiss meringue buttercream and was a bit thrown off at how long it took to make—at least 30 minutes!!! But my patience truly paid off because after one taste, I was in heaven. The texture was so beautifully smooth and silky and it literally tasted like a Strawberry Shake!!! Not the least bit overly sweet and absolutely delicious. All night long I kept on saying, “It tastes like an In-N-Out Strawberry Shake!” Clearly, the cupcake is just a vessel for this amazing buttercream.

If you do decide to give this buttercream a whirl, be sure to take your time with it. Some reviewers say that their buttercream looked curdled or didn’t come together. Luckily I didn’t have this issue but I believe you’ve just got to be patient and definitely use room temperature butter. When all else fails—keep on whipping it!

And on another note, I would be scolded if I didn’t disclose that my sister was the one who added the strawberries on top! :)

As for Dad, he thoroughly enjoyed himself. After so many years of taking care of his family, it was nice to have a shindig just for him. In fact, he told everyone he cannot wait to see what we do for his 71st birthday!!!! :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!


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Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
From Martha Stewart
Makes 34 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish

Buttercream:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1¼  cups sugar
1½ cups unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1½ cups fresh strawberries, pureed

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula. Divide the batter between the paper liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream.  Place whites and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking well after each addition. Switch to a paddle attachment. With mixer on low, add strawberry puree, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Fill a piping bag with a fitted tip. Pipe on the buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices.

 Note: For these cuppies, I used an open-star Wilton 4B Tip to pipe the buttercream. I also chose to use a slightly larger than standard cupcake liner for a fuller look. As a result I increased the baking time by 2-3 minutes.

“Tagalong” Cupcakes….Peanut Butter and Chocolate Perfection!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

Not one year goes by when I don’t jump at the chance to pick up my favorite Girl Scouts Cookies…..Tagalongs®! And how can you blame me? Peanut Butter…. Chocolate….a Buttery Cookie. It just doesn’t get any better!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

I’ve seen so many cupcakes inspired by Chocolate Chip Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Oreos and even Thin Mints—that is was high time I paid homage to Tagalongs®. I used one of my basic chocolate cake batters and paired it with a lightly salted, peanut butter frosting. But the surprise ingredient was a whole Tagalong® cookie at the bottom!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

I was SOOOOO happy with the end results! The peanut butter frosting and chocolate cake mimicked the flavors of the cookie so well. And the Tagalong® held up beautifully in the baking process and acted like a “crust” for the cupcake.  So Yummy!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

Needless to say, these little cuppies had me doing my “happy dance” from the very first bite.  And if you love the peanut butter and chocolate combo like I do, you absolutely MUST snag a box of Tagalongs® and make these!

On that note—-Have a wonderful Easter Weekend, Friends!

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“Tagalong” Cupcakes
Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
¼ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cups All Purpose Flour
¾ Teaspoons Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cups Granulated Sugar
2½ Ounces Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
½ Cup Buttermilk
½ Cup Strong Brewed Hot Coffee
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
12 Tagalong® Cookies (or other peanut butter & chocolate cookies), additional for garnish

Frosting:
1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons Lowfat Milk
2 Cups Confections Sugar
1-2 Pinches Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in muffin pans and put one cookie on the bottom.

Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove plastic and stir until smooth. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In a mixing stand, beat egg for a few minutes until it becomes pale yellow. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the chocolate. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into the lined cups–about 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Prepare the frosting. In a standing mixer, whip the butter and peanut butter for several minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Drizzle in milk and add the rest of the sugar (spoonfuls at a time). Add sea salt and mix until combined.

Fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with ½ a cookie or other adornments.

“Two Peas in a Pod” Lemon Cupcakes

"Two Peas in a Pod" Lemon Cupcakes

 

Mimi is one of my oldest and dearest friends that I’ve known for almost 25 years. We’ve shared so many milestones, made so many memories……..needless to say, I love me some Mimi :)

So you can imagine my utter glee when I found out that she was expecting twins!!! In fact, the twins were such eager little ones that they arrived almost two months early. We were excited to welcome Baby Christopher and Baby Abigail at the end of February—and both are getting stronger with each day!

Mimi and Jinhyeong had their baby shower this past weekend and the theme was perfect—–Two Peas in a Pod. The color scheme was green and yellow and with that, I just knew what I wanted to bring to the baby shower.

 

"Two Peas in a Pod" Lemon Cupcakes

 

Lemon Cupcakes filled with Lemon Curd and a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting—-and topped with fondant sculpted peas! Aren’t the peas darling?

 

"Two Peas in a Pod" Lemon Cupcakes

 

I must admit, I spent more time making these little fondant toppers than I did making the cupcakes—-but they were so much fun! I used premade fondant and dyed them with food color gels to get the right hue for the peas and shells. I also painted on some eyelashes and rosy cheeks for the “Baby Abigail peas” to delineate them from her big brother Christopher.

 

"Two Peas in a Pod" Lemon Cupcakes

 

Fondant is pretty fun and easy to work with—quite reminiscent of sculpting with Play-Doh! I also learned from my cake pops to nix the food color markers and painted the faces with food color gels and toothpicks. MUCH more effective don’t you think?

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the greatest fan of the flavor fondant. But it’s the perfect medium to sculpt things with. Just be sure to use a tad of water when you adhere the pieces together or cornstarch when you want to prevent the fondant from sticking.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t give full credit to my nieces Nina and Maya for rolling out all the little peas while I shaped the shells. They were such troopers! :)

 

"Two Peas in a Pod" Lemon Cupcakes

 

Over all, I think the new Mama, Papa and their guests enjoyed the “Two Peas in a Pod” Lemon Cupcakes. They were whimsical treats to accompany the oober cute decor that the hostesses prepared. :)

Just my small contribution to Welcome Baby Christopher and Baby Abigail!!!!!!!! xoxo!

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“Two Peas in a Pod” Lemon Cupcakes
From Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 28-30 Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
4 tablespoons limoncello
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup lemon juice
Zest of two lemons

For the lemon curd:
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks

For the cream cheese limoncello frosting:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoon limoncello
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 drops yellow food color

1. Prepare the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the lemon curd. In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.

3. Prepare the cream cheese limoncello frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

4. Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag with the cream cheese limoncello frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Top with fondant peas.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream…..Slainte!!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

 

It’s that time of the year again. When you see tons of postings in honor of St. Paddy’s Day.

Green colored beer and desserts, shamrocks galore, corn beef recipes, Guinness braised meats, and more! As for me, I went all out last year with our Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a Baileys Ganache.

 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

 

I kind of went overboard with them. They literally SCREAMED St. Paddy’s Day with a decadent Guinness Beer cupcake, filled with a chocolate truffle, with spirals of green Baileys buttercream, topped with shamrock sprinkles and wrapped up in a bright green striped cupcake liner. PHEW! Now that is St. Paddy’s!

 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

 

Those cuppies were decadently delicious and I wanted to bring them back for this year’s St. Paddy’s Daybut a little more “understated”.

I went for the same moist, stout beer cupcakes and Irish cream flavored buttercream—-however, this time around I opted out of the truffle centers and put away my green food coloring. No need….their yumminess speaks for itself.

 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

 

I chose a simple large round tip to pipe the frosting this time– a Wilton 1A. But as “understated” as I was trying to keep things, I could not resist breaking out the shamrock sprinkles. After all, I don’t get to use them very often — and who couldn’t use a little more luck?

As for the end results……they were delicious! The dark stout beer adds such a subtle nuttiness to the chocolate cupcakes while the Irish Cream buttercream perfectly rounds out the flavors. And if done correctly, the buttercream is so smooth and rich— a dream to pipe out :)

So whether you want to go BIG with the GREEN theme or be a little more subtle, Chocolate Stout Cupcakes are definitely the way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

And with that dear Friends, SLAINTE!!!

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Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
1 Cup Stout Beer
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
¾ Cup Quality Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1½  Teaspoons Baking Soda
¾ Teaspoon Salt
2 Large Eggs
⅔ Cup Sour Cream

Irish Cream Buttercream:
4 to 5 Cups Confections Sugar
2 Cups Unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 Tablespoons Irish Cream Liqueur

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners.

Prepare the cupcakes: Put the butter with the stout beer in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs and the sour cream together. Add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly just to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined, making sure to incorporate little pockets of flour on the bottom so that the batter is of equal consistency everywhere.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way if you want flatter cupcakes and 3/4 if you want domed. Bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature.

Prepare the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Slowly drizzle the Irish Cream and whip until combined. Add the rest of the powdered sugar until your desired consistency has been achieved.

Assemble: Fill a pastry bag and pipe buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles or other adornments. Enjoy!

Note: This makes a lot of buttercream so that you can pipe large mounds on the cupcakes. If you prefer less on your cuppies, halve the amounts.