You may recall the last time chocolate ganache made its way to these pages, a few months ago. Then it accompanied peanut butter in sandwich cookies, a classic pairing. By popular demand (or so – ahem – I like to imagine) it returns. In today’s matchup, it compliments peppermint in a cupcake version of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.
Chocolate makes so many things better, one of the reasons you haven’t seen the last of it in these pages, but it has a special affinity for mint. Think of peppermint patties and, as just mentioned, those awesome Girl Scout cookies. Turning them into cupcakes was a stroke of culinary genius, surely one of our civilization’s cleverest adaptions, don’t you think?
I first saw the idea on a great website called My Baking Addiction. Not sure if the site’s creator also developed the recipe herself, but no matter where it debuted, what a lucky find on my part!
Between the cupcake itself, the velvety ganache and the cookie crumbles crowning them all, there’s enough cocoa in these things to satisfy even the most ardent chocoholic’s deepest yearnings. A bold claim, but these already were tested on a true chocolate addict and produced a whole range of happy comments and noises, so a good recipe.
Plus, for these I used the last of the really good Belgian cocoa powder many of you already tasted in last fall’s brownies. The mint frosting features its own distinctive touch, with finely macerated peppermint leaves adding authentically minty taste and color.
Most of you can judge for yourselves tomorrow, when I bring these to share with the office. A couple months early, but all the green inspires me – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Thin Mint Cupcakes
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk (*1)
For the Ganache:
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the Frosting:
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- green food dye (*2)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with liners. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour half the dry ingredients into the oil mixture and stir.
Add the milk and gently stir again, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over-stir.
Fill the cupcake liners half-full (*3) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
Place the chocolate chips and the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 40 seconds. Remove from oven and stir. Alternate between stirring and microwaving at ten-second intervals until smooth. (*4)
Dip the cooled cupcakes into the ganache and turn right-side up, to allow the ganache to set.
Meanwhile, beat the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat again. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency (*5), adding milk to thin if necessary. Mix in green food dye to achieve the color you seek.
Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes and sprinkle with crushed Thin Mint cookies. (*6)
1 – I used buttermilk, as it makes the cupcakes slightly moister.
2 – If you can find them, pulse in a food processor, until smooth, peppermint leaves and a dash or two of water. Allow to “steep” for twenty minutes then strain, reserving the minty liquid for the frosting. This will cut down on the food dye you’ll have to use, and it will add a distinctive, natural touch.
3 – Half-full will cause the cupcakes to dome very slightly; 60% full produces a nice round top. Go with your preference.
4 – As you may recall from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies recipe, the ganache is stubborn and for the longest time will refuse to cooperate. Be patient, keep stirring, and suddenly, unexpectedly, you’ll have velvet.
5 – About halfway between whipped cream and creamy peanut butter.
6 – I couldn’t find any Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, so I used Keebler’s Grasshoppers; nearly as good.
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