Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
In the chocolate cupcake battle between fresh spearmint and bottled peppermint extract, so far the peppermint mint extract is winning. “It’s sort of like a thin mint, reincarnated as a cupcake,” I declared to Garrett, about the peppermint extract version, frustrated that my spearmint experiments weren’t working as well. “A thin mint cupcake? I would SO eat that!” countered Garrett. We grow a lot of spearmint, so if I could come up with a recipe for a mint chocolate cupcake that would put a lot of this mint to good use, that would be great. But after several experiments, I must simply declare that peppermint extract is the winner. Not only is it much easier to work with, but the flavor just pairs better with chocolate than spearmint. These peppermint chocolate mint cupcakes, flavored with mint extract, really do taste like a cupcake version of thin mints. I’ve given all of the ones I’ve made away because after eating half a dozen of these addictive cakelettes, I just can’t eat any more.
I may try my hand again in the summer when there is plenty of mint growing, and zucchini, and do a chocolate zucchini mint cupcake version of our chocolate zucchini cake. But until then, here’s the thin-mint version, enjoy!
Cupcake recipe is adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes. If you would like to frost the cupcakes, I've included two recipes for a mint-flavored frosting. The butter cream version is quite sweet, the cream cheese version is a little less sweet and has a tang from the cream cheese.
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Optional Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature (1 stick, 4 ounces)
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
Optional Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 Tbps butter, room temperature (1/2 stick, 2 ounces)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- Fresh mint for garnish
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with cupcake liners. Use a double boiler or add an inch or two of water to a medium sized saucepan and place a metal bowl over it, bringing the water to a simmer. Add butter (cut into chunks), chocolate, cocoa to the bowl. As the butter and chocolate melt, whisk until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.
2 In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
3 In a large bowl (can use a mixer), beat the eggs. Add the salt, the sugar, the mint extract and beat until well combined. Slowly add in the chocolate butter mixture and beat until combined.
4 Add in half of the sifted flour mixture, mix to combine. Mix in the sour cream. Mix in the remaining flour mixture.
5 Spoon the batter evenly into the lined muffin cups. Place in oven in middle rack. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6 Let cool in muffin tin on a rack for 15 minutes. Then gently remove cupcakes from the tin and let cool completely before frosting.
Use frosting of choice, flavored with a little mint extract. Garnish with a little fresh mint. Recipes for simple butter cream or cream cheese frosting follow.
1 In an electric mixer, beat the butter (if making buttercream) or butter and cream cheese (if making cream cheese frosting) at medium speed until creamy. Beat in milk (if making buttercream) and mint extract.
2 Slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Taste and add more mint extract if it isn't minty enough for you, or powdered sugar if it isn't sweet enough for you.