Thin Mint Cupcakes

Since I last wrote, we've had a string (the longest in a LONG while) of gorgeous days.  Every day has been between 55 and 70 degrees, and it's just been beautiful!  While I'm glad to report that this string of nice weather (am I talking too much about the weather?!) has not led me to eat more ice cream, it's been tempting.  Every day.  Especially that day in the middle of the week that included a roller-coaster-y emotion day, because, you know they just happen sometimes, and when they do, it's time for ice cream.  Or chocolate.  Or, better yet, ice cream and cake or brownies and sprinkles and whipped cream and cherries and . . . .  You get my point.  That.

But I didn't have them.  There are even cupcakes in the freezer waiting for us to be finished with our 30 days, and I didn't go find them.  That took some self control.

The cupcakes came from KEB's birthday party!  They were the culprits that led me to want to eat a WHOLE BOWL of cupcake batter for the first time in my life.  They also taught me that it is entirely impossible to bake and not sample anything at all.  I mean, at least for me it is.

I had grand plans for these cupcakes.  They were going to be a baking adventure, and they ended up being a baking adventure, just not the kind I intended.  There was glass and blood and general unhappiness.  So we'll skip that part.  Let's pretend they were always supposed to turn out like they did.  Don't let the extra 2 bags of chocolate chips in my pantry fool you.

I started with a Martha Stewart recipe for chocolate cupcakes.  The batter turned out just like chocolate mousse.  Seriously, it was light and fluffy and amazing.  And I wanted to eat the whole bowl.

Then, I topped them each with creme de menthe-Thin Mint frosting.  Thin Mint frosting had been on my mind since I saw it on Picky Palate, but then the (un)fortunate realization that I had all of a drop of peppermint extract led me to add creme de menthe instead.  Good choice right there.

I added crushed up Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies to the mix, and it was amazing.  Alternately, since I haven't stocked up on enough girl scout cookies to last me for all my frosting needs, I think I'll try the same thing with mint Oreos at some point.  Hey, the Oreo cream might just make the frosting even better!

And the best part is that I went out and bought pastry bag tips to use for the frosting, so even though it had cookie chunks in it, I could still pipe it on top of the cupcakes!  I ended up making 1 1/2 times the original recipe, and still just barely had enough for the 24 cupcakes.  If you don't pipe the frosting, I'm assuming it would take a lot less.
Also, I made my first sock kitty for KEB's birthday, too! 

Thin Mint Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart
Frosting adapted from Picky Palate

For the cupcakes:

5 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, and set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water.  The water should not touch the bowl.  Stir the chocolate until smooth and melted.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another medium bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed.  Mix until light and fluffy.

Add the melted chocolate on low speed, and mix.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed until each egg is incorporated.  Mix in the sour cream.

Add half of the flour mixture, beating on low speed until just incorporated.  Mix in 1/2 cup water, then add the remaining flour mixture.  Again, beat until just incorporated.

In a cupcake pan lined with paper liners, fill each liner until the batter is 1/8 inch from the top.

Bake until tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.

For the frosting:
3 sticks butter, softened
5 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. creme de menthe
10 Thin Mint cookies (or mint Oreos!), crushed (fairly finely)

Beat the butter with a mixer until light and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined.  Add the creme de menthe.  Mix well.

Mix in the cookies.

Frost the cupcakes!


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