Guess what??? It’s Monday and I have the day off with my husband. I’m SO excited! Before I became permanent and my schedule changed, we had the weekends off together, but now we only get one day off together once every five weeks so it’s cause for celebration. I’m going to relish it.
Speaking of my husband and celebrations, I made these cupcakes for his birthday in December, and everyone at the party fell in love. Mel calls these “over-the-top” and I’d have to agree. It starts with a moist, deep chocolate cupcake. Then there’s the cool & creamy mint frosting. Garnished with peppermint ganache and an Andes mint. But there’s more to these cupcakes than what meets the eye, and my only regret is that I did not have the chance to snap a photo of the inside to show you they are also filled with the same peppermint ganache that is drizzled over the top. Making them, you might say, over the top. :)
These would be great for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities!
Andes Mint Cupcakes
1 recipe of your favorite chocolate cake*, baked into 24 cupcakes and cooled completely
Chocolate Mint Filling:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Green food coloring
24 Andes mints for garnish
For the mint filling, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir. Repeat the process until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract and powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature (but don’t let it get too stiff) and pour it into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, or a squeeze bottle with a tip.
Insert the decorating tip or tip of the squeeze bottle into the center of the cupcake and press gently to fill the middle of the cupcake with the mint ganache. You can be pretty generous, squeezing until you see the top of the cupcake start to rise a little. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
For the frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the heavy cream and peppermint and vanilla extracts. Beat until light and fluffy. Add green food coloring until the color you like is achieved.
Frost the cooled, filled cupcakes with frosting (using a large star tip, I used Wilton # 1M) or simply spread the frosting in a large dollop (again, you can be generous-there is plenty) with a butter knife or flat spatula. Garnish with a drizzle of leftover ganache (make sure the ganache is completely cool or it will melt the frosting when you drizzle it on top of the cupcake), and an unwrapped Andes mint. Serve at room temperature.
*I used a devil’s food cake mix, but this is my favorite from-scratch chocolate cake recipe.
Recipe source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
I had to share a few more photos from his party, which was actually only half for his birthday (our preacher and his wife had a holiday dinner/birthday party combo). One of the games we played was holding paper plates on top of our heads and trying to draw a picture of Dennis playing his guitar without looking. You have no idea how difficult this is until you try to do it! This is what I ended up with:
However, this is what his best friend, Jack, came up with:
Here’s Dennis and Jack trying to look natural after I urged them to try embracing each other for a photo. I don’t think this is natural for most men, but they pulled it off better than I expected. :)
And here’s Dennis practicing his Kung Fu moves with our preacher’s bat’leth (a Klingon weapon…as in something a Trekkie would totally recognize but me, not so much) shortly before we left (and yes, this thing is super sharp and dangerous! Yet he was swinging it like the pro he is.):
Your Klingon Kung Fu is strong, honey.
Reminder: this is the last week to get your postcards out to Beverly! You can get the deets here if you missed the announcement: Operation Postcard for Beverly.