Sunday, 11 January 2009
Mint choc chip cupcakes
We all know the benefits of peppermint. Depending on who you listen to it will cure just about any ailment going as well as making your teeth smell nice. However, if you’re anything like me (lucky, lucky you!), you would probably rather eat your own feet than drink peppermint tea. I have tried, I really have but as soon as that cup of watery, green tinged minty infusion assails my nostrils I start to feel it wasn’t a good idea; if it gets as far as my mouth my gag reflex kicks in and I have to pour it down the sink and make a proper brew. And yet I love peppermint; I can eat more After Eights than should be humanly possible.
These cupcakes could be the solution to increasing my intake of peppermint. I really liked them but they seemed to get an almost Marmite-like love-hate reaction from my eatership; they are clearly an acquired taste – I always feel it’s important to point things like this out to you!
The rich, chocolate cupcakes would be lovely on their own or with other buttercreams. As they use both cocoa and chocolate chips you get a double whammy of chocolate in both taste and texture.
The dominant flavour is the mint buttercream icing. Normally I’m not a fan of colourings but I think it’s necessary here. After all, would mint choc chip ice cream have the same allure without it’s mad greenness?
The peppermint extract should be used sparingly unless you want your buttercream to taste like toothpaste. Now there’s an idea – a cupcake that cleans your teeth as you eat it.......we would all be cavity free in no time!
Footnote: Having just eaten one of these a day after making, I would advise you all to make the buttercream a day in advance. It's definitely mellowed into a fuller, lovely mint flavour whereas on the day it was a bit harsh.
For the cupcakes:
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed)
20g cocoa powder
105g self raising flour
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g milk chocolate chips
For the buttercream:
100g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed)
3-4 drops peppermint extract
For decoration: chocolate buttons or sprinkles
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cases.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until it is pale, light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one by one.
- Beat in the milk.
- Beat in the cocoa powder, flour and bicarbonate of soda.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon into the 12 paper cases. Don’t worry about levelling the surface – this will happen when they go into the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out cleanly. Mine took 20 minutes.
- Leave to cool, still in the tin, on a wire rack for 10 minutes or so before removing from the tin and leaving to cool completely.
- Now make the buttercream: beat the butter until it turns a lighter shade and looks fluffy and light.
- Add half of the icing sugar and beat.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until you have a light buttercream.
- Beat in one tablespoon of milk. You’re looking for a light, spreadable consistency but not runny. If necessary beat in a second tablespoon of milk.
- Beat in the peppermint extract. Start with a couple of drops and taste before you add any more. It’s down to your personal taste whether you decide to add more but I warn you that it’s easy to add too much and ruin your buttercream. You can always add more but you can’t take it out once it’s added!
- Beat in the green colouring.
- Spread the buttercream over the top of the cupcakes and top with the chocolate decoration of your choice.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.