minty chocolate cupcakes w/ peppermint buttercream*

This year we went all out for St. Patrick's Day!! For breakfast we served green eggs & ham, Irish beef stew for lunch (recipe coming soon), and corned beef and these amazing cupcakes for dinner! Although I really slacked big time and forgot to order some cabbage from my produce company to have corned beef & cabbage, so I ran to the store and I guess everyone else got the memo that it was the day of St. Patty's, because there wasn't a head of cabbage in sight. So....we had to opt for green's the thought that counts, right? This is the first year that we served all three meals Irish style, so I feel like it's a pretty big deal :). Also, it's the first time in history we've attempted to make corned beef. The kids were actually pretty excited about it, which surprised me. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't a fan. I've have corned beef from the can one time, and I can honestly say I'd rather have that than the fresh kind, although it's by no means my favorite thing. But the kids were actually pretty open to it and some were more excited than I've ever seen them. So that's something!!

Onto these cupcakes. Ummmm...delicious!! I did a chocolate cupcake batter and added some Andes mint baking chips, and when the cupcakes were baking the chips kind of just melted into the batter. It wasn't like when you add chocolate chips and they are still in the form of a chocolate chip and harden once cooled. They blended right into the batter and made it even more fluffy with the perfect touch of mint. And the buttercream!! I'm pretty sure I've mentioned on here, probably several times, I am not a buttercream fan. However, I do think I've discovered a great technique and now I like buttercream. Well...I like my buttercream :). And this peppermint buttercream is GOOD. However, I really just kind of have to guess on the measurements for the frosting because I didn't keep that good of track - you know, since I made about 200 cupcakes. But I'll do my best!! Also, if you aren't going to pile the frosting on like I do, I would cut the recipe in half.

Minty Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Peppermint Buttercream
makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup hot water
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large egg
4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 bag Andes mint baking chips

1 lb. butter, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half and half - that's what I used today)
1 - 2 tsp. peppermint extract
Green food coloring, optional
Andes mints, for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with 24 liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the hot water, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Then add the mint baking chips.

Scoop about 1/3 cup of the batter into the cupcake liners. I always spray my pan lightly with some Pam after I fill my liners so that the batter doesn't stick.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cupcake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the heavy whipping cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring and mix on medium-high for about 3-5 minutes. You can add more heavy whipping cream (my "secret" ingredient) until it reaches a nice fluffy consistency.

Put frosting in a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Top with an Andes mint for a cute, decorative touch.

Enjoy these little pieces of heaven!! I already want another one, and I ate two today...OOPS :)



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