If someone asked my 8-year-old self to name my favorite ice cream flavor, I would have immediately shouted, “mint chocolate chip!” My love of mint chocolate chip probably had a lot to do with the fact that my childhood friend Molly loved mint chocolate chip ice cream, and by default, I did too. (As an aside, the lunches Molly brought to school regularly contained a peanut butter and mint jelly sandwich, which I also coveted.)
Since the end of March typically signals the end of my month-long Thin Mint binge (thank you/darn you girl scouts), and it’s Marchocolate, I wanted to make a mint-chocolate dessert of some sort. In the past, I have experienced very little success baking with mint extract. The flavor always seems to come across too strong and too artificial for my tastes.
Fortunately, I finally found a recipe for mint chocolate chip cupcakes that did not disappoint. The mint flavor in both the mint chocolate chip cupcakes and the mint frosting was enough to taste yet light enough to work with the chocolate.
I halved the recipe and baked 11 cupcakes, though I’m confident the recipe would yield an even dozen if the cupcake papers were filled just under the brim (instead of to the brim), and the baker limited batter samples to no more than one spoonful (instead of two or three). I added only 1/4 cup of mini-chocolate chips, and in hindsight, I wish I would have added 1/3 cup or even 1/2 cup as I only got a chocolate chip about every two bites. I topped off the cupcakes with a garnish of mint leaves from the wild mint that grows in my neighbor’s back yard (it’s okay – she knows I use her mint).
Like baking with mint? In need of more minty recipes? Check out my Mint Condition board on Pinterest. Enjoy!
- For the Cupcakes
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3 ounces buttermilk
- ¼-1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
- For the Frosting:
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste
- green food color, if desired
- mint leaves and chocolate shavings, if desired, for garnish
- Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Continue to mix until well incorporated.
- Add half of the dry cocoa powder mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat until combined.
- Pour in the buttermilk, mix until combined, then add the remaining dry cocoa powder mixture.
- Mix until just combined, then fold in the mini-chocolate chips.
- Fill each well of a muffin pan lined with paper liners with the batter; fill to slightly under the rim of the well.
- Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just a crumb or two.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar together.
- Add the cream and peppermint extract and continue to mix at high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- If desired, color the frosting with green food color and garnish the cupcakes with mint leaves and/or chocolate shavings.