Another month has gone by and that means it's time for another Cupcake Hero event over at Quirky Cupcake! (She's also paired up with Bake and Destroy)! Yay! I have so much fun with these! This month's secret ingredient is mint. That was kind of a toughie because the Brain doesn't like mint and I have to admit I'm a little picky about it.
While I was sitting at work watching the post office. (I have the best seat in town because I know when everyone's at the post office and if I knew who people were I might know some serious gossip. Someday...) I began to think about mint things that I enjoy. I started thinking about peppermint ice cream and its creamy mint flavor. Then I started thinking about those commercials from a long time ago where people bit into a York Peppermint Patty and they got the feeling of skiing naked through the Alps (or something like that). And then I was thinking about all this snow and ice we have on the ground now. And then I started thinking I better get some work done so the Brain doesn't yell at me again.
So I present my Snow and Ice Cupcake. It's a white chocolate mint cupcake with a white chocolate mint buttercream and a peppermint candy brittle piece as garnish. I think the cupcake and frosting really capture the creamy mellow mint flavor I was looking for. Mint can be ridiculously overpowering. The fluffy softness of the frosting makes me think of snow and the peppermint candy brittle has that powerful icy mint flavor. (I have to admit that when I saw the photo of the Peppermint Ice Cream Candyland Cake in December's Bon Appetit, I thought it was really cool and when the secret ingredient was revealed I knew I wanted to make the candy brittle with just peppermint candies.) I found some really cool edible glitter, so I had to sprinkle that on top too. They're so pretty!
I also know that Catholic Charities is getting a dozen of these and the County Recorder's office is getting 6 of them. I have to set them aside because otherwise I might just eat them all for breakfast!
White Chocolate Cupcakes
8 oz. good white chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Leave white chocolate in pot and turn off heat. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk in 3 additions, blending well after each addition. Add warm white chocolate and beat just until blended.
Scoop batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers. Bake for 15 minutes or until just lightly golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on racks.
4 large egg whites
White Chocolate Mint Buttercream
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
12 oz. unsalted butter (very soft)
1/4 tsp mint extract
2 oz. good white chocolate, melted
Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium sized heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently and constantly until egg whites hit 140° and sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whip by machine until thick and cooled, about 5 minutes. Beat in butter a little at a time and continue beating until buttercream is smooth and spreadable. Add mint extract and continue beating. Slowly add melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated.
Peppermint Candy Brittle
adapted from Bon Appetit
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
about 30 peppermint candies smashed in a Ziploc with a meat tenderizer
Place a large sheet of foil on work surface. Stir sugar, water, and corn syrup in small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat and boil without stirring until candy thermometer registers 300°F.
Being very careful, pour syrup slowly onto foil on work surface going up and down the length of the foil so it doesn't spill onto the counter. Using heat proof spatula smooth the syrup into thin. Sprinkle broken peppermints onto syrup. Press the big pieces in without touching the hot syrup. Let cool completely.
When cool break into jagged pieces and stick in frosted cupcakes. This makes way more brittle than needed, but it's pretty good to eat all by itself too.