Friday, December 7, 2007

Snow and Ice Cupcakes!

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.

White Chocolate Mint Buttercream

4 large egg whites
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.


Bellini Valli said...

Very innovative Shazam!!!! I love the brittle!!

Anonymous said...

Those are just beautiful. Good work!

Zylo said...

Oh, these look so good! I love mint, especially when it's creamy. I'll have to try these.

anna said...

these look wonderful - yummy and sparkly and gorgeous!

Deborah said...

I love the brittle!! Now I want to go make some cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

Question: Is there any other way to know that the frosting is "ready" without a thermometer? All I have is a meat thermometer. Also, I just added the mint extract in with the vanilla since the recipe didn't specify. I forgot to buy enough eggs, so I'll be making the frosting tomorrow. So far, the batter tastes great!

Zylo said...

Sorry, it was me, Zylo, who posted the last comment. Don't know why is says anon.

Mary said...

Thanks everyone for the positive comments!

Zylo- I used an instant read meat thermometer when I made the frosting. I don't know how else to do it. I think pretty much any thermometer will work as long as it will read 140. Let me know how it works out! (oh and yeah, the cupcake batter is really good!)

Zylo said...

Sigh. I had to cop out on the frosting. I realized I wouldn't have enough time today. One day! It looks so good and I know would go great with these cupcakes. They were really great. I didn't get to pop my buttercream cherry, but hey cheating tastes just as good.