Friday, December 25, 2009

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes


I am not much of a baker......I am more of a what's in the fridge and how I can I make that into a meal kind of girl... it usually turns out to be a stir-fry, noodle dish, or soup. But, since I have lived in my place for about a month now... I wanted to feel like my place is a home, and nothing makes a house a home more than the aroma of freshly baked deserts swirling around your kitchen. Also, you can't go wrong with cupcakes, and they are so convenient! You don't need a knife or a fork.... or even a plate if you're not a messy eater.... or if you are... who cares! They are delicious, put you in a good mood no matter what, and you can take them anywhere.

So, below is how to make a desert that will make you smile:


Things you will need:

-Cupcake liners
-Muffin pan
-Three good sized mixing bowls
-whisk
-mixing spoon or an electric mixer
-Ice Cream Scooper to pour the batter into the muffin pan (a ladle will work too)

A quick note: When you pour the batter into the pan, fill 3 quarters of the way full.
For the Cupcakes (12 servings)
**If you omit the peppermint extract and chocolate chips from the ingrediants below, this is the basic chocolate cupcake, which you can use for anything.

1 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar (carbon free, if possible)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour (unbleached)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use green and blacks)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

For the Icing
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used jungle soft shortening)
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
small drop of green food coloring

Top with mini vegan chocolate chips

Directions:
-Make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven... that is where the cupcakes cook the best.
-Preheat the oven to 350
-Place the cupcake liners in the muffin pan

Whisk together the apple cider vinegar and soymilk in a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. (I have no idea why..... but it works). Add the sugar, oil, vanilla, mint, and almond extracts, and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, add the flour, coca powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients together, and start to pour in the dry ingredients to the wet ones in three batches so that you're not struggling to mix it all together at once. You can do it manually, which I used to do... but since I started using my mix master.... it's become my best friend.... after my cat. Make sure it's mixed until no large lumps remain (a few tiny ones are okay. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix in the batter. I used the small mini ones, but you can use the normal size chocolate chips or even crushed ones. Also, the chocolate chips don't have to say vegan.. just read the ingredients... most semi sweet or dark chocolate is vegan.

Once the batter is ready, pour into liners. I use a ladle to do this... it's not the easiest way, but it works just fine. The best thing to use is an ice cream scooper. You get the same size each time and there is less mess. Make sure to fill them three quarters of the way full since they rise. Bake 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When the pan has cooled off, take the muffins out and place on a cooling rack or just somewhere where they can cool off.

Directions for the Icing:
While the cupcakes are cooling.... start to make the icing. I also used the mix master for this, but feel free to mix manually. I know you can do it!

Cream the shortening for a few seconds to soften it. It's easiest to do this with a fork. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and a splash of soymilk and mix to incorporate. Continue to add the sugar and milk and mix until everything is incorporated and mixed together and smooth and creamy. Add the mint and vanilla extracts and coloring and mix to incorporate. You have the option here to mix in the chocolate chips in the batter, or leave them out to top them off depending on preference.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes have cooled.... you can start to put the icing on the cupcakes. You have to really make sure they are cooled or the icing will start to melt on them. So, wait about an hour. I never use a pastry bag... it's not my style.... but maybe one day I will. You can though. the cookbook I am using says to use a bag with a #21 star tip and pipe the icing onto the cupcake in a spiral form outside in. I actually just use a spoon and plopped the icing on the cupcake and then used the spoon to layer and smooth on the top of cupcake. I kinda like the homemade look to them, and they also all end up looking different when you don't use the pastry bag. If you didn't add the chocolate chips to the batter, take about 5 to 7 of them and top off each of the cupcakes.

There you have it.... Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes .... eat as many as you want!

Afterthoughts:
I was invited to a Christmas Eve party at my friends house, so I brought these cupcakes to contribute to the party. I used a recipe from a cookbook called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I have made other cupcakes from this book for the people I work with, and they are always a huge hit! I know my friend that invited me over loves mint, so I decided to borrow this recipe of the Mint Chocolate Chip cupcakes from this book with two or three minor adjustments.

What's great about making vegan deserts is everyone is so impressed...... and they say things like... what did you do to get them so moist since eggs aren't used? I wish I had some special ingredient to mention.... like chick peas... or parsnips...but I just say.. ummm... flour... oil... soymilk? It just goes to show.... things are just as good or better when they are vegan! Another thing I love is how people tend to feel better about eating it because they assume it is healthy..... and I am okay with that, but the truth is, these are filled with lots of sugar so they are probably not much healthier. Who cares though.... they are amazing... and eat them in moderation and you'll be fine! And, even if you don't eat them in moderation.... you'll still be fine! You can't go wrong!

Chocolate Mint on Foodista

2 comments:

Beth said...

These cupcakes look great and I will definitely make them for my coworkers at our next event. In some ways they are healthier than the traditional alternative because they have no eggs and are lower in cholesterol. Most of the sugar comes in the frosting. Without the frosting there is very little sugar per cupcake. But like you said, moderation is the key factor here. If you've got a sweet tooth like me it doesn't hurt to partake every once in awhile.

Ren said...

These could not be any more YUMMY!!! You had me at mint... ;)