March 10, 2013 by Casey Foedisch
Those damn Girl Scouts, man. They’ll get you every time. Obviously, they got my family, and the boxes in the closet are proof of their sneaky adorableness. I ate all the Caramel Delights, but there was a box of Thin Mints left.
Since today is my Dad’s birthday and he won’t be home ’til later, I decided to get creative and make him some birthday cupcakes. Thin Mints are his favorite by far, so I hit Pinterest to dig through my boards for the perfect chocolate Thin Mint cupcake recipe.
The search did not go well. Everything included cream cheese (not my favorite to bake with), sour cream (I don’t even know why), and other weird shit that I was uninterested in risking. Finally, I found the perfect recipe from Runs With Spatulas; pretty and straightforward. I decided to use only the cupcake part and ditch the filling and frosting ideas, instead going for my own spin on a mint chocolate ganache that I would pipe on. The directions I adapted are from Savory Sweet Life, sans liqueur. A bag of Andes Creme De Menthe chips and heavy cream did the trick perfectly.
We were in business!
I tried to get my ingredients together first and take a nice picture, but that lasted about five seconds.
First, I decided to make my ganache, because it needed to cool a long time before I could pipe it on like the lovely picture on the original recipe. Boil heavy cream…how hard could that be? I can’t possibly screw up on the first step, can I? Oh, yes. Yes, I can.
Alright, shake it off. Stir that ish into the Andes chips! GOGOGO! It’s alright, he’s gonna make it!
And he did make it. Actually, it looked really pretty when it was done. I let it sit on the counter for a while, but then I threw it in the fridge to cool, which I should have done right away. That stuff takes forever to set up.
Onward to the actual baking! Word of warning to other derps like me: do not punch the top of the cocoa to open the seal. It will backfire in your face. Or, in my case, all over my hands.
First step was the boiling water and cocoa, which is the only slightly weird part of this recipe, but it’s easy, so I let it go. That, too, looked really neat when it was whisked.
Aaaaand, unnecessary photo of my beautiful King Arthur Flour whisk my boyfriend’s parents game me for Christmas (along with a lovely cupcake making set).
Bowl two had the sifted flour, baking soda and powder, and salt.
And bowl three was my glorious mixer with the butter/sugar concoction. Seriously, it looks really bizarre. I thought I was supposed to be creaming it, but it turned out like this, which worked fine.
At this point, I have a stupid amount of bowls in use. These three, plus my ganache bowl in the fridge, and the two pots I used for boiling. The kitchen was starting to develop a healthy mess.
Mixing made it worse. The batter was supposed to be “thin and runny,” as per the recipe, but mine was not at all. That might be because I used all-purpose flour and not cake flour, but I don’t know. I’m not an expert, that’s for damn sure, and I was not about to go buy cake flour. I did Google the difference and found some tricks for making regular flour into cake flour, but that sounded too daring. I didn’t want to push my luck.
Things were going so well, I decided to get creative. This recipe is just a chocolate cupcake, but I wanted to have that minty deliciousness inside of it. Obviously, the logical solution is to throw a bunch of Thin Mints in a bag and beat the hell out of them. Duh.
Mix that ish in! This is where my batter gets beautiful. Like, actually stunning.
Into the oven! While those little guys were cooking, I cleaned up after myself. I’m trying really hard not to be that shithead that leaves the sink looking like this:
Mom would not be amused. The cupcakes took exactly 18 minutes to cook, and they came out looking gorgeous, super dark and rich. I had to wait a lot longer for my ganache to set enough to be ready. (Have I complained about that enough, yet?)
The ganache piping was a bit of a challenge. I’ve never made ganache before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of piping/setup/etc. Clearly, it should have been made ahead of time if I wanted to save an extra 30 minutes of waiting for the stuff to be solid enough to shove in a bag to pipe.
If you want your life to be a thousand times easier, use this method of filling frosting bags from Karen’s Cookies. I won’t go into it because she does such an excellent job, but it made cleanup way less of a hassle. It was my first time trying it, and I’m not 100% yet, but I would definitely do that again. Actually, I probably won’t go back to my old method of icing-in-the-bag-then-all-over-everything.
So, the cupcakes! I iced them with the ganache using an 18 Wilton tip. Ideally, a bigger tip would be better, but I don’t have one on hand and I wanted to try to replicate the third picture from the ganache recipe. Practice is needed (some of them look like dying octopi), but overall, they turned out pretty good.
And then, I abused some more Thin Mints and threw them on top because it felt right.
Thin Mint Cupcake Recipe (Adapted from Runs With Spatulas)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa (or Dutch press)
- 1 3/8 cup flour (I used all-purpose)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- crushed Thin Mints, appx. 8
- Preheat oven at 350°F, set up your muffin tins with baking cups.
- Bowl 1: pour boiling water over cocoa, whisk smooth, and let cool.
- Bowl 2: sift flour, baking soda and powder, and salt together.
- Bowl 3 (mixer): cream butter and sugar until “light and fluffy” (I got weird-ass crumbs, probably because I threw them in together instead of creaming the butter first.) Beat in eggs one at a time, wait until mixed completely before adding the next.
- Alternate adding contents of Bowls 1 and 2 to Bowl 3 until fully mixed.
- Mix in the crushed Thin Mints!
- Fill baking cups 2/3 full, and bake for 18-22 minutes (mine were 18) or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to cool totally before icing.
Mint Chocolate Ganache (Adapted from Savory Sweet Life)
- 12 ounces (one bag) of Andes Creme De Menthe baking chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Put chocolate into a big bowl.
- Boil heavy cream on medium heat until it boils. DON’T LET IT OVERFLOW/SCALD!
- As soon as it boils, pull it off the stove and pour over chocolate in bowl and stir until “mixed and glossy.”
- Refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until it can hold it’s shape before piping.