Girl Scout Throwback: Thin Mint Cupcakes

Has anyone watched Unique Sweets on the Cooking Channel??  Talk about mouthwatering inspiration for anyone who loves to bake!  Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they feature a recipe on the website, either inspired by or actually from the bakery of the featured items on a given episode.  After seeing the pear and goat cheese cupcakes (sounds crazy, but I NEED to try them) from More in Chicago, I went online to find a recipe.  I stumbled across this one, inspired by a Girl Scout favorite.  I had a short fling with the Girl Scouts, or maybe the Brownies, back when I was in the single digits.  I say fling, because I promptly quit after I realized that it wasn’t just about crafts and cookies…

These decadent treats are the real deal, I promise.  Though super rich, they are delicious.  Be sure to have lots of people to share with, you can only eat just one!

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
2 cups crushed chocolate wafers (I used a food processor)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line 24 muffin cups with liners.  In a small bowl, stir together the crushed cookies and butter until combined. Divide among the prepared cupcake cups. Using a small juice glass or your fingers, press the crumbs into the bottom of the cupcake liners. Bake until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of your electric mixer.  Quickly mix on low to make sure all the dry ingredients are combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ones.  Once combined, add in the coffee.  Mix again until just combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners (about 3/4 full). Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the cupcakes from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mint Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 drop green food coloring, optional

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until combined. Stir in the salt, mint extract and, if using, food coloring. Beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip.

Mint Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons mint extract

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and heavy cream until steaming (do not boil). Add the extract. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

To assemble:
Using a cupcake corer, remove the center of the cupcake down to the cookie crust. Fill and top the cupcakes with buttercream and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Set aside.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the melted chocolate (dipping until the chocolate meets the liner). Let the cupcakes set on a wire rack before serving, about 1 hour.  Dipping didn’t work for me, so I used a spatula to spread the chocolate on top…

You could also top with some shaved chocolate, though my attempt wasn’t extremely successful.  I was going for the curls, but it was late on a weeknight and my patience was running thin because I was tired…How I haven’t learned that I should only bake in the the morning/afternoon yet is beyond me.  Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn.

Makes: 24 cupcakes
Time: about 2 hours
Adapted from: Trophy Cupcakes Bakery via Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets

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