Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache and Mint Cream

These light and fluffy cupcakes are a perfect vessel for fudgy ganache.  They are very easy to make and require ordinary ingredients.  The mint cream adds a nippy not-so-sweet element, and the green candy garnish is a tribute to St. Patrick’s Day.  These cupcakes do take a bit of time to complete all the steps, but they are beatiful and delicious and well worth the effort.  Enjoy!
~Joanie


Ingredients 

Cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Ganache:
8 oz (approx 1 ½ Cups) Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Mint Whipped Cream:
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
3 Tbs Confectioners Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
1 Tsp Mint Extract

Candy Garnish:
1/2 Cup White or Chocolate Baking Chips
Food coloring, if desired

Directions:
Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, half & half, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for about one minute.

Stir in boiling water (don’t worry if the batter looks thin).
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.  Bake for approximately 18-22 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

 

Ganache Filling

Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream just to a frothy boil, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate.  Let it sit about 1 minute to allow the chocolate to melt.  Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is uniform in color and glossy.

 

 To Fill the Cupcakes

Make a slit in the cupcakes, about an inch long, and about half way deep with a plastic knife.  (The cake won’t stick to a plastic knife.)  Lightly pinch the cupcake so the slit opens up like a mouth.  Using a piping bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped, carefully fill the opening with ganache.  You want it to come to the top, but not overflow.

 

Mint Cream & Candy Garnish

Picture12

To create candy garnish, using a microwave safe bowl, melt candy for about 30 seconds in microwave.  Add food coloring to desired color.  Use a piping bag to create designs on wax paper.  Allow to cool completely in freezer before handling.


In a chilled metal bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in sugar and mint until peaks form.  If you want a sweeter cream, add more confectioners sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.  Be sure to taste between additions.

Tip:  You can make the whipped cream ahead, but don’t “frost” the cupcakes until just before serving.

Use an piping bag to pipe whipped cream onto cupcakes.  Top with ganache drizzle & candy garnish or fresh mint leaf, if desired.  Serve immediately.

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies You Will Ever Eat!!!!

Janna:  I’m not kidding when I tell you these will be the most fantastic chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat!  They are easy and fun to make (my kids always take over), and they stay moist and chewy!  I’ve done variations on these cookies like, adding caramel bits, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, nuts or coconut!   If you decide to use peanut butter chips may I suggest you use milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet as milk chocolate and peanut butter compliment each other better!  The sky’s the limit!!!

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 package vanilla instant pudding powder (3.4 oz)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  (My oven is electric and tends to run hot so I set the dial at 350 degrees.  See notes below on varying oven temperatures.)

In large bowl combine flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt, set aside.  In stand mixer, beat butter, both sugars and vanilla until creamy.

Add eggs and blend well, beat in flour mixture about a cup at a time.  Stir in chocolate chips.



Using a spoon or cookie scoop, make about 1 ½ inch portions and place onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.   Watch for cookie dough bandits!!


Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.  Test cookies by lightly pressing with your finger on to the top, if it looks or feels too doughy cook them for an additional minute.  Remember that once the cookies are out of the oven they will continue to bake a little until they cool, it’s okay if they look slightly underdone.  If you like your cookies a little crunchier, bake for an additional minute or so but watch them closely.

Makes about 36 2-inch cookies.

Varying oven degrees are tricky.  I’ve been baking these cookies for years and the bake time changes dramatically with each oven, from about 8 minutes to up to 13 depending on your oven.  If you’re unsure about how your oven heats, invest in an oven thermometer.
I know you and your family will enjoy these, mine never last more than a day!  The vanilla pudding mix, adds a delicious vanilla flavor and also keeps the cookie soft and chewy even if over-baked.  This recipe is easily doubled and stores well in the freezer baked or unbaked.