Last weekend, I decided I would make something green for my coworkers in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not normally one to really celebrate the holiday in any grand style (Not Irish, and I’m not the biggest celebrator of holidays anyway, save a few. Just call me a big fuddy-duddy.), but I made an exception this time.
It started with a superb little pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream that I enjoyed a few weeks ago. I went back to the freezer to have another small helping only to find it was gone. (Teenagers in the house means this happens more often than I’d like – c’est la vie!) But since then, the idea of these cupcakes, made with brownies and topped with frosting reminiscent of mint chocolate chip ice cream, just stuck in my mind until I decided to make them.
And so I did.
I opted for brownie base rather than just a regular chocolate cupcake because, let’s face it: brownies are better than regular cake. It’s just a fact. At least it is in my mind. Besides, I’ve always found that making brownies gluten-free is so simple, as the flour is not as much of a star ingredient in a brownie as it is in cake – instead, sugar and eggs play a chief role. And of course, the cocoa powder. Because chocolate is the chief-est of all chief roles in brownies! (Yes, I totally just made up the word “chief-est”. Let’s just go with it and move on.)
Once the brownie-cupcakes were baked, I made the frosting. It was super-simple, and because of the chocolate chips stirred in, I opted to simply smear on the frosting rather than try to carefully pipe something out. Definitely a time-saver, and it saved me from my otherwise perfection-driven tendency to spend far too long trying to execute perfectly piped frosting.
The end result was delightful. A sweet, chocolate-y treat with the pleasing, but not overpowering flavor of mint. The brownies were rich and full of fudgy chocolate. And that frosting? It was truly like my ice cream I was craving.
So even though St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, I felt this treat just had to be shared with you. Because mint (and green food) isn’t just for March 17th. I think this would be a great treat for any time of year. I hope you agree.
Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Cupcakes (gluten-free, dairy-free options)
For the cupcakes:
1/2 c unsalted butter (can use vegan buttery sticks for dairy-free)
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t peppermint extract
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T tapioca starch
1/2 t unflavored gelatin
1/4 t kosher salt
For the frosting:
1/2 c butter, softened (can substitute vegan buttery sticks for dairy-free)
About 4 c powdered sugar
2-4 T milk (use almond or coconut milk for dairy-free)
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t peppermint extract
5-8 drops each yellow and blue natural food coloring (or until desired color is reached)
1 c mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is gluten and dairy-free)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 9 cupcake liners.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together over medium heat, stirring until completely melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs, vanilla and peppermint extracts, and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, gelatin and salt, and whisk those into the butter mixture until completely blended.
Portion out the batter equally into the lined muffin tin (about 1/4 cup of batter each). Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center still brings out some chocolate, but the centers are set and no longer jiggly. (You don’t want to wait until the toothpick comes out clean or the cupcakes will be dry.) Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth and start adding in the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Add the milk and beat until the texture is stiff enough to hold but still creamy, adding more powdered sugar or more milk until desired texture is reached. Add the extracts and food coloring and beat well. Stir in half of the chocolate chips.
Frost the cupcakes with the frosting once they have cooled. With the remaining chocolate chips, microwave in a small bowl 30 seconds at a time, and stir until melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the frosted cupcakes.
Store in the refrigerator, and serve at room temperature. Makes 9 cupcakes.