Growing up, my favorite girl scout cookie flavor was always “animal treasures”. You know, the shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate with an assortment of animals embossed on the top. They were sweet and chocolatey and fun! It’s now been several years since they’ve been sold (RIP, lil’ guys) and I still find myself anxiously wondering each season if they’ll magically pop back into the lineup. Luckily, the new s’mores cookies are becoming my new favorite.
Despite my love for animal treasures and s’mores, it’s clear that thin mints are the clear favorite worldwide. It seems that every year, they make up the majority of the sales. So for my second cupcake creation, I had to give thin mints a shot. I crushed up the thin mints and created a delicious cookie crust, made a rich chocolate cupcake, filled it with mint chocolate ganache, and frosted it with mint chocolate frosting. If you’re a mint lover – enjoy! You’re in for a real treat.
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
(Makes 12-15 cupcakes)
For the thin mint cookie crust:
1 cup (about 15 cookies) thin mints, crushed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
For the chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
For the mint chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup (about 6 oz) milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
For the mint chocolate frosting:
2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp mint chocolate ganche (recipe follows)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line your cupcake pan with liners.
Prepare the cookie crust; add the thin mints to a ziploc bag and seal. Using your fist or the flat side of a meat tenderizer, crush the cookies until it is a coarse mixture. Add to the melted butter and stir until incorporated. Press about 1 tbsp into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Bake for 3 minutes and remove from the oven.
Prepare the batter; combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. In a couple batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. With the mixer at a low speed, add the boiling water. Be patient – it will take about a minute for everything to incorporate.
Next, prepare the ganache; in a small saucepan on medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over a medium bowl containing the chocolate. Whisk together for 2-3 minutes, or until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated with the cream. Add the peppermint extract and mix.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly and using a cupcake corer or teaspoon, remove a small amount of cake from the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with ganache to the rim, about 2 tsp worth.
While the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting; beat the sugar and butter until they are incorporated. Small clumps are okay. Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat for 2-3 more minutes, or until desired consistency is reached. If too thin, add more confectioners sugar. If too thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time. Frost the cupcakes however you’d like!
– cupcake on,