For this month’s recipe I made some delicious Dark Chocolate Mint Cupcakes. Before I go on to tell you guys about them, I have to give you fair warning that this will be an emotional post for me. You may want to grab some tissues… just in case. 😉
Two weeks ago my family and I gathered to celebrate the life of an amazing man, my father-in-law. No matter how you may think you are “prepared” for the loss of a loved one, you never really are. As family and friends came together with heavy hearts, we took comfort in each other and we shared memories that made us laugh, cry, or both.
I just don’t know how I’ll be able to put into words how wonderful my father-in-law was. He was uber intelligent, he LOVED books! He spoke several languages fluently. He was dedicated to his family and to God. He served our country for numerous years in many capacities. He was a superb cook. When Big Daddy Ray cooked breakfast at church, people showed up by the dozens! If we were all gathered around the table for a family meal, it was a feast and everyone always left the table with a full belly.
He was by no means “fancy”, but he would frequently surprise my mother-in-law with that brooch or Turquoise earrings she’d been eyeing or bring her fresh flowers just because. He always spoke his mind even if his opinion was not “popular” or if you weren’t ready for what he had to say. He loved deeply… he was a genuinely good man known and loved by so many. You could say he was just like a Teddy Bear, a source of comfort and a protector. 🙂
When my husband asked me if I would make something for the luncheon, chocolate and mint cupcakes was the first thing I thought of because his dad loved them.
So after an eighteen-hour car ride with three kids to Savannah, I (along with my mom) took over my sister-in-law’s kitchen for some “baking therapy”. In my experience, food not only brings people together, but it can also bring comfort, or as my husband’s aunt said “it soothes the soul”. (She was referring to soup at the time, but pick your poison… for some it’s soup, for others mac and cheese, and for some a nice piece of chocolate cake.)
My mom cooked and I baked the whole week. My mom even made a delicious soup from a leftover veggie tray… yes she is magic! My only regret is that I ran out of time to make my sister-in-law her most favorite cookies and cream cupcakes. I guess it’s OK though, she really would’ve been cursing my name in her Zumba classes if I’d left her with any more goodies than I already had. 😉
I hope that you will enjoy this recipe. I know that I will not be sad whenever I make it. Instead I will remember the smile it put on Big Daddy’s face when he tasted a cupcake I made. I will remember his joy for life! I will be forever grateful for having known him, for him accepting me as his daughter for all these years, for the gift of his son, for his love, for his wisdom.
I will leave you now with a quote I found while unwrapping Dove chocolates for these cupcakes… “Do all things with love” and take some time to celebrate your loved ones, celebrate you, celebrate life!
xox Roxana- The Red Eye Baker
If this isn’t enough cupcake awesomeness for you, check out these other delicious recipes:
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ½ c oil
- ¼ c milk
- ½ c brewed coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp mint extract
- 1 c sour cream
- 2 c flour
- 2 c sugar
- ¾ c dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 sticks (1½ c) butter, room temperature
- 4½ - 5½ c powdered sugar
- ¼ c dark chocolate cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 tsp mint extract
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ c heavy whipping cream
- 1 (8.5 oz) bag Dove Mint and Dark Chocolate Swirl chocolates, chopped
- ½ c semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ c heavy whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans with liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, milk, coffee, extracts, and sour cream whisking until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until just combined and no lumps remain. Do not overmix.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 16 - 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.
- Cool cupcakes in the pan for about a minute and move them to a covered container. This helps to keep the cupcakes moist or if you prefer, you can move them to a cooling rack.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter.
- Add the powdered sugar ½ c at a time mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the salt, mixing well. Then add the extracts and beat on high for a couple minutes.
- Add the heaving whipping cream and beat on high until light and fluffy.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes using your favorite tip.
- For the garnish, place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and heat the heavy whipping cream over low heat just until you see a gentle simmer around the edge of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool. Garnish each cupcake with some of the chopped Dove chocolates and drizzle with the cooled ganache.
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