The blog Life in a Peanut Shell is run by Melissa, who describes herself as an "absurd foodie who loves to bake, loves her dogs, and loves being creative in the kitchen. Aspiring bakery owner...a girl can dream, can't she?"
She is also a cousin of our comedian friend Jon Friedman, a very early Cupcakes Take the Cake interviewee.
Melissa made these Chocolate Mint Chip Cupcakes and I'm reposting the recipe below. (which Melissa got from How to Eat a Cupcake, who got it from Crazy for Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.) How yummy do they look?
Chocolate Mint Chip Cupcakes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup chocolate milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (6 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat the melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Add the eggs, peppermint extract, and chocolate milk. Beat until creamy.
3. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended (DO NOT OVER BEAT). With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan.
Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 3 cups - enough to frost 12 cupcakes
3 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
2. Pour heated egg mixture into a clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes (It's very important to beat it for the whole 6 minutes).
3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears soupy or separated after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.)
4. Beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.
She also made these Mississippi Mud cupcakes; get the recipe here. (from How to Eat a Cupcake, who got it from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans, which you can WIN a copy of from us by leaving a comment and your email address on this post by June 30th ta 5 pm EST)