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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and Contest Winner Announced!

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With school back in, I am going to be a very busy woman. Actually, I am going to be a much busier woman than I had previously thought. I am enrolled in only one class: Advanced Italian Oral Communication, which is going to be quite a bit of work, but I am also doing an Internship at an art museum near my university: 8 hours a week in the exhibitions department with a written log of what I do and a short research paper on an issue in museum studies, I might be training to become a docent at the museum to give tours to school kids, and I am completing my thesis this semester. Previous to Friday, I was working on a regular ol' thesis: minimum of 25 pages to be completed by the end of the semester. Now, however, I am doing an honors thesis, which is considerably more intimidating, which much more demanding deadlines and due dates, and much more strict requirements, as it will be bound and published. I will have a committee of three professors to work with, and at the end, I will have to present my paper and do a defense in front of said committee. Double Eep! The first draft is due November 7. !! November 7th! That might seem like that gives me a lot of time, but no. Its right around the corner. Luckily, I'm one of those people that generally need pressure to perform well. If I am given an entire semester to complete a paper, I might be a tad laxadaisical about getting it done, but knowing there are deadlines approaching and committees awaiting rough drafts, I will hopefully be more disciplined about getting it done. So if anyone out there knows about how portraits of women in Augustan Rome communicate his ideas on social reform, please leave me a comment and we'll chat. On top of all of this work, I will still be putting in a few hours per week at the store, making the cupcakes of the week, and attempting to become a substitute teacher in this county, going to Europe for a week and a half, and a cruise for Dan's sister. I have no idea what I've gotten myself into. If you start seeing pictures of cookies shaped like Augustan coins, you'll know I've completely lost my mind and succumbed to the pressure of school.

Ok, enough stressing out. Its time for this week's Cupcake of the Week! I don't particularly like the Chocolate - Mint combination, but many many people do, and these cupcakes aren't for me. We had a bunch of packets of Chocolate-Mint hot cocoa lying around, so I decided to make use of them. Here is the recipe:

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Chocolate Mint Cupcakes makes ~16 cupcakes
Ingredients:
3.5 eggs, separated
1/2 C sugar
1/6 C oil
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 c flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 C + 2 tablespoons mint hot cocoa mix
1/4 C warm water
1/8 C sugar
4 egg whites

Preheat to 350.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and and next three ingredients and stir to combine, and set aside.
Beat 3.5 egg yolks together with 1/2 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. When it starts to thicken, add 1/2 tablespoon of warm water and beat until fluffy again.
While still whisking, pour in oil slowly, beating until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the yolk/oil mixture and beat until just combined - don't over beat.
Add the rest of the water along with the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 1/8 C sugar and mix until combined.
Pour the fluffy egg whites into the batter and fold in gently.
Pour batter in to *paper-lined cupcake tin* (or else they will not come out until they are about 3/4 full. Bake 15 - 18 minutes. Remove from a toothpick inserted comes out with just moist streaks.
Note: We filled these with batter a bit higher than we normally fill our cupcakes because we wanted a little lip at the top. These cuppies have a tendency to shrink a lot when coming out of the oven, and the lip that sticks to the top of the cupcake tin prevents that a bit.

Chocolate Buttercream from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
Makes enough to frost 12 really nice and fluffily, with a tad left over
Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk (use this as you need it, you probably will not need it all if you don't want it to be too wet)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate [though I used 7 oz], melted and cooled until lukewarm (cooled about 15-20 minutes after melting on low in top of a double boiler for 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy - about 3 minutes. Add the milk as you need it, and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Add vanilla, and beat for 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat until you reach your desired consistency. Garnish with chocolate chips.

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Ohhh, the CONTEST WINNER, right. It was a tough, tough choice. I liked a lot of the ideas, and I weighed the pro's and con's of all of them before making a final decision. After taking appearance/impression on customer, price per piece (including shipping costs to get the packaging to me), ease of use for both me putting the cupcake in and the customer getting the cupcake out, no large quantity needed for purchase of containers, be able to be closed and not totally destroy the frosting, I decided to go with...
Pam! Her entry was... "Sam's Club - Hefty® Hinged Lid Containers 6 x 6 x 3 in.- 250 @ $13.08 or $.05232 each
cthttp://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=189806&pCatg=1724" Thank you Pam! I went to my local Sam's club yesterday and purchased them! I brought them to the store, tried them out, and they worked like a CHARM!!!!
Unfortunately, Pam... you're Blogger profile says "Profile Not Available The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile."
So, PAM, if you are OUT THERE! - Comment on this post to get me your contact info so I can get your prize package sent to you!! And I have this user's IP address logged, so please don't try to pull any fast ones and claim you are Pam.. I'll know if you are or aren't. :)

13 comments:

Alyse said...

Wow. Sounds like a crazy schedule. I hope things work out well. And good luck with your thesis. I know I'll probably have to write mine next year.

These cupcakes look wonderful. I really like the combination of chocolate & mint.

Pam said...

I think I may be the Pam you are looking for. I did mention the containers at Sam's club as well as some other choices from online catalogs. My email is pam [at}daysong [dot]com

Pam said...

BTW, I activated my profile - did not realize it was private.

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook said...

Oh wow! Those look delicious! I want to stuff my face with one of those!

tara said...

I adore chocolate and mint together, so these are perfect in my mind. And what a good use of hot chocolate powder, as I dislike the stuff yet seem to always have it around in the pantry. Best if luck with your class!

Joy said...

ooooh my! those look too pretty to eat!

Anonymous said...

These look great and I can't wait to try them, I only have one question. Your ingredients call for 3.5 eggs (How do you use 1/2 of an egg) or should this be between 3 to 5 eggs. Please help me out....

Stephanie said...

Thank you for the nice comments everyone!

Alyse, Its such a vicious cycle -- "Too much school = less time to bake", but "Too much school also = stress --> needs delicious baked goods BAD."

Pam, I'm glad I've found you! I hope you enjoy your prize package - I'm sending it out shortly!

Tara - Genesis, Thank you! Everything on your blog looks EVIL DELICIOUS too!

Tara, I've had tons and tons of hot chocolate mix sitting on a shelf in my pantry since last Christmas when I received a bunch as gifts. THis is a good way to use it up!

Joy, Thank you! :) Hopefully you'd be able to overcome it and eat one!

Anonymous, I know, I'm weird right? The odd number of eggs is the result of sizing the recipe down from its original size, which called for 7 eggs. So, I literally used 3 and a half eggs. I left this part up to my boyfriend to do, but he had one small bowl for whites and one small bowl for yolks (since they need to be separated for this recipe). He separated 3 whole eggs - yolk in one bowl and white in the other, and then with the last one, he did his best to only pour half of the whites into the white bowl, and then put the rest of the whites in the garbage, then broke the yolk from this egg and only added half of it to the yolks bowl. Wow, this seems complicated! Its really not - once you're doing it, it goes quick. If you are a little over/under the half egg amount - its no big whoop.

Rachel said...

Hi Stephanie,

Sorry - couldn't find your email address, but wanted to tell you I posted about your blog on Cupcakes Take the Cake:

http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/2008/09/we-love-ice-cream-before-dinner.html

Love your cupcake posts! (the other ones too)

best,
Rachel

Hippie Family... said...

YUM!!! found your blog from Cupcake Takes the Cake -- These look AWESOME!! And in my opinion the Land o lakes mint hot cocoa is the best :D

Pam said...

My prize was delivered yesterday. What a neat assortment of goodies! Thank you so much.

Tami said...

These cupcakes look fabulous! I cannot wait to try them. YUM!

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