When St. Patrick’s Day comes around every year, I usually follow a little tradition that involves making up a batch of soda bread, a dish involving cabbage or corned beef, and maybe drinking a bottle of Guinness, too. Nothing fancy and pretty standard, as far as celebration goes. This year, I didn’t want to get stuck in that rut, but I did want to do a little something to acknowledge the holiday in my own way – with baked goods, of course. A quick look through my cabinets uncovered my bottle of Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Irish Cream and I knew what I wanted do make.
These cupcakes are a riff on mint chocolate chip ice cream, which is typically colored green, with a generous amount of Bailey’s for character. I neglected to add food coloring to my cupcakes, but feel free to do so if you really want them looking green for the holiday; if you want to avoid food coloring, rest assured that the Irish Cream is more than enough “irish” to make these an acceptable St. Patrick’s day dessert.
The cupcakes are a tiny bit more substantial than the ultra-fluffy cupcakes that I usually aim to bake because I needed them to be able to support the weight of the chocolate chips for good distribution. Mini chocolate chips worked out perfectly and were found in every bite of the cake. The flavor of the Bailey’s was relatively subtle, but definitely carried through into the cake. Regular Bailey’s will work fine in this recipe, although the Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Irish Cream I used will work out even better because it adds another layer of chocolate mint to the cupcake.
Aside from the Bailey’s, the cakes themselves don’t have any mint in them. The majority of the mint flavor comes from some sweet and potent frosting that is spread on top of the cakes. I think that the cakes taste best without mint in them and the clarity of the mint flavor really comes through exceptionally well in the frosting. The chocolate drizzle on top ofthe cupcakes is made with unsweetened chocolate. Don’t worry about it being too bitter, though. It balances well with the sweet mint frosting and prevents the whole dessert from being too sweet. And besides, there is only a very small amount on top of each cupcake.
I made both mini cupcakes and regular ones with this recipe. If you bake all minis, you’ll get 48 bite-sized cupcakes. If you bake all full-sized cakes, you’ll get 16. Baking time for the minis is 10-12 minutes. Baking time for regular size is 18-21 minutes. For me, the full sized cakes were gorgeous, but the minis got eaten up much faster. You can’t go wrong with either size.
Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Chocolate Mint Bailey’s Irish Cream
(or regular Bailey’s + 1/2 tsp peppermint extract)
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking tin of your choice – mini muffin pan or regular cupcake pan – with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the irish cream and milk, then mix in the remaining flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffn cups (each will be roughly 2/3 or 3/4 full).
Bake regular-sized cupcakes for 18-21 minutes.
Bake mini cupcakes for 10-12 minutes.
A tester inserted into the center will come out clean when the cupcakes are done. Tops should be domed and very lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack before frosting.
4 tbsp butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp milk or cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Spread a medium thin layer on top of each cooled cupcake.
Bitter Chocolate Glaze
2-oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp butter
Melt together chocolate and butter in a small bowl, in the microwave, stirring after every 30-second interval until smooth. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a small ziploc bag. Cut a small hole in one corner and drizzle an even coating of chocolate onto mint-frosted cupcakes. There will probably be some glaze leftover. Let set before eating or storing.
Makes 48 mini cupcakes or 16 regular cupcakes.