Okay, day two of candy cupcakes. I am not a huge fan of minty things in general, but I do love Andes Candies! On the odd occasion I happen to go to Olive Garden I spend most of the meal looking forward to the candies that come with the check. :) I have been known to snatch up any leftover ones no one took from our table on the way out, too. They are a perfect balance of chocolate and mint AND I am satisfied after eating only one. As far as chocolate candies go, that it rare for me. Maybe unheard of.
So, they are my selected candy for cupcake number 2. I've seen these kinds of cupcakes floating around Pinterest, but I have not clicked on or pinned any of them. Instead, I did my own thing. I started with a bunch of unwrapped candies (again with the exact measurements, but add as many as you'd like, you won't screw it up!) and chopped them up.
I threw *ahem, gently placed* the chopped bits into the prepared chocolate cake batter. I used a boxed chocolate cake including a pouch of instant chocolate pudding and substituted the water with milk. After adding the chopped Andes Candies into the batter, I used my electric mixer to blend them completely. All that was left was baking them as directed.
While baking, I noticed I wasn't the only one with a snack on my mind. The cutest little squirrel was on my back porch nibbling on a walnut he'd buried in my backyard last fall. I grabbed my camera but he was quicker than me and scurried up our tree! (There's some poetry in there, he he he):
He got comfortable on a branch and continued munching:
However, I wasn't the only one watching him. One of the three stray cats I care for (a Mom and her kittens) also had a snack on her mind...a tasty squirrel:
I thought she deserved an afternoon treat, too, and didn't want it to be squirrel so I gave her a few Temptations kitty snacks. The sound of the bag attracted Mom, who is not one to pass up something to eat. Don't they look like twins?!:
Eventually, third kitty showed up for something to eat, which is a rare occurrence. She is still wild enough to not come around during the day, only evenings. These three have been through some pretty rough times on the streets, and I've come to absolutely love them. They appreciate me, too, for the consistent meals I offer! Grey Kitty let me know she didn't appreciate having her photo taken (the camera scared her) and then she ran off:
So, at this point everyone was well fed and happy except me. Luckily, the cupcakes were ready to come out of the oven! So, I made the Peppermint Icing:
Peppermint Buttercream Icing
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons milk
In large mixing bowl, beat butter on high speed until fluffy. Add three cups of sugar, one at a time until combined. Add vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and milk, along with last cup of sugar. Beat until smooth. Add more milk, one teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency of frosting.
I used a Wilton French Tip for piping and tried some different designs. To finish them off, I used Mint M&M's, some whole, some crushed:
The last cupcake I decided didn't need the business of random M&M's topping it. So, I left it alone. Or, you can add an Andes Candy like I did in the lead photo.
So, these were GREAT! Every bite I took of the cupcake had chunks of Andes Candies in it. The peppermint flavor was subtle in the icing so the mint was not too overpowering. The M&M's kicked the mint factor up a notch if you want a stronger mint flavor. For my taste, it was perfect!
Tomorrow: Mini M&M Bite-Sized Rainbow Fish Cupcakes