Classic – Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I plan on celebrating BIG tonight. I’m moving to Switzerland in two weeks for 5 months so my girlfriends and I are celebrating to the max. Green beer, shamrock patterned shirts, green cupcakes. My life is good.

These cupcakes are a traditional vanilla cupcake with smooth and creamy buttercream frosting. I decorated them with a random assortment of green Jelly Belly’s and they turned out perfectly. Enjoy!

Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from the Joy of Baking
Makes 12 cupcakes

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup milk
1-1 ½ recipes vanilla buttercream frosting

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set pan aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Fill the muffin cups with the batter 3/4 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
5. Prepare frosting. Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from Bakerella and makes enough for 18 cupcakes

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups icing sugar
1-3 tsp cream

1. Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
3. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of cream/milk one tsp at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
4. Use your favorite icing colours to tint the frosting!…Irish green in my case.

Irish Chocolate Mint Cookies

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way-
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day. – Irish Blessing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

To celebrate one of my favorite holidays I thought I’d bring back an old fun recipe – Irish Mint Chocolate Cookies! Everything needs to be green on St. Patrick’s day. Green and chocolaty, and minty.

I’ve always liked St. Patrick’s day for so many reasons: It’s like another Halloween, it’s a day devoted to the colour green, and it’s a day for everyone to truly be Irish for a day (with excessive amounts of drinking). Early afternoon is generally when the celebrations start, and I love looking out my window to watch all the sparkly, unusually dressed people go by.

These cookies are so fun to bake. They’re colourful, and the mint icing really makes them beautiful. Let’s get to it shall we?

Irish Mint Chocolate Cookies
Taken from the Taste of Home Cookies book.
Yields 4 dozen cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1-1/2 cupe all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 to 2 drops green food colouring
1 to 3 tbsp milk

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate and mint extract. Gradually add flour and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookies sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until firm. Cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, combine the butter, icing sugar, extract, food colouring, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread over cooled cookies and let set.
4. In a microwave melt butter and chocolate chips for drizzle. Stir until smooth and drizzle over your cookie.
5. Kiss me I’m Irish!