Mum and I recently had a spate of culinary setbacks, the remnants of which have been smugly staring back at us every time we've opened the refrigerator this week. There's the pasta with lemon sauce that turned out soupier and tarter than any self-respecting pasta dish should be, a tahini kobacha soup I added so many flavourings to that I think cancelled each other out, finally making it taste of nothing at all. Not to mention the lychee cheesecake that in front of 13 guests neatly shrugged off it's fancy topping as though someone was tugging at it from under the table.
I tell myself that these bloopers serve as a reminder that if even my mother who has forty years of experience in the kitchen fudges up every now and then, I shouldn't take it to to heart if I have days when nothing seems to go right. And definitely not do a repeat performance of the time I tried to make roast chicken and burst into tears when I realized I'd steamed the chicken instead of roasting it. Besides, experience has also taught me that at the end of a bad cooking spell there's usually a pot of gold that's worth writing home about. And this time was no exception- say hello to my new favourite cupcake, everyone! It's actually more of a brownie dressed up as a cupcake. It's dark and rich and gooey inside like a good fudgey brownie, and because it looks like a cupcake, it's sophisticated enough to serve as dessert. The best part of this brownie cupcake however, is that as you begin to feel like maybe there is such a thing as too much chocolate, you hit upon a mint center that lifts the richness ever so gently and leaves your tongue tingling. Because of it's brownie lineage, these cupcakes have crackly tops. If you're worried about presentation, you can sprinkle some icing sugar on it to cover it up, but I wouldn't bother, the crags and crevices only add to it's rustic charm. It is an indulgent treat, no doubt, but consider it your last hurray before it's time to make those new year resolutions again.
Mint Brownie Cupcakes
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)
makes 12 cupcakes
Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave (be sure to use a microwave safe bowl) in spurts of 30 seconds, stirring in-between.
Beat in the sugar, add the eggs one at a time, and beat until combined.
Gently fold in the flour and cocoa until mixed.
Spoon one tablespoon of batter into each cupcake liner.
Place a square of peppermint (that has been broken into two of three pieces) on top of the batter.
Cover the mint with 2 tablespoons of batter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celcius for 30-35 minutes.Start checking at 30 minutes, you'll know it's done when a toothpick inserted half way through (so that it doesn’t touch the mint) comes out with only a few crumbs attached.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
note: don't be alarmed that the baking time for these cupcakes is longer than that of regular cupcakes - remember that the batter is actually a brownie batter.
150 g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped roughly
100 g unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
12 mint squares (we used After Eight slices)