'Tis the season for Chocolate & Mint to mingle together in deliciousness! If noshing on Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's isn't enough for you, you make have found yourself doing some baking using this combination commonly used at this time of year.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been looking for the perfect vegan chocolate cake recipe. I need depth of flavor & a bit of fluff, not like those cocoa-only based cakes out there. I believe I may have found my winner, but as a person who doesn't like to settle for second best, I have a few more things to try before posting it here. Luckily, this deep chocolate cake has been a perfect pairing with the kick of mint, so I used it in both cake & cupcake form to make treats for friends & family.
My brother Kyle turned 21 in early December & I volunteered to make him a birthday cake, of course! I recalled his fondness for Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream as a child, & used it as my inspiration for a Chocolate Cake filled & decorated with Mint Icing & topped with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache. While I'd never considered myself a "mint person" in the past, I was quickly converted & couldn't get enough of this cake's combination. Luckily, my family felt the same & the cake was quickly consumed!
I'm always looking for an excuse to gather together & eat with friends, so I hosted a Holiday themed party in my home for a group of local vegans. I know many of us don't get a full spread of options at family celebrations, so this was a chance to load up our plates without questioning the contents of anything! The food was delicious; from latkes to herbed stuffing, vegan quiche and quinoa cakes, I was impressed with the spread of food that came together! I was on dessert duty & decided a return to the chocolate mint combination was in order, but in an easily served cupcake form!
Rich chocolate cupcakes were topped with a swirl of Mint Icing & Candy Cane Joe Joe cookies hand dipped in Bittersweet Guittard Chocolate! The depth of the chocolate played off the refreshing mint, while the dipped cookies were a treat all on their own! For those who've never had a Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe, it's a sandwich cookie similar to an Oreo, but the center contains a peppermint-vanilla creme with crushed candy canes in it! While the combination may sound odd or just alright, these cookies are highly addictive & similar to the Thin Mints your local girl scout pushes.
Chocolate Dipped Cookies
While hardly a recipe, I thought some information on dipping techniques could be useful.
Ingredients & Tools:
Chocolate of your choice, chopped (I used E. Guittard Bittersweet Wafers, no chopping needed!)
Cookies of your choice
A double boiler or a water filled pot with a bowl suspended over it
Parchment paper on a flat surface near your stove top
Place the chocolate in the bowl or top of your double boiler & heat it up until it is fluid, being careful not to burn it. Make sure you have a decent amount of chocolate, so you can easily cover the size cookie you're using.
Once the chocolate is fluid, dip a single cookie in to the bowl coating each side evenly. It's likely you'll burn your fingers, especially if you touch the bottom or sides, so be cautious of this & move quickly!
Once coated, let the excess drip from the cookie & place it on the parchment paper to dry.
Sandwich cookies are great for this, as you can stand them up to dry & the chocolate that moves to the base of the cookie makes an excellent platform to keep them from falling over on your cake or cupcakes.
Let the chocolate dry completely while you tackle another project. Don't touch them, or you'll have smudges & fingerprints on them.
Once the cookie is dry, it will lift cleanly from the parchment paper. Try not to eat them all before they make it on to your baked goods or give in & make them especially for snacking on!
By the way, the theme for December's Cupcake Hero contest happens to be mint, so I thought I'd enter my Chocolate cupcakes with Mint Icing & Bittersweet chocolate dipped Candy Cane Joe Joe's, as I've never seen a vegan entry in the contest. The co-host is the awesome Natalie from Bake & Destroy, who rocks out vegan cupcakes of her own from time to time!
I hope everyone had a Happy Holiday season filled with lots of delicious sweet treats!