Chocolate Crème de Menthe
December may be the last month in the Western calendar year, but it is the first month in the Christian liturgical year. During this time, the faithful observe Advent traditions in preparation for the coming of Christ on His birthday, December 25. The word Advent is derived from Latin, meaning “the coming”.
The most popular symbol of Advent is a wreath. So we decorated chocolate crème de menthe cupcakes as wreaths. Prepare these desserts during Advent and prepare to welcome into your heart Baby Jesus on Christmas day!
(Adapted from Busy Cooks via About.com)
For the chocolate crème de menthe cupcakes
- 1 box chocolate cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand devil’s food flavor)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons crème de menthe liqueur
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon mint extract
- 1 cup crème de menthe chips (we used Andes mint candies)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, water, crème de menthe liqueur and melted butter.
Beat in the eggs. Stir in the mint extract. Chop up the crème de menthe chips (if not using the baking chips) and fold into the batter.
Scoop into a muffin tin lined with cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Yield: Approximately 2 ½ dozen cupcakes.
For the chocolate crème de menthe ganache frosting
- 8 ounces (2 bars) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon crème de menthe liqueur
- ½ – 1 teaspoon mint extract
In a mixing bowl, combine the melted chocolate with the hot cream. Stir until smooth. Add the crème de menthe liqueur and mint extract. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to thicken slightly. Frost the top of the cupcakes and let set.
For the mint green buttercream frosting and wreath decorations
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons crème de menthe
- green food coloring
- red round candies (Cinnamon Red Hots, M&Ms, etc.)
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until well blended. Thin with crème de menthe liqueur to a piping consistency. Tint the frosting with green food coloring.
Fill a decorator’s bag outfitted with a star or leaf tip (we used Wilton tip 2D) with green frosting. Pipe around the edges of the cupcake to form a circle of “leaves”. Press red candies onto the green frosting to complete the wreath cupcakes.
- The original recipe calls for mint chocolate chips instead of the crème de menthe Andes mint candies (the latter tends to sink toward the bottom of the cupcake). But we wanted to use them to reinforce the crème de menthe flavor. The candies may be chopped but they can also be purchased ready-made as baking chips to save preparation time in the kitchen.
- Optional: Use red frosting from a tube with a small round tip to pipe a bow on the wreath cupcakes
- Replace the red candies with three purple candles and one pink candle for an Advent-looking wreath.
- Learn more about Advent from the About Christianity website.
- For an easier edible wreath, make one with corn flakes. See the recipe on our blog here.