Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Something happened last month, well I guess it started back in July after I posted about wanting to slow down and enjoy the everyday.  The following Saturday I was driving back to North Carolina when I found myself passing a car with a license plate that said ENJ2DAY.  I haven't been able to get this off my mind.  This doesn't mean I have stopped planning in advance.  I have just started to plan out activities that I really want to do, so that time doesn't pass me by.  Since, my birthday I have been telling myself that I want to make the most of the next year.  Now I am telling you, and I want you to be a part of it.  Let's make plans, cook, bake, hangout, grab drinks, go for a bike ride and maybe go bungee jumping.  Let's make big plans and enjoy the little ones too, because sometimes the smallest things turn into the biggest.

I have started by trying to get the most out of everyday, to smile even though things aren't perfect, or there is crazy pounding outside my office window from the apartment building that won't be ready until 2014.  

The pounding stopped for a minute when this gentlemen decided to take a little nap.

To stop and do a little happy dance when things are good and great.  (Or when cupcakes come out exactly as you dreamed.)  To be thankful for the everyday.  To laugh out loud literally, even if my side of the office can hear me.  To take the time to write a letter, because really what is better than getting a letter from a friend?

And to bake for the fun of it, to let my creative side go and dream big by diving into a new recipe. 

Like this one for instance.  The request was for chocolate gluten-free cupcakes.  I then started thinking about what kind of cupcakes I have been wanting to make, and my mind went to the cupcake my friend Rachel had at Georgetown Cupcakes when she was in town.  She had a mint chocolate chip cupcake with bright green frosting and all.  I am not however trying to copy this cupcake.  I highly doubt Georgetown Cupcakes would put avocado in their cupcakes, but the idea is the same nonetheless.  These are chocolate avocado cupcakes with mint chocolate marshmallow fluff frosting.  The cake part is actually vegan and made with applesauce instead of oil.  Chocolaty, minty and not terrible for you, these cupcakes came out light and fluffy, just as I hoped they would.  Enjoy the cupcakes and today!

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Completely mash up the avocado until it is smooth.

Whisk the avocado, apple sauce, sugar and vanilla.

Then whisk together the dry and wet with the coffee. 

And time for the marshmallow fluff frosting.

Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes(recipe adapted from Joy the Baker)
*makes approximately a dozen cupcakes
1 1/2 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking/Pancake Mix
1/4 + 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado
1 cup coffee
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mint Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Fluff Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3-4 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with foil or paper liners and spray just the bottom of the liners with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, apple sauce, avocado, coffee, white vinegar and vanilla.  

3.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together Pamela's Ultimate, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda. (Any thing that does not go through the sifter discard.)

4.  Add the flour mixture to the avocado mixture and fold or whisk together just until combined.  The batter is so loose that it's easiest to place the batter in a liquid measuring cup and pour into paper liners.  Fill the liners until about 2/3 full. 

5.  Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool completely.

6.  While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.  Using an electric hand mixer cream the butter.  Then on medium speed, mix in the marshmallow fluff until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  

7.  Next mix in the powdered sugar and beat for another 2 minutes.  Once the powdered sugar is completely incorporated, mix in the peppermint extract and food coloring just until combined.  (Note: the frosting may seem to be separating, but will come together.)  Fold in the chopped chocolate chips and place the frosting in a piping bag.  Generously frost each cupcake and enjoy!

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