GC Market Day: Mint-Chocolate Cupcake Edition
GC Market Day is a new Garden Collage feature where we spotlight new, intriguing recipes using ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the Farmers Market– right down to the butter and honey. This week, we highlight the finer side of chocolate with a new recipe for “hidden-veggie” Mint-Chocolate cupcakes and Rosy Mint Lemonade– two healthy, modern indulgences for the 21st-century eater.
I like to think in this day and age, we’re not tricking our children into eating vegetables anymore. If the farmers market is a part of your life, and if you celebrate colors and variety and seasonality with your kids, hopefully they will buy into it and love all things green. If that’s the case, than maybe it’s time to let them in on a little trick that my mother used to hide from me: there is spinach in the cupcakes.
It’s easy to make cupcakes in the other room and serve them to unsuspecting kids– but what’s more fun, is to let them in on the joke. Fresh seasonal vegetables are a joy and incorporating them into every meal you can is a game! So sure, if you’ve got picky eaters, then by all means make this recipe behind their backs… But maybe, this time, try bringing them in on the trick. Hiding the spinach is a secret that you can share and keep from other guests or family members together. Who knows– maybe the kids will get good at it and want to hide carrots in the cornbread and beets in the birthday cake. Some of the best desserts at the finest restaurants in the world tend to incorporate elements of plants– fennel, carrots, beets, and beyond.
This recipe, of course, depends heavily on farmers market ingredients. The beauty of market butter is why I use it instead of traditional cream in the ganache. But the mint is particularly fun to play with: if you’re lucky, your market will have more than a dozen different kinds of mint with all different fruity and floral notes. Why not try more than one as a family and vote on the winner? Try tasting and smelling the different varieties of mint with their fruity counterparts (pineapple mint, orange mint, chocolate mint) and start working on developing those little palates. We used orange mint in our cupcakes and the citrus flavor lasted through the baking. Pick yours on purpose and have fun with the choosing.
We served our cupcakes (which are Gluten-free) with a Rosy Mint Lemonade and decorated our table with delicate chive blossoms, which we had fun braiding into a centerpiece– though I wouldn’t recommend baking with those. The beauty is just for show.
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes
- 3 large eggs
- 1 bunch of spinach (approx. 1 cup chopped)
- ½ cup butter (unsalted)
- ⅔ cup honey
- 1 bunch mint (approx. ¼ cup leaves)
- 2 ¼ cup blanched almond flour
- 3 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- pinch or two sea salt
- ½ cup organic raw unsweetened cacao powder
- 1 bar organic dark chocolate (we used 70%)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together dry ingredients (almond flour, cacao, tapioca starch, baking soda, salt) in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs, honey, and vanilla extract.
- Vigorously mix wet ingredient into the dry– the coconut flour will absorb the moisture very quickly, but don’t worry.
- In a small sauce pan put cleaned spinach and mint leaves. Cover with water and heat on medium until wilted. Remove greens from water and pace in blender. Blend with just enough water to get a completely smooth, thin puree. Add the green puree to the batter.
- Spoon batter into a lined cupcake tin and bake for up to 30 minutes, then start checking with a toothpick in the center at the 20 minute mark– the toothpick should come out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool completely before icing or eating.
- For the ganache, melt butter and bar chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.
- Once both are fully melted, whisk together and refrigerate for at least one hour until set, possibly overnight.
- Glaze cupcakes with ganache. Top with additional mint leaves, and enjoy the health benefits of the green boost that doesn’t change the flavor.
Rosy Mint Lemonade
- ¼ cup of honey
- bunch of mint
- dried rosebuds
- 3 lemons
- Add dried rosebuds to ice tray, 2 to a compartment, fill with water and freeze.
- Heat honey in a saucepan on low heat with 1 cup water until honey is dissolved. Allow to thicken for 5 minutes then take off the heat and let cool.
- Hand-tear mint and muddle at the base of a pitcher with a wooden spoon.
- Add the juice of 3 lemons to the pitcher along with the honey syrup – lemonade will be mildly sweet, so adjust quantities to taste.
- Add ice cubes with rosebuds when ready, and enjoy (hopefully on a perfect, sunny day).