Favorite cupcakes ever!!! It all started with a trip to my favorite grocery store here in Portland, Food Fight. I noticed they had these really cute pastel M&M like candies. They are called Whizzers Chocolate Beans. I remembered seeing them on top of a mint flavored cupcake in my cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The mission began to put these cute little candies to use. The one problem I came upon was the green food coloring that was called for. I did not want to buy regular food coloring because I have found many different sources that identify disgusting animal ingredients and/or chemicals used to create the coloring. I wanted a vegetable based source but let me tell you, this was not as easy as I was hoping! Thanks to google, I ended up finding a company called India Tree that makes vegetable based food coloring. I called every grocery/kitchen store in the area and no one had the product! I was just about to give up when I decided to take a trip to Whole Foods and search their shelves myself. On my way, I passed a fancy kitchen store, Sur La Table, and decided to check. Sure enough, they had exactly what I was looking for! Three colors come in the set and they mix together to make a variety of other colors. Now, I have to be honest about one ingredient, glycerin. The yellow and blue contain this ingredient. My assumption is that the glycerin is vegetable based considering the whole concept of the coloring is vegetables! But, I have not done any research into the actual origin of the glycerin. Therefore, I can't say for sure if it is vegan! But, I feel 100% confident that even if it isn't vegetable based glycerin, it is better for me that the chemicals in regular green food coloring.
So, I finally had the ingredients I needed and decided to make these delicious cupcakes for John and his co-workers, otherwise I would have eaten all 12 of them myself! The cupcake is the Basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe but includes 1 teaspoon of mint extract added to the wet ingredients. The recipe for the mint icing is on page 73 of the cookbook, if the link doesn't take you directly to that page. The chocolate on top is the same Rich Ganache I used on my 4th of July cupcakes. Again, these cupcakes are irresistible. I highly recommend having somewhere to take them or others to give them away to or you will probably devour them all yourself!