Weekly Drool ~ Emerald Isle Pistachio Cupcakes!

St. Patrick's Day is just a week away, what is on your green menu this year?
When you think of St. Patrick's Day you might think of Corn Beef and Cabbage, or Irish Soda Bread.  But today we are thinking about Emerald Isle Pistachio Cupcakes.
Cake and icing in these cupcakes are both green.  And if you are a relaxed baker then this recipe is also for you.  It is easy and you will want to add it to your St. Pat's baking collection.
So...preheat your oven to 350 degrees, grease that muffin pan (or line with cupcake liners) and let's get baking!
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the following until thoroughly combined:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pistachio flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


In a separate small bowl, whisk together the following:
3 1/8-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix or 1-ounce package sugar-free pudding mix*
2 tablespoons cake enhancer, optional; for increased moistness


*Use a national brand, for deepest green color.
In another bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (or sour cream); and 1/2 cup milk.
Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternately beat in the flour and yogurt/milk, as follows: 1/3 of the flour, half the yogurt/milk, 1/3 of the flour, the remaining yogurt/milk, and the remaining flour. Beat gently to combine after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat briefly.
Stir in 3/4 cup shelled, chopped pistachios, if desired. This is for those of you who’d feel odd making pistachio cupcakes that didn't actually include any pistachios. Personally, I prefer the cupcakes without the chopped nuts, but each to his own.


Spoon the batter into the wells of the pan; a muffin scoop is the ideal tool here.

The wells will be about 3/4 full.
Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes, until they appear set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center cupcakes comes out clean.
As soon as you can handle them, transfer them to a rack to cool.
Now for the icing. You can actually make this before the cupcakes, since it has to chill for awhile; but if you’re not in a hurry, afterwards is fine, too.
Combine the following in a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan:
1 cup heavy or whipping cream*


1/2 cup milk*
4 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows (3/4 standard-size bag)
3 1/8-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix or 1-ounce package sugar-free pudding mix
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon pistachio flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor


*To make icing stiff enough to pipe and hold its shape, substitute 1/2 cup heavy cream for the 1/2 cup milk. If you’re not going to pipe the frosting, prepare the recipe as written.
Heat everything gently, stirring often, until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, and chill until completely cold.
Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, whip the frosting until it’s smooth and creamy. If you’ve used all cream, it’ll be quite stiff, which makes it perfect for piping.
Spread the icing (or pipe the all-cream version) atop the cupcakes. If you pipe it, you probably won’t need the optional garnish of chopped nuts; if you spread the icing, chopped nuts help dress the cakes up.
Now, one word about this icing: its consistency is noticeably “marshmallow-y.” Think Hostess Sno Ball. If you’re not a fan of this type of frosting, try Italian Buttercream, flavored with pistachio flavor or enhanced with pistachio paste.

Now THAT'S green!


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