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Mint Chip Cupcakes

Names are kind of a funny thing.

It sounds quote odd, but, I think a lot about names.

Sometimes if I hear a cool name, I mentally record it for future dog/children/nicknames for random reasons.

Or if I hear a really cool last name, I imagine myself with that last name. Think of all the possibilities I could have if my last name were something like ‘Van Bussen’ or ‘Worthington.’ I would sound so regal and rich.

Or if my last name was something more common, like Brown or Smith or Johnson, and how many other millions of people have those last names. Think of how annoyed the teacher would feel trying to alphabetize kids in class when she has five Smiths. Though I know people can’t really control their last name, it’s still funny.

And then there’s my name. Hayley.

My parents claim it means ‘by the sea’ but that’s ironic since every time I look up the origins of my name, it says ‘bale of hay.’

…So, I’m named after a bale of hay. Awesome.

And then there are the MULTIPLE people who have decided against their better judgment to inform me that either they have known someone named Hayley who was or is “a total skank” or have or know someone who has a dog named Hayley.

Sweeeeeet. So not only am I named after a bale of freakin’ fantastic HAY, but I’m also a skanky dog.

Really, this name description cannot get any cooler.

Now I know why my name has become increasingly popular over the years.

When I was a kid and I heard my name being called, I knew it was for me. Now I can’t go anywhere without turning my head to about four different Hayley calls.

I wonder if they’ll turn out to be bales of hay, skanks or dogs…

Maybe this is my time to revolutionize the Hayley name. Make ‘Hayley’ a name that people don’t associate with dogs, promiscuous girls or bales of hay.

But that kinda sounds like a lot of work.

And to further add annoyance to my name, it can be spelled like, 500 ways, you know.

And no one EVER spells it correctly.

My parents enjoyed optional vowels, so they threw in that extra ‘y’. Consequently, because of my extra vowel, it made finding personalized things exceptionally hard as a kid. I never had a ‘HAYLEY’ license plate, personalized necklace, or monogrammed lunch-pail.

It was truly a traumatic period of my childhood.

But when I try to think of other names I could be called, I can’t think of anything that would fit me. I’d love to be an Olivia, because I love olives and that name is cute, but dammit, I don’t look like one.

I guess I got discouraged at Olivia because I don’t have any other ideas.

At least I don’t have a name that’s hard to pronounce. You know those people. You’re either one of them, or you know someone with a name that sounds like a guttural noise an animal makes. Or no matter how long you’ve known them, you still can’t pronounce it correctly.

At the cupcake factory where I work, we had a Neapolitan cupcake last month. And 9 times out of 10, the customer would call it the ‘Napoleon’ cupcake.

Um, sorry, but we don’t sell dudes named Napoleon. And I’m pretty sure Napoleon wouldn’t be happy to know we were selling him off.

We also have a chocolate mint cupcake called ‘chocolate mint’, yet everyone calls it ‘mint chip.’ I guess it’s the same difference; better than Neapolitan and Napoleon, where a man’s freedom is being sold to hungry cupcake customers.

So I decided that a mint chip cupcake would be a good cupcake to try and make for summer. It’s as refreshing as the ice cream flavor, and it looks adorable.

Plus, it has an easy-to-remember (and pronounce!) name, and it won’t remind you of skanky dogs.

(PS, I hope I don’t, either).

(PPS, if you know a skank, a dog, or a skanky dog named Hayley, I don’t want to know about it–thanks).

Mint Chip Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker’s Milk Chocolate), plus ingredients on back of box
1 small box sugar free/fat free chocolate pudding mix
1 cup miniature chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
3 tsp, divided, peppermint extract (find it in the baking aisle)
Mint buttercream frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions and blend for 2 minutes or until combined. Beat in 2 tsp peppermint extract (if you prefer a tamer mint flavor, only use 1 tsp) and pudding mix, beat until blended. Stir in 1 cup miniature chocolate chips. Divide equally into muffin cups and bake, approximately 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Mint Buttercream Frosting

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp (remaining) peppermint extract, plus 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp milk
Approx. 4 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together softened butter and extracts until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Add milk if needed. Frosting should be stiff but still spreadable. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with sprinkled mini chocolate chips.

These are really great after they’ve been in the fridge for awhile–nice and cold, perfect on a hot summer day, just like the ice cream!

I’m not even a huge fan of chocolate cake, but the mint buttercream (and the minty chip texture in the cupcake!) make this absolutely awesome.

You can thank me, HAYLEY (the baker/not bale of hay/skank/dog) later :)

xo, Hayley

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