There was a period of about two weeks when I was around 10 where we had those tiny little tubs of Nutella that you ate with a tiny paddle. Mum must have been feeling rich when she was doing the shopping, because my two brothers and I NEVER got those in our lunches.
We didn’t have a tough upbringing by any stretch of the imagination; my mum was just a canny shopper, and those Nutella pots were not usually on special.
The foods I do remember, however, are Iced Vovos, Pizza Shapes, Tiny Teddies, Scotch Fingers, and Mint Slices.
(It looks like this post has been sponsored by Arnott’s! I promise it hasn’t been.)
In anticipation of Australia day, I decided it would be best to recreate one of my recess loves, an Australian favourite. Mint slices stood out because the hint of minty goodness always permeated everything else in my lunchbox.
What food makes you think of school lunches?
Mint slice cupcakes:
- 100g butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarb
- ¾ cup cocoa
- ½ cup strong coffee
- ½ cup milk
- 2/3 cup pouring cream
- 225g dark chocolate
- 70g butter, removed from the fridge 30 minutes before starting
- 2 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted
- 3 tsp milk
- 3 tsp peppermint essence
Beat your butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Brew your coffee now – you’ll need half a cup of water and I mixed this with 1 tsp of instant coffee. Set the coffee to one side. Add in the eggs, one at a time and mix thoroughly. Add the plain flour and bicarb soda into the mixture, followed by the cocoa. The mixture should be pretty dry by now, so add in the coffee and milk to thin it out. (This batter is adapted from this recipe.)
While the cupcakes are in the oven, stat on your chocolate coating. Put cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Pop the chocolate in and stir until the chocolate pieces are about 80% melted. Remove from the stove and allow the residual heat to do the rest of the melting, this will save you from over-cooking it. Pop this in the fridge to let it cool down.
Your cupcakes should come out of the oven perfectly smooth and well-rounded on top. The silky batter results in a beautifully soft cupcake. A skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. Set them aside to cool.
While the cupcakes are cool, make the mint filling by gently beating the butter and icing sugar together. Add in the peppermint essence and then the milk to help bind everything together. Scoop out ½ tbsp of this mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat until you have 24.
Take one mint ball, flatten it between your palms, and place it on top of a cooled cupcake. Use your fingers to flatten it down around the edges to make it look like a mint slice. Repeat with all the cupcakes.
Grab your chocolate coating out of the fridge and give it a quick mix. The chocolate should be thick, but still slightly runny so that you can work with it without it running off your cupcake too much.
Dip the cupcakes into the chocolate mixture and use a palette knife to smooth it over. Set in the fridge for at least ten minutes to let the chocolate set.