Monday, December 23, 2013

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

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Happy Monday! It's a couple more days until Christmas and I couldn't be more excited. This holiday will be a special one because aside from sharing it with my two favorite people in the world, my parents will be flying in from the Philippines at the end of the week. After the fatal super typhoon that shook the southern islands of the Philippines last month, I'm fortunate that my parents and extended family were not directly affected. But my thoughts go out to the families and friends who do have loved ones that were affected by the storm. That said, I'm even more thankful that my parents will be flying back to the United States and staying with us for a couple months. So that said, my holiday time this year will be extra special. Something else that's extra special are these Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes. Last week I mentioned how I made a variety of Starbucks Holiday Inspired cupcakes and these were one of them that helped me win the holiday bake off contest at my office. These were extremely popular, but that's no surprise - it's chocolate and peppermint after all! A rich chocolate mocha cake spiked with peppermint extract and bits of peppermint chocolate bits is then crowned with fluffy peppermint mocha buttercream, more peppermint chocolate bits and a dark chocolate drizzle...

I loved these cupcakes even though I only had a small bite, as they are not gluten free. I suppose you could adapt them to be gluten free by using a gluten free flour blend, but I have not yet tried it myself to confirm the results. If you happen to give it a whirl, please let me know! I loved how these came out as a gluten laden cupcake because the cake was so rich with chocolate yet light. The fluffy peppermint mocha buttercream was made with flavored creamer, as opposed to the usual milk, half & half or cream. Using the creamer gave it the same richness with added flavor.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
recipe slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark Baking Bits 

Frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup peppermint mocha creamer
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
salt, to taste

Garnish:
dark chocolate ice cream sauce
Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark Baking Bits or crushed peppermint candies


Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. 
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate. Place in the microwave and melt for 30 seconds - 1 minute, stirring to combine. Add the espresso powder and stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined. 
In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Whisk everything together until smooth and well incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture and continue whisking until well incorporated. 
Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, followed by half of the buttermilk. Whisk to combine. 
Add the remaining half of the flour mixture to the batter, followed the rest of the buttermilk and the 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark Baking Bits. Whisk to combine but do not overmix. The batter will have the consistency of pudding.
Using a scoop, divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Meanwhile, as the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the softened butter and beat on medium speed. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and increase to high speed, beating for 2-3 minutes. 
- If the frosting is too thin for your preference, add more powdered sugar.
- If the frosting is too thick for your preference, add more creamer.
- If the frosting is too sweet for your preference, add a pinch of salt.
To decorate the cupcakes, frost the cupcakes with the frosting. Drizzle the tops with chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of the peppermint candies.

3 comments:

AmyG said...

Oh, these look absolutely wonderful!

Susan said...

These look fantastic! I love anything that involves chocolate and peppermint.

That Girl said...

It will be lovely to have your family visiting and spending time with you and Joel.

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