Today's recipe is Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes. These are really classic cupcakes dressed up by adding crushed candy canes. The combination of chocolate and peppermint is always a crowd pleaser around Christmas. I think Williams-Sonoma's peppermint bark may have had something to do with that. ;)
Recently, my friend Eddie was on the hunt for some chocolate peppermint cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday. He tried a few places around town but had no luck and asked me if I could help him make the cupcakes. Yes, please! :)
We had a lot of fun making these. Eddie was ready to grab the hammer to crush the candy canes, but I enlisted one of my favorite kitchen toys (the food processor) for that task. You could also substitute peppermint bark for the candy canes, too.
These cupcakes have a brownie base, and the brownie cupcakes were very fudgy. We probably could have baked them a few minutes more (which I have factored into the directions). Besides adding peppermint flavor, the candy canes also added a small crunch to the texture of the brownies. The peppermint flavor wasn't too overpowering--it was just right.
For the frosting, we made a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Since peppermint bark has chocolate on the bottom and white chocolate on top, a white chocolate frosting seemed to go perfectly! I also think that the white chocolate cream cheese frosting balanced off the intense chocolate flavor of the brownies. After frosting the cupcakes, we sprinkled extra crushed candy canes on top.
The cupcakes were a hit, and don't they look cute in their little cupcake village?
I still have a few more Christmas recipes to share with you this week, along with a recap of my annual Christmas cookie exchange. Merry Christmas Week!
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
8 regular sized candy canes, crushed
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 bag (11 oz.) white chocolate chips
6 regular sized candy canes, crushed finely
For the brownies:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Heat the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. After melted, remove from heat, add sugar, and whisk until smooth using an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until each is incorporated. Add vanilla, and beat for about a minute longer. Gradually add the flour, beating until combined, and then add the crushed candy canes.
Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating halfway through, for about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and allow to cool completely before removing cupcakes and frosting.
For the frosting:
Place the white chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and place it over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. After melted, remove from heat, set aside, and allow to cool for 15 minutes or until bowl no longer feels warm to the touch.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl using an electric mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until combined and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and confectioner's sugar, and beat until creamy. Gradually add in the cooled white chocolate. Beat until combined and smooth. Frost cupcakes, and sprinkle crushed candy canes over the frosted cupcakes.
Source: Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, Frosting was a Simply Sweet Justice Original