Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Less than 8 days to go until Christmas! Yippee, I can't wait! Although I must say, as excited I am for the holidays, and even moreso for some time off of work, this time of year sure is exhausting! I haven't been this busy all year, and while I'm doing things I love, like decorating, baking lots and lots of goodies, Christmas present shopping and wrapping, and visiting friends, it leaves me pretty spent by the end of each evening! I'm not complaining, just looking forward to a little break! How bout you all, do you find the Christmas season to be fun, relaxing, enjoyable, stressful, sad? I think for most people it's a combination of joy and stress; I just hope there's more joy than stress!

I've used this chocolate cupcake base from Annie's Eats multiple times, and it has consitently provided good results. If you're interested in baking these cupcakes and/or seeing what else I've made with this recipe, check out my Black Forest Cupcakes and Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Truffle Filling. I altered the recipe very slightly by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract (and 1 less teaspoon of vanilla extract) and a good handful or two of peppermint chips (seen in photo on top of frosting), but if peppermint isn't your thing feel free to omit them.

I actually made these cupcakes a year ago and was a little skeptical at first about pairing chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing; however, the combination of the tangy sweet icing, dark chocolate glaze and chocolate pepperminty cupcake sent me over the moon. They turned out to shoot to the top of my cupcake list! I'm happy to be finally sharing these cupcakes now, and I hope that you find the opportunity to make them sometime in the near future, provided you're not too busy with Christmas decorating/shopping/baking/whatever else comes with this busy and glorious season!


For Cupcakes:
Refer to my post on Black Forest Cupcakes for recipe and instructions.

For Ganache:
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream

For Frosting:
8 oz. (1 package) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-2 teaspoons peppermint (not mint!) extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on preferred stiffness)

To make ganache, put chocolate chips in a small glass bowl. Place heavy cream in a microwave safe glass and microwave until it begins to boil. Pour cream over chocolate chips, stirring quickly until chips have melted. Dip cupcakes into mixed chocolate and shake off excess. Allow to cool and harden, at least a half hour to an hour.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together using the paddle attachment of a stand or hand mixer. Scrape down the bowl once or twice to ensure no chunks of cream cheese are left. While beating, add the peppermint extract. Add powdered sugar, starting with 3 cups initially, on low speed and increasing to medium-high for 2 minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy. If frosting is not stiff enough, add an additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Fit piping bag with decorative tip, and pipe frosting over cupcake. Top with desired garnish, such as peppermint chips and/or festive sprinkles. Pin It

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