Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes can be a great addition to any December Party, whether it’s a birthday or Christmas.My husband’s birthday happens in December and one of his favorite things is peppermint bark. So I always get him a box of some good quality peppermint flavored chocolate. Since he, obviously, likes chocolate too, I decided to combine his two faves and surprise him with a birthday dessert. Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting sprinkled with crushed candy canes on top. Yum!
For the cupcakes I used the Dirt Worm Cupcakes recipe but instead of coconut oil I used vegetable oil and peppermint extract instead of vanilla extract. I love to use coconut oil when baking but here I thought that combining two strong flavors might be too much. To make the frosting, I used my Cream Cheese Frosting recipe and added melted white chocolate and a touch of peppermint extract. These cupcakes turned out delicious, rich and very decadent.
If you have never used peppermint or mint extract when baking, start with very small amount. These two extracts are very potent and can easily overpower your dessert. They are much stronger than vanilla extract. Mint extract is created by mixing peppermint and spearmint extracts together. I used it in the first batch of these cupcakes and wasn’t thrilled about the flavor. I shared them with few of the moms at my son’s school and they seemed to enjoy them. For the second batch I used the peppermint extract and only about 1/2 teaspoon of it although adding even less might be good, too. If you like just a hint of it, add 1/4 teaspoon and see how you like the batter.
Melting chocolate can be a little bit tricky. It can be done in a microwave or using a double boiler. Melting chocolate in the microwave is easy and convenient but it can result in some scorching if done for too long or on a high power setting. We recently replaced our old microwave and the new one melts chocolate like a dream. Before, I didn’t even try to melt it in there and always used the double boiler (which for me was a small glass bowl sitting on top of a small pot with some water in it). So, you know your microwave the best and use your judgement. A few rules: microwave no longer than 30 seconds at a time, stir in between (chocolate chips retain their shape very well and might seem still hard), use a microwave-safe container that won’t get too hot – it will keep the chocolate cooking.
When melting chocolate make sure it doesn’t get any water in it. Keep the bowl and spatula or whisk completely dry. When melting a large bar cut it into similar, small in size, pieces so they can uniformly melt.
To make the frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. With the mixer on low, add peppermint extract with a pinch of salt and, slowly, powdered sugar. Mix until it’s all well combined. Pour in melted and cooled white chocolate. Mix well and set aside.
After the cupcakes have cooled down decorate them with prepared frosting. Don’t forget to crush some candy canes and sprinkle them on top. Add a candle and be ready to sing Happy Birthday!Makes: 10-12 cupcakes Prep time: 25 minutes Ready in: 1 hr
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%), heated
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
To decorate: 4-5 crushed candy canes sprinkled on top.
- Cupcakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the muffin pan with paper liners. Heat up the milk and whisk in the cocoa powder. Let it cool down. Pour the mixture into the stand mixer and add sugar, oil, egg and peppermint extract. Mix well for about 1 minute. In a small bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the oil mixture and mix for another minute.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 22-25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack.
- Place white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 seconds intervals until soft, stirring each time really well. Set aside to cool.
- Frosting: cream together butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes then add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and pinch of salt. With mixer set on low, slowly add powdered sugar and beat 2-3 minutes until smooth and thick. Add melted and cooled white chocolate and mix for another minute.
- Using spatula or a pastry bag with a star tip spread the frosting on cupcakes and decorate with crushed candy canes.
- Store, covered, in a fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.