Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Now that the holidays are officially over, the new years resolutions are officially made and us teachers are forced back into the reality of actually having to get up in the mornings, I figured it was about time for me to round out my holiday baking series... and I definitely saved the best for last.  These are my peppermint mocha cupcakes.   They definitely are just as delicious as they sound.

The inspiration for these cupcakes is the fact that I really love peppermint mocha flavored things.  It combines three of the best flavors: Peppermint, chocolate and coffee.  How could you go wrong with that?  I shared these cupcakes with my family as well as my favorite staff at Dogfish Alehouse on Christmas Eve, and everyone seemed to love them.  One person even said to me "I don't really like peppermint, but i trust you to do it right".  Haha


I actually made these cupcakes twice and both turned out a little different.  I think my first batch was my favorite, which was probably because I had little confidence so I worked really hard.    I also added a little extra coffee to make sure that that the mocha flavor really shown through.   The first time i made them i mixed the Andes right in, however because the coffee was hot, it melted them.  The second time I made them, I sprinkled them on top so that there was a little more crunch to them.   Granted, the oven would melt them anyway, but i found the peppermint flavor was a lot better the second time around. 


For the icing, I successfully made my first batch of Swiss Meringue buttercream.  I have never made a Swiss Meringue successfully.... although I have tried.  So I definitely was nervous to try again.  But I followed my own advice at making Meringue buttercreams and was patient and took my time.  And low and behold... I made a great Swiss meringue!   It was light and fluffy and delicious.... you could barely tell there was a pound of butter in the icing!    I was very pleased with how it came out.  Of course, I also may have had about 37 flip outs and said "This isn't going to work" as I tried so hard to be patient.  Thank goodness for the boyfriend who kept talking me down from the ledge and telling me it was going to work out :)  It did.


As far as decorating... you can really do whatever!  I liked the chocolate drizzle on top a lot.   An the first time I sprinkled crushed peppermints while the second time I used left over Andes mints.  You can really be creative.  I liked the way the peppermint ones looked, but the Andes definitely added to the taste.  So to each their own :)


I definitely will be adding these cupcakes into my holiday cupcake repertoire. They were delicious!

Recipes
Peppermint mocha
makes around 32    

  • 1 cup  all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons  sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½  teaspoon  peppermint extract
  • 2/3 cup hot coffee-- brewed strong
  • 1 cup chopped peppermint Andes
  1.   Mix flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine
  2. Add the butter, eggs, and peppermint extract and beat on medium speed for one minute.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined. 
  4. Add the instant coffee and the hot coffee. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. 
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups. 
  6. Sprinkle on chopped peppermints
  7. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Store and serve at room temperature. 
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 11/2 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
  2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium  high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms soft medium peaks; about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
  4. Add salt and peppermint extract and mix to combine
  5. Ice cupcakes however you would like:)  I used Wilton 1M
Chocolate Drizzle
  1. Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine.
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine.
  3. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached.
  4. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm before drizzling on cupcakes.  I used a piping bag and a small tip (like Wilton 5)
  5. Sprinkle with candy (either crushed peppermints or Andes)
Cupcakes adapted from Bakers Royale





 

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