Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

Merry Christmas in July! It’s probably hard to think about Christmas during this time of the year, especially with everything going on in the world. I am longing for those cooler days though. I totally get that summer is supposed to be warm and some days hot, but, I just feel that this summer has had more days of unbearable heat and humidity than in recent years. Even the days that haven’t been that hot have been too humid for my liking. If it’s 83 degrees, I want it to feel like 83 and not 93 because of other factors. In my post for last year’s Christmas in July recipe, Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies, I discussed the origins of the “holiday.” This year I am sharing a tidbit of information I recently learned, people actually have Christmas in July parties! Sorry, if this comes across as a shocker to me. I have heard of Christmas in July for years, but, never knew that people actually had parties to celebrate. Sounds like a fun idea, but, I definitely wouldn’t put up my Christmas Tree this early in the year regardless of how much I love Christmas. Instead, to celebrate Christmas in July I am sharing with you a Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcake recipe.

To amp the peppermint flavor in the cupcakes not only did I add peppermint extract to the batter, but, I infused peppermint into the milk by crushing peppermint candies and adding them to the milk while heating it so they could dissolve into it. And while the frosting also called for milk, I opted to just use peppermint extract to give it a peppermint flavor. The final product, a cupcake that’s making me long for all the sweet treats that are to come with the holidays!

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

4 starlight peppermint candies, crushed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate (I used 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Sprinkles or additional crushed peppermint candies to decorate.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes: Start by making the peppermint milk. In a small saucepan over medium hear (or using a glass measuring cup in a microwave) heat the milk and crushed candies together until the milk is hot but not boiling. Stir to melt the candies in the heated milk. Pour the heated milk over the cocoa powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. 

In a medium whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, whisk in the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts until the mixture is smooth. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cool make the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts and pulse the ingredients together until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes using your desired method and then top with sprinkles and/or crushed candies.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Eggnog Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

So, what have you been baking this Holiday season? Cookies? Cupcakes? Cakes? All three? I haven’t baked a cake yet, but, I have baked my fair share of cookies. Did you catch any of my Cookie Palooza recipes last week? There were some good ones in there. Today though I am bringing you a cupcake that encompasses a few flavors of the season… Eggnog and Cinnamon in an Eggnog Cupcake with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. I highly suggest you use an eggnog that you like as opposed to any old one you happen to come across at the supermarket and don’t worry if you don’t like eggnog these cupcakes are not overpowering with the flavor.

To make the cupcakes I began by stirring together all the dry ingredients in one bowl – flour, sugar, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another, using my hand mixer I beat room temperature butter until it was creamy. I then added in all of the flour mixture and continues beat the mixture until it resembled crumble topping.

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Next I added in two eggs and continued beating…

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And finally I added in the eggnog and mixed it on low speed until the batter was silky and smooth (kind of a funny way to explain cupcake batter).

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Next I divided the batter evenly among my 12-cavity cupcake pan (about 1/4 cup in each cavity) and of course I used holiday inspired cupcake liners…

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I baked them in a 350 F pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, I topped them off with homemade Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. This frosting is so good I could just eat it out of the bowl. I had to refrain from too many taste tests since I needed enough to frost the cupcakes!

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Eggnog Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup eggnog

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl stir together all of the ingredients except the butter, eggs and eggnog and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add all of the flour mixture and continue beating until it mixture resembles a crumble topping. Add the eggs and beat for an additional minute; the batter should be light in color and a bit fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Finally, beat in the eggnog gently until just combined and the batter is silky and smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake pan (about 1/4 cup each cavity).

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched in the center and a cake taster comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

Recipe from Betty Crocker

 

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Enough for 24 Cupcakes*

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 cups (1 lb. box) confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

*I opted to divide the recipe in half and had enough frosting to frost 10 cupcakes using a 1M Wilton Tip Swirl

Directions:

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and vanilla extract on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Stir the cinnamon into the confectioners’ sugar, gradually add this to the butter mixture. Beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add milk (or heavy cream) and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. If you find that the frosting is a bit thick and heavy to spread add more milk/heavy cream to thin it down.

Recipe from McCormick