Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peppermint Fudge Cupcakes

Merry Christmas!

I love peppermint desserts for Christmas. When I found this recipe on the Our Best Bites blog I was sold. I decided to make the cupcake version instead of the jars. Maybe next year I'll try the jars. The recipe is very easy and does not require a mixer! I chose to double the recipe again because I was feeling the Christmas spirit. Well that and my coworker asked twice if I was bringing cupcakes in this week.

No real hiccups this time. I practiced the "cone method" again for the ganache. I went with the pairing knife this time and felt like my skills are improving. One coworker sliced her cupcake in half and you could really see the yummy ganache center.

I decided to be a little creative with my decorating too. You will have lots of ganache left over especially if you make 24 and I did not want it to go to waste. (Fingers crossed for the rest of the ganache I stuck in the fridge!) So some cupcakes have a ganache center and topping. Ooohhh! Then I added red, green, and white sprinkles before the ganache set. Target had cute snowflake cupcake liners and toppers in the dollar spot so I used the toppers for the white cupcakes. Chocolate buttercream was still lurking in the freezer from Thanksgiving and I like how it looks with white sugar pearls. So fancy! Lol. I plan to try the tip for swirling two icing colors they explained in the blog post soon - may look nice on some red velvet cupcakes.

I'm getting all professional with transporting these jokers. I'm taking some cupcakes to my hair stylist so I purchased Wilton four count boxes. They are so cute! When you stack the boxes the cupcakes line up.

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake JarsRecipe by Our Best Bites
Makes approximately 8 jars or 12 Cupcakes

Cupcakes (cake base for this dessert adapted from Shelly Kaldunski)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz chocolate, chopped.  (or abt 1/2 C chips) Use bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet.
1/2 C + 3 Tbs real butter, cut into pieces
3/4 C plus 2 Tbs sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 8oz wide mouth mason jars (the short squatty kind)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.   Set mixture aside and let cool 10-15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon (don’t use an electric mixer) stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the eggs one and a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet.  Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need for greasing the jars) or 12 cupcake liners if you’re going that route.  The jars should be about half full or a little less.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached 22-25 minutes.   Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot-holder!) transfer jars to a cooling rack.  Let jars cool till at least close to room temperature before topping with ganache.

Peppermint Ganache
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Heat cream in microwave until bubbles form around the outside.  Pour in bowl over chocolate chips and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 5 minutes, add peppermint extract and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool un-covered until thickened slightly, almost like a thin pudding.
To assemble, pour 1 1/2-2 Tbs ganache over the top of each cupcake jar.  If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake.  Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool for the ganache to set.  If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars and leave at room temperature.

Storage: Note that just because these are in jars does not mean they are shelf stable for extended periods of time.  Also, baked goods are always best fresh, that being said, here are a few storage options.
When fully made, store with lids on at room temp for a day or two.   If made up to the ganache step (before frosting) you can screw lids on and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, then frost right before gifting.  If you’d like to fully prepare them a day or two ahead of time, I would actually reverse the filling and topping.  Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill with frosting.  Place the “cap” of the cupcake back over the hole and then top the entire top with ganache and a sprinkling of candycane.  Store at room temp for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4.

For my frosting - I added 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract to the Wilton buttercream recipe.

Be sure to check out the Our Best Bites blog because they included printable labels for the mason jars.

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