Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

Happy Holidays! A little bit belatedly. But what the heck, let's still celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than making cupcakes with peppermint and chocolate, right? I had entertained the idea of making some sort of peppermint cupcake, but then I heard about this phenomenon where you can actually bake York Peppermint Patties into cupcakes. What? Of course, I had to try this.

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

from The Busty Baker's blog
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 12 small (1 ½-inch) chocolate-covered peppermint patties, such as York Peppermint Patties
1) Preheat oven to 350F and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

2) Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally just until melted, 4 to 5 minutes.

3) Remove bowl from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth. Whisk in eggs to combine. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa until just smooth, taking care not to overmix.

4) Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into each lined cup. Place one peppermint patty on top, gently pressing into batter. Top with 2 tablespoons batter, covering patty completely.

5) Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted halfway in centers (above mint patty) comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. (Note: I baked my cupcakes for ~35 minutes, but found that they were a bit overdone. I would recommend baking the cupcakes for 25-30 minutes instead.)

6) Transfer tin to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

I've seen a lot of websites which recommend freezing the peppermint patties before placing them in the cupcake batter, since this is supposed to ensure that the patty doesn't break up or melt as quickly in the oven. I've actually tried making these cupcakes with and without freezing the patties and I don't think it makes a noticeable difference.

Mint Frosting
from the Guide
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • dash salt
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
1) Cream butter, peppermint, and salt.

2) Gradually add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, creaming until light.

3) Add remaining confectioners' sugar and the milk. Beat until smooth.

4) Top the cupcakes with a thin layer of frosting.

I also drizzled the cupcakes with a thin layer of chocolate chips melted with a few teaspoons of mint extract. Mmmmmm. Chocolate!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I don't usually bake cupcakes using the recipe from other people's sites, but this time I kind of felt obligated to. I was concerned about changing the cupcake batter composition and ending up with a peppermint patty stuck to the bottom of my cupcake liner. Because it could happen. And it would happen to me.

I love this recipe primarily because it's a "one-bowl wonder". Seriously. I don't even have to break out the mixer for this one. A whisk and some elbow grease will do the job just fine. Plus, it takes me less than an hour to make the batter and bake the cupcakes. This greatly reduces my raw-ingredients-to-baked-cupcake wait

The first time I made these cupcakes, I think they came out slightly dry (see the picture below) :( But I still wanted to include a picture showing a cross-section of the cupcakes because really, how often are you going to see a mint chocolate-y center in a cupcake. Love it!

I made these cupcakes again, one week after the first batch. The first time, although the cupcakes were a little overdone, I heard from reliable sources/taste-testers that the cupcake was still pretty moist and fudge-y around the peppermint patty center. The second batch of cupcakes were baked for less time (~25 minutes). This time, the cupcakes were moist and fudge-y throughout the entire cake, not just the center. If you enjoy chocolate and peppermint, you should definitely give these a shot!