Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

How is your Christmas spirit today?  Are you super excited about the upcoming holiday and ready to embrace all of the tasks and commitments that are required to pull off the perfect Christmas?  Or are you tired, overwhelmed and exhausted and dreading the thought of even looking at your to do list for the day?  My guess is that most of us lie somewhere in the middle of all those two.

As for me, I am very excited about spending time with all of the people that I love this Christmas but I must admit - I am somewhat afraid to even put my "to-do" list in writing.   (Then it just becomes all too real - and overwhelming.)

I spend a lot of time preparing for Christmas - buying gifts, wrapping gifts, decorating the house, planning and preparing for family meals, writing cards, etc, etc, etc.   It's easy for me to get caught up in all of the "busyness" of the season and my joy for Christmas gets lost.

I have to say that making these giant chocolate peppermint cupcakes has given me back my Christmas spirit.  (Baking is my therapy.)  These chocolate peppermint cupcakes are like beautifully wrapped gifts just waiting for someone to enjoy.  Swirls of red striped, peppermint scented cream cheese frosting sitting on top of a moist, dark chocolate cupcake.  I challenge anyone to NOT be in the Christmas spirit with a plate of these cupcakes sitting in front of you.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.

Beat on medium speed for one minute.  Stir in boiling water.

Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.

Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.

Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
Prepare a batch of cream cheese frosting.   Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract.  Pipe onto cupcakes.  (I used a paintbrush to paint a line of red food coloring on the inside of my pastry bag.)

I made the little peppermint bark that I put on the top of each of these cupcakes.  You can find out how I did it here.   http://mystoryinrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-need-your-help.html

They would also look cute with some crushed peppermints or candy canes.  If you have another creative idea for decorations, send me a picture.


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