Flavor of the Month - Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cupcakes
This month’s Flavor of the Month theme was a real brain stumper. Bridget from Bake at 350 chose John Hughes' movies as the theme. You know, the guy who wrote/directed and/or produced movies like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, National Lampoon’s Vacation, the Home Alone movies, and many more. He died this past August and this was a way Bridget thought we could reminisce over those movies that so many of us watched as we entered our young adulthood.
So. What to make? I poured over recipes, looked up movie quotes and trivia and asked friends for ideas. “Bueller?….Bueller?….”
But I think I finally came up with something good: Sweet Sixteen Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cupcakes with Billowy White Peppermint Frosting. Mmm…pepperminty. Perfect to represent either 16 Candles or Pretty in Pink. (I just realized these could also go with the John Hughes' movie, Uncle Buck, because John Candy was in that one. Get it? Peppermint Candy? Hee hee.)
And with Christmas (ha! Christmas Vacation..I just got 'em coming left and right) coming right around the corner, it would be a delicious dessert as cupcakes or you could double the scratch recipe and divide the batter between 2 9-in. cake pans and make a cake. I know some of you shy away from making a cake from scratch, so if you'd prefer to use a boxed mix, just make it according the instructions on the box, adding the peppermint extract with the liquid ingredients.
And don't forget to hop over to Bridget's Flavor of the Month Post and check out the other John Hughes inspired recipes. She has some adorable (as usual!) cookies up. And some way-too-cute Pretty in Pink Krispies.
Sweet Sixteen Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cupcakes
1 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to
the consistency of mayonnaise
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ tablespoon peppermint extract
2 extra-large eggs, warmed in their shells
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
¾ cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in both sugars, a tablespoon at a time. Add the peppermint extract and beat until very light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each, then beat until very light and creamy. Blend in the chocolate.
Blend in the flour in 3 parts, sprinkling it over the bowl, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat on the lowest speed and just until each addition disappears.
Fill the muffin cups to half way. Bake for 15 minutes, (35 min. for 2 cake layers) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Makes about 20 cupcakes.
Billowy White Peppermint Frosting
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup white corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 extra large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
12 oz. pink or red peppermint candy, crushed, to sprinkle on top
In a 2-qt. top of a double boiler (or set a medium size bowl over a small saucepan), use a hand mixer on low speed to blend the sugar, corn syrup, water, egg whites, cream of tarter, and salt. Set over (not in) a little bit of simmering water on medium heat.
Beat at high speed just until the frosting holds a peak when you lift the beaters, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
Remove from the heat, add the peppermint extract, and beat at high speed until the frosting is cool and divinely billowy, another minute or two or three. Use at once. Sprinkle with peppermint candy.