Last week we had several holiday parties at church that I volunteered to bake cupcakes for. Whenever I
temporarily go insane make four dozen at a time, I try and make two different flavor combinations just to have a little variety. The adults at the parties seemed to favor the chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream. The kids, however, made a nose-dive into these babies…
Peppermint Cupcakes with Peppermint White Chocolate Buttercream
As usual, find your favorite (or use a box mix, who cares!) white cake recipe that will make 2 dozen cupcakes. Bake, bake, bakety bake… I almost always use buttermilk in place of regular milk in my recipes and that was true in this case. I also added 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cake batter. While the cupcakes were cooking and cooling, I took a handful of unwrapped peppermint candies (you could use candy canes as well), placed them in a heavy duty zip top plastic bag, grabbed my hammer and then terrified the cats while I slammed away at the mints, pulverizing them – but leaving some bigger chunks in there too. I placed them in a shallow square container and set them in the fridge (do this so they don’t get sticky from humidity or warm kitchen temps) to wait till I was ready for them after frosting the cuppies.
After the cupcakes are baked, but before you begin working on the frosting – take an 11-12 oz bag of white chocolate chips and melt them in a medium sized bowl in the microwave or in a double boiler – according to the melting instructions on the bag of chips. Set aside to cool completely – but not reharden.
My base frosting recipe is this:
2 cups of Crisco (or 4 sticks of butter for you purists)
2 lbs of powdered sugar (I rarely sift it, but knock yourself out if you insist)
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (if you use regular, your frosting will be off white)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (added to this recipe only)
(up to) 4 oz. milk
Sometimes I use butter flavor Crisco but when I want my white frostings to remain stark white and not off white, I stick with the solid white Crisco. I start by placing the Crisco in in the bowl of my heavy duty Kitchen Aid mixer and cream on low using the whisk attachment, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla & peppermint extracts and mix until combined. Pour melted/cooled white chocolate into bowl & mix on low 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, about 2-3 cups at a time (1/4 of the 2 lb bag if you use the Publix brand). After adding in half of the sugar, you may need to begin to drizzle in some of your milk. Add in the remaining sugar and mix until well incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice. Add remaining milk if you need a thinner consistency or add additional powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin. Scrape down the sides of the mixer again and then mix on high speed 3-5 minutes to whip fluffy.
For cupcakes I used frosting bags but if you have gallon sized freezer zip bags you can use those as well. Place about 1/3 of the frosting in your bag of choice (with or without decorating tip inserted into the corner), snip off the corner of your bag and pipe frosting onto completely cooled cupcakes. Top frosted cupcakes with crushed peppermints (you can also gently roll tops in the crused mints for a “snowball” effect).
Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving at room temperature.