chocolate / cupcake / holiday

Schnapptastic!

striped!!! like a peppermint!!!

I went to New Zealand during part of the rainy season.  Surprisingly we had great weather, save a few torrentially rainy days that prohibited outdoor activities.  On one such day, we went to the local tourist office to see what what we could do.  My friend and I were in wine country and wandering around to vineyard tastings seemed like a good way to take the chill off.  Then I saw the flyer – bright yellow with pictures of 1950’s men and women dancing a fancy jig.  “Schnapptastic!”  it exclaimed.  “Schnapperrific!”  I turned to my friend.  “This place.  We must go.  It is Schnappciting!”

And lo, we went and it was as foretold: a schnapps distillery (brewery?) of epic deliciousness.

Remembering the warm and fuzzies the schnapps provided on that rainy day provided some inspiration for these Peppermint Mocha cupcakes (well, that and my second favorite seasonal Starbuck holiday beverage, but getting nostalgic for commercial enterprise is a little embarrassing).  There is a boozy and non boozy baking option.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Ingredients

Makes 3 dozen mini cupcakes or 1 dozen standard

For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • (optional) 2 Tablespoons coffee liquor, like Kahlua (or coffee schnapps!)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For Boozy Frosting

  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbs) softened
  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups confections sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Peppermint Schnapps
  • (optional) 1 teaspoon peppermint extract if you like it extra minty.
  • 2 teas vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk

For Sober Frosting

  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbs) softened
  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups confections sugar
  • 2 or 3 teas Peppermint extract (start with one, add more to taste)
  • 2 teas vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, espresso powder, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide batter among cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile make the frosting.

with an electric hand mixer, cream butter.  Add vanilla, 1 cup confectioners sugar.  Beat until combined.  Add milk, peppermint flavor (schnapps or extract) and 2 1/2 cups more sugar.  Mix until combined.  Add additional sugar if frosting seems soft and additional extract if you want it mintier.

Frost as desired.  Eat.  Schnappawesome.

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