Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

My first pregnancy craving and I am more than 30 weeks pregnant: I needed to make chocolate peppermint cupcakes today. And these did not disappoint. Inspired by Cooking Classy, I made a few tweaks and would not change a thing from the recipe below.

Servings: 24 cupcakes

2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
2/3 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
2 tsp. peppermint extract, divided
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
4-1/2 cups Confectioners’ sugar

Make cupcake batter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees-F. Line two 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. In the work bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking power, baking soda, and salt. Mix with the whisk attachment until combined. Add oil, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. peppermint extract, milk, and eggs. Mix on low for 1 minute. Add sour cream and coffee, mix on medium-low for 3 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl and mix again briefly to be sure batter is smooth. Fill each muffin cup with batter, approximately 3/4 full – batter will be slightly thin.

Bake cupcakes 
Transfer cupcakes to the oven and bake for 9 minutes. After the first 9 minutes of baking, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees-F. Rotate cupcake pans to ensure even baking and bake for an additional 9 minutes. Test cupcakes by inserting a toothpick, cupcakes are done if toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and let cool completely, approximately 20 minutes.

Make  chocolate topping
While cupcakes cool on the cooling racks, melt chocolate chips over simmering water in a double boiler. Add heavy cream and mix with a whisk until smooth. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes, then set aside on the counter until ready to decorate. Once cupcakes are cooled completely, frost each cupcake with approximately 1/2 to 1 tsp. of the chocolate topping.  Allow for about 1/4-inch around the edge of the cupcake to prevent the chocolate from dripping. Place cupcakes back in the pan or on a platter and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.

Chill cupcakes and make peppermint frosting
While cupcakes chill in the refrigerator, use an electric mixer to combine cream cheese and butter and mix on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tsp. peppermint extract. With the mixer on low, slowly add Confectioners’ sugar. Scrap sides of the bowl to incorporate all ingredients. Mix on medium-high for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer to an icing bag and set aside until ready to decorate.

Decorate and serve
When cupcakes are chilled, ice with peppermint frosting, leaving approximately 1/4-inch from the edge of the chocolate frosting and building the icing into a high dome. Garnish with a candy cane, peppermint bark, or similar candy. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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