I’m sure you could tell after the Candy Cane Fudge that I’m slightly obsessing over peppermint and chocolate lately. I tried this new recipe out on my family this weekend and they were a hit. One of the keys to this recipe is the addition of Andes Peppermint Chips. I didn’t realize these existed until a couple days ago when I was browsing through the grocery store and getting totally distracted by the fun Christmas cooking stuff they have advertised right smack in the middle of random aisles. I mean, you can’t possibly walk around this massive mound of goodness without first staring it in the face along with all these fun ingredients that are only found around the holidays. I picked up the bag of Andes peppermints (pictured below) literally said, “Oh these are fun” to myself out loud and then quickly looked around to make sure only myself heard me and put them back on the shelf. They weren’t on my list and I was going to be frugal. But then as I continued adding those said “list” items I thought to myself (in my head this time) Those could be fun on popcorn covered in white chocolate…I could make peppermint cookie bark and have those sprinkled on top…and then What about cupcakes, with peppermint filling instead of just plain old vanilla! That’s what did it. I went back and stuck them in my basket along with a few other items that weren’t on the list but as long as I was caving I wanted to make it fun. 🙂
These cupcakes are definitely a change from the ordinary chocolate cupcake. There are a few more steps, but beginning with a boxed cake mix helps make life a little easier. I added the Andes Peppermint Chips not only to the top, but to the inside frosting as well, which makes it extra delicious. You could always use store bought frosting if that’s your thing to make these even easier, but I love the rich flavor of the ganache. Typical ganache usually calls for just heavy whipping cream, chocolate and vanilla, but I don’t always have heavy whipping cream on hand. You can substitute butter and milk for whipping cream and I’ve found that I actually prefer the flavor the butter gives this to just the whipping cream alone.
- One box cake mix (plus the ingredients for making)
For Cream Filling
- 1/2 stick salted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 cup milk (any percent will do)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup Andes peppermint chips
For Ganache Frosting
- 1/4 stick butter
- 3/4 cup milk (any percent will do)
- 1 and 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup Andes peppermint chips (to top cupcakes)
- Make chocolate cupcakes using your favorite chocolate boxed cake mix. I like dark chocolate fudge flavor. I use a 1/3 measuring cup to measure out my cupcakes and I consistently have 18 cupcakes with one box (never the 24 that they claim to make…)
- While allowing the cupcakes to cool begin the cream filling. Beat butter and shortening together. Add one cup of powdered sugar and salt. Beat well and then add milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and rest of powdered sugar. Finally, chop the Andes peppermint chips even finer than they already are and stir those into the frosting as well.
- Using a frosting piping bag, pipe cream filling into the middle of each of the cupcakes. Usually, this is done with a piping bag, tip, and plastic coupler. I found that it’s easiest not to use a tip for this, but to only use the plastic coupler as the hole is larger and allows for the Andes peppermint chips to get through. (I suppose a large tip could work, but my largest didn’t.) Push the tip of the plastic frosting piper towards the bottom of the cupcake. Then squeeze out the frosting slowly as you lift the bag up out of the cupcake. Especially if you’re not using a tip the frosting will come out fast so be gentle. You’ll notice that the cupcakes begin to swell as you’re squeezing which lets you know you’re getting enough filling inside. There’s nothing sadder than watching a child bite into a cupcake that doesn’t have enough of the highly anticipated filling. 🙂
- For the ganache- heat butter and milk in a large microwave safe bowl for about a minute and a half. (You can also heat it on low on the stove, but why wash a pot if you don’t have to?) Add the chocolate chips and whisk until the chips have melted completely and the ganache is smooth. Add vanilla. At this point the ganache will be thin. Allow it to sit out at room temperature until it has thickened or pop it in the fridge for about five-ten minutes. When it has thickened, take each cupcake and dip it upside down into the ganache. Spin the cupcake in the chocolate and then lift it up out of the bowl & allow to solidify uncovered on the counter. This makes enough ganache to do every cupcake twice. Once you’ve swirled them all, go back for round two and then top with Andes peppermint pieces immediately before the ganache hardens.
Notes- Makes 18 cupcakes. These are best saved in the cupcake baking pan at room temperature. Keeping them in the cupcake pan keeps the cake moist and then the ganache topping hardens and preserves the cake from the top even if you don’t have a cupcake pan topper. These are best within the first five days.
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