Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Bark

Monday, December 11, 2006

I was feeling particularly festive and been hankering to make a chocolate cupcake for some time. I've always been a big fan of peppermint and chocolate mixed together, it's one of those flavors that define the holidays and always relaxes me after coming in from the nippy weather, and makes a perfect culinary companion to sit by the Christmas tree wrapped in a flannel blanket with. I admit part of the inspiration came from 52 Cupcakes, as I was thinking of this idea but she gave me that bit of boost, but I decided to make my own bark and do the cupcake from scratch.

I usually always bake an angel food peppermint cake for whatever holiday party seems to be approaching, but this year I decided to take a cupcake approach and utilize some rich, slightly bitter dark chocolate. This cupcake really is a winner. The cupcakes are fluffy and moist, and really have an old fashioned taste. The frosting varried; I used regular buttercream on some, and peppermint buttercream on others as some prefer a less punchy peppermint taste. Really, they were fantastic either way, but I prefer the plain buttercream as did others. The bark adds a festive touch to the whole cupcake, and that touch of peppermint. I wish I had red dye for the frosting, but that's just me.

I have to say this was probably the most popular cupcake I've ever served, and I have plans to make it a few more times before the holiday season ends.

I hope that this cupcake finds you well, and that your Christmas, Solstice, Kwanzaa, and Hannukah shopping isn't driving you too crazy. If it is though, this will be the perfect cure.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop
24 cupcakes at 350 degrees

What You'll Need...
3/4 cup of butter (room temp.)
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs (room temp.)
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of cocoa powder (Valrhona!!!)
1-1/2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of sour cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

What You'll Do...
1) Beat butter until softened. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

2) Add eggs one at a time, about 30 seconds for each.

3) Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Place milk, sour cream, and vanilla in their own bowl and whisk together.

4) Mix in some of the dry mixture, followed by the wt mixture, and repeat dry, wet, dry. Be sure to end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

5) Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 22 minutes, rotate the pan if needed, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness.

Peppermint Bark
What You'll Need...
8 oz of high-quality white chocolate
peppermint candy
wax paper

What You'll Do...
1) Break up peppermint candy into little shards. Break or chop up chocolate and place in a microwave safe container or double boiler pot.

2) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or melt in your microwave. Careful to not scorch the chocolate by checking and mixing every 30 seconds. Pour out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out. Sprinkle the candy shards on and gently press them in.

3) Let it sit and cool in the fridge or freezer. Break apart and eat. The candy may melt and sweat a bit, so you want to keep the bark cold.

Note: As always with chocolate, quality really does make all the difference. Good quality can be a bit steep, but it's worth it. (Hence, why I do not make chocolate cupcakes often.) Do yourself a favor and shell out the extra couple of bucks.

Vanilla or Peppermint Buttercream
What You'll Need...
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or peppermint extract

What You'll Do...
1) Cream the butter until soft.

2) Add the sugar and then the milk and extract. Cream till soft. Spread on cool cupcakes.

Note: If you cannot decide, make to small sample portions. I found most people preferred the vanilla buttercream over the peppermint.


  1. Well I'll be. Your bark is better than you... not going to finish that statement. :D

    Love dark chocolate.

  2. Yummy I love, love, love peppermint. Just last week I made peppermint bark, peppermint ice cream and gleefully drank the 'doesn't count as a recipe' concoction of hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps.

    Happy pepperminting! Those cupcakes look amazing!

  3. It's funny you should mention your fondness for peppermint and chocolate because my husband and I were just talking about that today. I love it, he hates it, we almost called the whole thing off.

    Needless to say, I think these cupcakes look great!

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  4. I didn't know it was so easy to make peppermint bark until I read the Talk of Tomatoes blog...seriously. I have GOT to get my hands on some good white chocolate and make this. Unfortch, Trader Joes doesn't open for a while. wahhh.

    Maybe I can find it elsewhere!

  5. This recipe sounds really, really great! I love peppermint patties candy bars so betcha this would be a good way to get the flavors of that candy in a great cupcake! I'll have to try this before the holidays on the family and if they like it, it may become part of our Christmas Eve or Day dinner! Thanks for a recipe I think I can handle too.

  6. Oh my my! How befitting the season. You've become the cupcake maestro!

  7. Okay...I am making cupcakes today! You have once again inspired me. Thank you.

  8. I've never seen or heard of peppermint bark before. What a great idea!

  9. Okay..G, I cannot bake. I resorted to duncan hines with some cinnamon added.

    Should I hang my head in shame?

    I know fer sure I should wear my bifocals when I use the computer!

  10. These look really good, the bark would be tasty done in dark chocolate as well.

  11. Bought the white chocolate chips and peppermint candy canes but forgot wax paper!!! DOHH! I'll post in my blog when I do get around to it. Maybe next week.

  12. yum! looks so good! here's another good recipe: http://www.howtodothings.com/food-drink/how-to-make-peppermint-bark

  13. I saw this on a list over at http://wasabimon.com and had to have a look. Made me whimper.


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