I love peppermint mochas. As soon as Starbucks starts offering them (even if it's in November; yes, I'm one of those people), I start drinking them, and I don't stop until they go off the menu. I love the combination of coffee, chocolate, and peppermint. It reminds me of stirring a candy cane into hot cocoa, like I did when I was a kid. But it has more grown-up coffee flavor too. Thinking about how much I love these flavors together, I decided to put a spin on my favorite winter coffee drink and turn it into a cupcake.
I started with rich, chocolaty mini cupcakes, brushed them lightly with coffee syrup, and topped them with a refreshingly pepperminty, light, fluffy frosting. For a little fun, I decorated them with Chocolate Peppermint Caviar and candy cane sprinkles (both of which I found at Williams-Sonoma). And to bring it back to the drink, I cut up paper straws and tucked mini straws into some of the cupcakes too.
Mini Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
(cupcakes adapted from Flour; frosting adapted from a recipe by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito from Baked in Sweet Paul Magazine)
These miniature chocolate cupcakes get brushed with coffee syrup and topped with
peppermint frosting for a tasty treat with the flavors of a peppermint mocha.
Print this recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 48 mini cupcakes
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup hot brewed coffee
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut in small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
Chocolate Peppermint Caviar
Candy cane sprinkles
Paper straws, cut to fit mini cupcakes
Note: The batter needs to sit for at least an hour before baking, so plan ahead.
Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a small heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, butter, and water over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes, or until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Pour the hot butter-sugar mixture over the cocoa-chocolate mixture, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
In a small measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk this mixture into the chocolate mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Dump the dry ingredients on top of the chocolate mixture, and whisk them into the chocolate mixture until the batter is completely smooth.
Leave the batter out at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 mini-muffin pans with paper liners.
Using a small (2-teaspoon-capacity) scoop, fill each cup with 1 scoop of batter.
Bake cupcakes, 1 pan at a time, for 8 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Once cupcakes are cool enough to handle (but still warm), remove them from the pan, and place them on a wire rack.
Combine the brewed coffee and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Brush the cupcakes lightly with the coffee syrup. Then let them cool completely. (You will not need all the coffee syrup. I was afraid it might be too sludgy if I tried to make a smaller amount.)
In medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk sugar and flour together. Whisk in milk and cream, and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture just comes to a boil and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. (Be sure to remove the mixture as soon as it begins to boil or it will start to brown.)
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer (to remove any clumps). Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment.
Beat on high speed until cool, 7 to 9 minutes. (Hold bags of frozen vegetables against sides of bowl to speed up the cooling.)
Reduce speed to low and add butter, a few pieces at a time, and beat until incorporated.
Increase speed to medium high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and peppermint oil, and beat until combined.
To assemble: Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.
Decorate with Chocolate Peppermint Caviar and candy cane sprinkles.
Tuck paper straw pieces into each cupcake just before serving.
Chocolate-peppermint fans are sure to love these. I brought them to a belated Hanukkah celebration with Jeff's family, and everyone kept coming back for more.
Note: The coffee flavor was not as prominent in these as I would like it to be, so next time I would mix some instant espresso powder into the cupcake batter with the cocoa powder too.
What's your favorite drink to order at a coffee shop?
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