The holidays are finally here and 2012 is quickly coming to a close. Are you as amazed as I? As I get older, time seems to be getting perpetually faster. This past year has traveled at warp speed, and it’s incredible to look back on all that has occurred over the past twelve months. We’ve seen devastation in Hurricane Sandy’s wake and witnessed history in Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting space jump; we’ve survived the nasty battles of the presidential election and viewed the wonderful victories of the London Olympics. It is clear that 2012 has had its fair share of negative and positive moments. And I’m sure your personal life has as well.
As 2012 comes to its end, however, I think it is important not to let the negative outweigh the positive.We all have our bumps along the road, and often times these bumps seem to distract us from the beauty we experience in the journey. Especially at this time of year, a time that is focused on peace and joy, we should give ample consideration to everything we are grateful for, to everything that has gone well. Remember that the holiday season is one of celebration and appreciation. So let us put aside the distraction and stress, let us put all the worry on hold and simply celebrate how far we’ve come and all that we’ve accomplished on the way.
And just because everyone deserves a little treat at the end of a long journey, here is the perfect holiday reward: Peppermint Bark Cupcakes.
The quintessential holiday treat, peppermint bark is truly the epitome of elegance in simplicity. A layer of dark chocolate topped with white chocolate and crushed peppermint candy is all that is required to make this stunning holiday favorite. Although it is true that bit more preparation goes into the creation of these cupcakes, they are still perfectly representative of their original inspiration: toothsome, rich chocolate cake and minty dark chocolate ganache is topped with buttery white chocolate buttercream and a dusting of peppermint candy. The result is wonderfully elegant and deliciously satisfying.
An old classic in an entirely new form, these treats are perfect for celebrating the past while welcoming in the future. And so, with this recipe gift, I wish you all the happiest holiday season. Here’s to a wonderful year, both past and future!
Peppermint Bark Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
½ cup unsalted butter
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup GF Flour Mix*
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Combine butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisk until mixture is melted and fully combined. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour mix, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add in sugar and beat until light and creamy. Mix in melted chocolate and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream, until mixture is fully combined (batter will be fairly thick). Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcake liners. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
5 oz. semisweet chocolate
3 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
Combine butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir frequently until all ingredients have fully melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and add in peppermint extract and corn syrup. Set aside to thicken slightly.
Once thickened, dip tops of cooled cupcakes in ganache and refrigerate until firm.
White Chocolate Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½-2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
In a medium-sized bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add in melted white chocolate and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar and salt, and continue to beat for another 1-2 minutes, until creamy and smooth. Adjust to personal taste and consistency preferences (for a stiffer, sweeter frosting, add more sugar).
Place approximately 20 hard peppermint candies in a Ziploc bag and smash candies with a hammer to break them up. Frost tops of cupcakes with buttercream and finish with a sprinkling of crushed peppermint.
*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch