November 26, 2007

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature

peppermint cream cheese frosting
red sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour 6 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Meanwhile, mix together the cocoa powder, espresso powder and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside. Add flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture. Add the milk mixture to the rest of the batter and beat until well combined. Fill each well 2/3 of the way full. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just one or two dry crumbs. Cool briefly in the pan, then remove cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely before icing with peppermint cream cheese frosting. Ice, then sprinkle.

*I bought this at our local Italian grocery but I have seen it in most regular grocery stores in the coffee isle.

Yield: 6 cupcakes

My thoughts:

It's that time of the year again- everyone is rhapsodizing about peppermint mochas from Starbucks. I admit, I am not a coffee drinker by any stretch of the imagination, but even I make an annual trip to Starbucks to get one. This year I thought it would be fun to combine those flavors into a new portable form: cupcakes. This recipe makes 6 cupcakes, which is a perfect number for a snack with friends, but can be easily multiplied to make more. The cupcake strikes a perfect balance of chocolate and coffee and the icing just elevates it to a whole new level.