Peppermint Truffle Cupcakes

 

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Occasion: 

It seems like just yesterday that Hubs and I moved to Chicago, so I could start my new job as an Assistant Professor. Somehow, “yesterday” turned into four months later, and the holidays are fast approaching! The faculty in my department hold a semester-end grading “party,” so I thought I’d bring some snacks to share.

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Right about this time every year, I get a huge craving for anything peppermint- candy canes, peppermint mocha, York peppermint patties, pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I decided to feed my craving by going all out! These cupcakes have a rich chocolate cake with a minty truffle filling and a hefty dollop of fluffy peppermint buttercream on top.

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Cake:

No suprise here- I went with my standby chocolate cake recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-cake-i/

Truffle Filling:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2/3 cups heavy cream
2 T. room temp. butter
2 tsp. peppermint extract (more if you want it super minty!)
1 T. powdered sugar

Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and peppermint extract and stir until combined.  Stir in powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

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Truffle filling… mmm!

Frosting:

1 1/2 cups room temp. butter
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 T. heavy cream
1 T. milk
4 tsp. peppermint extract
a few drops of pink gel food coloring

Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until it is very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, alternating with milk and cream until you reach the desired consistency. Mix in peppermint extract. (My favorite kind is The Spice House pure peppermint extract out of Milwaukee. It’s delicious!) Stir in food coloring by hand. I purposely left it a little streaky to look like a peppermint candy.

Decoration:

I topped my cakes with crushed peppermints, chocolate sprinkles, red sugar, and Wilton’s white pearl dust for a pretty shimmery look.

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Shimmery! You can get Pearl Dust here: http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-Pearl-Dust-White-0-05-Ounce/dp/B000PWRZ8S
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All packed up and ready to go to the party!

Bonus Tip: 

If you have any left-over batter, this also makes for a beautiful little mini cake. I made this one as a treat for the Hubs, who was planning to fly home tonight after a 4-day work trip. Unfortunately, he was stuck in a plane in Detroit in the middle of dense freezing fog the entire time I was baking. Incidentally, he’s still stuck there as I type this:( Maybe he can have cake for breakfast tomorrow, instead!

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