There are few things that go together better than chocolate and peppermint. I mean really, can you think of a better combination?!
Nope, I can’t either.
Well except maybe rum, raisin and dark chocolate! That just happens to be my all time favourite chocolate bar flavour, but I think we’ll save that challenge for another time.
This month was my awesome mum’s birthday and sadly we were in Tasmania on an awesome family holiday on the actual day, so when we got back I decided I had to make her a little something for when we did get together.
Choc Mint just happens to be my mum’s absolute favourite combination! I mean without a doubt, so I knew I would have to try and make something up for her. The inspiration for these cupcakes came from my Luscious Strawberry Cream Cupcakes believe it or not.
What I wanted was a simple, moist, not over the top rich, chocolate cupcake with a peppermint buttercream frosting and a shard of peppermint sugar glass candy in top. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, I just had to figure out how to make it happen.
Like most things (hello, Pinterest fails!) it didn’t quite turn out how I wanted, not to mention I may of um…. slipped?… when I added the green food colouring to the buttercream. So instead of a light mint green frosting I got…. ummm… well, think Slimer from the Ghostbusters movies!
Not quite what I had in mind, but never mind, the thought and taste is what truly mattered.
Now I have to say these cupcakes, even just made on their own, are the perfect, light, fluffy, moist, chocolatey (but not too chocolatey!!!) cupcake that are simply ideal for any kind of celebration.
But if you want something sweet, scrummy (like I need seconds now!), and ultimately easy to make then scroll down and give these a try this weekend!!
Gluten Free Choc Peppermint Cupcakes
125g Softened Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup Caster Sugar
1+1/4 Cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp Belgian Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Full Cream Milk
100g Good Quality 70% Dark Chocolate (I tried the new Lindt dark 70% smooth and it was sublime!)
2 Cups Icing Sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp Full Cream Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or for extra pepperminty-ness use 1tsp Peppermint Extract or a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil)
113g Softened Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Caster Sugar
1/2 Cup Glucose Syrup (Corn syrup in the U.S)
1 tsp green food colouring
1 tsp peppermint extract
So let’s get on with it shall we!
Preheat your oven to 160º Celcius and line a 12-hole muffin tray with patty cases.
In a large bowl place your softened butter and caster sugar and with either electric beaters or a mix master, beat until they become creamy and smooth with a light yellow colour. Add your eggs and beat again until full combined.
Add in your baking powder, cocoa and all purpose gluten free flour and mix well until it forms a thick, sticky, chocolate mess. Now you can certainly make these full of gluten by just subbing out the GF flour with an every day wheat flour or if you really don’t want to make your own gluten free flour blend like I do, you can simply use a pre-made mix, like White Wings. The great thing is this recipe is fairly forgiving so don’t stress over the specific flour blend too much.
In a small, microwave save bowl, break your chocolate into bite sized pieces and zap in the microwave for 30 second bursts until melted. Stir thoroughly before popping back into the microwave and zapping again for another 30 seconds. Once the chocolate is 3/4 melted you can pull it out and stir vigorously until the remainder has melted.
Pour this beautiful chocolate goo, along with your milk into your sticky choc mixture and fold through very gently, ensuring all pieces are incorporated well.
Now spoon into your prepared patty cases. Be sure to only fill each case 3/4 of the way up as this will give you the perfect height cupcake for icing! Pop these straight into a hot oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Once cooked, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, ensure they are 100% cold before you ice them!
Now onto the Toppings! Let’s start with the glass candy.
Let me just say, this stuff is pretty dang awesome and you could use it in so many different ways, not just to decorate cakes… Hello homemade lollipops!! For now though we’ll stick with cake decorating.
In a large glass, microwave safe bowl (that you don’t mind destroying, it probably won’t happen… but just saying) pop your caster sugar and glucose syrup. Give them a quick mix with a spoon to incorporate as best you can, they are very sticky so they won’t mix well. Cover with glad wrap and place in your microwave.
Now before you zap it, prepare all your instruments as you will need to move quickly once your sugar syrup is ready. Take a large baking tray (preferably with sides) and cover with a sheet of non-stick baking parchment, pop this to the side. Have a heat resistant place mat ready to go next to it, along with your oven mitts, a whisk, your food colouring and flavour of choice.
Now you can cook your sugar mix for 2 minutes. When it’s finished, remove from the microwave, YOU MUST USE YOUR OVEN MITTS!! It is extremely hot!! Place on your heat resistant mat and carefully remove the glad wrap and throw it away. Don’t mix or swirl your bubbling goop, just cover with another piece of glad wrap and pop straight back into the microwave for another 2-3 minutes.
Stay close by while the remaining minutes tick down as you don’t want this to bubble over and cause a sticky, extraordinarily hot mess. Once the 2 minutes is up, check your mixture. It should be bubbling profusely and have turned a light amber colour, if it hasn’t, zap again for a further minute.
Once done, place on your heat resistant mat and and remove the glad wrap and discard once again. Now working quickly, add your food colouring and flavour essence and whisk together. It will bubble and pop and steam a lot, but don’t stress.
Quickly pour it over your prepared tray. If you are wanting thick shards of glass, leave the tray as is. If you are wanting thin, clear shards you can take the baking paper and let the sugary liquid drip down and evenly spread out. Once you have the consistency you want, pop the tray into the fridge for 20 minutes or so to let it harden.
**A quick note on clean up – to remove the candy glass that has now likely hardened all over your bowl rinse a few times with freshly boiled water and a dribble of dish washing liquid. Once rinsed out you may soak over night in the same concoction, finish with a light scrub and it should come out clean!**
Once your glass is cured you can pull out of the fridge and snap into long or short shards with your fingers. If you’re wanting a crushed candy look (like mine pictured) simply use the blunt end of a knife or a pestle to smash into thousands of tiny pieces. Pop these aside while you make your icing.
Peppermint Buttercream Icing
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add your icing sugar, milk and vanilla or peppermint extract. (I used vanilla so that it provided a softer, less over powering flavour. However you could certainly have a punch of peppermint by subbing it out with peppermint extract). Beat these together until they form a smooth paste.
Add in your softened butter that has been cut into cubes, a piece of two at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Once all your butter has been incorporated and you have a smooth, creamy icing you may colour.
I really do suggest using a gel food colouring with buttercream as it gives a brighter and more controlled depth of colour. However all I had on hand was a large bottle of green liquid dye (hence the reason I added too much and ended up with Slimer cupcakes!)
Add in your colouring to the depth of colour you like and follow with your flavouring of choice. Beat until full incorporated. Spoon into a piping bag and using whatever tip you prefer, ice each cupcake.
Finish with a shard of peppermint sugar glass candy or a smattering of crushed pieces.
Wollah! Beautiful, smooth and delicious pepperminty cupcakes, perfect for your next dinner or birthday party, or as the perfect ‘I just need a cupcake NOW’ snack!
And if you’re after more fab minty goodness check out my Perfectly Devilish Choc Mint Yogurt Pops.
Let me know if you plan on giving these gorgeous things a go!