And the count down begins- 9 days till Christmas! I still have no tree, just a few presents bought and no cards. I did however manage to whip up a few dozen batches of cookies last night that I hope to get shipped in the next day or two. It’s all about priorities people. I have seriously been harassing my boyfriend to find us a baby Christmas tree, but in Southern California, the pickings are slim (at least in our area!). So when we do eventually get a tree, I just might leave it up till the end of January.
I am usually much farther along and way more prepared, but I choose to ignore all the things on my to-do list so go snowboarding all weekend instead. Once December hits, that is pretty much my M/O. I get up at 5AM on Saturday mornings, jump in the car and drive 3 hours to Big Bear where I spend the weekend with my on the mountain. I get home late Sunday night, work for five days and repeat. I also love the winter season, because it means I can drink as much hot chocolate as I want!
I LOVE hot chocolate, but I am a bit of a snob when it comes to drinking it. I have my preferred brands, no Swiss-Miss for this girl! So I decided to start playing around with the different hot chocolate mixes I have in my house to make different cupcake flavors. I actually have two different flavors for you this week. Yesterday was National Cupcake Day, and although I had every intention of posting this recipe yesterday, the afore mentioned snowboarding happened. One year ago, I made a Peppermint Mousse Hot Chocolate Cupcake, and so I thought it would be fun to create a new version of that cupcake. This Peppermint Hot Chocolate cupcake is filled with a marshmallow cream and topped with a white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. They are drizzled with peppermint ganache that I made with Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses. I just can’t get enough of those!
These cupcake do take a little time, and some patience to prepare. Once the cupcakes go in the oven, I make the marshmallow filling and set it side. The white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream is what takes the longest, it about a 20 minutes frosting between tempering the egg whites and beating them- but it is totally worth it. I make the frosting last, and it is my favorite frosting to make. If you have never made a Swiss meringue buttercream before, I highly recommend checking out this post for some tips and tricks to making a successful frosting.
Your time and effort will totally pay off with these cupcakes, because once you take that first bite, you won’t look back. Before you know it, you will be licking your fingers clean. The smooth frosting and sweet filling really compliment the dark chocolate cupcake. You will notice this recipe calls out for chocolate extract, which is a specialty ingredient. If you don’t have it, substitute it for an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine cake mix with hot chocolate mix. Add milk, vegetable oil, sour cream, vanilla extract and chocolate extract. Beat on medium speed until all ingredients are well combined.
- Line a cupcake pan with liners and fill each one 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350°F for 12-16 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cupcakes are done.
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
- Allow butter to soften to room temperature. Combine butter and marshmallow fluff and beat on medium high speed until well combined and fluffy.
- Add powered sugar, one cup at a time. Beat on slow speed and increase to medium speed once some of the powdered sugar has been absorbed into the butter. Mixture will be very thick.
- Add a pinch of salt and 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Beat on medium high speed for 3-5 minutes until filling is fluffy.
- Pour marshmallow filling in a large piping bag or Ziploc bag and cut off the bottom edge of the bag.
- Core out the center of your cooled cupcakes with a knife or spoon, making a small hole. Fill each cupcake with the marshmallow filling. Set aside.
- Allow butter to come to room temperature. This is important! Do not try to rush it by microwaving it. I recommend cutting the butter into smaller sections to help it thaw quicker.
- Melt white chocolate in the microwave using a microwave proof bowl in 20-second increments until melted. Stirring after each 20 seconds.
- Combine sugar and egg whites in your stainless steel mixer bowl (or any heat proof bowl)
- Attached your candy thermometer to the side of the bowl
- Set your bowl over top of a pot with water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. You do not want the water to boil and touch the bottom of your mixing bowl. Heat on medium.
- Stir the egg whites and sugar constantly until the mixture reaches 150° F. This is the most important part; you do not want to egg whites to cook- so keep stirring! I have read that you can heat it be anywhere between 120° F – 160° F. When it reaches 150° F, the sugar should be dissolved in the egg whites. You can test this by placing a drop on your fingertips and rubbing them together. The mixture should be completely smooth.
- Place the mixing bowl on your stand. Using the wire whisk attachment beat the eggs. Start on low speedand increase the speed to medium after 2 minutes.
- Beat for another 3 minutes on medium. At this point, your frosting should have turned white as the egg whites are whipped and the body of the meringue starts to form.
- After the first 5 minutes, increase speed to high. You will notice that as you increase the speed, the body of your meringue will also increase. It will start to look glossy as the peaks begin to form. Beat for another 5 minutes.
- After you have beaten the meringue for a total of about 10 minutes, the bottom of your mixing bowl should be cooled completely. Your SMB should look kind of like whipped cream. Scrape down all sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Turn your mixer down to medium-low. Slowly add your softened butter, about 1 tbsp at a time, ensuring it is mixed well after each addition. Once you have added all your butter, add vanilla extract. Mix for another minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Pour in melted white chocolate and switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on medium to allow all the air bubbles to escape. In about 2-3 minutes the frosting is smooth. If your frosting has not formed yet, continue to beat until it is light and fluffy.
- Frost the marshmallow filled cupcakes.
- Combine Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses and heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl. I recommend cutting the kisses into smaller pieces. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Continue microwaving until melted. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes.
More chocolate and peppermint desserts: