I have a thing for peppermint and chocolate. Especially once the holidays roll around. I feel like it’s only acceptable to make chocolate mint treats during the holiday season, so maybe that makes it even more exciting. But my husband, to say the least, isn’t a huge fan of chocolate and mint as a flavor combination.
So…I have made it my mission to sway him in the right direction – I will make him a believer by the end of the year! I’m starting with Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes. Dark chocolate cupcakes with a decadent frosting that uses 1 pound of butter (seriously). How could you go wrong?
Start by making the dark chocolate cupcakes – bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the Swiss meringue frosting. This frosting is special. Really special. Like I said, a pound of butter (and a whole lot of love) goes into this. Start by bringing water in a saucepan to a gentle boil. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and set it on top of the saucepan. You don’t want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water – just close enough that it helps raise the temperature of the egg whites.
Stirring often, cook over the boiling water until the temperature reaches 165°F. You don’t want to scramble the eggs – just heat them enough to kill any bacteria that could potentially be in them.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. (You really want to use a stand mixer for this part if you can; it makes a tough job a little easier. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer will work; it’ll just take a little longer.)
Now comes the fun part – cut the butter into chunks. Add a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. At some point, it will probably look like the mixture is a bit curdled, but that’s okay. As my coworker Amber always tells me – just keep beating it!
Once all of the butter has been added, mix in the peppermint extract and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Now it’s time to get artsy. Remove about 1/2 cup of frosting into a separate bowl and tint with red food coloring. Spread 4-5 stripes of the red frosting on the inside of a piping bag.
Stand the piping bag in a glass and spoon in the white frosting.
Now pipe away! Look at that beautiful red swirl you get from the red stripes.
Now try to see if you can hold off for longer than a half second to devour these amazingly awesome cupcakes.
I will tell you: my husband ate two of these cupcakes. If I can make a believer out of him, I can sway anyone. (It’s not like many people will need convincing, though!)