I had a picture in my mind of how the day would unfold. We would get up early and head out to the snowy woods to cut down our Christmas tree and then I would bake up some scrumptious cupcakes. The frosting would be piped onto the cupcakes and lovely chocolate curls would adorn my perfectly swirled frosting. Oh yes, and we would also find the perfect tree with our five dollar permit. Well, as we all know...we can make lots of plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands.
We picked up our permit at the ranger station. We hiked into the snowy forest. We shivered. We moaned. We slipped and tripped. We giggled and threw a few snowballs. Finally, we gave up and stopped at a tree farm. What do you know! They were overloaded with large Noble Firs and needed to get rid of them, so any tree on the farm was only fifteen bucks. Score!!
I wasn't quite as fortunate with my cupcakes. Have you ever tried to use a baggie or an empty bread bag for your frosting. No? Well, let me give you a little advice. Don't Even Try It! It won't work! It will suck, in fact. You will spend time and effort filling the bag only to have your lovely frosting burst through the seams right as you begin to frost your first cupcake. Save yourself a lot of silent screaming (because you don't want to swear in front of your precious offspring) and head to the store for authentic pastry bags! I gave up on my dream of frosting perfection. I grabbed a butter knife and smeared the stuff on. Oh yes, and my chocolate swirls...more of a chocolate shaving.
I have to say, even though the icing didn't come out as beautifully as I'd hoped...These Truly Rock! The mocha cupcakes are incredibly light and moist and the peppermint icing is completely creamy and delightful.
Our day may not always begin exactly the way we've planned, but don't lose heart. It may end up much sweeter than we ever could have dreamed. ;)
Have a lovely week my friends!
peppermint mocha muffins
makes approx. 16 cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
1/1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup baker's sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Lightly spray with oil.
In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, espresso powder and boiling water. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down sides with a spatula as neeeded. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat just until moist. Add the cocoa mixture just until combined.
Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1-2 tbsp milk (maybe more)
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth, adding more milk 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Top cupcakes with dark chocolate shavings and peppermint pillows.