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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Chocolate Peppermint Treats!

I had fun searching for them and they are truly beautiful to look at… red and white (they are the colors I’m decorating my house for the holidays)!

Anyho, they are so simple, you wouldn’t spend so much time making them besides other desserts/treats…

check them out!


Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)

1 cup boiling water


Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.

Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don't worry, this is right).

Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)

Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.

Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Ingredients for peppermint cream cheese frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (about 3/4 of a regular block of cream cheese)

4 cups powdered confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 to 3 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)


Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.

Add powdered sugar (a little at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.

Add vanilla and peppermint extracts.

Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don't add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)

Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

To achieve the red stripe in the frosting: Before filling a large piping bag with frosting, add some red gel food coloring to a toothpick, and draw two (vertical) lines with the red dye on the inside of the piping bag. Then carefully fill the piping bag with frosting.  Squeeze some frosting into a bowl until you begin to see the red stripe, then frost the cupcakes. 

Top cupcakes with some crushed candy canes (they will "melt" after a bit, so they need to be served right away) or a small piece of peppermint bark (I used a little peppermint Andes candy).

Makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes



Chocolaty Peppermint Cupcakes


Nonstick cooking spray

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1  teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1  teaspoon vanilla

2 egg yolks

2/3 cup cold water

2 egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

Ingredients for creamy peppermint frosting:

1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies

Crushed peppermint candies (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

In a very large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and water to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

Thoroughly wash beaters. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into chocolate batter to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining beaten egg whites. Gently fold in chocolate pieces. Divide among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Up to 4 hours before serving, prepare Creamy Peppermint Frosting. Cut cupcakes in half horizontally. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the frosting onto the bottom of each cupcake. Replace cupcake tops, pressing gently to spread frosting to edges.

Place the 1/4 cup crushed candies on a sheet of waxed paper. Roll sides of cupcakes in crushed candies to coat the exposed frosting. Pipe or spread the remaining frosting onto tops of cupcakes. If desired, sprinkle with additional crushed peppermint candies. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients for creamy peppermint frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk


In a large bowl, combine butter, marshmallow creme, and peppermint extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach spreading consistency.

Nutrition Facts (Chocolaty Peppermint Cupcakes) Servings Per Recipe 12, Calories 474, Protein (gm) 3, Carbohydrate (gm) 84, Fat, total (gm) 15, Cholesterol (mg) 56, Saturated fat (gm) 7, Monosaturated fat (gm) 4, Polyunsaturated fat (gm) 1, Trans fatty acid (gm) 1, Dietary Fiber, total (gm) 1, Sugar, total (gm) 66, Vitamin A (IU) 292, Thiamin (mg) 0, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Niacin (mg) 1, Pyridoxine (Vitamin. B6) (mg) 0, Folate (µg) 28, Cobalamin (Vitamin. B12) (µg) 0, Sodium (mg) 236, Potassium (mg) 60, Calcium (DV %) 40, Iron (DV %) 1



Peppermint Chocolate Coffee


1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

2 tablespoons peppermint syrup or peppermint baking chips

1/2 cup (4-ounces) hot fresh brewed coffee

Whipped cream, for garnish

Chocolate shavings, for garnish


To a coffee mug, add chocolate syrup, peppermint syrup and coffee. Mix together. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Servings: 1 serving



Chocolate Peppermint Cake


6 ounces unsalted butter

3/4 cup canola oil

5 ounces Andes baking chips

1 cup water

3 cups cake flour

3 cups superfine sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray three 9×2-inch round cake pans with baking spray and line each with a parchment round.

Combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until melted.

Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Pour hot chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, then whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans.

Set two pans on the top rack and the third on the lower rack. Stagger the pans on the oven racks so that no pan is directly over another. Bake, swapping and rotating the pans’ positions after 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment, and cool completely.

Ingredients for chocolate curls/shards:

4 ounces Andes baking chips

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 drop peppermint oil


Melt Andes baking chips in microwave in 30 second intervals.

Spread a thin layer over a cookie sheet and transfer to refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove cookie sheet from refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 7 to 10 minutes. Time might need to be adjusted depending on how hot/cold the temperature in your kitchen is.

With a spatula placed at approximately 100 to 110 degree angle against the cookie sheet. Run spatula against the cookie sheet along the length of the cookie sheet trying to create curls of approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inch width.

Repeat the same process with the bittersweet chocolate, however once chocolate has been melted, stir in the peppermint oil before spreading the chocolate over the cookie sheet.

Keep chocolate curls in the refrigerator until ready to decorate the cake.

Ingredients for chocolate peppermint frosting:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup fresh chocolate mint leaves (optional)

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint schnapps

1 drop peppermint oil


In a 4-quart saucepan over low heat combine heavy cream, butter, and chocolate mint leaves. Stir occasionally until butter has melted. Turn off heat, cover saucepan and let the leaves steep for 10-20 minutes.

Remove leaves from mixture, place back on low heat add chopped chocolate and whisk until completely melted.

Whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, syrup, and salt until smooth—be sure the cocoa powder dissolves completely. Remove from heat.

Add vanilla extract, peppermint schnapps, and peppermint oil. Pour into a 9×13-inch pan and freeze until firm, about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Assembling the Cake:

Remove frosting from the freezer or refrigerator. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes to soften. Change to a whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Put a cake layer on a flat serving platter or a cake stand lined with strips of waxed paper to keep it clean while icing. Top the layer with 1-1/2 cups of the frosting, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula to the cake’s edge. Repeat with another cake layer and 1-1/2 cups frosting. Top with the last cake layer.

Put 1-1/2 cups of the frosting in a small bowl. With an offset spatula, spread this frosting in a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake until the frosting firms enough to seal in the crumbs, 20 to 30 minutes.

Spread the remaining frosting in a smooth layer over the top and sides of the cake. If necessary, you can rewhip the remaining frosting to loosen and lighten it. Remove the waxed paper strips.

Garnish sides of cake with sprinkles, and top with chocolate curls.



Hershey’s Chocolate Peppermint Roll


4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup sugar plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup water

Peppermint filling:

Beat 1 cup (1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream in medium bowl until slightly thickened. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candy or 1/2 teaspoon mint extract and a few drops red food color, if desired; beat until stiff.

Note: We added crushed candy canes to our filling and used 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract.


Ingredients for chocolate glaze:

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa

2 tablespoons water

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15-1/2×10-1/2×1-inch jelly-roll pan with foil; generously grease foil.

Beat egg whites in large bowl on high speed of mixer until soft peaks form; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolks and vanilla in medium bowl on medium speed 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar; continue beating 2 additional minutes.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; on low speed, add to egg yolk mixture alternately with water, beating just until batter is smooth. Using rubber spatula, gradually fold chocolate mixture into beaten egg whites until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.


Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert on clean towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off foil. Immediately roll cake in towel, starting from narrow end; place on wire rack to cool completely. Prepare PEPPERMINT FILLING. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with filling; reroll cake. Glaze with CHOCOLATE GLAZE. Refrigerate until just before serving. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert. 10 to 12 servings.


Melt butter in small saucepan over very low heat; add cocoa and water, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened. Do not boil. Remove from heat; cool slightly. (Cool completely for thicker, frosting-type topping) Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. About 3/4 cup glaze.



Chocolate-Peppermint Meringue Kisses


4 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup milk chocolate pieces

1 teaspoon shortening

1 1/4 cups crushed striped round peppermint candies* (about 50 candies)


Place egg whites in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two very large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside.

For meringue: Add salt, vinegar, and peppermint extract to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar is nearly dissolved.

Transfer meringue to a decorating bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Pipe 1-inch kisses 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake all of the meringue kisses at the same time on separate oven racks for 7 minutes. Turn off oven; let meringues dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Lift meringues off paper or foil. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.

In a small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat just until melted. Remove from heat. Spread crushed candy in a shallow dish. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate, then dip in crushed candies. Place on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate is set. Makes about 192 meringue kisses.

Tip: To crush the peppermint candies, place the unwrapped candies in a resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Using a meat mallet, pound lightly to crush the candies.



Peppermint Bark


8oz brown chocolate (your favorite)

8oz white chocolate

2 tsp. vegetable oil, divided

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract, divided

Candy canes or peppermint candies, crushed

If making one sheet of bark, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Smooth out any wrinkles. Prepare candy canes by unwrapping and tossing in a plastic bag. Smash with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin or other heavy object. Don’t pulverize the candies but do make sure any huge chunks are broken down. Over a bowl, transfer contents of plastic bag to a mesh strainer. Gently tape and shake the strainer. The purpose of this is to remove any candy cane dust, only leaving the chunks to be used for the bark.

In a heat safe bowl, add brown chocolate and half of the vegetable oil. I used candy melts because it’s what I had on hand. Melt chocolate at 50% power in 30 second intervals. Stir well after each heating. When fully melted, stir in half of the peppermint extract. Pour milk chocolate (or whichever variety you’ve chosen) onto prepared pan and spread out evenly. Alternately, divide equally among molds or cookie cutters. I used a small cookie scoop to divide among my snowflake cavities. Sprinkle with a small amount of candy cane pieces, preferably some of the smaller pieces. Transfer to the fridge for 30-60 minutes or until fully set and hardened.

Repeat melting process with white chocolate: white chocolate plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil in a heat safe bowl. Heat at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring well each time. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract, stir well. Pour over brown chocolate, or divide equally among molds or shapes. Tap tray or mold to spread chocolate out. Sprinkle with remaining candy cane pieces. Transfer to the fridge for an additional 30-60 minutes or until fully hardened.

Break sheet bark with a heavy object or carefully remove chocolate from molds. If using silicone molds, they should easily pop out or peel away. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.



Peppermint Crunch-Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

7 ounces milk chocolate chips

7 ounces Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture followed by the chocolate and peppermint chips.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours (do this part for real please).

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Slice the logs into disks ¾ inch thick and place the disks 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the chips crumble out (and they will), simply push them back in, they reshape nicely.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are very lightly browned in the centers, about 10 minutes. If you like soft chocolate chip cookies, as I do, err on the side of under baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.



Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Pretzel


Pretzels (mini-twists)

Chocolate  Chips – any variety you want

Candy Canes, crushed


Crush candy canes by placing them in a Ziploc bag and seal. Using the flat side of a  meat tenderizer or a hammer, break the candy canes up in little pieces. Place crushed candy canes in a bowl. In a microwavable bowl, place up to a cup of chocolate chips and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the chips and microwave again in increments of 30 seconds, stirring in between until smooth. Take pretzels and dip them in chocolate first, then in crushed candy canes. Place each pretzel on wax or parchment paper and allow to dry.




Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Filling

Ingredients for chocolate sandwich cookies:

4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 squares unsweetened chocolate (6 ounces)

2 cups sugar

½ cup vegetable shortening or unsalted butter

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

½ cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Melt chocolate in the microwave in a glass (or otherwise microwave-safe) container. It should take 20 to 45 seconds or so depending on your microwave’s power. Stir to get remaining clumps to melt. If they don’t, microwave a few seconds longer.

Cream sugar, shortening, and butter, preferably using a stand mixer. Mix in the eggs. Add melted chocolate, milk, and vanilla extract and mix. Add half the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder, and salt you sifted together earlier), mix until incorporated, and add the rest of the dry ingredients until well combined.

You should have a smooth, dense, somewhat dry, dark brown dough. Separate dough into four pieces, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour. After removing the dough from the fridge, let it warm for 10 to 20 minutes before trying to roll it. Super cold dough will be a pain to roll!

On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with a 2-inch round cookie cutter, or any cookie cutter you desire. Gather and re-roll scraps.

Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 400°F for 6 to 8 minutes, or to desired crispness. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

At this point, the chocolate cookie wafers can be stored and/or frozen until you’re ready to make sandwiches of them, or you can make them into chocolate sandwich cookies right away!

Ingredients for peppermint filling (this is a basic buttercream frosting):

⅓ cup butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Drop or two of green or pink food coloring


In a large bowl, beat the butter all by its lonesome until it’s kind of fluffy. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, and mix until well-combined. This always takes longer than I always think, so be patient — it really will all mix together eventually.

Add the milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract and mix well. Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar, bit by bit. Add 1-2 drops of green or pink food coloring and blend. If the filling seems too thick, thin by adding more milk a teaspoon at a time.

Spread frosting on chocolate sandwich cookie halves, either with a knife or with a pastry bag. I borrow Sis’ decorating set and use the flower tip because it’s wide and because we only have like 3 tips. It makes filling go much faster than if you use the slow old knife.

Top filled halves with another cookie and there you have ‘em chocolate sandwich cookies with yummy peppermint filling.


Did you know?…

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd.) is a hybrid mint, a cross between the watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). The plant, indigenous to Europe, is now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world. It is found wild occasionally with its parent species.


Want to learn more…



Are you ready for the Holidays?

Here’s a checklist if that’ll help!

Two Weeks Before (Second Week of December):

Make sure out-of-town presents are mailed. Try to have gifts in the mail by December 10. Related: How to Ship Gifts of All Shapes and Sizes

Shop for nonperishable items. Buy alcohol and any canned goods or pantry staples you’ll need.

One Week Before:

Deep clean your house. You’ll enjoy those decorations even more if the floors are clean and the kitchen is organized. One important task: Clear out your refrigerator. Toss old leftovers to make room for big dishes and ingredients that’ll be piling up closer to the holiday.

Buy batteries for children’s toys. If you haven’t stocked up while Christmas shopping, make sure you have all the accoutrements necessary for that handheld video game or remote-controlled car.

Three Days Before:

Shop for fresh ingredients. Hit the store for the last-minute vegetables or fruit you need for meals.

Set the table. So you use those gold-rimmed goblets only once a year? Enjoy them! Go ahead and set the table. Make it even easier on the big day by putting a sticky note on each platter that states what dish you plan to serve on it. (That also allows people to help you without asking 12 times.)

Two Days Before:

Start cooking. You’ve probably socked away some things in the freezer already, but now’s the time to prep main courses and make anything that can sit for a couple of days.

Buy fresh flowers. Whether they are for a party or a family meal, fresh flowers should always be purchased two days in advance. Blooms have time to open up, and they’ll still be lush and fragrant.

The Day Before:

Recharge the batteries on your camera or video recorder. You don’t want to miss the reaction on a little one’s face because the battery ran out during the school pageant the week before.

Finish last-minute wrapping. And assemble toys that will be surprises from Santa.

Finish cooking, and make a timeline for the next day. Decide when you’ll be feasting, then count backward to determine when to put the turkey (or ham or roast beef) in the oven and what else needs to be cooked.

Sit back and relax. Enjoy your family and friends and relish the traditions you share.


OOCC’s Tip: At last but not least, don’t forget the chocolate! It truly does make you relax!

Happy chocolate day!

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