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Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream and a Peppermint Chocolate Crunch
Makes 18 cupcakes

Cupcakes area always a hit, and this version will have you feeling festive immediately! Indulge with these delightfully rich, almost brownie-like, dark chocolate cupcakes topped with cool mint buttercream and sprinkled with peppermint flakes and crumbled mint cookies. Let’s get baking!

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature1/2 cup dark chocolate chips1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour1 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup packed light brown sugar2 teaspoons baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt2 large eggs, room temperature1/3 cup vegetable oil1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract1/2 cup whole milk1/3 cup Greek yogurt

Mint Buttercream Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract3-1/2 cups powdered sugar2 tablespoons heavy cream1/4 teaspoon salt2 drops green food coloring (optional)

Top With:
2 tablespoons peppermint discs or candy canes, crushed1/4 cup chocolate mint cookies, crushedFresh mint leaves

Directions:
(1) Make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the top of a cupcake pan with a bit of vegetable oil. Place cupcake liners in three 6-count cupcake pans (for 18 cupcakes).

(2) In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate chips in 30 second increments, stirring in between heating cycles, until melted and incorporated. Stir in the cocoa powder until well combined. Set aside.

(3) In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt) until evenly combined with no visible lumps. Set aside.

(4) In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the remaining wet ingredients (eggs, vegetable oil, peppermint extract, whole milk, and Greek yogurt) to the chocolate mixture. Slowly mix to combine.

(5) Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, gently mixing until completely incorporated with no visible lumps. It should have a consistency similar to pudding.

(6) Transfer the batter evenly to the prepared cupcake pans by using a cookie scoop or a large spoon.

(7) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake springs back from a light touch, or when an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly.

(8) Remove the cupcakes from the baking pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. While cupcakes cool, prepare the mint buttercream.

Mint Buttercream Directions:
(1) Make the buttercream. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 5 minutes until it turns pale yellow and has a smooth, silky consistency.

(2) Add the peppermint extract and beat for an additional 30 seconds until well-combined.

(3) Sift the powdered sugar once to remove any lumps. Add half of the powdered sugar to the creamed butter, and whip for 3-5 minutes until the icing looks fluffy. Then, add the remaining half of the sugar and mix for an additional 3-5 minutes or until fully incorporated with a whipped consistency.

(4) Add the heavy cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring and whip until the the buttercream is smooth, the ingredients are incorporated, and the food coloring is consistent throughout — a light green. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula to ensure all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

(5) Using a frosting bag and a tip of your choice, ice the mint chocolate cupcakes. Top with the crushed peppermint candy and crumbled cookies. For a little extra pizazz, add a fresh mint leaf.

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