The month of November is now in full swing and the warm autumn days have been replaced with dark and frosty winter mornings. Yet, despite the cold and dreariness, the shops have already started decorating their windows with beautiful Christmas ornaments and the streets, which are illuminated with magical twinkle lights, are full of bustling passers by who are all too eager to start their Christmas shopping…
As the month of November flies on by, we are all too ready to start thinking about the festivities that the winter season has to offer: for some, Thanksgiving will be the next grand family gathering where delicious dishes are enjoyed with relish, for others Christmas will be the next magical event to plan for with delight.
I’d like to start this special (and my favourite!) season off with these beautiful dark -chocolate and peppermint cupcakes, which are a perfect combination of merry colours and rich flavours: the fresh, minty flavour will compliment the dark chocolate perfectly, adding a touch of zing to every mouthful. Enjoy these pre-Christmas delights by the dimmed light of a warm fire, along with a large box of after eights and a cup of hot chocolate, for an even more decadent afternoon!
- 100g flour
- A pinch of salt
- 2-3 teaspoons of baking powder
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g butter, softened
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 200g dark chocolate (minimum 60%)
For the Icing and decor
- A few sprigs of fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons of mint syrup
- A few drops of green food colouring
- 250g mascarpone
- 100g icing sugar
- a few after eights cut into small triangles
- A few (non edible) snowflakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and lower to 180°C (350F°) just before putting in the cupcakes. Grease the cupcake moulds or line with greaseproof paper.
Beat the butter and sugar together and until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until smooth. In a small pot, and on a low heat melt the dark chocolate and then poor into the mixture. Add the natural vanilla extract and mix again. Poor into each cupcake mould and fill 3/4 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tip of a knife comes out clean. Leave to cool for 20 minutes before icing.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone and icing sugar together before adding the mint syrup and green food colouring (add more or less food coloring depending on how green you wish the icing to be). Chose your nozzle and then poor the mint icing into a piping bag. Ice your cupcakes on a turntable to facilitate the process.
Add a sprig of fresh mint and small triangles of after eight chocolates to each cupcake. You can also chose to add a small white snowflake on each one to make your cupcakes look more “wintery”.
Enjoy these holiday delights with a cup of earl grey tea and a large box of after eights.
I hope to see you here again next week, when I will be exploring the many possibilities of gingerbread …