In America I stumbled upon a delicious snack (in Walgreens of all places) which involved chocolate covered pretzels covered in crushed candy canes. The salty pretzel combined with the rich dark chocolate and minty candy cane was a winning flavour combination and NEEDED to be made into cupcake form.
I used my chocolate Devil’s Food Cupcakes as a base, and topped it with a subtle peppermint-flavoured buttercream. It was then adorned with chocolate-dipped salted pretzels (“antlers”) and finished with a dusting of crushed candy canes. Delicious and suitably festive.
- 7 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 250ml boiling water
- 125g butter (room temperature)
- ⅔ cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 1⅔ cups plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 160g butter, softened
- 4-5 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- A dash of milk, if required
- 100g dark chocolate melts
- Salted pretzels (large)
- Candy canes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 x 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Stir the cocoa powder, coffee and brown sugar in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk to mix and set aside.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the flour, bicarb and baking powder. Pour in the cocoa/coffee mixture and beat until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tins and fill approximately ¾ full (this recipe should make around 18 cupcakes)
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes slightly spring back when touched.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in their tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Gradually add in the icing sugar and beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add the peppermint extract and a dash of milk if needed until it’s a spreadable consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
- Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave, stirring occasionally until melted.
- Dip broken pretzel pieces into the chocolate, allow excess to drip off, and then allow to harden on a baking paper-lined tray.
- Crush candy canes in their plastic bag(s) with a rolling pin.
- Stick hardened choc-pretzels into the iced cupcakes and sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.
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