The Christmas countdown is down to 5 days! YIKES!!
Are you ready for the big day yet? I have been scrambling these past couple of days to get my house and kitchen ready for Nochebuena. Nochebuena is a spanish word translating to "Good Christmas" and it's a custom celebrated in Latin America, Spain, and the Phillipines. My family and Eric's family are getting together on the 24th to roast a baby pig (only 75 pounds or so). Picture our holiday celebration as "My Big Fat Cuban/Filipino Nochebuena," it's always fun to get both sides of the family together...crazy fun!
Nochebuena is a holiday tradition that Eric's grandfather has been celebrating every Christmas Eve that Eric can remember and he loved getting all of the family and friends together. Since Eric's grandfather had passed away earlier this year, Eric and I are happy to continue the Nochebuena traditions and celebrate a big feast in Elio's honor. Elio will greatly be missed, but most likely he will be watching from above and be very happy that the family is together. Be on the lookout next week on my blog post for how to roast a pig in a caja china (Chinese box) if you're wondering how everything turned out.
I still have a couple of homemade gifts, sweets and goodies that I have been making despite my crazy Christmas schedule. We had a Secret Santa exchange at my work and I wanted to bring something sweet highlighting the Christmas flavors, chocolate and peppermint. I knew that this chocolate cupcake would be ideal and a sweet treat, it's almost like an Andes mint but one thousand times better in cupcake form. Make a batch for the holidays and keep celebrating those family traditions that are absolutely precious.
Adapted from What's Cookin' Chicago
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
6 candy canes, crushed to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with desired paper liners.
In a Pyrex glass 2 cup, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and sugar, stirring constantly until combined. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of the stand mixer.
With the stand mixer on medium-low speed, beat the mixture until combined. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until incorporated. Scrape down the sides if needed. Add the peppermint extract, then cocoa mixture, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low.
Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and mixing until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Using a large cookie scoop or ice cream scooper (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter into the muffin pans. Fill the batter about 2/3 full.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Let cupcakes cool completely before icing.
Prepare the frosting. In the bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream the sugar and butter together. Mix on low speed until fully combined and increase speed to medium and mix for at least 3 to 4 minutes. Add peppermint extract and heavy cream, and mix until combined.
Frost cupcakes as desired (I used the standard Wilton tip in a pastry bag method) and garnished the top with crushed peppermint candy canes.
Yield: 26 to 28 cupcakes
Review: Rich chocolate with a light peppermint tangy frosting and are simply gorgeous. I love the bits of candy canes to give the holiday effect and I found Christmas cupcake liners (Reynolds) at the grocery store. Everyone was surprised by how much they liked these cupcakes. Not everyone is a fan of mint and chocolate mixed together but this combination was pretty tasty and mildly addicting!!