Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

I am a coffee-drinking noob.

I am brand spankin’ new to this addiction so many people have, including my own parents, Jessie’s parents, and many of my friends.

Finally, something that bonds us deeper! Hurray for addictions!

I’ve always associated coffee with being supremely grown-up. Only the most serious, indisputable grown-ups drink coffee… and not just any coffee–BLACK coffee. Or coffee with a hint of milk or cream and sugar. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Nothing that screams “I am so frou frou, I’m only missing the glitter, jewels and frills.” Nothing that shouts “I’m only doing this for fun.” Coffee drinkers are serious people. Serious ADULT people.

I have not jumped onto the grown-up, coffee-drinking bandwagon just yet. As it stands, I’m currently in the “I-Think-I’m-Grown-Up-Coffee-Drinking-Phase.”

The ITIGWCDP basically consists of all the people who order frou-frou, obnoxiously embellished drinks at Starbucks and have that hoity-toity coffee-drinking air about them.

You know, like teenagers.

I remember, in the eighth grade, my mom would sometimes treat me to a Starbucks before school. She’d walk in, all adult-like and suave, order a coffee with finesse and plop about a gallon of milk and an entire pound of sugar in her coffee, all business and no play.

Meanwhile, I was kinda desperate to fit in with the kids at school, so I’d order a strawberries and cream frappuccino thinking I was the bad ass on campus for arriving at school with a green-strawed, heavily-sugared cup in hand. Bitches were soooo jealous.

(Who knew I’d later be deemed lactose intolerant, hmm?)

My point is: most teenagers or “fake” coffee enthusiasts drink coffee for the popularity, the stigma, the hype — whatever. Or, if you live around here, for that mermaid logo.  Not for the actual coffee. That’d be silly!

But should you ever question a fake coffee-drinkers motives, by say, asking them if they’ve ever tried a black coffee or something simple like a latte, they’ll give you a weird look and be like, “wait, doesn’t that have coffee in it?? Eww.”

Or, conversely, you’ll see them order their drinks first-hand and experience their warped perception of “coffee”, like “can I have a grande peppermint mocha, extra chocolate syrup, extra whipped cream? (turns to you) Yeah, I’m like, totally hooked on these mochas. I’m a coffee ADDICT!! It’s crazy how grown-up and addicted to coffee I am. This is what grown adults order. Um, barista, can I have a bendy straw, too, please? Those are so fun.”

Um yeah no.

I don’t claim I’m a coffee addict, per se, seeing as right now I’m too busy dumping gallons of fancy coffee creamer into what little coffee there is in my mug to actually bother with a caffeine addiction. If anything, I’m purely addicted to International Delight (have you tried their skinny white mocha? SO good).

And I don’t really mind that my parents, die-hard coffee drinkers, scoff whenever I pour my creamer by the truckful into my cup. At first, I’d try to defend my choice of creamer: “But I want my coffee to taste like Starbucks!!” or “I really like the taste of creamer, you should try some!” but instead I’d get weird looks like they sucked on sour lemons, but whatever.

Now I embrace my frou-frou fake coffee drinks and sip myself silly into Coffee Mate-induced oblivion. Meanwhile, I spot my sister and her teenyboppin’ friends going bananas over Starbucks drinks whenever possible, because a triple-chocolate frappuccino is sooo adult-like and sophisticated. It’s basically begging to be holding its own little briefcase.

Whatever makes you happy, right? Especially if your drink comes with bendy straws.

At the store a couple days ago, I spotted Coffee Mate’s new Peppermint Mocha creamer and just about died. I LOVE chocolate and peppermint together; the combo can’t be beat! And after spotting Kristan’s yummy Peppermint Patty Brownie Cups over at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, I figured I better do something with these partners in flavor crime and make something doubly delicious. That’s the grown up, responsible thing to do, right?

For my version, I use chocolate cupcakes to smother the baked-inside peppermint patty, followed by a truly heavenly peppermint cream cheese frosting, and topped with a hard chocolate shell, just like a peppermint patty candy!

You’d be childish not to make these.

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

1 box chocolate fudge cake mix, plus ingredients on back of package
1 small box sugar free/fat free chocolate instant pudding mix
About 36 peppermint patty candies (the fun-size ones), unwrapped (set 12 aside for garnish)
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Bakers Dipping Chocolate or another chocolate bark to melt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners.
2. Prepare your cake mix according to package directions. Stir chocolate pudding mix into chocolate cake batter until combined. Spoon one teaspoon of batter into the bottom of each muffin tin; top with one unwrapped peppermint patty candy. Top each candy with another generous teaspoon of chocolate cake batter. Bake cupcakes for about 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the sides comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting *from Kristan’s recipe

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 5 cups powdered sugar
Milk, if needed

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, peppermint and vanilla extracts until blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff but spreadable frosting is achieved.
2. Pipe frosting high onto cooled cupcakes (I used Atecco 807) and immediately place in the freezer to chill, about 20 minutes. While frosting is chilling, prepare your melting chocolate according to package directions, or heat about 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over a double boiler until melted.
3. When frosting is chilled and chocolate is melted, immediately dunk the tops of the frosted cupcakes into the melted chocolate, coating just the tops of the cupcakes. If desired, place a halved peppermint patty candy on the tops of the cupcakes, pressing gently to adhere to the melty chocolate. Place the dunked cupcakes back into the freezer to harden the chocolate, about 10 minutes. Store airtight.

I’m just gonna fill a briefcase full of these, put on some panty hose and be super grown up. I hear that’s the thing to do.

Have a good day!

xo, Hayley

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