Right before the holidays, I was reading through one my absolute favorite blogs, Our Best Bites, looking for teacher's gifts to make and came across this...cupcakes in a jar! I know right? Can you believe it? How stinkin' cute are they and so different? And really very easy. They were a hit. Not only did they taste good but they were so pretty. While these were made for Christmas, why not for Valentine's? I could not find the wide mouth jars anywhere in my town, so I used what I had on hand, the regular size jars. I didn't have any problems with the size difference. I was able to find Andes candy in red and white bits that was perfect as a topping.
I made the decorating simple. I covered the top of the jar with the lid and put a cupcake liner upside down and flattened the bottom of the liner and then screwed the ring over the liner. Instant and easy!
You really REALLY need to give these a try. Perhaps for your Valentine!
Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars
(recipe from Our Best Bites)Makes approximately 8 jars or 12 Cupcakes
Cupcakes (cake base for this dessert adapted from Shelly Kaldunski)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz chocolate, chopped. (or abt 1/2 C chips) Use bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet.
1/2 C + 3 tbsp real butter, cut into pieces
3/4 C plus 2 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 8oz wide mouth mason jars (or regular if you can't find wide mouth)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Set mixture aside and let cool 10-15 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon (don't use an electric mixer) stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the eggs one and a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not over mix.
Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet. Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need for greasing the jars) or 12 cupcake liners if you're going that route. The jars should be about half full or a little less. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot-holder!) transfer jars to a cooling rack. Let jars cool till at least close to room temperature before topping with ganache.
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Place chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat cream in microwave until bubbles form around the outside. Pour in bowl over chocolate chips and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes, add peppermint extract and then whisk until smooth. Let cool uncovered until thickened slightly, almost like a thin pudding.
To assemble, pour 1 1/2-2 Tbs ganache over the top of each cupcake jar. If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake. Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool for the ganache to set. If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars and leave at room temperature.
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best)
1/2 cup real butter
1/2 cup sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. It should still be liquid-ish. It's okay if you have lumps, because we're gonna strain those out right now. Place the mixture in a mesh strainer and stir with a rubber spatula to push it through. You should end up with a nice, smooth mixture. It's almost like pudding before it's set.
Put this mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it's fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don't want it warm at all. When it is chilled, you can move on to the following step.
In an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened
milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Don't be scared. It's going to look like a goopy mess and kind of lumpy and separated. Beat on med-high for 7-8 minutes. After 7-8 minutes it will have transformed from that sloppy mess into something gorgeous, fluffy, and incredibly light and silky.
(See instructions on the Our Best Bites blog for creating a red and white striped look.) Pipe frosting on each jar, being careful to leave room for the lid. If desired, sprinkle on some crushed candy canes or candies and then screw on jar lids.
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