These festive, chocolatey-peppermint, cheesecake cupcakes are easy to make with a food processor and can be made ahead of time and frozen so that you have them on hand for holiday company or surprise visitors – that is, unless a certain someone in your house likes to sneak into the freezer and eat them as is. You might need to make extras! Enjoy!
North Pole Cupcakes
An easy to make, festive treat for the winter holiday season!
• 12 Mint Oreo cookies (or gluten-free sandwich-style cookies)
• 2/3 c. granulated white sugar
• 16 miniature peppermint candy canes, divided
• 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
• 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 c. sour cream
• 2 lg. eggs
• 1 T. chocolate liqueur
• 1/2 t. mint extract
• whipped cream for topping (canned is ok)
• shaved chocolate, chocolate sprinkles, sugar pearls, or sugar sprinkles for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers. Place one cookie in the center of each muffin paper. (The cookies will be a little smaller than the bottom of the muffin cups, but the cookies puff out during baking.)
2. Unwrap 4 of the candy canes and break candy into small pieces (should be about 1 T.). Using a large food processor, process sugar and broken candy canes until they are crushed to a fine consistency. Add chocolate chips and process until the chips are finely crushed. Add cream cheese and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add sour cream and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add eggs, chocolate liqueur, and mint extract. Process or beat until well blended and perfectly smooth. Scrape down bowl.
3. Divide cheesecake batter between muffin cups, filling to the top, but not over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheesecake batter is puffy and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. (The cupcakes will sink in the middle as they cool and don’t look very pretty until garnished.)
4. Once completely cool, cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. (Once cooled, muffins can be removed from the baking pan, placed in a plastic container, covered tightly, and frozen until shortly before serving. If no one sneaks into the freezer to eat them, cupcakes should keep for about 1 month.)
5. Serve cold. (If frozen, remove cupcakes from freezer shortly before serving – about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, remove muffin papers. Garnish each cupcake with whipped cream, shaved chocolate or other decorations, and an unwrapped candy cane. Enjoy! Happy Holidays!
Variation: Instead of whipped cream, top with chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream flavored with peppermint.