I first became fascinated by Hi Hat cupcakes when I visited Retro Bakery in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their most popular selling cupcake is called the "Hop Scotch". A vanilla cake topped with vanilla buttercream dipped in butterscotch ganache:
|Hop Scotch Cupcake from Retro Bakery|
This is one amazing cupcake. If you are anywhere near Las Vegas you must make a pilgrimage to Retro Bakery and visit Kari and try her amazing cupcakes. I have tried cupcakes all over the country and Kari at Retro Bakery makes the best cupcakes in my humble opinion. They are good!
So after trying Kari's cupcakes dipped in ganache, I needed to try to put my own spin on the Hi Hat Cupcake. With Christmas on the horizon, I decided on a chocolate peppermint concoction. I was in charge of bringing dessert for Christmas dinner so I thought these would be the perfect showstopper. I started by making a yummy chocolate cupcake. You can find the recipe here for my Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes.
For the frosting, I decided to make a yummy Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Don't be afraid of making Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It's much easier than the recipe sounds.
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl (I used the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer) set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved. (A candy thermometer is crucial anytime you are cooking sugar.)
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (using the bowl of your mixer makes this step a breeze). Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don't worry, it will come together!). Stir in the peppermint extract (start with 1 teaspoon and add more according to taste) and mix until incorporated. Tint with pink paste icing color.
Using a large round tip, pipe buttercream high on cupcakes. Place cupcakes on a cookie sheet and place in freezer for 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes are in the freezer you can melt the chocolate for dipping.
Chocolate Coating for Hi Hat Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart
12 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
3 tablespoons Canola or vegetable oil
Combine chocolate and oil in a medium heat proof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water, stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool about 15 minutes.
Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting, none of the frosting should show. Sprinkle with chopped peppermint candy canes. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature.
For Christmas dinner we served them with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.
Once I made these my mind kept coming up with all kinds of ideas. What other cupcakes could I dip in chocolate? The cupcake that immediately came to mind was my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake. You can go to my post here to get the recipe. Here are photos of my yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Hi Hat Cupcakes:
|Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter filling topped with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting|
|Dipped in Semisweet Chocolate Coating and sprinkled with chopped Peanuts|
These cupcakes are pure decadence. I'm sure in the next few weeks and months a lot of my cupcakes will find themselves dipped in chocolate.