I've used two different yellow cupcake batters to copy this recipe, I'm sticking with Cook's Illustrated magazine's recipe because I liked the crumb better. I think my add-ins will probably work with almost any yellow/vanilla cupcake recipe if you have a favorite, and, will probably even work with a boxed mix. (I don't use boxed mixes because I think it's easy to whip up a mix from scratch without preservatives, but if you aren't a frequent baker and don't always have all the ingredients on hand, I'll forgive you.)
I'm not a huge frosting fan, and think Sweet Tomatoes called them muffins because they are unfrosted. If you don't love overly minty treats, these cupcakes are perfect as is, a delicious vanilla cupcake with a sweet minty accent. If you can't eat your cupcakes without frosting; a peppermint, or, chocolate peppermint frosting would probably make a fantastic dessert. Maybe even regular vanilla frosting with more crushed candy canes on top?
Don't fret if you can't find any more candy canes, peppermint candies will make a find stand in. Since I love these cupcakes so much, I'm not leaving them solely for holiday baking! I think they'd make cute gifts, I've made them mini-sized too, and since they're unfrosted you can stack them in a bag, or tin.
Whether you've been to Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation and fell in love with these muffins, or enjoy candy cane/peppermint flavored desserts, I hope you'll try this recipe soon!
Makes 12 cupcakes or 24-30 mini cupcakes.
Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated magazine January 2003
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 ½ ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 oz. crushed peppermint candies or candy canes, more chunky than powdery (about 1/3 cup)
Step 2: Crush Candy Canes
Step 3: Prepare Batter
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, vanilla, and peppermint extract, beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain. Add crushed candy canes and mix until evenly distributed.
Step 4: Bake and Let Cool
Use skewer or paring knife to lift cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
I think these treats are perfect as is, but if you can't live without frosting, feel free to make some! Unfrosted, the cupcakes will last about 3 days, in a covered container, at room temperature.