AKA: “Why yes, you may have that raise” cupcake jars, or “Oh my gosh I think I love you” cupcake jars, or “Yes of course we should agree to a ceasefire, in fact let’s do dinner tonight”  cupcake jars. You get my point, right?  I have no other words, these are amazing.  It’s like Christmas in a jar. It’s a rich fudgy cupcake filled and topped with a creamy and decadent peppermint ganache.  Then topped off with a cool,sweet layer our favorite frosting (also peppermint spiked) and sprinkled with crushed candy canes.  And striping the frosting is just icing on the cake!  Literally.  I put them in jars because that just makes them extra fun, and it’s like this great personalized little gourmet gift.  It might seem like a lot of steps, but really it doesn’t take all that long.  If you want to break up the load, I would suggest making the cupcake and ganache layers and then screwing the jars on and storing overnight.  Then next day (or even couple of days) when your kitchen is nice and clean again just whip up some frosting and pass them out fresh.

The cupcake itself is out of this world.  I adapted it from a recipe in a book that both Kate and I love.  I knew just looking at the recipe for the first time that it would be rich and fudgy because the ingredients and method are more along the lines of a brownie than a cupcake.  Skip the electric beater on these babies, all you need is a wooden spoon.

It starts with melted butter and chocolate.  How could anything that starts with melted butter and chocolate not end well?

And like I mentioned, just stir in the dry ingredients by hand.  That actually makes this recipe really quick and easy, no messy beaters and butter fluffing.

Fill up your cute little jars.  These are the same jars we use for our Pie in a Jar.  The cupcakes will rise and you need room for both the frosting and the ganache, so fill them no more than 1/2 way full.

Pop those in the oven, and you can prepare your ganache while they’re baking.  Cream.  Chocolate.  Peppermint.  Can’t go wrong there either.

Take your cakes out to cool, and your ganache will be setting up/thickening at this point as well.

Some of your cakes may have a little well in the center which makes a great little holding spot for the ganache.  You can also take a paring knife, or an apple corer works great, and hollow out the center like this:

It’s really up to you.  If you don’t have a lot of space on top you might want to hollow out the center.  If you’ve got room and want more of a layer of ganache on top, then skip the coring and just pour the ganache on top.

Once your cakes have cooled to close to room temp (a little warm is okay)  pour ganache over each one.  If your ganache has gotten too thick to pour at this point, just warm it up in the microwave in about 10 second intervals.

Then tilt the jars around so you get a complete chocolate cover.  This actually helps keep the cupcake part really moist and fresh so you can wait a day or two to share them, or finish them if you don’t have time to do it all at once.

The last step is the frosting.  I’m using our favorite frosting recipe. If you haven’t tried it, you need to!  If you make it and love it, then you must must try it with the peppermint extract.

I’m going to show you a fun trick to getting that candy cane stripe! You’ll need gel food coloring (available in the baking isle, a clean paint brush (I keep a set just for baking/cooking) and a piping bag.  This works great with parchment paper bags too (in fact, I think it sticks a little better to parchment) so if you have a tip and some parchment you can just make your own.   If you don’t have anything but the food coloring you could try winging it with a large ziplock bag with the tip cut off.  that would probably work just fine, it just might be a little difficult to have the food coloring stick to the bag as you’ll see in the next step.

Fold down the outer edge of your bag so it sits open by itself. Dip your brush into your food coloring and paint lines up the side of your bag.  And yes, I’m completely aware that mine looks freaky- like my piping bag got attacked by a bear or something.  I paint all the way down to my tip.

Then carefully add your frosting.  Try to plop it in there right in the center so you don’t have to mush it around too much.  As you pipe out the frosting, the color will come out in lines and you’ll get a great candy-cane stripe!  (On a side-note, try this technique with rainbow colors and colorburst cupcakes- how amazing would that look?!)

Just give it a nice swirl, being careful to not go above the top of the jar, and then sprinkle some crushed candycanes on top.

Now you can place the lids and rings on and dress the jars up any way you please.

When you bust into that baby you’ll get all three layers of frosting, ganache, and cupcake.

Oh sweet peppermint fudge cupcake jar, will you marry me??

Tie on a ribbon or two and you’re set for giving.

I made some cute tags for mine.

And since I love you all I’m going to share!  Note that the background is white, I just printed mine on light pink cardstock because I was out of white.  Click here for a file you can print on cardstock and cut out.  There’s a place to write “to” and “from” and also a little space for a note.  Like maybe “You owe me.”  Just an idea.

If you love this idea but don’t have jars, they make amazing cupcakes too!  Love these cute papers I bought from Wilton last year.

The recipe will make about 8 jars or 12 cupcakes.  And with the cupcakes you might have a little ganache left.  So eat it.  With a spoon.

PS Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish friends out there!  It begins tonight, right?

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