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Vanilla and peppermint are two flavors that I love, and I love them together–especially around the holidays! I modified a recipe from the owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes (found here on Oprah’s web site), adding my own twist to make them EXTRA vanilla-tastic. They turned out adorable, and were a huge hit at the holiday party!

Vanilla Bean Peppermint Cupcakes
(Adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes)

Cooking Time: 22 Minutes
Servings: 18 Cupcakes, or 12 Cupcakes + 16 Mini Cupcakes

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350. Line your cupcake pans with liners and set aside.

Prepare your vanilla bean by splitting it lengthwise down the center. Using the side of your knife, scrape out the vanilla beans.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the vanilla beans, the shell of the vanilla beans, the milk, and both flavoring extracts. Stir well until the milk is warm, about 5 minutes – don’t let the mixture boil. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean shell. (This can be washed, dried, and then inserted into a container of sugar to create vanilla sugar – yum!)

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and cream together. Next add the egg and egg whites. Beat well until fully mixed.

Add half the flour mixture and mix well.

Add in the vanilla milk mixture and beat until combined. Do not wash the saucepan! (You will use it again for the frosting.)

Add the remaining flour and mix again. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is fully incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup, fill your cupcake liners until about 2/3 full.

(Look how nice the vanilla beans look in the batter!)

Bake for 22-25 minutes (15-16 minutes for mini cupcakes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in cupcake pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Vanilla Bean Peppermint Frosting
(Adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and salt until light and fluffy.

Sift in 1 cup of the powdered sugar and beat well.

Grab the saucepan used for the vanilla milk mixture for the cupcakes. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and the milk. Swirl them around the saucepan, using a spoon to help pick up some of the remaining vanilla beans. Alternatively, you could just save some of the original vanilla beans, but I found that this method gave just enough vanilla beans to the frosting mix. Add this to the bowl and beat well.


Add the remaining powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency. If you accidentally add too much sugar, you can add a little bit more milk.

Now you have frosting ready to pipe onto your cupcakes! If you don’t have a nice piping bag set, you can use a great little trick: scoop your frosting into a ziploc baggie and then cut off a tiny bit of one corner.

Add sprinkles (in this case I used peppermint flavored mini candy cane sprinkles) or any other decorations.

Enjoy!

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