The perfect holiday marriage of gingerbread and chocolate, these versatile treats can be made full size or in miniature for easy gifting. Showcase your baking skills by learning how to top with chocolate 'trees.' While piping the trees may take a little practice, they really take the festive component over the top. And no worries if you mess up; simply try again by re-melting the chocolate chips.


Recipe Summary

30 mins
15 mins
45 mins
1 hr 30 mins
4 dozen


Original recipe yields 48 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Molasses Buttercream:
Chocolate Trees:


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place flour, crystallized ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a food processor; process until ginger is finely ground, about 1 minute.

  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in applesauce until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

  • Stir together hot brewed coffee and molasses in a 2-cup glass measuring cup until blended. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with coffee mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips.

  • Place 48 miniature paper baking cups in four 12-cup miniature muffin pans, and coat cups with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups, filling almost full.

  • Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  • Prepare the Molasses Buttercream: Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth; beat in molasses and salt until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Gradually add powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of the milk; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. If needed, add remaining 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, and beat until desired consistency is reached.

  • Prepare the Chocolate Trees: Place 1 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips in a small microwaveable bowl, and microwave on medium (50% power) until melted and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a piping bag or heavy-duty zip-top bag with a very small hole snipped in the corner.

  • Pipe into small Christmas tree shapes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until set, about 15 minutes; keep chilled until ready to use.

  • Pipe or dollop Molasses Buttercream on cupcakes. Garnish with finely chopped crystallized ginger, and top with chocolate Christmas trees.

Test Kitchen Tips:

For standard-size cupcakes, place 18 paper baking cups in two 12-cup muffin pans. Coat cups with cooking spray. Prepare batter and spoon into cups, filling almost full. Bake at 350 degrees F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 15 minutes. Frost as directed.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

160 calories; protein 1.5g 3% DV; carbohydrates 26.8g 9% DV; fat 6.2g 10% DV; cholesterol 17.9mg 6% DV; sodium 55.8mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (1)

Read More Reviews
1 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
these turned out really well despite my goof. I totally missed putting in the choco chips (even though they were measured out in front of me) so I used them to decorate the icing instead! I followed the recipe using the regular size not the minis. Baked for 19 min in a gas oven. Read More