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"How to Catch an Elf" Book Discussion and Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake Recipe

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.

Pair "How to Catch an Elf" with some delicious chocolate peppermint cupcakes!

Pair "How to Catch an Elf" with some delicious chocolate peppermint cupcakes!

Book Summary

Some children have decided that instead of trying to catch Santa, it would be easier to catch an elf! With candy cane temptations and tinsel traps, it’s hard to catch this clever elf, especially when one boy uses an avalanche of food and a dinner cannon! How to Catch an Elf is a fun Christmas story about children trying to find creative ways to trap and catch an elf.

Perfect for ages 2–6 years.

Discussion Questions

  1. Some kids try to catch the elf with what kind of net in Emma’s house?
  2. What double-sided thing did Jayden try to use to catch the elf?
  3. What sweet treat can’t the elf resist?
  4. What kind of boom is the elf in danger of and what kind of treat is that?
  5. What danger was waiting in the family grocery store?
  6. What foods did the dinner cannon shoot?
  7. What foods would be in your dinner canon?
  8. What kind of river or waterfall did the elf and Santa tumble down?
  9. What’s your favorite Christmas drink?
Delicious themed cupcakes

Delicious themed cupcakes


Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes With Peppermint Candy Cane Frosting

I baked some yummy chocolate peppermint cupcakes with peppermint candy cane frosting to accompany this delightful children's tale.



For the cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup / 2 oz / 57 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 4 oz / 115 g brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 4 oz / 115 g canola oil or melted butter
  • 2/3 cup / 6 oz / 170 g sour cream or Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup / 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup / 4 oz / 115 g unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (only use if using canola oil or unsalted butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract or peppermint oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup / 4 oz hot coffee, freshly brewed

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup / 4 oz / 1 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 tbsp whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3 cups / 435 g powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 large crushed candy canes, or 6 mini ones (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the brown and white sugars with the butter or oil and the peppermint extract/oil on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Drop the mixer to the lowest speed and slowly add the flour mix, followed by the heavy cream, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until the dry ingredients disappear. Stop the mixer to scrape down the insides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Slowly and carefully pour in the hot coffee a little at a time and mix on the lowest speed, stopping if it begins to slosh. When all of it is in the bowl, stop the mixer, scoop any batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top, and mix for 2 minutes at medium speed. Scoop into paper-lined cupcake tins a little over halfway full. (I use an ice cream scoop).
  4. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and it comes out clean of any raw batter or crumbs. Makes 12-14 cupcakes.
  5. For the frosting: In a stand mixer on medium speed, whip the butter, peppermint extract, and vanilla extract for 1 minute. Turn it to low and slowly add the powdered sugar in thirds, only adding more once each addition disappears. Add the heavy cream or milk and whip for 1 minute on medium-high.
  6. After the cupcakes have cooled for at least 10 minutes, spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with crushed candy canes if desired, or whole mini ones.

Rate the Recipe

  • Other “How to Catch” books: How to Catch a Gingerbread Man, How to Catch a Snowman, How to Catch a Yeti, How to Catch a Mermaid, How to Catch a Unicorn, How to Catch a Dinosaur, How to Catch a Dragon, How to Catch a Leprechaun, How to Catch the Tooth Fairy, How to Catch a Monster, How to Catch the Easter Bunny, How to Catch a Turkey.
  • Other books by this author: Merry Christmas Eve, Holiday Heroes Save Christmas, The Giant Yawn, Jackson Payne’s Clumsy Christmas Spectacular, Never Ever Lick a Llama, Never Ever Marry a Mermaid, Accidentally Awesome, and more.

© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo