Snowman Cupcakes

MAKES:  8

PREP TIME:  1 hour 35 mins

TOTAL TIME:  2 hours 10 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 batch basic gingerbread cupcakes
1 batch vanilla buttercream
Finely shredded coconut
mini chocolate chips
Orange Tic Tacs
Sour candy strips
Chocolate jelly rings

DIRECTIONS

Make 1 batch basic gingerbread cupcakes as directed, lining 8 holes of the muffin pan with red paper liners and lightly coating the remaining holes with cooking spray.

GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 c. unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. water

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, molasses, vanilla and water. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix until fully incorporated (the batter will be thin).

Divide the batter among the muffin holes (about 3 Tbsp each) and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make 1 batch vanilla buttercream as directed.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

MAKES:  3 cups
PREP TIME:  5 mins
TOTAL TIME:  10 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the sugar, alternating with the heavy cream. Mix in the vanilla.
Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

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When the baked cupcakes have cooled completely, in a food processor, pulse the 4 unwrapped cupcakes into fine crumbs. In a bowl, mix together the crumbs and 6 tablespoons buttercream, then roll into 8 balls (1 1/2 inch each; about 1 1/2 tablespoons).

Frost the remaining cupcakes with buttercream (about 2 tablespoons each) and coat with finely shredded coconut (about 1 teaspoon each). Use toothpicks to secure the cake balls to the cupcakes, then frost each ball with 1/2 tablespoon buttercream and coat with finely shredded coconut (about 1 teaspoon each).

Decorate using mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, orange Tic Tacs for noses, sour candy strips for scarves and melted chocolate for mouth. Make hats using chocolate jelly rings, buttercream and mini chocolate chips.

Tips & Techniques

Variations: Decorate using peanut butter for hats, orange royal icing for the nose, mini chocolate chips and melted chocolate for the eyes, melted chocolate for the mouth, silver dragées for the buttons and store-bought red fondant for the scarf.

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Snowman Cupcakes