20131111Christmas12

North Pole Cupcakes

By: Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies and author of ‘Eat More Dessert’

Santa will be thrilled when he sees these adorable cupcakes on Christmas Eve, but he’ll never expect what’s buried inside when he takes his first bite. Underneath a pile of buttercream frosting is a gingersnap cookie hidden deep inside the ultra-moist vanilla cupcake.

 Makes 24 standard cupcakes

 INGREDIENTS:

1 (12-OUNCE [340 G]) PACKAGE GREEN CANDY MELTS

24 CANDY CANE STICKS

24 GINGERSNAP COOKIES

1 (18.25-OUNCE [517 G]) BOX DUNCAN HINES FRENCH VANILLA CAKE MIX

1 (3.4-OUNCE [110 G]) BOX JELL-O  FRENCH VANILLA INSTANT PUDDING AND PIE FILLING, DRY

1 CUP (235 ML) WATER

13 CUP (80 ML) OIL

4 LARGE EGGS

1 BATCH BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (PAGE 10)

24 RED GUMBALLS

YOU WILL NEED

PLASTIC CANDY MOLD FOR SMALL RECTANGULAR DECORATIONS

COOKIE SCOOP

4 DISPOSABLE PASTRY BAGS

#1 WILTON DECORATING TIP

#1M WILTON DECORATING TIP

#4 WILTON DECORATING TIP

1 WILTON COUPLER

WAXED PAPER

2 STANDARD-SIZE CUPCAKE TRAYS

24 STANDARD PAPER CUPCAKE LINERS

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt the green candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments at 40% power for about 11⁄2 minutes, stirring as needed until smooth. Pour melted candy in disposable pastry bag and trim tip with scissors. Fill the candy mold with the melted candy and chill until set, about 30 minutes. Remove the candies from the mold. When dry, use a dab of melted candy to adhere one sign to each of the peppermint sticks.

2. With a pastry bag filled with a small amount of buttercream frosting, and fitted with Wilton decorating tip #1, write North Pole on each piece of candy. Set aside for about 1 hour on a sheet of waxed paper.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the cupcake trays with paper cupcake liners. Place one gingersnap cookie in the bottom of each liner. Set the prepared pans aside.

4. In a large bowl, and using an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil and eggs on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again until all the ingredients are incorporated.

5. Using a cookie scoop, fill each paper liner with batter to fill the liner about two thirds full, dividing evenly between the cupcake trays

6. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or the tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place the trays on wire cooling racks for 5 minutes. Take the cupcakes out of the trays and allow them to cool completely on the wire racks before decorating.

7. Meanwhile, make the one batch of buttercream frosting.

8. Place the #1M Wilton decorating tip inside the pastry bag (no need to use a coupler) and fill with frosting.

9. To decorate the cupcakes, hold the pastry bag in an upright position, starting from the outer circle, squeeze the bag while turning clockwise, to make a large swirly rosette. Insert one peppermint stick North Pole sign on the top of each cupcake. Using a pastry bag fitted with the #4 decorating tip, dot the top of each peppermint stick with white frosting and fasten one red gumball to each.