We are nearly a week into December and our town held it's annual Christmas Parade so, of course, Christmas is on the brain. What dessert will I bring to the family Christmas party? What will I make for the annual Christmas Eve movie marathon? (These are the questions that keep me up at night).
I've been thinking a lot lately about Christmas tree desserts. How can I make a cupcake look like a Christmas tree? I recently found a special rack made for baking cupcakes in ice cream cones. So, I thought I'd take a practice run. (You don't need a special rack to make these. You can stand them up in a muffin tin or on a regular baking sheet). As I started assembling my ingredients, I noticed the quart of egg nog that the hubby brought home yesterday. I had a light bulb over the head moment, egg nog cupcakes! I wasn't sure how these would turn out, but I gotta say, they are so yum! Here's how I made them:
EGG NOG FLAVORED CHRISTMAS TREE CUPCAKES
1 box yellow cake mix
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup egg nog
1/3 cup oil
24 ice cream cones (the kind with the flat bottoms)
24 large marshmallows
red candy decorations (found in baking aisle or use mini m&ms)
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup egg nog
1 tsp vanilla
green food coloring, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line up the ice cream cones on a big baking sheet or in a muffin tin (or in the special rack if you have one).
In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix and pumpkin pie spice.
Add eggs and egg nog.
Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine, then on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Fill the ice cream cones HALF FULL. (Seriously, if you fill them any more than that the batter will ooze over the side and be a big old mess).
Once they're all filled, bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean. (Check them at 15 minutes).
Let them cool completely. Here's what they look like on the inside. I thought you might want to see that so I took a bite of one (you got to do what you got to do).
While they are cooling, make the icing. Mix the softened butter until creamy and smooth. Then, add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add in 1/4 cup egg nog and mix well. If it's not smooth and spreadable, add a little more egg nog and stir until you get the right consistency. You can leave it white (like a flocked tree) or add green food coloring to tint it green.
Place the icing in a big zip top bag.
Squeeze it all down to one corner, like this:
Then, use scissors to snip off the corner and voila you've got a pastry bag.
Once the cupcakes are completely cool, squeeze a blob of icing in the middle of the cupcake (this acts as glue to hold the marshmallow).
Place a large marshmallow on the blob of icing and gently press down. The marshmallow helps shape the tree and keeps you from using a ton of heavy icing.
Pipe icing all around the marshmallow to form a tree shape.
Use a butter knife to spread the icing.
Decorate with the red candies.
How cute are these? What kid (or adult for that matter) could pass this up? The cones get really crunchy in the oven and let's talk about the egg nog flavor. Delicious! They have a wonderful spice, but not overpowering. The creamy icing, moist, spiced cake and crunchy cone are a great combo! If you're not a fan of egg nog, you can make these with any flavor cake batter. Any way you make them, these cupcakes are a really special treat that are sure to bring a smile to anyone's face! Merry Christmas!