Before you learn the secrets of mastering Egg Nog Cupcakes with Peppermint Crunch Icing, be warned that there are some legal issues to consider when making cupcakes. Please carefully watch the following news story before proceeding into the Cupcake Sistahood or Brothahood, as the case may be.
"But what are you gonna do? You're just gonna kinda smile and keep on bakin'."
Do not be intimidated by the beauty of these Christmas creations! I cannot even begin to tell you how easy these cupcakes are to produce. I'm not about the home-baked goodness. I'm all about the "bling." This cupcake "recipe" is, however, quite delicious. To avoid any kind of legal "hassles," please read this blog in its entirety.
Eggnog Cupcakes (as seen on the Today Show):
1 store-bought white cake mix (I usually look for a box that promises moist cupcakes.)
Store-bought store brand egg nog
When making the cupcakes, use egg nog instead of water. Add 2-10 dashes of nutmeg depending on your love for nutmeg. Bake.
Tip: I used to just whisk my store-bought cake mixes without timing the whisking. Once I got a Kitchen Aide stand mixer, with the utilization of my kitchen timer, I began producing superior cupcakes. The batter of this particular specimen is thick and creamy. I tasted it "several" times.
Icing (as seen on youtube, my source of lots of cooking secrets):
3 containers of store-bought buttercream icing per box of cupcake mix purchased
1 container of Wilton red coloring paste (Don't think that you'll get this divine red color with a whole bunch of red liquid food coloring. Save all of your liquid food coloring for its designed purpose: dying Easter eggs.)
I buy plastic disposable icing bags at Michael's. You'll need to get a pretty big "star" tip. The one I used is the Wilton 1M. Cut off the tip of the bag and slip the icing tip thing-y into the hole you just made. Place the bag with the tip down into a big iced tea glass. Note that I did NOT say "glass of iced tea." The glass will hold up the bag while you dump in the store-bought icing. The bag will hold at least one whole container of icing. Squeeze the icing down in the bag until it begins to extrude from the tip a little bit. Twist the open end of the bag to keep the icing from oozing out on you when you begin icing the cupcakes.
To "stripe" the icing, simply dip the tip of a table knife down into the red coloring paste. Then, slowly shove that knife down along one side of the icing bag. Repeat a couple of times in the same exact spot of the bag until you get a good red stripe going. You only need ONE approximately knife-wide stripe in the bag. Now, watch this video on icing the cupcake. This guy uses a bigger star tip, but I kind of like my Wilton 1M. From yet another cooking show on TV, I learned to start by putting a big blob of icing in the very middle of the cupcake first. Then, as you work from the outside edge of the cupcake, you can get more height in the center by using the blob as your base. I advise that you change to a fresh bag every time you need a refill of icing. Otherwise, the red stripe wanders around the bag making the icing pink.
Once you ice the cupcake, lightly sprinkle a bit of crushed up candy cane and Christmas sprinkles on top. I used a combo pack of red and green Christmas tree sprinkles.
The Crowning Glory Peppermint (as seen on the Today Show):
1 bag of regular old peppermints (usually found on the candy aisle hanging with the Jolly Ranchers and those weird orange peanut shaped candy things)
Preheat oven to 325. For the seriously baking impaired, I'll begin from the very beginning. Unwrap the peppermints. Place them on a cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes. I set my timer on 5 minutes and kept peeking every minute or so after that. The peppermints will begin to melt down into really cool looking disks. If you get distracted and start unloading the dishwasher or folding a load of towels, the peppermints will melt totally down into one thin sheet of interesting looking "candy." Once melted down into disks the size shown in the picture above, remove cookie sheet and set aside until they are totally cooled. I didn't think to use parchment paper or a Silpat. At first I thought I'd never get those suckers off of the pan. The trick is to let them cool completely. You might try sticking the cooled pan into the frig for a few minutes. Most of the disks will eventually gracefully slide off of the pan. A couple will totally crack to smithereens. Eat those. Place the ones that may have a little chink taken out by your coaxing fingernail with the chink side down when you place them on top of the cupcake.
There you have it! Totally easy! I really think that icing cupcakes with a bag and tip is easier and tidier than using a kitchen knife or spatula.
Legal Disclaimer: If you or any member of your family is an attorney who represents the Today Show or the dude on youtube who is demonstrating the icing of cupcakes in the video above, please note that these cupcakes are mostly made for personal use.
Fine Print: If you want to buy a black market Egg Nog Cupcakes with Peppermint Crunch Icing made from 100% store-bought ingredients, meet me in the alley behind Kingsgate Shopping Center tonight at midnight. (For today's batch, I'll try to remember not to lick the rubber spatula before putting it back in the bowl of cupcake batter.) I'll let you have them for $3 each. Come alone, and bring your own bakery box. I'll be wearing a trench coat, sunglasses, and a really cute Christmas pashmina.
You know I'm kidding. Right? Well, I am. Totally kidding. I'm selling them for $5 each.