Winter Wonderland Cupcakes



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Ingredients
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    3   cups 
    Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below) or canned cream cheese frosting
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    Blue food coloring
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    12   
    Cookie Surprise Cupcakes (see recipe below) or other 2-1/2-inch cupcakes in paper bake cups
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    Clear and/or blue coarse sugar (optional)
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    Tiny marshmallows
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    Red rolled fruit leather
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    Black candy-coated chocolate pieces
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    Black candy-coated sunflower kernels
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    Nonpareils
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    Gumdrops, cut into tiny slivers
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    Pine tree sprinkles
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    Snowflake sprinkles
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    12   
    chocolate wafer cookies (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
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    1  8  ounce package 
    cream cheese, softened
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    1/2  cup 
    butter, softened
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    2   teaspoons 
    vanilla
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    5 1/2 - 6   cups 
    powdered sugar

Cookie Surprise Cupcakes
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    1  16 1/2 ounce tube 
    refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
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    1   
    package 2-layer-size chocolate cake mix
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    4   ounces 
    cream cheese, softened
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    1   cup 
    water
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    1/2  cup 
    vegetable oil
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    3   
    eggs


Directions
1.
Tint half of the Cream Cheese Frosting a light sky blue color. Smoothly frost half of the top of each Cookie Surprise Cupcake with blue frosting. Spread the remaining halves of the cupcake tops with white frosting, swirling slightly to make a wintry landscape of sky and snow. If desired, roll edges of cupcakes in coarse sugar.
2.
For each snowman cupcake, press two tiny marshmallows together and flatten into a large disk. Flatten a single tiny marshmallow into a smaller disk. Position the smaller disk above the larger disk on a frosted cupcake to create a two-dimensional snowman.
3.
For scarves, unroll red fruit leather and cut into strips. Decorate each snowman with a scarf. Press candy-coated chocolate pieces and candy-coated sunflower kernels into each frosted cupcake above the small marshmallow disk for a hat. Attach nonpareils for eyes and a sliver of gumdrop for a nose. Arrange pine tree and snowflake sprinkles around the snowman for a winter scene.
4.
If desired, to make the cupcakes look like snow globes, place each cupcake on its side on a chocolate wafer cookie, letting a little of the cookie stick out in front. Secure cupcakes to the cookies with white frosting. Makes 12 (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1.
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency. (This frosts tops and sides of two 8- or 9-inch layers. Halve the recipe to frost a 13x9x2-inch cake.) Cover and store the frosted cake in the refrigerator.

Cookie Surprise Cupcakes
1.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line twenty-four 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. Cut cookie dough into 24 pieces. Roll dough pieces into balls. In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, cream cheese, the water, oil, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed according to package directions. Set aside about 1 cup of the batter. Spoon the remaining batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about one-half full. Press a peanut butter cookie ball into batter in each cup. Top each with about 1 teaspoon of the remaining batter. Bake about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

Variation
  • Winter Wonderland Cupcakes with Christmas Trees: Frost cupcakes as directed above in Step 1. For Christmas trees, unroll green rolled fruit leather. Use a 1-inch tree-shape cookie cutter to cut out trees. Press trees into green edible glitter. Press trees, glitter sides up, onto frosted cupcakes. Attach small confetti sprinkles on trees with frosting. If desired, make cupcakes look like snow globes as directed in Step 4.
Variation
  • Winter Wonderland Cupcakes with Gingerbread People: Frost cupcakes as directed in Step 1. For each gingerbread person, in a microwave-safe bowl microwave 2 or 3 caramels on 100 percent power (high) for 5 to 10 seconds or until softened. Press caramels together into a flat disk; use a 1-inch gingerbread person-shape cutter to cut out a gingerbread person. Pipe white frosting bands onto arms and legs; pipe hair, eyes, and nose. Attach small red decorative candies for buttons. Press one or two gingerbread people onto each cupcake. If desired, make cupcakes look like snow globes as directed in Step 4.
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 563, Fat, total (g) 26, chol. (mg) 72, sat. fat (g) 11, carb. (g) 80, Monosaturated fat (g) 10, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 3, fiber (g) 1, sugar (g) 61, pro. (g) 5, vit. A (IU) 486, vit. C (mg) 1, Thiamin (mg) 0, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Niacin (mg) 1, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0, Folate (g) 24, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (g) 0, sodium (mg) 352, Potassium (mg) 163, calcium (mg) 91, iron (mg) 1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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