The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

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Level: Easy

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Description

The cutest and tastiest Christmas cupcakes around! Rudolph and his friends!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CUPCAKES:
  • 1-¼ cup Sugar
  • 1-¾ cup Flour
  • 1 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 whole Eggs At Room Temperature
  • 1 cup Buttermilk At Room Temperature
  • ½ cups Canola Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Hot Fresh Brewed Coffee
  • FOR THE WHIPPED CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
  • 3 sticks Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • ¾ cups Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ⅛ cups Milk, Or More
  • TO ASSEMBLE:
  • 24 whole Pretzels, Broken In Half
  • ½ cups Chocolate Chips, Melted
  • 24 whole Mini Nilla Wafer Cookies
  • 23 whole Brown M&Ms Or Brown Reeses Pieces
  • 1 whole Red M&M
  • 48 whole Candy Eyes Or White Chocolate Chips

Preparation

For the cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-count muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed using a hand or stand mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in the hot coffee (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Then remove the pans from the oven and allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
Put butter into the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat butter on medium speed for two minutes. Add the powdered sugar and whip until combined. Add the cocoa powder and whip until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and milk. Add more milk if the frosting looks too dark. You want the color to be light brown like milk chocolate mousse. Whip for one last minute. Frost the cupcakes using your preferred method.

To assemble (see related blog link for photos):
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Carefully break pretzels into the shape of large antlers (I over-broke several pretzels before I got it just right, so you may want to be prepared with extra pretzels). Melt the chocolate chips (melt them for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring before heating for additional 30 second bursts). Dip the tops of the antlers in the melted chocolate and place on a baking sheet and place in the fridge to harden.

Place the mini vanilla wafer near the bottom center of the cupcake. Place a small amount of the frosting onto the back of the red or brown M&M and attach it to the top center of the vanilla wafer (this is the nose). Once the chocolate has hardened to the antlers remove them from the fridge and attach the pretzels at the top of the cupcake, pointing diagonally outward or inward (whatever you prefer).
After the pretzel antlers are arranged, add the M&M or candy eyes into place (for me it was directly above the vanilla wafer snout).

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