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Holiday Tree Cupcakes

treecupcakes

Ok, I know we’ve been posting a lot of sweets lately, but we can’t help it. We always have holiday baking on the brain this time of year! With the weekend ahead, you can bet we’ll be spending some time in the kitchen whipping up a tasty treat or two…And if you’re sweet tooth has kicked in too, these Holiday Tree Cupcakes are perfect for your baking sesh! They take some time, but the end result is SO worth it!

Don’t they remind you of Charlie Brown’s tree? On that note, have you seen our DIY Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Ornaments?

INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin (I used Libby’s)
1 T pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

holidaytree

DIRECTIONS FOR CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
3.   In a small mixing bowl, add the pumpkin and buttermilk. Mix until just blended.
4.   In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
5.   In a large mixing bowl or mixer, add the butter, sugars and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy.
6.   Add the eggs to the sugar mixture, one at a time, until fully blended.
7.   Add 1/2 flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Add buttermilk mixture. Finish with adding the rest of the flour mix.
8.  Mix on low speed for one minute until fully incorporated.
9.   Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with cupcake batter.
10.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
11.  Let cool in cupcake pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling process.
12.  Once completely cooled, dip the cupcakes into the ganache.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
12 oz. milk chocolate chips (I used Hersheys)
6 oz. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1.   Add heavy cream to a sauce pan and heat until a boil.
2.   In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips.
3.   Slowly pour the heated cream over the chocolate and stir until completely melted.
4.   Dip the tops of cupcakes into the ganache.
5.   Let set for at least 30 minutes before adding icing on top.

INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM ICING
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter – softened
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-5 Tablespoons half and half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS FOR CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM ICING
1.  In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
2.   Sift in the cocoa powder.
3.   Add the powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons of half and half and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until well incorporated.
4.  Add up to an additional 2 Tablespoons of half and half until your desired consistency is achieved.
5.   Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
6.   Add the icing to an icing decorating bag and pipe the icing on top of the ganache on each cupcake using your preferred icing tip.

INGREDIENTS FOR TREES
-makes 6
3 Chocolate Twizzlers
1/2 cup Wilton dark cocoa melting chips or semi sweet chocolate chips
1 Wilton microwaveable disposable icing bags
1/2 cup chocolate covered sunflower seeds

holidaycupcakes

DIRECTIONS FOR ORNAMENTS
1.   Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
2.   Cut each Twizzler piece in half.
3.   With a small scissors, cut one end of each licorice piece into 3 thin strips to resemble tree branches. Bend each “branch” forward a bit.
4.   In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips/melts for 40 seconds. Stir until melted.
5.   Using a small spatula, thinly spread the melted chocolate onto each licorice piece. Be sure to cover the entire piece.
6.   Sprinkle the sunflower seeds on each tree, ensuring there are some on each branch.
6.   Let each piece “set” on the lined baking sheet for at least one hour.
7.   Carefully insert each tree into a cupcake. Sprinkle additional sunflower seeds into the chocolate icing of the cupcake.
8.   ENJOY!

And for more holiday sweets inspiration, check out our Holiday Rice Krispie Pops!

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