What fun I had making an army of Nutcracker Cupcakes ready to take on the Mouse King and all others in the famed Christmastime tale! Nutcrackers used to be so expensive, and now it seems that just about every stylish budget store (read Target) has a collection of them sporting a variety of themes. My daughter has a hippie nutcracker, mountain climber, and a 2-foot tall traditional nutcracker soldier, which is what I used to make these fabulous Christmas Cupcakes. Imagine these cupcakes as the centerpiece of a Nutcracker theme party on Christmas Eve!
To Make a Nutcracker Cupcake
- Bake a batch of your favorite cupcakes and ice them with vanilla frosting. Sprinkle sweetened coconut over the frosting to resemble snow. Add mini M&Ms for a colorful touch. Make a cupcake wrap from Christmas themed paper and wrap up the cupcake!
- For the nutcracker’s head & hat:Cut slits into a regular-size marshmallow using a sharp paring knife to create the nutcracker’s mouth – don’t cut all the way through so the mouth stays attached. Open up his mouth a bit so it looks like the real thing. Insert a toothpick into the bottom of the marshmallow head. Melt peach-colored Candy Melt chips (“chocolate” chip candies available in baking supply sections of many craft and specialty stores) until smooth. Dip the marshmallow head into the melted chocolate until it is completely coated. Set the toothpick into a piece of Styrofoam or something similar so the marshmallow can remain upright as the chocolate sets. Slice the end off a Ferrero Rocher chocolate candy ball and use melted peach chocolate to adhere it to the nutcracker head for his hat. Use melted dark chocolate to adhere a blue mini M&M on top of the hat.
- Facial features & hair:When the peach chocolate is set on the nutcracker’s head apply his facial features. Cut the end off a slivered almond to make his nose proportionate to his head, coat it in melted peach chocolate and apply it to his face. For his eyes, slice the end off a mini marshmallow and cut the circle in half. Melt dark chocolate Candy Melts and use a toothpick to draw his pupils on to the marshmallow half circles. Use melted peach chocolate to apply the eyes on to the face. Mix up about powdered sugar and a bit of water to form a paste and stir in flaked coconut. Form the coconut paste into the nutcracker’s hair and stick it to the sides of his head as in the photo. Melt red chocolate Candy Melts and dip your finger into it. Apply a light smear of red on the the nutcracker’s face to make rosy cheeks.
- For the nutcracker’s body & legs:Insert 2 toothpick legs into the bottom of a regular-size marshmallow. Slice another regular-size marshmallow in half lengthwise, and then cut it into quarters to make the arms. Snip the end off a toothpick and insert it through the side of the marshmallow body near the top; bits of the toothpick should stick out on either side. Slide the arms on to the toothpick on either side of the body. Melt red Candy Melts chips. Dip the marshmallow body with its arms attached into the melted chocolate until it is completely coated. Set the toothpick legs into a piece of Styrofoam or something similar so the marshmallow can remain upright as the chocolate sets. Use melted red chocolate to apply mini M&Ms as buttons and hands on the nutcracker. Slide mini marshmallow on to the toothpick legs for the nutcracker’s pants. Cut a tootsie roll into 2 (1/2-inch) pieces. Insert a toothpick though the center of the roll and wiggle it around to make a channel – think tootsie roll bead! Slide the tootsie roll beads on to the nutcracker’s legs below the marshmallow pants for his boots.
- To keep this nutcracker upright in the cupcake you may need to insert a wooden skewer into his bottom and then insert the skewer as well as the ends of the toothpick legs into the top of the cupcake.
- These Nutcracker Cupcakes were super fun to make but do take a bit of time! Let the kiddies know that he was put together with toothpicks so they can take care when eating him. Merry Christmas!