I couldn’t resist the urge.
The urge pulsed through me like the electric shocks (perhaps “jolts” is more appropriate) I receive from my car’s door. Like a tidal wave, having long since grown to behemoth proportions, crashing ashore. It was an urge I neither resisted nor wanted to resist.
It came about suddenly and powerfully. It was an itch that needed to be scratched. And I knew, having experienced this urge many times, that nothing but acting upon the urge would relieve the anxiety of its presence.
This was the urge to bake cupcakes. (What did you think I was talking about?!)
Although I acknowledge that cupcakes are delicious, my favorite part about them is bringing an idea into fruition. I love the infinite creative freedom granted by cupcakes; I can decorate them however my heart desires. If cupcakes were purely about taste, one might just as well make themselves a sheet cake and eliminate the cost of cupcake liners.
Clearly, cupcakes are not just small-scale cakes. What’s so important about them? Is it the cupcake-to-frosting ratio? The cupcakes’ flavor? Or maybe even their texture? No, no. The mystique of a cupcake lies in the wide range of opportunity and individuality each presents to its creator.
With this creativity endowed by the cupcake, I decorated otherwise plain vanilla cupcakes with chocolate peanut butter penguins. They’re *almost* too cute to eat…but not quite.
- 1 recipe cupcakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Penguins:
- Nutter Butters
- semi-sweet chocolate, divided (roughly 10-12 ounces per 1 dozen cupcakes)
- circular white candy melts (such as those made by Wilton)
- orange M&Ms, halved
- orange gumdrops (such as Dots)
- white frosting
- mini chocolate chips
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- cold water
- Bake cupcakes according to recipe. Let cool before decorating.
- Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt about 4 ounces of chocolate per 1 dozen cupcakes (microwave on high in 20 second intervals, stirring between intervals). Transfer melted chocolate into a plastic ketchup bottle or piping bag. Pipe “wing” shapes, two per cupcake, onto parchment paper. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until chocolate wings are set.
- Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Flip over chocolate wings and place pairs of wings together, leaving space between each pair, on parchment paper. In a bowl or dish with a small diameter, melt remaining 8 ounces of chocolate per 1 dozen cupcakes.
- Dip a Nutter Butter halfway into chocolate, then rotate and dip other half. Remove excess chocolate from underside by scraping along rim of bowl/dish. Place Nutter Butter ”penguin body” onto a pair of chocolate wings. Repeat with remaining Nutter Butters.
- While chocolate on Nutter Butters is still melted, decorate with halved M&Ms for “beaks” and white chocolate melts for “bellies.” Refrigerate until chocolate is set.
- Prepare ”penguin feet” by sticking toothpicks into gumdrops. Pull gumdrop down until it reaches toothpick’s midpoint. Gently push two toothpicks with gumdrops into chocolate-covered Nutter Butters (if chocolate cracks slightly, fix by spreading a little melted chocolate over crack).
- Pipe two small circles of white frosting for the penguin’s eyes. Attach a mini chocolate chip to each frosting “eye.”
- Prepare glaze by stirring together confectioners’ sugar and enough water until thick, spreadable consistency is reached. Glaze cupcakes and stick a penguin into each cupcake.
*Note: Remember to inform cupcake-eaters of the toothpicks!