You knew this was coming right? Once we tackled the Thanksgiving turkey cupcakes, I knew it would be easy to move on to Christmas reindeer cupcakes. My 3-year-old was very helpful because these reindeer cupcakes use a similar process. We used Ina Gartin’s Banana Crunch Muffins (they make fabulous cupcakes) and buttercream frosting. You’ll need:
2. Frosting tinted brown. Leave about 1/4 cup white if you don’t have a white frosting tube/pen.
3. Donut holes
4. Mini M&Ms
5. Mini Chocolate Chips
6. White frosting pen (optional)
7. Small marshmallows for tail
8. Brown candy melts or chocolate chips (candy melts are easier)
9. Wax paper and Ziploc bags
10. An edible “stick” such as a pretzel or candy melts that I piped out straight and let harden. This stick attaches the donut hole to the cupcake.
Start with the antlers, ears and sticks (if you aren’t using pretzels). I drew out a quick template, but it’s not necessary. Take candy melts or chocolate chips and put them in a Ziploc bag. Microwave until melted. Cut a hole at the corner of the Ziploc bag and pipe out antlers, ears and sticks on to wax paper. I put the template with wax paper on top in a half sheet pan. That way it’s easy to move out of the way, if necessary.
If you use chocolate chips, they will melt further from the heat of your hand and are more delicate once piped. Make well more than you need. Candy melts are much easier to work with. La Jolla Girl’s reindeer antlers were pretty cool. They were just big squiggles.
When the sticks are solid, take the end of a small brush or chopstick and poke a hole in the donut hole. Then, insert the stick.
Poke hole in cupcake and insert the other side of the stick. If you don’t poke a hole first, the stick is more likely to break from the pressure. Frost the cupcake and donut hole. A small brush helps get the frosting in crevices. Attach a red mini M&M for the reindeer nose.
Pipe white frosting in an oval for the eyes. Press mini chocolate chips in. Take chopstick or end of small brush and punch holes for ears.
Punch holes for antlers too. Insert antlers and ears. If they feel loose, you can pipe a very small amount of frosting into the hole to secure them. La Jolla Girl had just watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on TV and insisted that he had a small tail. So, she grabbed a small marshmallow and placed it on the cupcake.
She thought this reindeer cupcake looked the best.
An easier option is to omit the frosting and tail. It will still be delicious, especially if the donut hole is fresh.
Or, you may omit the donut hole completely. It looks better if you make slightly bigger reindeer ears and antlers. I used a regular sized M&M but a mini looks fine too.
So there you have it. Three options to choose from. They’re not perfect, but your kids will think they’re a great Christmas dessert.
Speaking of kids, here is what we made with La Jolla Girls squiggle antlers—reindeer on a candy cane with sunflower seeds as ears. The squiggles were top-heavy and broke on occasion, but toward the end I was able to guide her so that they’d work. These survived, but I should have had her make more for the reindeer cupcakes.
Tip: These are difficult to transport with antlers in. Leave them out or make and eat at home. Happy Holidays!