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Cupcake Christmas Tree

 Cupcake Christmas Tree
Heather McKinley of Mechanic Falls, Maine shared this minty twist on typical cupcakes, then our Test Kitchen arranged them in a tree shape for a pretty presentation. The star on the top of the tree and cute packages tucked beneath are a snap to make with colorful candies.
24 ServingsPrep: 45 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1 package devil's food cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/2 cups mint chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2-2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon green paste food coloring
  • Candy-coated milk chocolate miniature kisses
  • 2 chocolate stars
  • 12 Starburst candies

Directions

  • Prepare cake batter mix according to package directions for cupcakes;
  • fold in chips. Fill foil-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
  • Bake at 350° for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near
  • the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from
  • pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar
  • until light and fluffy. Beat in milk and extracts until blended.
  • Transfer 2 tablespoons to a small bowl; stir in cocoa. Stir green
  • food coloring into remaining frosting.
  • Frost 21 cupcakes with green frosting; arrange in a pyramid to form a

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Cupcake Christmas Tree (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • tree. Decorate all but the top cupcake with miniature kisses for
  • lights. Frost two cupcakes with chocolate frosting and place at base
  • of tree for trunk; top each with a chocolate star. Save remaining
  • cupcake for another use.
  • With a rolling pin, roll two yellow Starburst candies flat; cut with
  • 2-in. and 1-1/2-in. star-shaped cookie cutters. Press smaller star
  • onto larger star; place on cupcake at top of tree.
  • For presents, roll five Starburst candies into 3-in. x 3/4-in.
  • rectangles; cut each rectangle into four 3-in.-long strips. Place
  • two strips widthwise on one whole Starburst candy; press together at
  • base to attach.
  • For bow, form two strips into figure eights; press together in center
  • and press onto wrapped candy. Repeat with remaining strips and
  • remaining four whole Starburst candies. Place presents beneath
  • cupcake tree. Yield: 23 servings.