Want something cute and creative for the holiday table? Food stylist and cooking teacher Karen Tack shares an adorable dessert:
- 24 vanilla cupcakes baked in green paper liners
- 1 cup green candy melting wafers (Wilton)
- 1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
- Green food coloring
- 2 tablespoons white nonpareils, plus more for the platters
- 1/4 cup red mini candy-coated chocolates (M&M's Minis) or small red cinnamon candies (Red Hots)
1. Line three cookie sheets with wax paper. Place the green candy melting wafers in a ziplock bag; do not seal the bag. Microwave for about 10 seconds to soften. Massage the mixture and return to the microwave. Repeat the process until the candy is smooth, about 1 minute total (see page 18). Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag and pipe a continuous tight zigzag row, about 21/2 inches wide and close together, down the length of a cookie sheet. Make 2 more rows. Repeat to fill the remaining 2 cookie sheets. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes.2. Tint the vanilla frosting green with the food coloring. Spread the tops of 4 cupcakes with green frosting, mounding it slightly in the center. Break the green candy zigzags into smaller pieces to look like pine needles. Place on top of the cupcakes, allowing the pine needles to overhang slightly. Add white nonpareils and a few red candies. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, frosting, and candy.3. Arrange cupcakes around the perimeter of a square platter. Arrange more cupcakes around the perimeter of a smaller square platter. Arrange 4 cupcakes close together on a small square plate. Set 1 cupcake on top, in the center of the 4 cupcakes. Add the red candy star in the center of the top cupcake, pressing into frosting to secure. Place small inverted glasses (tall enough to provide clearance for the cupcakes and needles) in the centers of the two larger platters, spaced to support the platter above. Place the middle-size platter on top of the glasses on the largest platter, and top off with the small plate with the star on top. Place any leftover cupcakes on small plates, positioning them around the tree. Add additional white nonpareils to the platters.