If you’ve ever played with modeling clay or Play-Doh in kindergarten, you can make these beautiful veggies in a jiffy.
Garden Party Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
2 whole graham crackers
1 stick mint chewing gum
1/4 cup white chocolate melting wafers
6 thin pretzel sticks
1 cup Vanilla Frosting
Green, red, orange and blue gel or paste food color
1 can chocolate frosting
2 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (Nabisco Oreo or Famous Chocolate Wafers)
24 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
1 cup Corn Flakes
9 green fruit chews (Jolly Rancher)
1 vanilla fruit chew (Tootsie Roll Midgee
4 red fruit chews (Jolly Rancher)
8 orange fruit chews (Starburst)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
20 green M&M’s
Green apple and watermelon AirHeads
2 teaspoons Multicolored chocolate-covered sunflower seeds (see Note)
Seed Packs and Shovels: With a serrated knife, cut graham crackers in half crosswise. Cut two 3/4-in.-long triangles from gum to make shovel blades. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put white chocolate melting wafers in a ziptop bag; do not seal. Microwave 10 seconds to soften. Squeeze, return to microwave and repeat until smooth. Press out air and seal.
Snip a small corner from the bag and pipe an outline around each graham cracker. Fill in with more chocolate and spread into a smooth, thin layer to cover cracker. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes.
Turn each cracker over and pipe a line of melted chocolate down the center of the uncoated side. Place a pretzel stick on top of the line of chocolate, leaving about a 2-in. overhang; refrigerate until set. Cut the remaining 2 pretzel sticks into two 2-in. and two 3/4-in. lengths. Pipe a small dot of melted chocolate on one end of a 2-in. pretzel stick and attach the smaller pretzel piece crosswise to make the shovel handle. Attach the gum shovel blade to the other end of the pretzel with a dot of melted chocolate.
Tint 1/2 cup of the vanilla frosting green, 1 Tbsp red, 2 Tbsp orange and 1/4 cup blue. Spoon each color, including the remaining 1 tablespoon vanilla frosting, into separate ziptop bags, press out excess air and seal. Spoon 1/4 cup chocolate frosting into a ziptop bag, press out the excess air and seal. Snip a tiny corner from each of the bags. Pipe the vegetable names in chocolate frosting and the vegetable shapes in the colored frostings on top of the chocolate-coated side of the graham crackers.
Place chocolate cookie crumbs in a medium bowl. Spread remaining chocolate frosting on cupcakes. Roll tops of cupcakes in crumbs to cover. Arrange in 4 rows of 6 on serving platter.
Lettuce: Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put cornflakes in a small bowl. Spoon remaining green frosting into a small microwavable bowl. Microwave until smooth, stirring often, 5 to 10 seconds. Pour over cornflakes, toss well to coat, and spread the cornflakes onto baking sheet. Chill to set, about 10 minutes. Cut 2 green fruit chews in half and shape into balls. Place 1 green ball on top of each of 4 cupcakes and arrange 8 to 12 cornflakes around balls to make the leaves. Secure with a dot of green frosting.
Radishes: Cut the vanilla fruit chew into quarters. Roll 1 red fruit chew together with 1 vanilla piece, keeping colors separate, and shape into a ball. Pinch the white end to form the radish root. Place 1 radish on top of each of 4 cupcakes, and add green-frosted cornflakes for leaves.
Carrots: Cut 2 of the orange fruit chews in half; shape each piece into a small carrot. Shape remaining 6 fruit chews into 6 large carrots. Score the sides of carrots with a knife and rub with cinnamon for “dirt.” Use a toothpick to make a small hole in the large end of each carrot. Cut 2 of the green fruit chews into thin strips and roll each strip between fingers to look like carrot tops. Press 4 or 5 strips into the hole in the top of each carrot. Arrange carrots on top of 5 cupcakes.
Peas: Roll out each of the remaining 5 green fruit chews into a 3 x 1-in. oval 1/8-in. thick. Press 4 green M&M’s onto one side of each oval. Fold the other side over to cover the candies slightly. Pinch the ends and place 1 pea pod on top of each of 5 cupcakes. Cut thin strips from AirHeads and arrange around the pea pods as vines.
Insert the pretzel end of each sign into tops of 4 cupcakes. Place at the head of the rows. Insert the shovel blades into frosting of 2 cupcakes; scatter sunflower seeds around shovels. Place in rows with radishes and lettuce.
Note: Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds can be found at Trader Joe’s and the Sweet Factory at most malls, as well as online.
Adapted from the book Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Copyright © 2008 by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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