With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

Scary movies, simply put, are not my thing.

I think in my 22 years of life, I have seen a total of 4 or 5 scary movies.

My first attempt was in 6th grade at a slumber party in a completely well-lit basement.  I had heard great things about "The Sixth Sense" and figured, "How bad could it be?  It's not about monsters or murders or anything THAT scary."

For a person who lives in an older home that creaks during the night, this was an amateur move.  Sure I was just fine that whole day... but come that night... big trouble.

I stayed far far away from scary movies after that until my 19th birthday.  After being taken out to dinner by some friends, they offered to have a movie marathon in a completely darkened basement (should've been my first sign).  The selections?  "Saw I" and "Saw II".  7 years had passed.  I figured it couldn't be as bad as before, right?

I'll let you figure out how sleeping at 3:30am worked out for me that night.

I came this close to seeing "Paranormal Activity" a few years ago, with a boyfriend at the time, but by some chance of fate we arrived 20 minutes late.  I thank my lucky stars we saw "The Hangover" instead that night.  

My sleep filled nights thank my lucky stars we saw "The Hangover" that night.

I'll take my dose of adrenaline in the form of roller coasters and skydiving and bungee-jumping any day thank you very much.  That is the level I can work at.  Adrenaline that lets me sleep at night.

These cupcakes are my kind of level of scary.  They're almost cute.  

What?  You didn't realize scary and cute could co-exist in the same baked good?  Welcome to my world.

Jack Skellington is the iconic character from "The Nightmare Before Christmas", and although I've never seen this movie (don't worry, it's on my list to watch), I've heard so much buzz about it and seen so many Night Before Christmas treats that I knew I had to try some for myself.

The way to make the icing so smooth is to melt it slightly in the microwave and then dip each cupcake in it.  It is one of my favorite ways to decorate cupcakes - I think the end result is awesome.  The full instructions are listed below if you want to try it out.  If not spreading the icing on as is works just fine too.

These were so easy and so adorable it was almost scary! (went there - don't regret it one bit)  Though Halloween may be over for this year, these treats are still a perfect way to bridge the gap between now and the holidays that are coming up soon.

And while you're busy making them I'll get busy watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas" for the first time.  But most likely in the middle of the afternoon.

...With all the lights on....

Preferably with a strong person in tow.  Oh yes.

Baby steps.


Jack Skellington Cupcakes
Servings: 12

- 12 Vanilla Cupcakes (omit cherry pie filling) baked in white paper liners
- 1 Batch Basic Vanilla Buttercream (using only clear vanilla extract)
- Black gel food coloring

Bake cupcakes as directed and let cool completely.  Tint 1/3 cup buttercream black with black gel food coloring (available at craft stores).  

Put the rest of buttercream in a shallow microwavable bowl (a cereal bowl worked just fine for me) and microwave on high for 5-10 seconds.  Take out and stir.  Repeat until icing resembles lightly whipped cream.  (Thin enough to have cupcakes dipped in but thick enough to stay on the cupcake once it's dipped.  Mine took about 15-20 seconds, stirring every 5-10 seconds)  If you overshoot and icing becomes too thin, place in refrigerator and let it firm up some before continuing.  My advice is to take it slow, you can always add more time in the microwave, you can't take it away.  Dip all cupcakes once (or twice) and let harden somewhat (will happen naturally in 15-30 minutes or stick in the freezer for 5 min).  Place black tinted icing in a plastic decorators bag with a small open circle tip.  Pipe eyes and mouth onto cupcakes referring to a picture if necessary.  The best way I found to do this was to trace a light line with a toothpick into the cupcake and to then trace with the icing.  If you're really great at freehand icing work, then totally feel free to skip.  If not, this really helped me.  Decorate and let firm up for 5-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

(I did not adapt my decorating of these cupcakes from anywhere.  This is simply my way of doing it.  A Mary original.  This does not imply I came up with the idea for the cupcakes though. I'm sure there are other variations around.)

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