Halloween Treats: Pumpkin Cupcakes!

It’s that time of year again boys and ghouls. Halloween is less than two weeks away and candy is flying off the shelves faster than you can say, “BOO!” Why not avoid the packaged, processed candy of Halloween this year and make your own scary treats? Cupcakes are a fun way to keep kids entertained in the kitchen; just bake and let your little monsters decorate to their heart’s desire.

Here’s a seasonal cupcake recipe guaranteed to make your kids scream…with joy, that is:

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

•   2 cups all-purpose flour

•   2 teaspoons baking powder

•   1 teaspoon cinnamon

•   1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

•   1/4 teaspoon ginger

•   1/4 teaspoon salt

•   1/2 cup vegetable oil

•   1 1/4 cups sugar

•   2 eggs

•   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•   1 cup canned pumpkin

 

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

•   3 cups confectioners’ sugar

•   1 8-ounce package cream cheese

•   4 tablespoons butter

•   1 teaspoon lemon juice

•   Yellow and red food coloring

•   Pretzel nuggets (stems)

Instructions

•   Heat the oven to 350º and line a 12-cup muffin tin with bake cups. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set the mixture aside.

•   In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and stir in the vanilla extract.

•   Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir the mixture until well combined. Explain to your child that she should stir only until she can no longer see any pockets or streaks of flour.

•   Stir the pumpkin into the batter until it is thoroughly combined. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of one cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit in the tin for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool thoroughly.

•   Meanwhile, make the Cream Cheese Frosting. In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat together the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice until smooth. Add about 12 drops of yellow food coloring and 4 drops of red food coloring and beat until the frosting turns orange.

For authentic-looking pumpkins, pipe on the frosting to resemble a pumpkin’s ridges. Fill a sealable plastic bag with frosting, snip a small hole in the corner, and pipe curved lines over each cupcake. (An easier option is simply to frost each cupcake orange and draw ridges from top to bottom with a butter knife.) Use pretzel nuggets for the pumpkin stems and cut flattened green gumdrops into leaves. Makes 12 cupcakes.

You also don’t have to stop at pumpkins! We recommend grabbing some additional frosting colors during your next grocery run to put your kids’ imaginations to work. Now you’ve got something tasty to show off at the next Halloween party (if they last that long!). While making these fun cupcakes, don’t forget to either wear an apron for cleanliness or grab one of our toddler, kids, or adult Zemu T-Shirts…because it’s okay to get a t-shirt messy in the kitchen. For this and other ghoulish recipes, check out http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/.

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