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Cupcakes for the Movie Elf

Since Elf is playing on Broadway right now, the movie has been on my mind. We’ve owned Elf, starring Will Ferrell, ever since it came out on DVD. I’ve always loved it, but haven’t really watched it in years. The other night, I decided to put away my laptop, hang up the phone, and snuggle up with my kids and watch it.

I laughed for the entire 97 minutes. After we saw it, I kept having visions of cupcakes with candy canes stuck in the top, and cupcakes with
“swirly twirly” gumdrops to represent Buddy’s journey to Manhattan (“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”).

Finding mini candy canes, of course, was the easy part of this recipe. But the most amazing thing this week was finding gumdrops with swirls in them. Oddly enough, I found some at a health food store, in the candy aisle. They’re called Gummy Swirls from Surf Sweets.

Swirly Twirly Gumdrop and Candy Cane Forest Cupcakes

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
vanilla frosting (recipe follows)
sanding sugar (Wilton sells them as “Sprinkles”)
mini candy canes
Surf Sweets Gummy Swirls

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with muffin liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In a liquid measuring cup, combine sour cream and milk. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add in vanilla, and beat well.

3. With the mixer on low, add in a third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream mixture. Alternate between the two mixtures until all is incorporated. Divide batter between the muffin liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool completely.

4. Decorate cupcakes with frosting and then dip in sanding sugar. Top with candy canes or gumdrops.

Vanilla Frosting

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups (1 pound) confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients until frosting is smooth and creamy.

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