After much debate as to how to decorate my Christmas themed cupcakes I finally settled on using vanilla cupcakes with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. I didn't do anything fancy with the frosting I just spread it on. To top the frosting I dipped some in coconut and some in white sanding sugar. I then used candy spearmint leaves and little shortbread I had baked and cut into tiny snowmen to top them. The amazing reindeer pulling the sleigh were a gift to me from a family member at thanksgiving. I love them and think they are just adorable, they came in a little kit with pretty cupcake liners too. The cupcakes are made of my favorite vanilla cake from the book More from Magnolia by Allysa Torrey. Her cupcakes are some of the most reliable and I use her vanilla and chocolate all the time. I also used an amazing shortbread recipe that I've been using for years, especially around Christmas time. Every year in my neighborhood we bake cookies for all of the neighbors and my shortbread are always a hit!
Here's the recipe from The Family Baker by Susan G. Purdy:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.(not soft), cut up
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
2. in a large mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioner's sugar until smooth and well blended. Sift on flour and salt just until the dough forms large clumps.
3. Turn the dough out onto a counter (not floured). And use your lightly floured hands to gather into a ball. To keep shortbread tender, it's important not to overhandle it.
4. Using a rolling pin roll out dough until about 1/4- 3/4 inch thick(depending on your personal preference, I usually make them about 1/2 inch thick) and using cookie cutters of your choice shape and place on a cookie sheet. (I like to use simple shapes like stars and hearts).
5. Dust with sanding sugar if desired and bake for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie cutter, cookies should be lightly golden so keep an eye on them as they bake.
6. Cool 2-3 minutes un pan before removing them with a spatula onto a cooling rack to cool completely ( cookies should be totally cooled before eating
The Family Baker: 150 Never-Let-You-Down Basic Recipes