Today, our family is off to see the butterflies. One of the museums in town has a live butterfly garden exhibit. I am so looking forward to it!!
To celebrate, I thought I’d make a little butterfly-themed treat. I saw these cupcakes at Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, and thought they would be perfect! I borrow her ideas all the time. If you enjoy cookies, cupcakes, and cakes – add her blog to your reading list. She has a great mix of both beginner and advanced techniques there – sometimes it’s things even I can tackle… and some days, I just drool.
Anyway, I tweaked the idea just a little, and made up these beauties!
I thought that dipping the pretzel wings would be prettier than plain pretzels. I also thought that bigger wings would be more impressive. It turns out the combination of these two things made them much more difficult to assemble than what I expected, LOL. If you tackle these – definitely use the small pretzels! I wasn’t able to open the wings the way I had hoped. If I angled them out any farther than this… well, they fell off.
Still, aren’t they fun??
These are still quite easy, despite the challenge I created for myself. I don’t have photos of all the steps the way I do for most tutorials, but it should be easy enough to follow along without it.
First of all, just bake up your cupcakes however you like. I used a funfetti mix. You know, for fun. Cool them completely.
While I was baking and cooling, I dipped my pretzels. I didn’t have pink candy melts (or actually any pastel color), but I did have vanilla candiquik and red candy melts, so I melted up a bit of those together – maybe like 1/4 c. of each? I have heard – do not add food coloring to melts, unless it’s special candy coloring. It will make your candy not harden right. (The easiest thing to do here would of course be, buy whatever color melts you want, but at my house, I’m big on improvising rather than making additional shopping trips.) Just follow the instructions carefully and if you’re melting in the microwave, check and stir often.
Personally, I like to use a mug for dipping, that way it’s fairly small, so you can dip as deeply as you want, plus I have a handle to hold. But, use a bowl or whatever you prefer. Just dip them, swirl them around until they’re well-coated, tap off the excess, and place them on wax paper. Every 3 or 4 pretzels, I would pause and add some coarse sugar crystals. Any kind of sprinkles (or no sprinkles) would work too!
I didn’t worry about the bottoms being dipped, since that would be where they join on the cupcake. Now, depending on when you intend to serve these, wait at least until your pretzels have set (which should be about an hour or so) before adding them to the cupcakes. I would really recommend not adding them until the day you’re planning to serve them, if you have time, because once you add the pretzels to the cupcakes, they will start to lose their crunch the longer they sit.
While I waited for my pretzels to set, I iced my cupcakes white. Then, I went to add the wings. This was the point at which I discovered they would NOT just squish into my frosting, they just fell right off! So, improvising, what I did was this: I cut two slits in the cupcake like below, and then really shoved the pretzels in there. Then, I smoothed the icing over the grooves.
Pardon my high-tech graphic there, but I think it gets the point across, yes? I didn’t photograph this because at this point, I was writing my endeavor off as a total fail, and moved on into “let’s experiment” territory. I usually forget all about the camera when these sorts of things happen.
Anyway – once I had the wings in and discovered they actually were going to stay put, I was happily back on track, and I piped the body on. To do this, I just used the remaining white icing, and added a bit of food coloring. I spooned it into a ziploc bag, and nipped a TINY corner off, making myself a disposable piping bag. This isn’t a great method (for me) for precision work, but when I was just going to squeeze big dots, it’s less mess and less fuss this way.
And then – I had butterflies!
After I did about a half dozen cupcakes this way (one for everyone who’s going with us today), I decided to just go the easy route on the rest of them, and piped a quick butterfly shape. Ha.
Hey – I never claimed that decorating was my strong suit. Besides, guess what taking a shortcut on the extras means?
Dipped pretzel leftovers… yum.
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