Once every decade or so, I like to make Turkey Cupcakes for Thanksgiving. The original idea came from Martha Stewart:
Adorable, right? But what Martha doesn’t tell you, is that there is no way in hell you can make these cupcakes without a team of food stylists, and even then I’m not so sure. The gummy fish are too heavy to stand up as tail feathers, and just about as soon as you stick them in they start falling out, taking half the cupcake with them. I found another blogger who experienced similar frustration. She wrote: “What they don’t tell you is that you can’t just “stick” a fish into a marshmallow and expect it to stick. I used my kitchen scissors and made a little snip and then inserted the gummy fish. Well, then they started falling out after a few minutes, so I stuck a toothpick up and through it to hold it in place and that worked much better. You need to do the same thing running a toothpick up and through the fish for the feathers or else they’ll fall out, too, and completely ruin one side of your cupcake breaking apart your cupcake.”
So I came up with an IMPROVED Turkey Cupcake — one that you can make at home WITHOUT a team of food stylists AND transport without the whole thing falling apart. Using a pastry brush, brush melted chocolate onto the top half of pretzel sticks, roll them in jimmies, and VOILA — tailfeathers! I set them on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and let the chocolate harden in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. The hardest part about making the tailfeathers is keeping the kids from eating them.
I also used candy corn for the nose instead of gummy fish. Use any cupcake recipe you want. You can use any frosting you like too, although I think chocolate is the turkiest. This morning I’m dropping off a rafter of turkeys for my son’s class. I didn’t know that a group of turkeys was called a rafter — learn something new every day! I wish I could be there to see the kids’ faces — but if I were, my son would be staring at the floor pretending he didn’t know me and wishing that the earth would open up and swallow me whole. And then he’d grab a cupcake. . . .
A rafter of turkeys