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A lesson from snowman cupcakes

Sometimes things come out wobbly, despite our best intentions.

By Kitchen Report / December 23, 2010

Snowman cupcakes only a child could love.

Kitchen Report

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Since I’ve started producing Stir It Up! on CSMonitor.com I find that a lot of people share their food-related thoughts with me and sometimes ask me questions. Sometimes I have an answer or an idea, and sometimes I do not. Here are for-real questions that I’ve received in the past two weeks:

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Kendra Nordin

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“Do you know how to de-bone a duck?”

“I’m throwing an Inuit-themed dinner party for my wife’s birthday. Have you come across any good northern recipes that maybe Eskimos would serve?”

“I’m going to a Christmas cookie party that is actually quite competitive. Do you have any good ideas for what I could bring?”

The first two drew blank stares from me. For the third question I decided to fake it (I love a good challenge). “Sure,” I replied, “I think you should take snowman cupcakes.”

What? Where did that come from? I’ve never seen or made snowman cupcakes.

Fortunately I was seated at my desk at work and Google was within inches of my fingertips. “Snowman cupcakes,” I typed in the search engine and with a triumphant grin I swiveled my computer monitor toward my colleague who had asked the question.

“See, just look at these cute Betty Crocker snowmen. Or this beret-wearing snowperson by Martha Stewart,” I said confidently. “I’m sure you could do this.” She seemed to like the idea, and I did, too.

In fact, I was smitten. I wanted to make cute food like this. I wanted to walk into a crowded room armed with a tray of caroling marshmallow snowmen decked out in festive licorice and have people think, “Wow, that Kendra, she is really good. Not only does write up her recipes and post them online, she makes adorable food.” It was a fantasy sprinkled with all the magic of the season and I wanted to make it real.

And I had the perfect opportunity to act out my sugar-plum vision – Rebecca‘s annual caroling party was in two days.

Because I figured I would be putting so much effort into the sculptures, I decided to buy boxed cake and icing mix instead of trying to create the cupcakes from scratch. (Leave that cuteness to The Magnolia Bakery, no one would know the difference.)

The morning of the party dawned. I was stumbling around my apartment, still tired from staying out too late listening to live jazz two nights prior, and trying to rein in the chaos that was blooming everywhere in order to make room for my snowman-masterpiece assembly line.

And then the phone rang. It was Rebecca.

“OK, so they are trying to break the world record for the most carolers in one place at the mall. Do you wanna go? We have to leave in 15 minutes to get there in time.”

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