Bird's Nest Cupcakes . . . with speckled egg cookie toppers

I'm not sure why, but the idea for these little bird's nest cupcakes popped into my head one day.  I, THAT is a really original idea.  And then, I saw these on my friend Callye's blog.  Speckled egg cookies AND anthro-inspired bunnies that are just incredible.

Oh well, so maybe speckled egg cookies aren't so original, but I really like seeing different people's methods for making things.  {Especially when it involves sugar.}

To make the cookie toppers, I just used a mini egg cutter and poked a toothpick in the dough before baking.  I always freeze my cookies for about 5-10 minutes before putting them in the oven, so that made maneuvering them with the toothpicks easy.

Once the cookies were cooled, I iced them with royal icing and let them dry overnight.

The next day, I mixed equal parts (or close to equal parts) AmeriColor Chocolate Brown food coloring with water.  (Similar to the method used to make "wood-grain.")
Then, with a child's paintbrush, I flicked the mixture onto the cookies.  
It was really, really fun!!!

If you have those speckled granite countertops, you are in luck.  You are about to add a few more speckles.

WARNING:  Do not wear white when doing this.  Do not let your kids see you flicking food coloring all over the kitchen with a paint brush.  If your kids DO see you, try to act like you're not having fun. ;)

Oh, and this is what you finger will look like afterward.  You know, gloves would not have been a bad thing.

OK...the cupcakes.  I'm gonna fess up.  I used a box.  A doctored up box, but still a box.  Hey....I made the cookies.

AND...(fessing up again)...I used canned icing.  Honestly, I LIKE canned icing.  I'm sorry, but it's true.

{Looking out the window nervously for the Food Police.}

The method for doctoring up a cake mix for cupcakes come directly from the book Hello Cupcake.

Use a box mix (I like Betty Crocker French Vanilla), replace the water with 1 cup buttermilk.  Use the same amount of oil and increase the eggs to 4.  Then, mix and bake like normal.

On top of the CANNED FROSTING, I used toasted coconut to make the nests.  Toasting coconut is easy.

Spread it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes, taking it out to stir frequently.

Frost the cupcake and sprinkle with coconut.
Add your cookies.

The love of canned I alone?  Bueller? Bueller?


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