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

how to make bird's nest cupcakes with specked 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 paintbrush.  If your kids DO see you, try to act like you're not having fun. ;)

Oh, and this is what your 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 comes 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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