During AP testing, my group of friends was a stressed out bunch. We would refer to fun and sleeping in the past tense, like it was something done and over with, never to be seen again."Before APs, I was able to sleep." Now, this got me thinking. What did I do before APs? Ah-hah, I thought, I baked!
One day in AP Lang, one of my friends was really stressed out. What could I do about it? I couldn't magically wish the tests away, but I could bake (which, in my opinion, is still pretty magical). I knew she loved pandas, so I decided to make her these panda cupcakes. What could be better than combining cute bears and fluffy cake?
So after APs, I made these cupcakes -- on a school night! (How scandalous!) They took a long time to make, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I did, however, take a break for dinner. And for dessert, I had a few extra mini chocolate chips . . . and some Oreos, and maybe a few mini marshmallows.
Transporting these bad boys to school was no easy task. I live 30 minutes away from school, so I take the bus. I put 13 cupcakes in a large wicker basket and 3 cupcakes in a small container for my panda-loving friend. I almost hit my poor bus driver in the head.
I gave the cupcakes to my friends once I got to school. They were a huge hit; everyone who got one had a smile on their face. A successful experiment, I would say!
Pandamonium: From the Hello, Cupcake! cookbook
16 standard vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
16 mini vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
1 can plus 1 cup vanilla frosting
Black food coloring
16 mini marshmallows
32 mini chocolate chips
16 brown chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
32 pieces chocolate cereal O's
16 green paper liners
1. To make the arms and legs, cut 32 of the cookies in half using a serrated knife and set aside. Place the remaining 8 cookies in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer the cookie crumbs to a small bowl.
2. Place 2 tbsp. of the vanilla frosting in a small ziplock bag. Tint 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting black with the food coloring and spoon it into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air in each bag, seal, and set aside.
3. Using a dot of the remaining vanilla frosting, attach the flat side of 1 marshmallow to the top of each mini cupcake, positioning it on the lower third of the cupcake. Spread the vanilla frosting on top of the mini cupcake, covering the marshmallow to make the muzzle. Smooth the frosting. Snip a 1/16-inch corner from the bag with the black frosting and pipe a mouth just below the muzzle with a small vertical line up to the top of the muzzle. Pipe eye patches above and to either side of the muzzle. Add 2 chocolate chips, pointed sides in, for the eyes and a sunflower seed for the nose. Press 2 chocolate cereal pieces into the frosting on either side of the to edge of the cupcake to make the ears.
4. Spread the tops of the standard cupcakes with the remaining vanilla frosting mounding it with you spatula. Roll one half of the frosted cupcake into the cookie crumbs to make the black belly fur. Place the mini cupcake heads on their sides on top of the standard cupcakes, lining the faces up with the fur bodies. Snip a 1/8-inch corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Add a dot of frosting where the arms will go and press 2 of the cookie halves, cut side in, on either side of the mini cupcakes to make the arms. Pipe 3 small white lines of the frosting on the arms to make the claws. Pipe a small white highlight on each eye.
5. Cut jagged edges on the green paper liners with scissors, and arrange on a serving platter. Set each panda on a green liner.
I couldn't find chocolate covered sunflower seeds, so I used the black frosting.
I also didn't find the Oero cereal, so I died regular Cheerios with black food coloring.