Happy Belated Groundhog Day!

It is well known around these parts that I am a lover of making the mundane fun and exciting. Therefore it was no surprise when I started making cupcakes to celebrate perhaps one of the most mundane holidays of all – Groundhog Day.
This year’s incarnation of the little critters turned out much better than I could have expected, thanks to the peanut butter scare. Had that not been going on, my cupcakes would use the same old Nutter Butter cookies of previous years (well, new cookies, but old idea…I don’t make it a practice to reuse cookies!)
These cupcakes are quite easy to put together despite how intimidating some people feel they appear. Below are some step-by-step photos to walk you through it so you too can make Groundhog Day a fun event!
Step 1 – Bake the cupcakes! 
I use a regular store bought chocolate cake mix for these, just because I’m usually more
 interested in decorating than mixing ingredients. Bake as directed on the box for cupcakes. You’ll need to cool them completed before assembly.
Step 2 – Prepare the Hogs!
This is my favorite part – decorating the Groundhogs and giving them their own little personalities. For this step, you’ll need some fun-sized Almond Joys, miniature M&M’s (brown), white decorator frosting, black gel decorator icing, and chocolate wafer cookies, and vanilla cake frosting. 
I had trouble finding plain chocolate wafer cookies, so I had to buy chocolate sandwich cookies which I separated and removed the filling (of course it was consumed during the baking
 process!) Place the cookies in a sturdy ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin. You want fine pieces, not big chunks. 

Take the Almond Joys, and gently press the mini M&M’s into the upper left and right sides – these will be ears for the little hog. If the M&M’s have trouble staying in place, use a little bit of the frosting to “glue” them in. 

Using the white decorator frosting, make two eyes…and use a small amount to “glue” two mini M&M’s to the face for his little cheeks. Use the black gel icing to make pupils and a little nose.

Step 3 – Cut the Cake!
Once the cupcakes have cooled, carefully slice around the outline of an Almond Joy (standing upright). You don’t have to remove any of the cake as it will compress when you insert the candy bar into the cupcake. 
Frost the cupcake with the vanilla frosting, then place the almond joy into the cupcake. You can use a little of the frosting to help hold the hog in place if needed. Sprinkle the cookies onto the vanilla frosting.
Et voila! a cute little cupcake!

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