Today we went to Ben's annual class picnic. This is one of those events that as a parent, I feel obligated to attend, but dread. It's always hot and muggy and awkward. The teachers have been wonderful, and I generally opt to help with set up and then settle in to watch Ben play until it's time to go. But. Ben has a great time, and we have fun deciding what dessert to bring along. Last year, we took sunflower cupcakes, so we needed a new idea.
This morning, we went through the What's New, Cupcake? book that has some cute designs. Ben picked the ants at a picnic design, so we made white cake cupcakes and let them cool while we went to the store to get the toppings we needed.
The instructions call for chocolate covered nuts, but there are some kids with nut allergies in the class so this wasn't an option. We found regular M&Ms sorted by color for a ridiculous price. After some thought, I gave in because we probably would have had to get some huge package of the regular assorted colors to get the 100+ brown M&Ms we needed. And while the rest of the family would forget about that 50 pound bag of candy in the cabinet when the picnic was over, it would beckon to me at all hours until I ate it all. By myself. In the dark.
We frosted the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and dipped the edges in sprinkles (the book shows edging in coconut, but I have a special hatred for it and pretended not to see that), then put the chocolate on top of each cupcake. I piped chocolate legs on the little guys and we used candy fruit slices to make it look like they were carting off food from the picnic.
They were pretty simple and didn't take a huge amount of time. But I have to admit, these were much better in theory than execution. Since the M&Ms were so much flatter than the chocolate covered nuts would have been, the ants looked less like they were carrying off the food and more like they were being pulverized by it. It didn't seem to matter to the kids at the picnic, though.