Make a holiday forest of sparkling trees by frosting sugar cones and placing them on cupcakes.
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1 (15.25- to 16.5-ounce) package white cake mix
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, melted
3 large Land O Lakes® Eggs
1 cup mini real semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired
5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
5 to 6 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Half & Half
Green food color
12 ice cream sugar cones
1/2 cup white sanding sugar
Small semi-sweet chocolate nonpareils, if desired
Large star-shaped decorator sprinkles
*Substitute 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice and enough milk to equal 2/3 cup. Let stand 5 minutes.
**Substitute your favorite color sanding sugar or sparkling decorator sugar.
Heat oven to 350ºF. Place paper baking cups into 24 muffin pan cups; set aside.
Combine all cupcake ingredients in bowl except chocolate chips; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Stir in mini chocolate chips, if desired.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. (Set 12 cupcakes aside for another use.)
Combine powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and vanilla in bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often and gradually adding corn syrup and enough half & half for desired spreading consistency. Divide frosting in half. Frost 12 cupcakes with white frosting.
Tint remaining half of frosting with green food color, as desired; beat at medium speed until smooth. Place sanding sugar in wide shallow bowl.
Frost ice cream cones by placing 2 fingers into cone; frost cone with green frosting. Immediately roll frosted cone in sanding sugar to coat; place in center of frosted cupcake. Place small chocolate nonpareils around trees, if desired. Place decorator star onto top of each cone. Cover with plastic food wrap until serving time.
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