for the cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but slightly cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the frosting
8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners sugar
For assembly and decoration (per snowman)
1 6-inch bamboo skewer
2 scoops (one larger, one smaller) Dreyer’s vanilla bean ice cream
1 mini ice cream cone (dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles, optional)
2 strands black licorice (i.e. Twizzlers) for the arms
1/2 strand strawberry licorice (i.e. Twizzlers) for the mouth
mini chocolate chips or raisinets for the eyes and buttons
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper baking cups and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar on low speed. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, 1 at time, and mix until fully combined. Add the milk and vanilla, increase the speed to medium, and mix until the batter is light, fluffy and free of lumps.
Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes and then refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing.
To assemble the snowmen, you must work quickly. If you feel that the ice cream at any point is getting too soft, place everything in the freezer for a bit until it firms up again. When doing this, I keep a couple of metal half sheet pans in the freezer and work on them, alternating to keep all the ingredients as cold as possible.
Per snowman, scoop one larger and one smaller scoop of vanilla ice cream. Skewer them together, with at least 1 1/2 inches of the skewer out the bottom (which will be used to affix to the cupcake). Decorate with a cone as a hat, eyes, mouth and arms. Carefully and quickly, balance and skewer onto a cupcake. Place in freezer to reharden.