For the cupcakes:
Bake according to package instructions for cupcakes, adding 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract to batter and substituting white cranberry juice for water.
For the Peppermint White Hot Chocolate "CUP" cakes:
Fill a zip top bag with icing. Snip a small corner of the bag and pipe icing onto each cupcake to look like whipped cream on top of the "cup".
To add peppermint "handle" for the "cup":
Poke a small hole in the side of each cupcake using a chopstick or tooth pick and fill the hole with royal icing. Insert one end of the "U" shape candy cane piece into hole and the other end into the icing to make your "cup" cake. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane pieces.
For the Snowman Cupcakes:
Using a butter knife or spatula, lightly frost the cupcakes.
Flatten a large marshmallow on waxed paper with the palm of your hand. Cut a second marshmallow in half horizontally, then stack the first half flat on the first marshmallow to form a torso then the second on it's side for a head. Thread a pretzel stick or toothpick through the bottom to secure marshmallows and stick into cupcake top.
Use royal icing to attach cake decorating dots as eyes and buttons. Add a wedge cut from an orange slice candy for a nose.
For the Reindeer Cupcakes:
Using a butter knife or spatula, lightly frost each cupcake.
Break the pretzels in half, and insert into the top of each cupcake for antlers. Use blue candy covered chocolates to make eyes. Cut fruit by the foot to make a mouth and place the red gumdrop in the center for the nose.
With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice or extract until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, smooth, and shiny. Turn to high and beat approximately 5 minutes until stiff and glossy. Add food coloring, if desired, and transfer to a pastry bag to pipe onto cookies or cakes.;
Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee, 2007