12 black cupcake liners; 4 piping bags; 4 large round piping tips; 2 purple and white striped paper straws; 2 green and white striped paper straws; 2 red and white striped paper straws
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with black cupcake liners.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put the milk in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave until bubbling, about 1 minute. Whisk in the cocoa powder until dissolved. Whisk in the granulated sugar, oil, vanilla and egg until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until combined.
Divide the batter among the cupcake liners (about 1/4 cup per liner). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the frosting. Beat the butter in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light, fluffy and almost double in size, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, add the confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until just combined, about 1 minute.
Divide the frosting into 4 separate bowls. Color one bowl with purple gel food coloring, one bowl with orange gel food coloring, one bowl with neon green gel food coloring and one bowl with blue gel food coloring. Spoon into 4 separate piping bags fitted with a large round tip (we used an 808 tip).
For the decorations: To make the witches' legs and boots, cut 2 purple and white striped paper straws, 2 green and white striped paper straws and 2 red and white striped paper straws into 4 pieces each (24 pieces total); these will be the legs. Form the chocolate chewy candies into boot shapes (microwave them for 10 seconds if they are too hard to form) and mold them over the straws.
To make the witches' hats: Twist open the chocolate sandwich cookies so you have 12 circles. Scrape away the white frosting and save for another use. Spread a small amount of colored frosting into the center of each cookie and top with a milk chocolate candy.
To decorate the cupcakes: Pipe purple frosting onto 3 cupcakes, orange frosting onto 3 cupcakes, green frosting onto 3 cupcakes and blue frosting onto the remaining 3 cupcakes. Place a hat offset on top of the frosting of each cupcake. Arrange some shredded wheat underneath each hat to mimic hair. Stick 2 legs into each cupcake opposite the hat so they are slightly slanted upward.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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