November 19, 2021

It's that time of year again! MINI THANKSGIVING DINNER CUPCAKES - it looks like turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and more but it's all candy! (Updated for 2022)

One of the most posted recipes on the site year after year... mini Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes.

I can't even count the number of times I've posted this awesome little Thanksgiving day dessert - seven? Eight?  They look like little plates of tiny turkey with gravy, green beans or peas (depending on what I use that year), cranberries and mashed potatoes with butter but it's really all candy!

It was probably almost twenty years ago that I started to make these... wow, time flies.

When I started to make these little Thanksgiving Cupcakes, the internet didn't really exist in any 'real' way yet.  It was invented, yet not everyone had a computer, and those that did, didn't necessarily have internet.  Even if you did have internet, there weren't that many retail stores online and buying anything online wasn't a thing yet either. 

You still had to search for ingredients locally at your grocery stores and if you were lucky, you may live in city large enough to have a cake decorating supply store.  We didn't at the time.  I went from store to store to look for things I could use and tracked down a cookie with a fancy edge here... little red sugar crystals there... Brach's Maple Nut Candies somewhere else.

I recall the year I tracked down the long green jimmie sprinkles.  I had to convince the bakery department of our local grocery store to please sell me some sprinkles as I couldn't find anything and had been to literally every store in town.  She filled a little Ziplock baggie with green jimmies, debated a few minutes on what price and sku to put on it for the cashier, and then charged me what I believe came to about $1.60 at the time.  I was so thrilled to have those sprinkles that I hoarded them for THIS and ONLY THIS baked goodie for the next few years - no one in the house was allowed to use them as I had to work so hard to track them down.

Now of course, we could (and do) order everything we need online in less than 3 minutes and delivered straight to our door.


24 baked and cooled cupcakes of your choice
1 sm pkg. Brach's Maple Nut Candies
2 cans white frosting (or homemade)
1 tube Yellow decorating gel or yellow food color gel (in a little tube)
1-2 T Tiny round nonpareils - red for cranberries and/or green for peas

options: Or use red sugar crystals for cranberries or use the long skinny green jimmies and call them green beans

1/3 c (about) chocolate chips or butterscotch chips to melt for 'gravy'
A package of cookies of your choice (or homemade) to look like a plate (a pretty edge on the cookie is a nice touch)
Yellow frosting or other color besides white for the 'plate' (use some yellow food color to tint a bit of the white frosting yellow).

Bake and cool your favorite cupcake recipe. Frost each cupcake with white or tinted frosting of your choice and top each with a cookie while the frosting is soft to 'adhere' the cookie-plate to the cupcake.

Carefully frost a circle on each cookie to be your plate. 

Be sure not to frost more than 2 or 3 'plates' at  a time as you want the frosting to be soft enough to press the candy 'food' into.  

Slice the maple nut candies thin and place them on the cookie plate to be 'turkey'. 

Dab some white frosting next to it for 'mashed potatoes' followed with a little dab of yellow gel food color as 'butter'.  

Add the 'cranberries' (red colored sugar or nonpereils) and little green 'peas' or 'beans' depending on the sprinkles you use. 

Melt your butterscotch or chocolate chips and thin with a little vegetable oil. Drizzle over the 'turkey' as gravy.




2022 UPDATE:  apparently Brach's Maple Nut Goodies are almost impossible to find  now.  Is it one of the weird shortages we've seen recently?  I don't know!  But after looking for these goodies at Amazon, I realized the links show they aren't available.  I went to the Brach's website and they show them, but when I clicked on 'buy now' at Amazon, they were not available.  You may be able to find them at some of your local stores but Amazon does have these which might work as a substitution perhaps.  (I am going to check at Tractor Supply, Publix and Walmart in person on my next trips to the retail stores.)

Currently not available (strangely) as of November 2022 - Brachs Maple Nut Goodies Roasted Peanuts in Crunchy Toffee with Real Maple Coating, 4 Oz Pack (3 Packs)



Pillsbury Creamy Supreme White Frosting, 16-Ounce (Pack of 8)



Wilton Gel Tube.75 oz, LEMON



CK Products 3.8 Ounce Non Pareils Bottle, Red



CK Products 4 Ounce Non Pareils Bottle, Green


Use any cookie for the base that has a decorative edge.  Most years I ended up using the very affordable vanilla sandwich cookies sold at any grocery store; one year I used tiny lemon tartlets as it's all I could find at the time.  Here are Walkers Shortbread Rounds... 

Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread, Rounds, 5.3 oz




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