These fun cupcakes pay homage to one of Canada’s iconic animals: the moose. Made with peanut butter, salty pretzels, chocolate fudge and maple, it’s a deadly combination that will be hard to resist. There’s one more sneaky treat layered into these adorable desserts; maple cookies! When flipped upside down, the classic Canadian snacks make perfect moose faces. Who knew?

Moose Cupcakes

Moose Cupcakes

Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Makes: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix (15.25 oz)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 -1/4 cup water

For the Moose:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tbsp heavy cream
24 maple leaf cookies, store-bought or homemade
48 pretzel twists
48 mini white chocolate chips
24 chocolate covered raisins or peanuts
1/2 tsp blue or green sprinkles

For the Buttercream Icing:
3/4cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups icing sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper cupcake liners in 24 regular size muffin cups.

2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix with oil, eggs, water and peanut butter on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter into liners until 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

3. While cupcakes are baking, combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler. Stir chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula until fully melted, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. 4. Dip one face of the maple leaf cookie into chocolate and allow any excess chocolate to drip off. Repeat with remaining cookies. Set dipped cookies aside on a cookie sheet until chocolate has set slightly, about 10 minutes.

5. While chocolate is still soft, build the face of the moose. Form the antlers by gently pressing the bottom of two pretzels into the bottom two corners of each maple leaf cookie. Press two mini white chocolate chips, points facing down, side by side, in the centre of each cookie to form the moose’s eyes. Press one chocolate covered raisin or peanut into the top point of each maple leaf cookie to form the nose of the moose. Carefully place a blue or green sprinkle on the tip of your finger and press into the white chocolate chip to finish the eyes of the moose. Continue with remaining moose. Set cookies aside in a cool place for chocolate to fully set, about 30 minutes.

6. To make the chocolate peanut butter buttercream, place butter, peanut butter and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar until fully combined.

7. Once cupcakes are cool, place buttercream in a piping bag with preferred tip and pipe onto cupcakes or you can simply smear buttercream over cupcakes using a palette knife. Place one moose cookie face on each cupcake until complete.

Looking for more Canadian desserts? Try these 9 Cool Canadian Cakes.