Aren't you excited?
[On a side note, the Husband has been mocking me all day because I have been touting my creativity for inventing these. He does not believe that I came up with them. It is surprising, yes, as I tend to not be all that creative. But these are my one and only contribution to the universe, such as they are.]
Yay me. And yay for you, universe.
So, let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Mix a cake mix according to the package directions. You will need to get a disposable aluminum baking pan. Turn the pan upside down and poke a few small holes (maybe a half inch wide). Fill your sugar cones two-thirds full of batter and stand them up in the holes in your pan like this:
They tend to topple as the batter rises, so you need to keep an eye on them in the oven. You may have to stick your hand in the hot oven and right the toppled ones. Be very careful when doing this. Hot ovens can burn you.
Stellar instructions, no?
Also, you should put your oven rack on the lowest shelf possible, so as to keep the tops from getting too brown. The bottoms will be very brown, but we will take care of that later on.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until the batter springs back lightly when touched. Remove from the oven and immediately snip off the bottom of the sugar cone (which will now become the top of our teepee). You must do this immediately when the cone is still warm and soft. Otherwise, it will break into pieces.
You can also snip off the cupcake if it's too rounded, ensuring that your teepee will stand flat. The bite you cut off goes in your mouth. Do not skip this step. It's very important. You must not discard those bites. Eat them. Eat them now, dammit.
Then take three pretzel rods and stick them on the top of your teepee. I used bamboo skewers and/or toothpicks last year, but a reader gave me the pretzel rod idea, which I totally like better [thanks, tallkate!]. I also found the whole pretzel to be a little long, so I broke each piece in half before inserting it into top of the teepee.
Your teepees will now look like this:
While they are adorable, they are not quite done. Melt a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir until smooth. Dip the bottom of your teepee in the chocolate like this:
Doing that kind of seals the cupcake in and prevents our friend gravity from pulling it downward. Then roll it in green sprinkles for grass (or autumn leaf sprinkles for leaves), or pink barbie sprinkles, if that's your thing, and so on. I went for the grass and leaves. I'm such a traditionalist, I know:
Take a little of the melted chocolate and pipe around the pretzels to hold them in place (and provide a delicious bit of chocolate pretzel to eat later).
And voila! A happy little Indian village to decorate your table at Thanksgiving.
You're totally welcome, universe.