"Cute reindeer cupcakes for Christmas that the kids will absolutely adore. These cupcakes are great anytime of year, however, simply skip the reindeer decorating! You can get the kids to help you decorate for loads of family fun."
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line cups with paper liners.
Combine 9 tablespoons butter, white sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Fold in half the flour and 1/4 cup milk and stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.
Remove tin from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before decorating, about 1 hour.
Combine confections' sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 tablespoon milk in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Thin frosting with a little milk or water, if necessary. Add food coloring and stir until frosting is uniformly brown. Add more food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until frosting is the color you like.
Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of each cupcake. Break vanilla cookies in half. Place a cookie half on each cupcake as a mouth. Use a bit of frosting to "glue" a jelly bean onto the cookie for Rudolph's red nose. Stick 2 candy eyeballs into each cupcake. Break off a piece from each pretzel so they look like antlers and stick 2 into the top of each cupcakes. Shape chewy candies into ears and stick 2 into the sides of each cupcake.
Instead of brown-colored icing for the reindeer cupcakes, use chocolate buttercream icing, which will be naturally brown.
You could color the frosting any color, such as red, blue, or green, and then use white ready-rolled fondant icing to cut out Christmas-inspired shapes to stick on top of the cupcakes. Try stars, Christmas trees, holly leaves, etc. Silver dragees also make a festive addition to sprinkle on top.