Fantastic Feasts: Oogie Boogie meringue cupcakes

Contributed by
Dec 22, 2016

One of the best things about The Nightmare Before Christmas is that it gets the unique advantage of being a movie for not just one, but two holidays, and two of my favorite ones at that.

Everybody loves to hate a good villain, and in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Oogie Boogie is the absolute worst of the worst … which makes him the best! Sure, Oogie had a dark sense of humor, was stuffed full of bugs, and was devilishly devious, but when you take these tendencies and turn them into food, you end up with a super-rich, super-dense, super-delicious cupcake guaranteed to be so bad that it’s good.

These cupcakes are dark and sticky-sweet and grasshopper-flavored (not real grasshopper ... mint and chocolate grasshopper!), just like the real Oogie Boogie.  They take a bit of work, but the end results are not only tasty, they’re pretty impressive as well!

To make your own Oogie Boogie cupcakes, you will need to make three distinct and separate components.  We'll start with the meringue, as it takes the longest, and end with the frosting.

To make the Oogie Boogie Meringue toppers you will need:

4 Egg whites

1 Cup sugar

Pinch of Cream of Tartar

¼ Teaspoon mint extract

4-8 drops green food coloring

Black gel icing

You will also need:

Shallow pan filled with simmering water

Heat proof bowl

Large mixing bowl

Whisk

Mixer

Cookie sheet

Parchment paper

Pastry bag with a round tip (can also use a Ziplock bag with the tip of one corner snipped off)

Preheat your oven to 200F/94C.

In your heat proof bowl, mix your sugar, egg whites, and tartar. 

Place the bowl over (but not directly into) your pan with the simmering water. 

Whisking constantly, mix over the simmering pot until all your sugar is dissolved.  It should be frothy and full of bubbles.

Make sure to keep your temperature just warm enough (simmering) to melt the sugar but not warm enough to actually cook the eggs.  The last thing you want are super-sweet scrambled eggs!

Once the sugar is melted, pour your egg/sugar mixture into your larger mixing bowl.    

Add in your food coloring and mint and slowly start mixing using your mixer.  

(Because this is a whipped meringue, the more air is incorporated the lighter the color becomes, which means you may have to keep adding in food coloring to achieve the color you want.) 

Increase the speed of your mixer and continue to beat until semi-stiff peaks form. 

Test for doneness by pulling the whisk out of the mix and looking at the tip. If the whipped eggs form a point that slightly droops, you’re ready.

Line your cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Fill your pastry bag (or Ziplock bag) with your mixture and pipe your mixture on your parchment paper. Make the base of your Oogie meringues about 3 inches across.  An easy way to get the shape you want is to put the tip of your pastry bag just over the surface of the paper and squeezing out a blob that expands as you continue to squeeze.

Slowly lift the tip of your bag while still squeezing, allowing the meringue to blob upward. Pull the tip straight up and give it a swirl to get the top of your meringue to curl slightly like the top of Oogie’s head.

Make 12 identical meringue Oogie piles, making sure to space them roughly 1 inch apart.

Place your meringues into the oven and allow to cook for 2 ½ - 3 hours. No, really…2 ½ to 3 hours.  Trust us on this. You want your meringues to be fully dried out before pulling them out of the oven.  Pulling them out early will result in deflated meringues with gooey centers.  You’ll know your meringues are ready when they come off the paper without sticking.

Before you pull out your meringues, turn off the oven and crack open the door. Allow the oven (and your meringues) to completely cool.  Don’t worry if a few of your meringues are cracked…those will work to your advantage later!

Once they’re fully cooled, it’s time to decorate them.  Using your black gel icing, pipe on Oogie’s eyes and mouth. If you have cracks along the bottom of your Oogie bases, those make great mouths. 

Set your meringues aside and let’s start those cupcakes.

For the cupcakes you will need:

1 box mix of Devil’s Food cake

Anything else your cake mix calls for (ours called for 3 eggs, water and oil)

Black food dye

Candy bug sprinkles (We got ours from Wilton)

24 mint sandwich cookies

You’ll also need:

Mixing bowl

Cupcake liners

Cupcake pan

Ziplock bag

Rolling pin

Small spoon

Preheat your oven to the temperature as determined by your cake mix box for cupcakes.

Divide your sandwich cookies into two piles of 12 cookies each. 

Put a single cupcake liner into each cupcake pan cavity and drop a single cookie into the bottom of each.

Take the remaining 12 sandwich cookies, put them into your Ziplock bag and use your rolling pin to crush them down. Set them aside for now.

Mix up your cake mix according to the box. 

Add in your crushed cookies and mix well.

Add in a few drops of black food coloring until your batter achieves a nice, dark color.

Fill your cupcake cups ¾ of the way full and place into your oven. 

Bake according to the directions but be aware that the addition of the sandwich cookies (specifically their cream filling) will make your cupcakes bake slower. The batch we made took an additional 15 minutes to fully cook.

When your cupcakes are fully baked (test for doneness by piercing the center of each one with a toothpick and inserting it ¾ of the way through the cupcake. If it comes out clean, you’re done. If it comes out with wet batter stuck to it, pop them back in the oven and allow to bake for another few minutes) let them cool completely.

Once your cupcakes are cooled, carefully slice the top off of each one so they are flush with the edge of your cupcake liner.

Carefully core your cupcakes. 

We used an old antique apple corer but a small spoon works just as well.  Make sure you scoop out the center of your cupcake but don’t go too deep or you’ll run into your cookie base.

Fill each core with a small scoop of candy bug sprinkles.

Set them aside for now while we work on the buttercream frosting.

For the buttercream frosting you will need:

4 Cups powdered sugar

1 Cup cocoa powder

¼ Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon mint extract

1 Cup butter, softened

Black food coloring

5 Tablespoons heavy cream

You’ll also need

Mixing bowl

Mixer

Pastry bag with a round tip (can also use a Ziplock bag with the tip of one corner snipped off)

In your bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, mint, cream, black dye and salt and beat for 5-7 or until light and fluffy and black as sin.  If it’s too thick, add in additional heavy cream one tablespoon at a time.

Transfer your frosting to your pastry bag.

Carefully pipe your frosting onto the top of your cupcake starting at the outer edges and working your way inward, making sure to fully cover your inner core of bugs (just cover them, don’t fill in the hole).

 

Gently set one of your Oogie meringues onto the top of your icing and press downward just enough to stick them together.

Add extra bug embellishments using your black gel icing as glue

Serve up your Oogie Boogie cupcakes and enjoy!