There are some things you folks can learn from SECOND hand experience, one of those being- Jolly Ranchers cannot be crushed with a hammer, mallet, rolling pin, food processor, or other sharp, heavy, or intimidating object- unless already altered from their original state! Seriously, those babies are HARD. Read on for the method I finally got to work.
The cupcakes can be assembled super fast if you make the cupcakes and Jolly Rancher topping/dust in advance. Be aware the dust will clump over time (see picture above) so if you prefer an even, sugary look, you may want to do this day-of.
To make these you'll need some Jolly Ranchers, I bought a variety bag and tried blue raspbery, cherry, and watermelon. Watermelon was by FAR the most delicious. Next time I will just buy those watermelon Jolly Rancher "sticks" from Maceys for about 15 cents each and call it a day.
Jolly Rancher Cupcakes
-Watermelon jolly ranchers
-Vanilla cupcakes, baked and cool (from a box is fine)
-White frosting (I used Vanilla Bean Buttercream. If you use this one be sure to use unsalted butter, but do add a pinch or two of salt to taste. This frosting isn't my favorite but it worked well for these cupcakes. You want something that's not too insanely sugary, because you are going to be adding candy all over the top of it. Next time I may try a marshmallow frosting without some of the sugar and see how it turns out.)
Place your jolly ranchers on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake in a 300 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until they're melted flat. (You will have jolly rancher puddles basically). Remove pan and allow to cool to room temperature. You can now put the flat brittle pieces (that's all of them) in a heavy freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. You could also try putting them in a food processor. When fully crushed, place jolly rancher dust in a small bowl.
Frost each cupcake and either roll in Jolly rancher dust, or sprinkle the dust on top. Chances are you will want big beautiful frosting clouds like in my picture, but truly, these are yummier with a small amount of frosting and a LARGE dusting of jolly rancher dust. When I ate mine I knocked off about 3/4 of that frosting.
That's it! So simple!
Well, minus the hammer-smashing-fun part.