With their candy-clay bows, these fancied-up cupcakes are real showstoppers guaranteed to bring compliments to those patient enough to make them. Candy clay -- a pliable mixture of candy coating and corn syrup -- is similar to fondant, but when freshly made, it is much easier to work with.
For white clay, place vanilla candy coating in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the corn syrup. Spoon onto plastic wrap. Cover and let stand for at least 1 hour or until cooled and firm. For chocolate clay, repeat with dark cocoa candy melts and the remaining 2 tablespoons corn syrup. When firm, unwrap and knead each mixture separately until smooth and pliable. Wrap each in plastic wrap; set aside.
Spoon Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache over chocolate cupcakes and White Chocolate Ganache Frosting over white cupcakes. Chill until firm.
Between separate sheets of waxed paper dusted with powdered sugar, roll out white clay and chocolate clay to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or knife, cut clay into 1-inch-wide strips about 5 inches long. For each bow, bring ends of a strip together, making a double thickness. Turn upside down, with the seam underneath. Gently pinch in center. Trim scraps of clay into ribbon tails and center knots. Place two tails on top of each cupcake; top with a bow and a knot. Makes 24 (2-1/2 inch) cupcakes.
Creamy White Frosting
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add in about half of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of milk. Gradually beat in the remaining of powdered sugar and 1-3 tablespoons more milk to reach spreading consistency.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
In a medium saucepan heat heavy cream over medium heat just until boiling. Remove from heat. Add chocolate (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Cool about 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
White Chocolate Ganache Frosting
In a small saucepan melt white chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in Creamy White Frosting. If necessary, stir in milk to make frosting smooth.