Salted Butterscotch Blondies

 

 

Sometimes (okay, all the time) I wonder why I’m going to school.

I usually do this while I’m in class.

I know I should be memorizing algebraic expressions or analyzing the works of Emily Dickenson, but really, I spend about 46% of my time wondering why the hell I’m in school, about 32% of my time thinking about recipes, 10% thinking about how freaking starving I am/how morguely cold it is in the classrooms, 9% of my time wondering what outfit I should wear tomorrow, 1% of my time dreading work the next day, 2% of my time contemplating future nail color choices, and all the milliseconds in between those fleeting thoughts about my boyfriend.

Everyone says that school is super great and helpful for your life and future jobs, but school never teaches anything remotely worthy of my time besides a handful of creative writing classes, but that’s about it.

Why can’t school teach things that are actually helpful to life?

Like how to balance a checkbook. I don’t know how to, but apparently you need to know since I see old people do it all the time.

Like how to change a tire. The one time my tire popped on the freeway, I was wearing a shirt that said ‘SPOONOLOGIST’ on the back and was sobbing uncontrollably (about the tire, mostly, but part had to do with the demeaning title on my back). While I thought this may alleviate the fact that I was stranded on the side of the road in the middle of August with a flat tire, it did not. My tire remained flat and I remained stranded. I also kept that job for two years, and it was horrible. Had I known to change a tire, I feel I’d be better equipped to say “this job blows” and would have left 2 months in or the day I became so unfortunately stranded.

Like how to become rich and famous. I realize 99.97% of the people in this class would be weird drama kids, but I think I could stand a good chance. Sometimes I have my dorky moments and imagine myself, albeit briefly yet vividly, as a celebrity. It’s awesome because if this were to happen, say in the next 5 minutes, I’d already make their best dressed list and I’ve perfected my paparazzi pose. Plus the magazines could call me and Jessie “Jeley” but pronounce it like jelly. Because everyone would be jelly of us.

Like Photography: Taking Pictures of Whatever the Hell You Want. All those art classes sound fun, but really, it’s some pseudo-hippie person telling you how to take pictures and what to take, or telling you to draw a boring bowl of fruit. Who chose fruit? It’s so lame. I’d rather take pictures of random crap, have the teacher appraise it, and then be on my way. Banana sketches are for squares.

Oh, and did I mention all of this would be free? And there would be no annoying older people scoffing and saying “when I was going to school, all four classes plus books were $30!” Yeah, well when you were going to school, Cyndi Lauper was popular and people wore Hammer pants… The school probably felt bad for you because your generation sucked.

I digress.

I also realize I have to stop thinking about school so freakin’ much. My mind should be better occupied with more complex, thought-provoking subject matter, like what’s going to happen on the next episode of Degrassi? Or thinking of scheming ways to save up enough money to buy my ridiculously hot boyfriend extravagant Christmas presents? Or if I should paint my nails fuchsia or royal blue next, because I bought both colors yesterday and I’m torn between them and refuse to partake in the elementary paint-one-nail-one-color thing.

But instead, I baked blondies.

It was a really good decision on my part.

I’m sorry, did you just raise your eyebrow for a sec and think to yourself what the hell is a ‘blondie’? I sure hope you didn’t.

But if you crawled out from under a rock within the last 5 minutes of reading this post, a blondie is like a brownie’s bad-girl twin sister. Instead of fudgy chocolate, she’s made with loads of brown sugar and butter. She’s richer, gooier and (way more) delicious than her chocolate counterpart. She’s just lesser-known since these are seriously more sinful than her bake-sale-favorite brownie.

But you really, really need to make these and experience the true greatness of blondies. Trust me, if I could dedicate an entire class to Blondie Appreciation I would, but then people would start blaming me for the obesity epidemic and I’d rather they keep blaming McDonald’s.

These particular blondies are dotted with butterscotch chips and sprinkled with a copious amount of sea salt right on top. The result is a sweet, salty, chewy, gooey bar that’s painfully addictive and downright heaven-sent.

Wanna meet Blondie?

(Yes, yes you do).

Salted Butterscotch Blondies *adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice’s recipe 

2 cups brown sugar (light preferred)
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, sea salt, or any coarse salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking pan (preferred a lighter metal, since it cooks more evenly than glass or dark).
2. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter together over medium heat until butter melts, the sugar dissolves, and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Stir in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Stir in the flour one cup at a time, then the baking soda and baking powder. Carefully pour half the batter into your prepared pan; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the butterscotch chips. Pour remaining batter on top, and sprinkle with remaining butterscotch chips. Evenly sprinkle your salt over the top.
4. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 20 minutes, then cut into bars while still slightly warm. Best served warm, as they are at their most delicious prime. If there are leftovers (which would be blasphemy) store them covered and airtight.

The cool thing about blondies, like their versatile twin the brownie, is that their possibilities are endless. While this blondie is the epitome of sweet and salty, you could omit the salt and stir in chocolate chips, crushed candy bars, nuts… it’s really up to you. But you’d be damned if you didn’t try this one out first.

And, if upon tasting these treats from heaven, you feel the sudden urge to worship me or give me the rights to my own classroom to teach Blondie Appreciation after all, I’m okay with that.

Happy Tuesday!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

As previously mentioned, school’s back in session.

This means malls are an absolute NIGHTMARE.

It’s truly unfortunate.

Today while being bored I decided, against my better judgment, to go waste some time in the heavily air conditioned mall and perhaps spend some money on unnecessary things. I completely forgot that the mall would be bombarded with pre-teens stocking up on Justin Bieber shirts, slutty moms stocking up on clothes their teen daughter shouldn’t even wear, and slews of strollers, slow-walkers, and PEOPLE. EVERYWHERE.

It made me re-evaluate some of my previously-held beliefs about people & malls. Here’s my update of what I’ve learned:

1. Strollers are cruel, leashes are not. I mean, strollers clog foot traffic and make everyone around the stroller-pusher secretly wish ill upon the baby inside of it, thus eliminating the need for a stroller if we eliminate the need for a baby being in the middle of a mall on a Saturday afternoon. It’s cruel for me to be held up in my quest to get costume jewelry at Forever 21 because mom and her stupid “Baby on Board” stroller are blocking my path. Conversely, children running around like rabid chickens with their heads cut-off don’t make foot-traffic easier. Even though most find kid-leashes demeaning, I would actually like to personally congratulate all parents who have one on being proactive… and for publicly humiliating their annoying child. Now can you move out of my way, I need a Wetzel’s Pretzel.

2. I hate teenagers. Hate them. I was a teen, too, but I don’t remember bumbling around the mall like a complete imbecile, making a huge ass out of myself in public. Why teens think this is okay, I will never know. Irregardless, when these teens inevitably fall to the cruelty of the trendy school bullying, I won’t feel bad. In fact, I was kind of hoping some bully would come out of nowhere and steal their lunch money, just so I could (albeit somewhat sadistically) watch them cry. Cruelty teaches kindness sometimes, like that one quote.

3. Don’t let people bully you out of your parking spot. I was waiting for a couple to approach their car when I realized I was parked in front of it. When I went to reverse, some beeyatch behind me refused to move. Obviously, I was blocking in the people whom I needed to leave to take their spot… but the Honda Civic behind me tried her hardest to bully me out of my spot by refusing to move. While normal people would cave from the pressure, say ‘screw it’, and drive off to find something else while Queen Bitch got the easy way in, I backed up dangerously close to her precious little car, allowing justenough room for the couple to exit before I squeezed into the spot. She wasn’t too fond of me at that point, decided to slowly drive by and give me the finger, to which I yelled some very inappropriate obscenities, returned the finger-flipping-favor, and happily traipsed to H&M. Bitch.

4. Under no circumstances, Hayley, do you EVER work retail again. I did it once and realized I had dug myself a very deep hole where, for 3 loooooong months, I wished I could shoot myself in the face with the sensor-tagging gun. Whenever I shop, I’m careful to pay attention to the hard-working clothes-folders of the world by carefully replacing items I’ve grabbed and no longer want or gently extracting my size from the middle of a neatly-folded pile… because at one point, I was the girl who spent two and a half hours perfectly folding sweaters to have some fat skank rip out a large off the bottom and ruin my creation. Going to the mall only reinforces my promise to myself to never, ever return to the evil world of working retail. Even for the discount.

5. You’ll usually be one of the most uniquely-dressed people there. Surprising, since I was only wearing a plain white shirt and some cut off jean shorts with Converse. But since most people (especially in my town, an upper-middle class city where looks and money dominate) spend approximately 2.5 hours to strategically place those ugly feathers in their hair, make themselves look effortlessly frumpy with their $100+ clothes from Urban Outfitters and strap on their highest heels to walk around all day, YOU, the person wearing a simple shirt and shorts, look the most unique there. Must be the lack of feathers; I’m so unfashionable.

After these realizations, I sped the hell out of the mall, came home and made cupcakes. If I’d stayed there any longer, I probably would have turned into the Incredible Hulk and ripped some people apart. Then it would be embarrassing, since I’d be naked, and no one wants to see a large naked chick ripping humans apart in the mall.

So I left and made Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes.

It made me realize I truly love pb&j sandwiches, despite my tumultuous, love-it-or-hate-it relationship with peanut butter.

I made these with grape jelly, #1 because my family either eats green jelly or grape jelly, and grape sounded better here; and #2 because I don’t think we’ve ever owned a jar of strawberry, raspberry, or apricot jelly. We’re pretty true-to-grape here, but you can use whatever berry jelly you have on hand.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1 small box sugar free/fat free vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup grape jelly
Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe & ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. Beat in dry pudding mix until combined. Equally portion batter into muffin cups, about 2/3 full, and bake, approximately 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
2. Using a small paring knife or the wide-ended bottom of a frosting tip, carefully carve out a small hole in the center of each cooled cupcake. Do not cut through the entire cupcake. Eat or discard the cupcake innards (I strongly prefer the former).
3. Using a small teaspoon, spoon a little grape jelly into each cupcake well, filling to the top but not over-filling it. You should have extra jelly leftover; that’s for the topping.  Set aside. Prepare frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 c milk (if needed, mostly to thin out and make the frosting creamier if it becomes to stiff/thick)
About 6 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together softened butter and peanut butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting comes together. Frosting will be very thick and may begin to ball up; if this happens, add a small teaspoon of milk to blend it together, and continue to add more powdered sugar. End result should be a stiff but spreadable frosting that shouldn’t fall easily off of the beater.
2. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, making sure to start your pipe in the center of the jelly-filled cupcake to cover the filling and the hole completely. Using the back of a 1/2 teaspoon, make a small dent in the top of the icing and spoon with a small bit of remaining jelly on top. Store covered in fridge and eat at room temperature.

Mm. What makes it even better is the lack of annoying teenagers, stroller-pushing moms and mean parking lot bullies and the surplus of awesome peanut butter frosting, yummy vanilla cupcakes and grape jelly filling.

You best make these now, because you never know when you’ll have a revelation that requires the attention of a PBJ cupcake to soon follow.

Have a good weekend!

xo, Hayley

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Christmas is coming up.

Don’t look at me weird. I know you are looking at the computer screen really weird right now.

Am I lying? No. Technically, Christmas is coming up.

So what if that’s in like, 4 months?

Sue me for being excited, you non-excited-Christmas-person.

Anyway. I’m kind of a Christmas fanatic.

I used to think my favorite holiday was Halloween, until I realized Halloween is actually kind of crappy.

I like decorating the house. I like making Halloween treats. But I really dislike the holiday.

The pranks. The spending $100 on a costume that consists of a bikini top and some plastic skirt. The creepy music and movies. The fact that punk-ass kids do annoying things, like egging houses and smashing pumpkins and murdering people.

I just don’t like it.

I decided I liked Christmas more.

There’s no murdering people. No creepy music (unless you count the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas CD, which I do). No slutty nurse outfits. Just happy times, good food, catchy tunes and no pumpkin brains on your driveway.

Easy!

The one thing I have to admit about Christmas is that I’m one of those folks who goes Christmas shopping like, now.

Guaranteed by December 1st, I’ll be finished with Christmas.

People call me crazy. I call them procrastinators.

I can’t help it if I see something totally freakin’ awesome in September. I’ll hoard that cool thing til Christmas day rather than wait and buy it at an “appropriate” Christmas shopping time.

Whatever… freaks.

But I do have one teeeeeny problem with Christmas shopping. And all gift-related shopping in general.

I can’t buy presents.

Or rather, I can’t keep them a secret. I cannot keep a present a present, if you know what I mean.

As in, I like to tell everyone what I got them. Days, weeks, or months before it’s “due.”

I am horrible at keeping my own presents a secret.

Now don’t freak out: I can keep any other secret, even ones that involve other presents for people.

I just don’t respect myself enough to keep my own secrets.

I’ve been known to hound and barter people so I can tell them what I got them.

I’ve been known to cheat and lie.

I’m a horrible Christmas person, I know.

Christmas shopping is just too damn irresistible not to tell people what you got them months beforehand.

My mom Christmas shops in like, October. I don’t know how she doesn’t just freak out one day and start shouting, “CHLOE, YOU GOT AN IPOD. ALEX, YOU GOT AN XBOX. HAYLEY, I GOT YOU SOME CLOTHES FROM BETSEY JOHNSON. Phew, that’s better.”

Because I totally feel that way in the days leading up to Christmas.

Yesterday, I bought Jessie an early birthday present. His birthday’s November 30, just so you know.

I positively could not keep it in. I even baited him with the ol’ line, “I got you something for your birthday today.”

After he looked at me weird and probably questioned why he is dating a psychotic girl who buys November birthday presents in August, he said “what is it?” HE ASKED WHAT IT WAS rather than the usual “shut up and leave me alone, I don’t want to know” answer I get from everyone else. (Who WOULDN’T want to know their present? Jerks).

So I did what any secret-ruining addict would do. I dragged him along for the ride, pretending to be serious when I said “I can’t tell you” or “you have to wait and see” when really I was dying inside, about to word-vomit the secret the whole time.

Finally I caved. And drew him a picture: of a stick-figure band and me and him standing in the crowd, with text on the bottom saying “On November 6, you and I are going to see THRICE live.” (Thrice is one of his fave bands).

He was super-duper happy, and that made me even happier. If you wanna see something really cute, get Jessie to smile. Seriously.

And if you think about it, I had to tell him before his birthday, anyway. The concert is on the 6th. His birthday’s the 30th. So I was doing him a favor by telling him anyway. Otherwise, we’d obviously miss the concert. Duh.

And everyone else told me to wait… the nerve!

I know you’re probably thinking, ‘why is she talking about Christmas in August?’ Because I have gift ideas brewing, that’s why! And they are awesome gift ideas I cannot wait to buy them and then giggle like a hyena whenever I’m around the recipient, egging them on and pestering them to pester me to tell them their present.

Plus, Christmas is coming!!!

You know what reminds me of Christmas? Lemon.

Even though it’s traditionally a summer-time flavor, I really like lemon in the winter. It’s refreshing, sweet and tart, and looks so pretty. These lemon thumbprint cookies are no exception… and will be even more awesome in December, when I’m decking the halls and annoying the crap out of my friends and family.

Plus, they’re super-duper easy. Who doesn’t like easy cookies? Especially when you have Christmas shopping to do, right?

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies *from RedBook’s recipe 

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 jar store-bought lemon curd, or homemade, if you’re feeling Martha-y
Powdered sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, then blot the excess spray with a paper towel. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. Add in egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the salt, and beat until it comes together. Gradually add flour, one cup at a time, and beat until it combines. Once a soft dough is formed, gather it with damp hands into a ball shape inside the bowl, since dough may be crumbly.
2. Roll small 1″ balls or portion out dough with a small cookie scoop onto your prepared baking sheets, about 1-2″ apart. Using a floured finger or thumb, hence the name, make an indent with your thumb in the center of each cookie, careful not to go through the bottom. You want a deep groove. Bake, approximately 18-20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are light golden brown, rotating pans halfway through baking time if baking with more than one pan.
3. Immediately after removing them from the oven, place a small teaspoon-amount of lemon curd into the center of each cookie inside your thumbprint “well.” Return to the oven to bake the curd into the cookie for another 2-3 minutes; do not overbake. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes; then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust edges with powdered sugar.

You can’t get more summery than lemon, but it’ll still be welcome when you’re wrapping presents and wearing your Santa hat, too.

LOVE the buttery, crumbly texture of the cookie and the sweet and tangy-ness of the lemon curd. Totally rocks.

Happy Thursday!

xo, Hayley

Animal-Style Fries

I don’t ever like to step on people’s toes.

Cause hello? That hurts.

Toes are extremely sensitive about things crushing them.

That’s why I refuse to wear sandals.

That, and they’re ugly.

I own zero pairs of sandals. I shudder just thinking about them.

Flip-flops especially. Can you say ‘tacky’?

I get they’re comfortable, but really? No. They’re only okay for the pool, water-parks, and a quick shoe to run to the woods for a potty break during camping.

Mall shopping, school-going, work-going, and anything else requires real shoes.

Now that my rant is finished, what I meant originally by ‘toes’ was really a metaphor for people.

People don’t like when you rain on their parade, even though I’m quite fond of rain.

…Must be the summertime people.

Anyways, when someone’s good at something, they want to be the best at it, too.

Like, Kim Kardashian wants to continue to be the best at not doing anything. That’s why she somehow got rid of Paris Hilton and we haven’t heard from her for a long time.

In fact, because Paris’ not-doing-anything reign was stolen by Kim K, Paris is actually probably doing something now.

Or that Apple wants to be the best computer maker in the world. While I really like my new iPhone 3G, I don’t like that I have to scroll all the way at the top of my texts to call someone. Or that my texts aren’t time-stamped.

It’s hard to pretend not to be a stalker when you can’t see the last time you sent them a text. I don’t want to appear too desperate, but c’mon, it’s hard when I can’t tell if I sent that text five minutes ago or ten.

So annoying.

And then, if you’re a West Coasty, there’s In N Out Burger. They’re seriously the best–no contest.

While some will gripe (and I do not care to know who you are) about their food (you can’t please everyone), 99.67% of Californians are obsessed with In N Out.

If you don’t know, my fellow out-of-state friends, In N Out’s like a legacy on the West Coast. You’ve probably heard of it, and maybe even held a personal vendetta against Californians for our regular access to their mouthwatering burgers, crispy fries and thick shakes, but seriously, we can’t help that the Golden State rules.

(I promise I’m not being endorsed by In N Out).

My favorite thing? Their animal-style fries.

It’s not on the official menu, but rather a participant on the “secret” menu… one that’s not so secret anymore. Animal-style fries take their already-awesome fries to a whole new level, adding their yummy spread, grilled onions and melt-y cheese on top.

Sounds fattening? I don’t care. I could eat buckets of the stuff.

And while the price remains relatively cheap, I still can’t grant myself animal-fry access every time I desire. Then I’d be 5,000 pounds, Jessie would dump me, and I would be on My Strange Addiction because I would live in a world full of animal-style fries. And people would judge me. I can’t let my world come to this.

So it’s a small, occasional indulgence.

But then I realized I had (almost) all the necessary ingredients to make these bad-ass fries at home. So I did. And now you can, too.

While they aren’t exactly the same melt-in-your-mouth side as In N Out, they are pretty damn satisfying.

Don’t worry, I’m not stepping on In N Out’s toes. They wear steel-toed boots, anyway.

Animal-Style Fries

1 cup frozen French fries (I used Ore Ida)
3 Tablespoons bottled light Thousand Island dressing
3 Tablespoons caramelized onions (made ahead)
2 slices American cheese

1. Prepare fries according to package directions. Once crisp and baked, scoot all the fries together in one pile on baking sheet.
2. Cut cheese slices in half and place all around the fries, trying to coat a bunch. Pop back into the oven for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. Place fries into a bowl or plate and top with the salad dressing and the caramelized onions. I didn’t have onions on me, so mine was without–but if you want to, caramelize some onion strips in a lightly greased skillet for about 10-15 minutes or until tender and dark golden.

They may have created themselves a legacy… but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the awesomeness, too.

Enjoy these, they rock!!

And if you work for In N Out, hire me to do endorsements.

xo, Hayley

Reese’s Cups Cap’n Crunch Crispy Bars

I started school yesterday.

Well, for the 35468582475823652th semester, anyway.

Apparently I’m on the 5-year community college plan, no thanks to my fickle attitude towards majors early on. Fashion? Culinary? Undeclared? Finally English? Took long enough for me to realize writing comes easy for me, and, despite my lack of direction for an English-related career, I may as well just major in the damn thing and get it over with.

If only I could tell Hayley of 2008 that… but then again, I’d also tell her to dump her shit-hole boyfriend, finish writing that novel and to keep all those adorable clothes I insisted on selling to a boutique–I miss them dearly.

If I learned anything besides 5 hours of teachers yapping about their grading policy yesterday, it was that college is the perfect place to judge people.

I don’t know why I’m not getting a degree in being a judgmental bitch. Because that’s what I do all day, every day, that I’m on campus.

I judge the clothes people wear–some dorky, some outlandish, some looking like cattle, stamped with a brand on every square inch of their body. I judge how they talk. I judge what they look like.

Sue me.

So what if I immediately gained a personal vendetta against the annoying girl who looks oddly like an opossum in one of my classes? She interrupted the professor multiple times with stupid-ass questions, tittling away on her laptop (because you need to take notes on the syllabus?) and genuinely looked bored when we did ice-breaker introductions. I’m sorry we’re not all uber-dorks like you; therefore, if she didn’t care to know us, why should I care to know her and subsequently stop judging her? Exactly. (Also, I feel bad because opossoms are kind of cute if put in the right situation, but I swear, she’s a dead-on lookalike and sadly, isn’t cute in any situation thus far).

So what if I judged the … eccentric people in some of my classes, some people who may, at one time, read this blog? I get it: we all have personal quirks that set us apart from the next person, but do you have to be obsessed with vampires, witch-craft and magic? I mean, COME ON. Magic’s fake. I wish I had super-human powers because I’d invent awesome things like a house-cleaning robot and money trees. But sadly, your pining over the ever-tumultuous relationship between werewolves and vampires and the fact that fantasy-fiction will be all I’m counting on reading in my creative fiction writing class really depresses me and warrants me to publicly judge you.

So what if I categorized my entire school into cliques: magic nerds; jocks; wannabe ghettos; “hot people”; hipsters and special-ed? And by hot people, I don’t mean people I find attractive. I mean the people who find themselves (albeit incorrectly) attractive.

Just so you know, there are plenty of wannabe ghettos on campus. I don’t know why; our school is smack-dab in the middle of an upper-middle class community, yet I see people attempting their best “street” look to look hard or whatever. Apparently being ghetto in this town means living in a neighborhood that isn’t gated or driving a car that doesn’t date further than 1998. And wearing clothes your dad’s platinum AmEx bought you. Boy, living in the ‘hood sure is terrible!

Okay, don’t get me wrong. I’m not that big of a jerk (yes I am). And I’m not trying to alienate myself by making fun of people (okay, sometimes I do that). But the reality is, we all judge. That’s why we go to school: so we can learn what to do and what not to do–that includes how we act, and what better real-life examples than your fellow peers?

You can learn that there really is no difference between regular vampire stories and Twilight even though those kids think differently (a vampire’s a vampire); you can learn that tanning yourself to a crisp, Cheeto-orange isn’t flattering, but if you want to land yourself a douche-bag boyfriend, it’s the key to success; you can learn that if you want to be widely hated in your class, speak out of turn, wear obnoxious clothing and ask inane questions; you can learn that sometimes, abortion is justified–or at least birth control should be more acceptable, as 60% or more of the population is absolutely ridiculous and shouldn’t exist.

It’s simple. College is the place to learn, grow, and unapologetically judge others.

Oh, and parking sucks.

Degree now, please.

Since I had a really tough day being critical of others, I decided to make these yummy crispy bars to relax in the comfort of my own absent-of-opossum-people home. I didn’t have any Rice Krispies, so I substituted Cap’n Crunch instead. Similar-ish to my more recent Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch Krispy Bars but with no M&Ms, no peanut butter, and more Reese’s.

Think of them like fraternal twins. Then make both, eat, and compare. Then judge people, so I don’t have to be the only bully.

Reese’s Cups Cap’n Crunch Crispy Bars

8 cups Cap’n Crunch cereal, regular flavor
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 10.5-oz bag mini marshmallows
About 16 Reese’s PB cups, unwrapped

1. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Place Reese’s cups, tops down and bottoms up, along the bottom of the greased pan, cutting any extras to fill side gaps. Then, place the cereal in a large bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt together butter and vanilla over low heat. Stir in marshmallows, and continue stirring until completely melted and combined. Pour marshmallow mixture on top of the cereal, turning to coat evenly with a rubber spatula. Once cereal is coated thoroughly, spoon into the greased dish and gently press cereal mixture in to fit.
3. Allow mixture to cool, about 15-20 minutes in fridge or room temperature for about an hour. Cut into squares and serve, and store airtight.

A good alternative to the traditional Krispy treat, and another fun twist on my previous post!

Also, a good comfort food against the annoying nerds, ditzy chicks and animal-esque people of the world… or campus.

And if I have any new readers from school, hello and welcome! I promise I don’t hate you and I’m really nice. If you’re convinced otherwise, I’m 90% positive at one time I’ll bring our class treats, so if you accept bribes, I’m open.

Happy First Week, everyone!

xo, Hayley

Strawberry Whoopie Pies

The world, unarguably, has some really interesting types of people in it.

Most of them I don’t care to know in depth; what I see on the surface definitely gives me enough of a glimpse into their crazy way of doing life’s business, much less actually getting to know them better, thus meaning actually accepting their weird behavior.

To know them is to love them, right? Or something like that.

Recently I had to dog-sit for a neighbor. I’d never ventured one step into their home until after they’d left the state. Upon arrival, I did several double-takes behind closet doors, convinced I’d find a photographer from Better Homes and Gardens lurking under the stairwell, ready to photograph their immaculately decorated home at any given second.

Mind you, I was dog sitting. This implies I was watching an animal, one which apparently doesn’t shed, lick, scratch, or do anything that would imply an animal–or anyone–lived there. Ever.

There were NO HAIRS IN SIGHT, people.

I come from a house full of hair. No, let me rephrase that–I come from a hair full of house. I basically live in a gigantic wiry, black hairball composed of both my old Lab’s matted fur and my Border Collie’s coarser strands.

To walk into someone’s house and not see a single hair floating around, I was a mixture of impressed, confused, and wondering how much of their life they spend cleaning.

For the record, I spend a lot of time cleaning my house, and it looks good for about 15 minutes until my family comes home and lets the dogs in. Then we go back to living in the hairball, except with the addition of dirty dishes and people leaving their shoes everywhere–Dad, I’m talking to you.

Then there are the people who talk to fill dead air. I really hate this. No one’s talking because no one wants to talk. That does not give you a viable excuse to jabber about unnecessary crap so anyone will listen, just to fill your weird paranoia about no one talking.

You’re weird. Shut up. No one else has this issue.

Then there are people–girls and boys–who are the ones who have the nerve to blatantly flirt with your significant other as if you were a mere dust mote floating within their proximity.

Um, hello, skanky girl with a multitude of venereal diseases and a severe lack of self-respect, can you please back off my boyfriend like, 5 minutes ago? I SAW you making googly eyes with him from across the room. Can you stop? Because I’m about to rip those googly eyes out from your skull, tramp.

So I can get a little violent… big deal. Back off my man and there won’t be a problem. Can’t those girls go proposition someone else? Like on a street-corner? Jeez.

And those people who are freaks about all things food-trendy. When sushi was huge, they were alllll about sushi. “Wanna grab some sashima with me over sake bombs? Mikuni’s wasabi is to die for.” Now that cupcakes are huge, they’re practically humping the red velvet. For one, I never understood the red velvet craze. I mean no disrespect to the South–I love your food, people–but come on. A vanilla cake with cocoa and vinegar? It’s been played. It’s not even good. Stop with the red velvet. How pathetic are those people who latch on to food trends? You have better luck looking less-desperate wearing bell-bottoms 40 years after they were hip. And no, they’re still not okay to wear.

Let’s just put this simply: I don’t like people.

But I do like you guys. A lot!

My readers rock.

So I made you something that totally gives the metaphorical middle finger to all those people who suck, and all those things that bother you.

At the end of the day, my strawberry whoopie pies will make you forget your troubles and forget about that annoying girl who talks your ear off and doesn’t seem to understand the power of silence.

PS–these whoopie pies don’t talk, either. Bonus.

Strawberry Whoopie Pies

1 box strawberry cake mix
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons oil
Marshmallow frosting filling (recipe and ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with cooking spray, then blot excess spray with a paper towel. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, eggs and oil until blended, about 2 minutes. Batter will be thick. Using a tablespoon, spoon batter onto baking sheets, 1″ apart, forming small, circular mounds. If you want them smaller, use a cookie dough scoop. Otherwise, the Tablespoon method will make about 8 large whoopie pies.
2. Bake pies 8-10 minutes or until set and lightly golden on the bottom. If baking 2 pans at the same time, rotate pans halfway through baking time. Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare filling.

Marshmallow Frosting Filling

1 cup butter, softened
1 can marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in marshmallow fluff and vanilla until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until a soft consistency is reached. You don’t want it to be as thick and stiff as icing for cupcakes, but you don’t want it goopy and too liquidy, either. Add more powdered sugar to stiffen if needed.
2. Pipe or spread filling onto the bottom of an inverted whoopie pie half. Top with a like-sized whoopie pie half and gently smoosh together. Best eaten same day.

Mm. These are easy, light, and refreshing. I LOVE the strawberry cake–such a light twist. As for the marshmallow filling, you could substitute a regular buttercream or use whipped topping in the middle instead–so awesome for hot summer nights.

Woohoo for whoopie pies as the cure-all for weird people! BTW–my neighbors aren’t weird. I just really admire their awesomely, outrageously clean house and find it different than my own fur-lined abode.

Happy Eating!

xo, Hayley

Blueberry Muffin Truffle Pops

 

Unless you live under a very deep, very dark, (very admirable-place to live right now) rock, you know it’s back to school season.

AKA, one of my favorite and least favorite seasons ever.

I know that’s a little contradictory, so allow me to explain.

I like the idea of school–learning in class, working on projects, being handed back essays with fat A’s on them. Not surprisingly, I also like back to school shopping. I can’t resist a handful of new colorful spiral bound notebooks and I have a fetish for ball-point pens (I’m all about medium; fine-point has no place in this household).

But in practice, I really despise school. I hate waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am to get ready and be to class by 7. I hate that parking is an absolute nightmare any time of day, and there are zero spots available, even in the BFE of parking lots. I hate that I have to take math since I put it off until this last semester, and I really, really hate math.

I’m an English major, and everyone assumes I want to be a teacher or something. There’s no way I want to teach annoying brats how to read, write or appreciate literature. Sorry, Dad, but teaching is definitely an acquired career move and I simply don’t have the patience.

And when people ask what I want to do with an English degree, I kind of just shrug. And it sets off so many weird, judging looks.

“So you don’t want to be a teacher or a writer… then what do you want to be?!?!” As if this question was A) any of their concern; or B) their life depended on a seemingly-plausible-sounding answer to their liking (which would have been a teacher or a writer).

To be frank, I chose to be an English major because, since I already have an immense hatred for school and I’m really good at writing, I figured English was the easiest way outta there for me. Honest.

But people do NOT like hearing this.

“So… you’re getting an English degree… and not doing anything with it… So what do you want to be?”

I’m 20. Do I have to know?

And is English really that limited of a major that it wouldn’t be applicable to any FREAKING job on the planet?

College is college. My mom has a degree in fashion merchandising but works in a traffic court. I could have a bio-mechanics engineering degree from Harvard but decide to be a librarian. It really doesn’t matter, so why should my unused English degree be of anyone’s care?

Last I checked, I was writing this in English. And you’re reading this in English. So, tell me again why my degree seems wasteful without going into a writing/teaching English field? Right.

School starts in less than a week, and I couldn’t be dreading it more. In spite of its impending doom, I am trying to bake every day this week to squeeze in some much needed therapeutic time with me and my oven before we’re tragically torn apart because of algebraic equations… *shudders*

I had some blueberry muffin mix in my pantry that I’d been meaning to use, but had forgotten about behind mountains of cake mixes. I dug it out today and baked some, but then had a semi-genius idea of turning their average muffin-ness into a muffin truffle. On a stick. I should get a degree in that alone.

These have basically the same concept of a cake pop, but made with a muffin. I used blueberry, but I’m assuming any kind of muffin mix would work, as well as any flavor candy melt–chocolate chip muffins with chocolate candy melts, anyone?–but I just like this because it was easy, fast, and a perfect pick-me-up for my depressing life.

Blueberry Muffin Truffle Pops

1 box blueberry muffin mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1/2 can prepared cream cheese frosting
1 bag white chocolate candy melts
Lollypop sticks & sprinkles or edible pearls, if desired

1. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions, bake, and cool completely. You’ll need about 12 regular-sized muffins, but mine made 15, so I used all of them.
2. Crumble muffins into a large bowl. Remove harder-edged pieces if needed; you want a small, fine crumb. Add the cream cheese frosting and combine with hands until thoroughly mixed with the crumbs.
3. Wet hands and form into small inch-sized balls. Place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet and place in fridge about 3-4 hours or in the freezer about 1 hour until chilled and solid.
4. Prepare candy melts according to package directions and remove chilled muffin truffles from the fridge or freezer. Dip the tip of a stick in the candy, then spear a truffle. Dip the truffle into the melted candy and twirl, coating it thoroughly. Sprinkle with jimmies or edible pearls while damp. Place lollypop stick into a styrofoam round or block to harden.

These are a good twist on the average cake pop–and a pretty darn smart idea. If I weren’t completely biased, I would say my entire blog is worthy of a seriously cool degree in Bad-Assery, but I’m kind of partial.

Have a good week!

xo, Hayley

Almond Joy Cookies

 

It sounds kinda dumb, but I (sorta) believe in astrology.

You know, Virgo, Capricorn, Aries, etc?

Well, I am an Aquarius by birth, and quite frankly, pretty damn similar to all the traits and quirks astrologers say Aquarians are like.

This is kinda crazy knowing there are billions of Aquarians out there similar to me. In fact, it’s kind of scary. I don’t want there to be hundreds of thousands of people with any similarities to me. I want to be different. Is that so much to ask?

So if you’re trying for a baby, make sure they aren’t born between January 22 and February 20. Thanks.

I used to have an astrology book I’d received from Christmas one year. And every time I’d have a new crush on someone, I’d snoop their Myspace page and figure out their sign. Then I’d consult the book.

Through some trial and error, I realized I’m extremely turbulent with Cancer. I dated one for a year, and needless to say, the book knows what it’s talking about.

It also says some interesting things about Aquarians that are frankly, pretty darn accurate (for me, anyway).

1. Aquarians are intellects and individuals who do not succumb to trends or conformity. Damn straight. Let’s vent real quick: TOMS are dumb; I don’t like Justin Bieber’s music; AND I think bell bottoms should have stayed in the 70s. The end.

2. Aquarians love to vent their problems to others, but often shut people out when they need to vent. Sad, but true. Sure, you can vent to me all you want, and I promise I’m listening… it’s just that, sometimes, I really don’t care. And I’m glad the book recognized this because before, I thought I was just a bitch. Now I know I’m an Aquarian.

3. Aquarians enjoy bossing people around and take pleasure in telling people what to do and watching them do it. Okay, so a little drill-sergeant-esque, but so what if I get my kicks in bossing my younger siblings around? As far as I’m concerned, being born first gives me every right to tell them to do the dishes or get the mail. Respect your elders, right?

4. Aquarians like: fame and recognition; rainbows, dreams and magic… Hello?! This is so me. I love dreaming, since I do it about 100% of my day; rainbows are awesome; I like compliments and am not one of those annoying people who shoots them down (you know them, the “You look so nice today!” “Really? Cause I didn’t shower or do my makeup and this skirt is wrinkled…” and you’re like “fine, you look like shit. Happy?”) Oh and also, magic’s cool. Except I tried playing magic cards with Jessie once and was soo lost. But the idea of being magical is kind of cool. I’d totally use my powers to make people do the dishes without my asking, or to use my mental capabilities to work out while watching Degrassi.

But there were some questionable things in there that I definitely didn’t agree with. Like the fact that they call us ‘humanitarians’. I really don’t care about humans, and prefer animal companions over my own kind.

Or that they said we’re somewhat emotionally detached, especially in relationships. If you call texting my boyfriend about twice an hour, and bugging him with random kisses or singing him weird songs I made up ’emotionally detached.’

It also says my lucky day is Thursday. I don’t even like Thursdays.

But hey, we can’t all be right, can we? (I can).

So I guess the moral of the story is, if you hate me, blame my parents for making me an Aquarius. There’s just some things you can’t change, I suppose.

You should know by now this post has nothing to do with these cookies. Problem? Didn’t think so.

I’ve had an almond joy baking fixation ever since I made the Almond Joy Brownie Bites awhile back, and then the Almond Joy Cupcakes. But I wasn’t finished with my Almond Joy crusade.

Oh no.

This is my favorite candy bar by far, and I would like it in every form of baked good possible. These cookies are no exception.

Wanna know how to join this yummy crusade of making candy bars into deliciousness? Easy.

Almond Joy Cookies *from Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life’s recipe–so good

1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 ts. vanilla
2 T milk
1 c old fashioned oats
3/4 c chocolate chips (If you want more, add more–I like less)
1/2 c toasted almonds (I used slivered, but diced works–just not whole)
3/4 cup coconut
1 cup (more or less) Almond Joy candy pieces (in the blue bag)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with cooking spray; blot excess spray with a paper towel. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt until blended, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk until blended. Gradually add in flour mixture, a little at a time, beating until fully incorporated. By hand, stir in chocolate chips, toasted almonds, coconut and almond joy candy pieces until combined.
2. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, portion out dough 1″ apart on your prepared baking sheets. Bake, for approximately 10-12 minutes or until golden and set. Do not overbake. If baking two pans at the same time, rotate pans halfway through baking time. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store airtight.

Whether or not you’re an Aquarius (or if you’re turbulent and incompatible with us) we can all agree these cookies are amazing.

Soft, chewy and buttery, they have a delicious texture, thanks to the coconut, oats, and toasted almonds–plus the crunch from the almond joy candy pieces (which are also addictive, so ye be warned).

Also: you MUST toast the almonds. I know this sounds so ritzy and kind of a pain, but it seriously enhances the flavor of the almonds and betters the texture and overall well-being of your cookie. You don’t want to be an abusive cookie baker, do you? I’ll be very mad at you. To toast them, just place the almonds in a dry skillet and lightly turn with a spatula over medium-low heat until they’re fragrant. Or toast them on a baking sheet on a low temperature for a few minutes. Just keep your nose open; they burn easily.

Also #2: in addition to blaming my parents for making me a perverse, frank, and outspoken Aquarian, you can also blame them for getting me hooked on baking and in turn, making them AND you fat; as well as for the reason I hate sharing, as I can’t help that I skipped kindergarten for being super freakin’ smart and missing the lesson on ‘sharing is caring.’

Also #3: but you can also blame them for allowing me to unleash my creativity to bring you this glorious blog; the confidence to be myself; AND for making me an Aquarian after all…cause the alternative is being another sign (sorry, but Aquarians are superior and I won’t settle for less) or dead. Lame.

Happy Monday!

xo, Hayley

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

 

Before we begin, I have to admit something to my loyal friends and fans.

I’m an addict.

This is really hard for me to confess to, since my mom always told me that our family has especially addictive personalities and if I wasn’t careful, I could easily become addicted to some kind of sinful vice that would put my reputation and our family to mortal shame.

Sorry, Mom.

*Deep breath*

I’m addicted to baking.

I realized this during my brief absence from my blog while that stupid annoying thing called ‘life’ intervened.

Don’t you just hate obligations? They really get in the way of your vices.

That aside, I am really, legitimately addicted to baking. It’s not just bad, it’s full-fledged “BNB” or ‘bad news bears’ for those who are unaware of the ranging-on-dangerous acronym of mine.

With school starting and my preparations for the upcoming semester, plus work, plus boyfriend, friends and family, plus being unapologetically lazy, I haven’t had time to step into my kitchen and whip up something glorious. And it began to show.

I got twitchy. Nervous. My stomach was riddled with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t enjoy Degrassi. All I could do was focus on what to make next. (Okay, so I slept perfectly fine, ate probably too much and still watched my god-awful show).

I confessed my addiction first to Jessie, my unfailingly loyal boyfriend who laughed and said I was cute. Well, that’s encouraging.

Especially when he didn’t pout when I left his house a little earlier than usual to bake since he knew I was experiencing severe withdrawl symptoms only cured by the use of a rubber spatula, lots of buttercream and cake mix.

Ahhhhh. That’s much better.

I hope that my family can accept my addiction, though I think they knew about it before I even admitted to it.

They probably saw my nervous twitches, noticed my staring longingly at the pantry, my lack of posts about cupcakes.

I think they were just waiting on me to finally admit it to myself. Convince myself it’s okay. Bring myself to understand what it’s like to live with a crippling addiction to baking.

I only hope that now, they can understand what I go through to make this blog possible. It’s a DAILY STRUGGLE of overcoming the wave of intense need to bake something 24/7. I have to FIGHT to resist the urges that swell my brain. It’s really freakin’ hard.

Sometimes, I do other things to distract myself from my burning desire to bake.

Like shopping.

But I’ve done enough shopping lately (and my lacking bank account but expanded closet are proof) and now it’s time to come to terms with it all.

I’m an addict. A slave to cake mix, eggs, unsweetened applesauce, and water.

Phew. That felt good to get off my chest.

You didn’t think I was going to say I was a drug addict, right?

God no.

I don’t have money to afford drugs because I have better things to spend my cash on–like costume jewelry from Forever 21 and snow cones from the local shaved ice trailer (another real addiction I could never quit).

Plus, my parents would disown me if I was caught with any kind of illegal substance; I already have a crazy mind and don’t need crack to make me crazier; and my nose is so full of boogies that cocaine wouldn’t even effect me. Drugs are useless to me.

Cupcakes are my metaphorical crack.

And on hot summer days like these, nothing sounds quite as tempting as a Cherry Limeade Cupcake. A moist, light lime-flavored cupcake topped with cherry buttercream and a maraschino cherry.

Ahhhh, bliss. Addicted, sugar-riddled bliss.

Cupcake crack. Try it. Together, we can all come to terms with our addictions to baking or just eating baked goods.

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 small pkg sugar free/fat free lime gelatin mix
1/2 cup thawed lime juice concentrate
Zest of one lime
1 jar of maraschino cherries, drained (reserve 3 tsp liquid)
Cherry buttercream (recipe and ingredients follow)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, egg whites, water, and unsweetened applesauce until blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in lime gelatin powder, zest and concentrate until well mixed and until you get a nice lime flavor (test it with your finger). If you want a milder lime flavor, add more concentrate. Portion evenly into muffin cups and bake, approximately 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Cherry Buttercream

2/3 cup butter, softened
3 tsp maraschino cherry juice
2 tsp milk
4 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and cherry juice until creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until a stiff but spreadable consistency is reached. If too stiff, add one teaspoon of milk at a time. Pipe or spread onto cooled lime cupcakes. Sprinkle with light pink sugar, if desired, and top with a maraschino cherry.

What a yummy cupcake for a hot day, based on one of my favorite summertime drinks (yes, I’m kind of addicted to that, too).

Oh, and you should know, I’m also kind of addicted to shopping, reading magazines, taking pictures of cemeteries, my boyfriend and dog, manicures (especially now that I’m becoming slightly ambidextrous) and maraschino cherries since I’m aware that the majority of my recent cupcake posts feature cherries.

But whatever. You can’t change me. I’m forever a Cupcake Addict, so don’t call Intervention and I’ll keep baking treats for you. Deal?

Mmm. Deal.

xo, Hayley

 

Samoa Cookie Bark

CORNY ALERT: I’m going to talk about my boyfriend, Jessie.

He’s the greatest, just so you know.

I also want to take this opportunity for a disclaimer: jealousy may happen. No, really. Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the position for Awesomest Boyfriend Ever has been taken by mine. Soo… you may want to reconsider thinking that yours is the best, because… he’s not. Sorry.

That aside, Jessie and I celebrated our five-month anniversary yesterday.

Don’t scoff. I know you’re scoffing.

The people who scoff at celebrating monthly anniversaries are the people who never have success in relationships and will forever be unhappy.

It’s true.

Why save celebrating for major milestones, like 6 months and yearlies when you could celebrate every month?

Those are milestones themselves, proving you two haven’t killed each other. That’s always an excellent thing to celebrate, don’t you think?

So haters: shut it. I don’t wanna see your eye-rolling, pathetic laughter or secret judging. I know it’s only a mere defense mechanism due to your overwhelming jealousy of me and my boyfriend’s scathing hotness and radiating awesomeness, but please, refrain.

I met Jessie (of all places) on Facebook. Therefore, I feel I owe everything to Facebook for my eternal happiness with my significant other. I mean, we are that Facebook couple: the ones who ‘like’ each other’s statuses, who post pictures of each other doing cool things, and write lovey-dovey messages (okay, I write the lovey-dovey messages) on each other’s walls. It’s quite sickening to the untrained eye, but to us, we’re just excited about each other–nothing to be ashamed of.

Plus, my parents like him–a major feat in itself.

It’s totally meant to be.

So what did two hip, young head-over-heels kids do for their anniversary? Why, what any young-love couple would.

We went to abandoned cemeteries to take pictures.

We had a $12 dinner at a step-above Taco Bell-esque restaurant.

We Cheers!’d to our relationship with fruity snow cones at a local shaved ice truck.

And we played Crazy 8s at his house over a Corona. I won (I am reigning champ, after all, and wasn’t about to let him win, even if he is super cute).

Okay, so our anniversary wasn’t celebrated like most would with extra primping, dinner-and-a-movie, and overly romantic/cheesy stuff like teddy bears and Barry White music.

But it was celebrated exactly how I wanted: with the guy I adore, doing things we love, being our complete casual, easy-going selves.

Which obviously included cemetery hunting and getting giddy over finding a dead raccoon.

We’re weird, we’re whimsical, we’re fun people. I’m sorry I made you so jealous.

But I’ll make it up to you with something delicious that you can have: Samoa Cookie Bars. Ooohhhhhh yeaaaaaaahhh <– (Barry White voice.)

Samoas are my favorite, as you should know. Jessie likes them, too. So I decided some more after-event celebration should happen with some additional awesome things. Especially additional awesome edible things.

Samoa Cookie Bars *from Cookies and Cups Samoa Bark recipe –check out Shelly’s stuff ’cause she rocks!

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, plus 2 ounces for drizzle (I used Baker’s chocolate)
35-40 shortbread cookies
3 cups shredded coconut
1 14oz pkg caramels, unwrapped
2 Tablespoons water

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Prepare 12 ounces of chocolate according to package directions (I microwaved in 30 second intervals, then stirred until melted, but you can use a double boiler if you prefer). Spread chocolate in an even layer on the foil to your desired thickness; I did mine thinnish. Immediately press shortbread cookies onto melted chocolate, covering it in an even layer. Pop in the freezer until hardened and solid and chocolate has set, about 20 minutes. You want to make sure your shortbread/chocolate layer is good and solid so your bark stays together (like me and Jessie–sorry).
2. Now prepare your filling. Toast your coconut in a pan over low-heat until nice and toasty. Watch it, though, since coconut toasts fast and you don’t want it to burn. While coconut is toasting, unwrap your caramels and melt them in 30-second intervals with the 2 T water until smooth and melted. Stir toasted coconut into caramel sauce, and spread evenly over your shortbread bark layer.
3. Melt remaining 2 ounces of chocolate and drizzle over the caramel… because obviously, it’s a must.
4. I popped my bark back into the freezer to set the drizzled chocolate, but please eat this bark at room temperature–the caramel hardens quickly, and the last thing I need is a lawsuit for broken incisors. Store airtight.

These are sinfully delicious, but then again, you are reading on the website The Domestic Rebel. I don’t promote non-rebellious things like salads and juice cleanses.

Enjoy these, they rock!

& Happy Anniversary, Jessie! Thanks for being a great graveyard companion and taste tester :)

xo, Hayley

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