The Friday Roundup

Hey guys!!

I can’t even believe it’s Friday already. It is just me, or does time seem to fly by when you’re older and crawl desperately slow when you’re young? At this rate I’ll be 90 before I finish this post and it’ll STILL be Friday morning for your youngest child.

This week, I was a busy girl! My usual Sunday baking excursion went from a handful of recipes to over ten being cranked out in one afternoon. Needless to say, I had a lot going on. And I still managed to save the day and look pretty. Here’s what happened:

I funfettified sugar cookies.

I shoved Oreos into muffins (and am giving Oreos away!! Enter now; the giveaway ends tonight!!)

I paired together Biscoff  + marshmallow + pumpkin and it was AWESOME.

I faced my fears for love and made you carrot cake.

Aaaand I tipped the chips to cookie dough scale ratio a bit.

Overall, I’d say I had a pretty successful week.

These peeps were also cooking hard this week:

Homemade Whatchamacallits from Cups by Kim
Turtle Shortbread Bars from Pint Sized Baker
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache from Averie Cooks
Cake Ball Chocolate Chip Cookies from Crazy For Crust
Bubblegum Floats from That’s What We Said

Some Things.

1. Jessica got me HOOKED on Thought Catalog. I mean, I’m becoming OCD over it. Are these people in my head? Or are we like, long-lost, outrageously anal best friends? Either way, I love it.
2. BTW, have you seen those new Bic For Her pens? I. DIE over these reviews. Laughing for daaaayyyys.
3. Lately I’ve been plagued with migraines. Migraines are awesome in that they allow me to be utterly lazy since even standing up causes me to crash into a wave of nausea. However, they happen to suck for the same reason.
4. Speaking of which, a couple days ago I stayed home from work because of aforementioned migraines. I parked my booty on the couch thrilled for the ABC Family Pretty Little Liars marathon when I realized ABC Family NEVER AIRED EPISODES ONE AND TWO. I meeeeean, WHAT THE FRICK, ABC FAMILY? Here I am, obviously on my death couch and all I want to do is watch my fave suspenseful TV show before my ten pound head rolls off my toothpick neck and I CAN’T. DO. THAT because you didn’t air the first couple episodes. Now in addition to dying I have to actually piece together the mystery?! Ugh, making me work for my suspense. How dare you.
5. So basically, I haven’t watched a single episode of season 3 and it’s killing me. What the frickity frick, people. This is so unfair.
5a. Update: So I totally watched the first two episodes online and then started my marathon. Ohmaigawd. Who the hell is A? And wtf, Mona is SO weird.
6. Oh! So tomorrow, I have a super fun guest-post for you guys. I know you’ll love it and I’m so excited for you to meet my guest blogger!!
7. I bought this dress last week because apparently, in my mind, I’m being invited to some ritzy art-deco party sometime soon. And also don’t have a weird muffin top. :|
8. Based on #7, if you could see my closet, it would be 90% costumes, 10% actual clothes. Sigh.

This weekend I fully intend on relaxing! Baking, of course, but mostly relaxing. I’m sick of migraines and want to hang out and not worry about dog hair, dirty dishes or running errands. Sound good? Yes. What are your weekend plans??

Whatever you do, hope you have a good one! Can you believe we’re already in September? I’m going to start singing Jingle Bells now. Yippee!

xo, Hayley

Triple Chip Cookies

I like to bake.
(And apparently, I also like to make painfully obvious statements)

And I know I’m not a professional and I’m certainly not an expert, but I definitely know my way around the kitchen. I’ve worked with hundreds of types of dough, I’ve baked thousands of cupcakes, I’ve made multiple batches of frosting and I’ve even delved into making homemade candy and (finally) working with yeast. So I’d say that, with that experience plus, you know, having a BAKING BLOG, I’d kinda sorta know what I was talking about. You know, kinda.

So you can understand it’s kinda sorta my pet peeve when people try to talk to me about baking when they don’t even know the difference between a spatula and a rubber spatula.

Awhile back at a party, a friend was asking me about making cake pops while another girl sat nearby, creepily eavesdropping on our conversation. I explained the process of making them, while tedious, was actually pretty easy. My friend was excited to make them when suddenly, Creepy Girl said: “But that sounds really hard. I mean, dipping them in chocolate will make them all lumpy.”

I looked at her for a second and replied, “if you use chocolate bark, it’ll melt and dip smoothly. It’s easy!” and smiled.

Creepy Girl responded, “but like, if you make them, they’ll like, dry all lumpy and look deformed. You probably should just buy them rather than make them.”

I was under the impression Creepy Girl didn’t like me for whatever reason, and was one of those people who suddenly becomes hell-bent on shooting down everything you like or say, as if that will somehow insult you to your core. Like if she shot down cake pops enough, I would burst into tears and kill myself by choking on a cake pop later that night or something, obviously wracked with emotion that some girl with ten pounds of makeup on her face disliked me.

So I replied, “when you make them, just gently let the excess chocolate drip off, and then stick the pop in a styrofoam block so they can dry upright. No lumps, no dents. It’s easy!”

“But rolling them into a ball must be really difficult. Will you have enough time to do that? I mean, they have to freeze for like, hours.”

At this point, I kind of felt like I was not only taking candy from a baby, but also kicking the baby in the face. Arguing with this girl was painfully easy. And while I could have just stopped, replied with something like “you obviously know exactly what you’re talking about” and moved on, I am a butthead and like to provoke people, so I continued.

“Running a popular food blog means I’ve made hundreds of cake pops. They don’t take forever to freeze; less than an hour is good, and they’re easy to make. Plus, any lumps or deformations just means you can throw sprinkles on top and it’ll look great. It always turns out well on my food blog, you know, that little ol’ one I have.”

Eventually, Creepy Girl wandered off to bother someone else with her extraneous knowledge of nothing and I went along my merry way. However, before I left the party, I said bye to my friend, only to hear Creepy Girl desperately convincing her to buy the cake pops since they’d “be really hard to make and will take forever.”

Anywho, I came home to my little food blog where apparently I rattle off misinformation to my readers and I made some cookies without knowing what I was doing. They turned out great! They’re moist, puffy, chewy, yet have a slightly crispy outer edge which I love. Plus, they’re stuffed with THREE kinds of chips: butterscotch, peanut butter + white chocolate, creating a cookie that’s packed with lots of flavor profiles, and is finished off with a light sprinkling of sea salt. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better!!

Make some. Trust me, I’m an expert.

Triple Chip Cookies *adapted from THIS recipe at Lil Luna

1 stick butter, softened
1 & 1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (can substitute 2 tsp vanilla extract)
3 cups flour
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
Sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist two baking sheets with cooking spray or line with silicone liners.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla bean paste to combine.
3. Gradually add the salt, soda, powder and flour in batches until combined and a dough has formed. Stir in the chips by hand.
4. Portion by heaping Tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2″ apart. Sprinkle the tops lightly with sea salt. Bake for approx. 7-9 minutes or until golden and just set. Do not overbake (mine cooked exactly 8 minutes). Cool for about 5 mins on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Store airtight at room temperature for approx. 3 days.

These cookies are SO yummy!! I love the combination of chips in here–they’re slightly salty, mostly sweet, but the sea salt sprinkled on top balances it out beautifully. And you can’t go wrong with the vanilla bean base–seriously heavenly. I know you’ll dig them!

Have a fab day!

xo, Hayley

Caramel Carrot Cake Bars

 

 

Wait a minute.

Carrot cake bars? Are you serious right now?

I. Do not. Make. Carrot cake. Anything. So can someone explain to me whyyyy that’s a picture of carrot cake-something I made up there? Something that looks ooey, gooey and, dare I say, good?

So I know I’m not the only one on this planet (a shame). But if I were, carrot cake probably wouldn’t exist. Why? Because I dislike it with a fiery passion, along with my hatred of pork chops, when gum gets hard (ugh–the worst) and canned green beans (just… no).

There aren’t many foods I dislike, but one of them is easily carrot cake. I don’t have real reasons why I hate it since I really like carrots and I’m not one of those people with a mental block of veggies inside desserts (beet brownies, zucchini cake, all good in my book). I think it’s because of really bad grocery store cakes or distasteful homemade versions in years past.

My grandma (still) has holiday parties with her friends, and usually for spring-related or Easter parties, there is carrot cake involved. She always thought–for whatever reason–that Alex, my brother, LOVED carrot cake with a passion, even though he A) had never said this nor B) ever proved this. So carrot cake would always come down, big fat slices of the stuff, and go uneaten and unwanted. I think we were more likely to scarf down octopus or pig eyes than touch carrot cake with a ten foot pole. Seriously.

I just. don’t. like it. Period. 

But again, I can’t be a selfish blogger, or else all that would happen would be me talking about my love affair with chips and obviously that blog would be less-than-stellar and mind-numbingly boring. So, I made you carrot cake. Let’s just consider this a wordless declaration  of true love for you.

But this isn’t ordinary carrot cake. This is carrot cake that’s gone balls out cray-cray. It’s stuffed with white chocolate chips, then topped with like, the gooiest caramel sauce, and then that’s topped with a smooth layer of white chocolate. I meeeeean, I totally love you. I feel like we’re having a Rachel and Ryan moment right now, all “if you’re a carrot cake, I’m a carrot cake” kinda thing. It’s romantical. It’s sweet. It’s holy hell, do you seeeee that caramel?!?

So please, carrot cake lovahs or not, make these. It’ll change yo lyfeeee.

Caramel Carrot Cake Bars

1 box carrot cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 pkg white chocolate chips
1 bag Werther’s chewy caramels, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs and oil until combined. Stir in half of the white chocolate chips. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until center is just set + edges are light golden brown. Cool completely.
3. In a medium microwaveable bowl, melt the caramels with about 2 tsp water for 45 seconds. Stir, then continue cooking for another 30-45 seconds or until smooth and melted. Mixture will be very hot.
4. Pour the caramel mixture on top of the cooled bars; spread evenly. Place the pan in the fridge to allow caramel to set, about 15 mins.
5. In another microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining white chocolate chips with a splash of oil for about 45 seconds, stirring until smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the caramel, spreading evenly. Allow white chocolate to harden in fridge, about 10 minutes.
6. Cut into bars and serve. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for about 2 days. Can store in fridge, but allow to come to room temperature before eating.

Holy moly. Y’all need to get in on this. Helloooo, don’t you want to live in that caramel layer? Me too.

Have an awesome day!!

xo, Hayley

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes with Biscoff Marshmallow Frosting

 

A few days ago, I was cleaning out my computer when I found my resume. I had totally forgotten about it since I’ve been happily employed at my current work for almost a year now, but I pulled it up to see everything anyway.

Wow. It’s amazing how a few key words can embellish even the crappiest jobs into something stellar-sounding.

Like when I worked at that portrait studio. I was a “customer service representative” which was basically a glorified term for cold-calling families from local high schools and advertising our portrait services and getting cussed out by angry parents. Also known as “assisting customer queries.”

Or that one time I worked at a clothing store in the mall. I was always telling them I was eager to learn different positions around the store, but they insisted I would be a greeter every.single.day. By the time I got off work, my throat felt like it’d fall out of my body and if I had to hear one more time about our promotions, I would go postal. In other words, I was “marketing current promotions for the company.”

Oh, and don’t forget the time I worked at the bakery. I was (easily) one of the best employees: polite, prompt, responsible, hard-working and incredibly loyal. That was probably the reason I was eventually unnecessarily fired, as they had a knack for keeping the people who worked best at a pace I can only describe as when snails attack and maintained the IQ of a plastic bag. In resume words, I was “loyal and dedicated to my craft and patient with customers and coworkers.”

The two that didn’t make the list? The burger joint I worked two hours at (on second thought, I’d rather not smell like fry oil), and the sandwich shop (not my current one) I worked at for three days (the manager can best be described as soggy cardboard on a power trip and I could. not. handle. it).

Then I realized I’ve worked at my current job for almost a year (!!) which is basically decades compared to the others. I initially wanted to reward my coworkers for being awesome by baking them these cupcakes, but unfortunately for them (and uh, my thighs) I ate them. In my defense, my family helped. It was a joint effort in enjoying these bad boys, lemme tell ya.

I can’t say enough good things about these cupcakes. They’re dense, yet not too heavy, packed with pumpkin and sprinkled with spices reminiscent of fall with notes of rich butterscotch. And the frosting, oh, the frosting. It’s Biscoff and marshmallow. Yeah, I went there. And it’s so incredible. Sweet, spicy, light + fluffy… I’m drooling all over again!

Please try them… in the name of your job, you “official cupcake tasting consultant”, you.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes with Biscoff Marshmallow Frosting

1 box spice cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 cup pumpkin
1 small box sugar free/fat free instant butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Butterscotch chips, optional
Biscoff Marshmallow Frosting (recipe & ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, water, oil, pumpkin, pudding and spices until combined. If desired, for added texture & flavor, sprinkle butterscotch chips into the batter (I didn’t, but it’d be a good boost of flavor if you’d like).
3. Portion batter evenly among muffin tins, filling approx. 2/3 full. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely and prepare frosting.

Biscoff Marshmallow Frosting

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 cup Biscoff
1/3 cup marshmallow fluff
2-4 Tbsp milk
About 4.5 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, Biscoff spread and mallow fluff until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light & fluffy. Add milk if frosting becomes to pasty or thick.
2. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Store leftovers airtight for up to 1 day, room temperature or in the fridge. Makes approx. 18 cupcakes.

The frosting on these bad boys is AMAZEBALLS. Imagine a gingerbread cookie met a toasted marshmallow on a fall morning and plopped themselves on top of a spicy pumpkin cupcake. It’s just awesome. And even though it’s still in the 90s here, I’m totally welcoming fall with open arms… and these cupcakes!

I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Hayley

Double Chocolate Fudge Oreo Mocha Muffins

As a kid, we always had Oreo cookies stashed in our cupboards.

They were such a fun snack to look forward to after a long, arduous day of monkeying around on the playground at recess.

Of course, with Oreo cookies comes one problem: how you eat it.

There wouldn’t be an age-old question if there wasn’t an issue, people.

So, how do you eat an Oreo?

Do you twist the cookies apart and eat one after the other? Scrape the frosting off with your teeth and then eat two nekkid cookies? Eat the entire thing whole? Dunk it in milk? There’s so many possibilities to eat it that you could probably eat an entire package of Oreos, eating each individual cookie a different way and you still would have other ways you could have eaten them.

Personally, I pick apart everything I eat. Pizza is eaten toppings and cheese first, sauce scraped off, and then the bottom + crust. Sushi is eaten rice first, then the insides. Sandwiches and Poptarts are eaten crust first, then the sandwich. Most other sandwiches are eaten top bread first, then toppings, then bottom bread, or top bread first, then an open-faced sandwich. I know, I know, I’m crazy. So my Oreos? Cookies are separated, frosting is scraped off, then I eat the two nekkid cookies.

It’s just how I roll, yo.

When I was younger, Oreo was just that… Oreo. And then slowly, they began launching new flavors and varieties. Golden Oreos (my personal favorite), peanut butter Oreos, Heads or Tails, neapolitan!!, mint, and more. (Side note: Duuuude. How awesome would it be to work at the Oreo factory?!) And for research purposes, of course, I have tried them all.

So when Oreo contacted me about trying some of their new flavors, I jumped at the chance. They sent me a pretty little box with two of their new flavors: Coconut Delight Fudge Cremes and Double Chocolate Fudge Cremes (best. mail day. ever).

Fudge Cremes are Oreo’s new line of cookies. They’re just like Oreos, except instead of another cookie creating the classic “sandwich”, there’s a layer of rich chocolate fudge. I’d tried the original kind and the Birthday Cake flavor, but I was STOKED to try the Double Chocolate Fudge and the Coconut Delight.

The coconut was crunchy yet creamy at the same time. I was scared the coconut flavor would be too subtle, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was creamy and strong, yet not too overpowering. I liked eating these cold from the freezer–so yummy!

The double chocolate was really fudgy (uh, that’s definitely not a bad thing!) My brother loved these ones because they almost have a chocolate frosting-like consistency in the middle. It’s rich and decadent–there’s no shortage of chocolate here!

Overall, while I loved them both, I really loved the coconut one. My brain was going crazy over recipes for each one and I immediately thought these Double Chocolate Fudge Cremes would be excellent in a muffin. Everyone loves chocolate muffins, right? And when you stuff crushed Double Chocolate Fudge Cremes in a regular ol’ chocolate muffin, your result will be an uber-decadent, deliciously dense muffin that delivers a killer chocolate punch.

To make them pop, I added some coffee and chocolate chips to the batch as well–the mocha really kicked it up another notch and the chocolate chips, while second to the scrumptious chunks of cookie, still added that additional creaminess into the muffin… like little chocolate pockets hiding beneath fluffy layers of chocolatey goodness.

Giveaway closed! Thank you to everyone for their participation :) the winners are Maureen and Lethea! Congrats to the lucky winners!!

But you don’t need to take my word for it. OREO is giving TWO readers a chance to win a box of goodies themselves!!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave me a comment, answering this: What’s your favorite kind of OREO? How do you eat an OREO? 

 

For bonus entries, leave a separate comment for each (and remember, I do verify this!):

LIKE me on Facebook
FOLLOW me on Twitter
FOLLOW Oreo on Twitter
FOLLOW me on Instagram
FOLLOW me on Pinterest

This contest is for US residents only. Contest runs until 8/31 where I will choose TWO winners via Random.org. I will notify the winners immediately and OREO will ship out your goodies :)

Good luck!!

Now, onto these muffins. They’re awesome, and I really hope you try them!!

Double Chocolate Fudge Oreo Mocha Muffins *adapted from Jocelyn’s Chocolate Mocha Muffins recipe 

1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup coffee
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 (heaping) cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 & 1/2 cups Oreo Double Chocolate Fudge Cremes, roughly chopped (I had mine previously frozen)
Cocoa & powdered sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 16 paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until combined. Add the egg, sour cream and vanilla and beat to incorporate.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa and flour.
4. Working alternately, gradually add the flour mix, then stream in part of the coffee + milk, beating slowly, until all combined. Do not over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chips & cookie pieces by hand.
5. Portion the batter evenly among muffin tins, a heaping 2/3 to 3/4 cup full. Bake for approx. 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely. In a sifter, combine equal parts cocoa and powdered sugar; sift over cooled muffins.
6. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, up to 2 days.

These muffins are the epitome of fudgy goodness! My family and coworkers adored them and I know you will, too!!

Can’t get enough OREO? Sink your teeth into these recipes:

Cookie Dough Stuffed Oreos
Golden Cookies n Cream Blondies
Inside-Out Oreo Peanut Butter Cups
Cake Batter Oreos

Good luck with the giveaway! Enjoy your Monday!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, this giveaway and my product review is sponsored by Oreo, however all the opinions given are strictly my own. 

Funfetti Sugar Cookies

 

 

When it comes to cake, there are generally-speaking, two camps.

The cake-babies, who live for the cake. Fluffy, moist layers of buttery cake. Is there anything better? (Can you tell I’m a cake baby?)

And then there are the frosting fiends, who live and die for the icing. It is, well, the icing on the cake.

Side note: a couple days ago, Jessie and I were driving to get some food when, out of nowhere, a thought so brilliant struck me like a lightning bolt of creative genius and I stuttered out loud, “frostitute.”

“Frostitute?” Jessie asked, confused.

“Yeah, like a prostitute, but with frosting,” I clarified, as if this was somehow the most genius thing ever.

“You’re such a frostitute,” he said. And then we laughed a lot.

But actually, he’s the frostitute. Not me. I don’t care for the icing so much. I’m the cake girl. If I could live on a layer cake, I would. Cake makes me happy.

However, if there’s one middle ground, it’s what goes on the icing that makes me the happiest. Sprinkles.

I am a sprinkletute. (Nah, it just doesn’t sound as cool as ‘frostitute.’)

I LOVE sprinkles. They make my world go ’round. Who doesn’t love that crunch of all that sugary goodness adorning the tops of brownies, cakes and cookies? The bright pop of color. The fun shapes and sizes and flavors of sprinkles! I love them. They’re my jam, homie, and we’re meant to be togetha forevah.

Side note: I used to beg my mom to pleasepleaseplease buy me a bottle of non-pareils when we’d go grocery shopping and she’d always say no, except sometimes she knew it wasn’t worth the fight and caved. Anyway, I’d get home, rip off that stupid sprinkle shield, and literally drink the bottle of sprinkles. Straight-up. Crunching all those rainbow sprinkles until my mouth and tongue turned violet. It was lovely.

To this day, Jessie always laughs when we get froyo because my cup is about 1 cup sprinkles, 1/2 cup froyo. It’s the measurement that works for me, always OD’ing on those colored jimmies.

So I wanted to create a fun, cake-flavored cookie that everyone could enjoy. The cake-babies, the frostitutes, and the psycho sprinkle-drinking lovers all around. These Funfetti Sugar Cookies certainly deliver!

I doctored up my usual cake mix with a TON of additional sprinkles and a secret ingredient: butter emulsion. Butter emulsion is a more potent, highly concentrated version of butter extract, which you can find in the baking aisle next to the vanilla extract. It’s thicker, stronger and makes these cookies taste SO authentically cake-battery, sugary and totally rich and dreamy. I got the idea from Sally, who used butter extract in her Cake Batter Sugar Cookies and I couldn’t resist trying it myself!

The result? The most amazing, sprinkletutiest cookie in all the land. Won’t you have some with me?

Funfetti Sugar Cookies

1 box funfetti cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp butter extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
Additional 1/3 cup jimmies
Non-pareils, for garnish, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone liners or spray lightly with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and butter extract until blended. Fold in the white chocolate chips and additional jimmies.
3. Drop rounded Tablespoons of dough 2″ apart on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle or roll in additional non-pareils, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake time to ensure even cooking. Mine took exactly 9 minutes. Cookies will appear slightly underdone–that’s okay, they’ll finish cooking on the rack. Cool 5 mins on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
4. Store leftover cookies airtight, at room temperature, for 3-4 days.

I was so shocked to find I hadn’t shared this recipe with you guys before! Funfetti cookies are one of my favorites, and with the butter extract kicking it up a notch, I knew I couldn’t wait another day to give y’all the recipe. Seriously yummy stuff!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!

xo, Hayley

 

The (Best-Ever!) Family Favorites Roundup!!

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you all had an awesome week. Thank goodness it’s over!

This Friday, I decided to jazz things up from the usual recap. Last week, Nikki from Chef In Training had her hubby make a list of his favorite dishes she’s made. His commentary was hilarious and his list was long and varied, and I thought, I want my family to choose their favorite things! So I did.

In the interest of time (and space) I had them choose three treats apiece. Let’s just say it was damn hard for them to choose ten, much less three top picks. But finally, after much haggling and deliberating, each person chose their three favorites.

And okay, even though parents shouldn’t choose favorites between their kids and I totally felt like that parent when I was choosing my favorite treats, I eventually chalked it up to the fact that I’m sure every parent has a secret favorite kid and so I could have three. So there.

To make it fun, I’m having each person write their own blurbs about each post. So Chloe, take the floor!

Hi, I’m Chloe and I’m Hayley’s younger sister. A few of my favorite things are bows, blondies and popchips (but there’s no point to eating healthy with these forever taunting me). By that, I mean these Deep Dish Biscoff Cookies. I had no idea what they were at first, but the smell was captivating enough. The Biscoff didn’t originally swoon me the first time I had it, so I was a bit hesitant. But if you ever miss out on these cookies, that’s the biggest mistake of your life. These cookies were salty and sweet (sometimes a girl can’t decide her favorite) and I felt as though I could eat the whole pan. Peanut butter is always a must for me anyways, so these were a match made in heaven.

Since I’m living off of bow sales, I don’t have all the money in the world. Everyone knows that Cinnabon is the best thing you could probably ever eat. Although a trip to the mall and dropping $5 on a fat-loaded cinnamon roll is out of the question, these aren’t. The Doughnut-Stuffed Cinnamon Roll is at the top of my list for two reasons. 1.) Donuts, and 2.) Cinnamon rolls. I can’t argue with either. Something about fried dough stuffed inside a warm cinnamon sugary roll can’t be beat by anything. Waking up to these was a dream, honestly.

Last but certainly not least, Donut-Hole Blondies. Anything blondies is a-okay with me, and like I said before, so is anything donut. I don’t know what goes on in my sister’s evil mastermind head, or why she’s like the little old lady trying to fatten me up, but call me Gretel. These are irresistible. The blondie is kinda dense so it coincides with the airy donut perfectly. Cheating on your diet is acceptable with this one, it’ll forgive you eventually (or maybe your diet could just consist of eating this all day, which is acceptable too).

Hello.  I’m Hayley’s dad and one of her tasters.  It is impossible to select 3 favorites from among all her creations.  Just like it is impossible to be on a diet in this house.

I did pick the Almond Joy Brownie Bites as one of my all-time faves.  There are so many wonderful tastes and textures happening here.  I love coconut, and brownies, and almonds, and chocolate.  Put them all together with some other stuff I don’t know and WOW!  My taste buds are at food fantasy camp.

The Chocolate Toffee Caramel Cupcakes were a wonder of nature.  Or of Hayley’s Frankenstein-like ability to create a beast of a taste from many different components (no body parts were used in any dessert).  I enjoyed these immensely.  It was fun to remove and eat the toffee caramel sculpture first, basking in the heavenly caramel flavor.  Then the chocolatey cupcake.  I love Hayley’s cupcakes, even though this is the only one in my top 3 picks here.

The last of my current top 3 is Churro Bugle Mix.  I love churros!  On our last trip to Disneyland I sold the family car in order to buy one, and it was worth it.  This mix utilizes the salty crunch of the Bugles to play against the cinnamon-y sweet coating.  Although I have never been addicted to crack, I refer to this as crack due to the highly addictive nature of this incredible treat.  This stuff is legal and amazing.  The first time I tried it I did, however, end up in a food coma.  Proceed with caution, possibly trying a gateway dessert like the Almond Joy Brownie Bites.

I need to go check the kitchen, as I’m sure to find at least one new creation cooling on the counters!

Hi everyone. I’m Alex Parker, I’m a chocoholic, and I haven’t had chocolate in 30 seconds. I don’t know what Hayley has told you about me, but it’s not true. Unless it’s good, then it’s totally true. It’s a good thing you can’t see me type this, because I’m currently stuffing my face with two of Hayley’s most recent treats and trying desperately to clean crumbs out of the keyboard.

Anyway, Hayley gave me the arduous task of choosing just three of my favorite treats of hers, which took me an unfortunately long amount of time to narrow down the list. But there have been some definite standouts.

First on the list is, hands down, the Cookie Dough Stuffed Oreos. Like I said, I’m a raging chocoholic, and anyone trying to rehab will relapse at the sight of these things. A few things first: I love Oreos. I like the regular ones, I LOVE the golden ones, I like the half and half ones. I even named my dog Oreo. So injecting cookie dough, drowning it in chocolate and adding some jimmies will make me do anything just for a fix. Plus, it looks like a simple enough recipe that even I can make, and my cooking repertoire is pretty much limited to mac and cheese and toast.

Next up are the Snickers Cookies, which is the best combination since an Xbox pancake. Again, I love chocolate (have I mentioned that yet?). Death by Chocolate is less of a dessert and more of a promise for me. Luckily, since everything Hayley makes has the forethought of healthy cooking, I might be spared. My girlfriend (who I think only dates me for my sister’s desserts), Kelsey, was lucky enough to be here when Hayley made these, and we scarfed them down as fast as we could. We actually tried to save some for her family (hahahahaha) but that didn’t go as well as planned. These things are serious. Snickers, chocolate cookies, sprinkled with sea salt; do I even need to write a paragraph about them?

And last, but certainly not least (in fact, these should probably be first because duh), Circus Animal Cookie Pie. Just typing those words made my mouth long for the sweet embrace of those devilish pink and white cookies. Anecdote time: once I ate an entire bag of those, but only the pink ones, and shortly thereafter proceeded to rain pink upon the sidewalk with the force of 1000 waterfalls. To this day, I prefer the pinkies (Hayley likes the white ones, the racist), but we rarely have a bag sitting in the pantry. But the old gods and the new were kind enough to give her the idea to make a pie out of the things, and you best believe that pie didn’t make it to day two.

If you could be so kind as to command persuade her to make any of these again, and if you caught any or all of my TV references, may the odds be ever in your favor.

My name is Sonya and I am Hayley’s mom.  Everyone who sees Hayley tells her how much she looks like me.  I personally feel like that is an insult to Hayley as I think she is very beautiful.  Hayley asked me to pick three favorites of her creations and it took me days to narrow down the selection to just 3.  My top 3, in no special order are Pie Fries, Rainbow Cupcakes and Snickerdoodle Donut Muffins.

I love, love, love cinnamon and sugar.  When those two are combined into Pie Fries, I am all over it!  Hayley took the unused scraps of pie dough and coated them with butter and cinnamon and sugar.  Baked them up golden brown and no one but me had the chance to eat them.  I ate the entire plate in seconds.

Snickerdoodle Donut Muffins combine my favorite things – cinnamon sugar, and donuts in a muffin!  Sweet and delicious, like a breakfast or a snack.  How could you not love that combo?  The smell when they are baking is incredible.

The Rainbow Cupcakes are my screen saver at work.  I have people ask me all the time where I got that beautiful picture of those cupcakes.  When I tell them that my daughter made those, they think I am lying.  I actually had to bring them into work to prove that they were not photoshopped, or an illusion.  My coworkers are still talking about those cupcakes!

Without further ado, the “bad ass sitting in the corner sippin’ on a margarita” is now going to give my top 3 favorite treats The Domestic Rebel has made. I am a sucker for cheesecake anything! So of course I chose: Cheesecake Cupcakes followed by Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars, and can you guess what my last choice would be? YEP! You guessed it! Captain Crunch Cupcakes! You thought I was going to say cheesecake weren’t you? By the way, how many times have I said ‘cheesecake’ in just this paragraph?!

Anyways, that isn’t the only reason I chose these…well okay, it’s mostly the reason but the way she made them is what gets at me. Think of a million baby wizards massaging your taste buds with a million baby wands. It’s THAT good. Now, I’m about to throw her under the bus and she might edit this and take this whole thing out but I’m going to do it anyways. Unfortunately I have only had the Cheesecake Cupcakes once. Only once!!! She demands flowers and in exchange she will grant me the wish of having these rare tasty treats again…yet I don’t think so. See, a while back she wanted a bicycle really bad. And you know what I did? I got her one! It was even better than what she even wanted. It has been about almost a year now…and has only ridden it MAYBE five times. So I’m thinking I should get some of these cakes. That’s how much I enjoy these. I am willing to throw the person WHO MAKES these under a bus to get her to make me some more. I could probably write a novel about how awesome everything is but I will have to cut it short and now go day dream about them all!

Well, you all should know me, and if you don’t, consider yourself warned. Like I said, I shouldn’t play favorites with my babies (nor should I eat my babies), but I do both of those anyways. And at the risk of sounding incredibly conceited: “All my stuff is delicious. Look how delicious everything I make is. This is the BEST THING EVER” I feel it’s my moral obligation to point you in the direction of my absolute faves. So, narcissism aside, here we go.

It’s no surprise I love coconut. But these Lite Triple Coconut Cupcakes seriously ruled my world. They’re one of my favorites of all time. If I wore socks, they’d rock them off hardcore-style.

I was hesitant trying these Mexican Mocha Cookies with Kahlua Icing when a family friend made them for a Halloween party. But I was so thankful I did because they’re one of my favorites now. Now normally, “Mexican” and “chocolate” in the same sentence evokes frightening thoughts of people putting actual chiles inside desserts. I like Chipotle, but if they started throwing chocolate on my burrito bowls I’d be pissed as hell. So these are what I call “safe spicy”–I use cinnamon in lieu of chipotle peppers. Your desserts and burrito bowls are safe with me.

Last but certainly not least, these blondies. Blondies rule my soul, y’all. It’s serious business. If you want to know what heaven tastes like, make these. The minute you open your oven door, angels will sing and you will see the light: they’re called white chocolate chips and they’re scattered throughout these decadent blondies. You must make them… unless you don’t want to experience the best moment of your life, but whatevz.

***

Can you believe I live with these people? Judging by their responses there’s no wonder how I turned out the way I did. Sheeeeeeesh. And they call me weird. Also, how many times were my desserts compared to addictive drugs? This is going to get so many wrong Google click-throughs, I just know it.

That does it for this week–thanks to Nikki for this awesome idea, and my family + Jessie for writing their excerpts on their favorite things (and spending more time thinking of what their favorites actually were). You guys are the best taste-testing guinea pigs around!!

I hope everyone has a fun Friday and weekend! Later taters!

xo, Hayley

No-Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars

My little sister started high school this week. *tear*

I still can’t believe she’s a freshman. So young, yet so old at the same time! Now I think I know how parents feel… kind of.

I know that now, she’ll be thrown into a world far more different than middle school was. Middle school is like that treading ground where everyone is totally gawky, even the “cool kids.” Because even those “cool kids” will still be considered “fresh meat” when they step food on the high school campus.

But now, she’s mingling with sophomores and juniors and seniors(!!), taking multiple classes with lots of hard homework, going to homecomings (!!) and and and and… perhaps getting a boyfriend.

Eeeeeeep.

High school relationships are funny. They’re so serious yet so silly at the same time. Of course, I’m speaking with 20/20 hindsight, but still.

A lot of you may have married your high school sweethearts. My parents are. That’s awesome! But if you didn’t, imagine if you had. Ugh.

Personally, if I married my freshman boyfriend, I’d probably still be listening to *shudder* Korn and taking 300 kissy-faced pictures of me to upload to MySpace.

And if I married my sophomore boyfriend, I’d still be listening to punk music, wearing creeper shoes, and keeping JoAnn’s perpetually out of stock in the safety pin department. Gross.

And even if I married my junior & senior boyfriend–which, we were serious enough it seemed–I’d probably be the unhappiest person alive. So I’m kinda sorta SUPER grateful I didn’t marry any of them. But hey, I’m sure they’re all wonderful catches to their current/future girlfriends/wives and that’s all that matters, right?

I just hope that when and if my sister nabs herself a man, he treats her right. He’s bound to be slightly awkward, albeit awkward and adorable, and will probably have bad taste in music (ahem, Korn… really??) but as long as he doesn’t break her heart too bad, I really can’t complain if she takes up a liking for safety pins.

First day celebrations called for some tasty treats, so I whipped up some No-Bake Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Bars for the occasion. My sister loves peanut butter and Butterfingers happen to be one of her favorite candy bars. I knew these easy bars would be a hit with my pretty little sister and I was right! 

They take less than 10 minutes to make and are done in under thirty… including prep time. They’re chewy, crunchy, and dense, filled with tons of peanut buttery goodness and studded with chopped Butterfinger candy bars, then garnished with mini Nutter Butter cookies.

They really can’t get any better, so why settle for anything else??

No-Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars *adapted from my No-Bake S’mores Bars recipe 

About 30 Nutter Butter cookies, finely crushed*
1 pkg peanut butter chips
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
About 12 mini (or 2 regular) Butterfinger candy bars, roughly chopped
1 small pkg Nutter Butter minis, optional (for garnish)

1. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly mist with cooking spray & set aside.
2. In a large bowl, melt the PB chips in the microwave for 45 seconds, stirring until smooth. Stir in the milk to combine.
3. Combine the crushed cookies into the PB/milk mixture; gently fold in the crushed candy bars to incorporate.
4. Using your greased hands or a greased rubber spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Top with miniature Nutter Butter cookies, if desired.
5. Place the pan in the fridge to set, about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for 3-4 days.
**Note: to finely crush cookies, grind them in a food processor until finely ground, working in batches. You don’t want them to be chunky, more like crumbs.**

These are super yummy and SO easy to make–as it’s still pushing in the 100’s here, I’m loving these no-bake recipes as shortcuts to beat the oven. They taste just like a candy bar, but are even tastier and easier than buying one! I hope you love them!!

Have an awesome Thursday!

xo,

Hayley

Oatmeal Cookie Carmelitas

 

 

A couple days ago, I attended what I thought was going to be the first day of my last semester in college.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pass math last semester. And since I was super duper smart and saved my worst subject for the last possible minute, I’m pushed behind in my education in having to retake it.

Problem is, my school considered my failed math class as a pass during the time I needed to register for another class this semester… so I missed registration andddd was forced to crash a class on Monday.

It’s general courtesy that if you’re crashing a course, you don’t take a seat and instead, offer the seats to people who are actually in the class. Makes sense, right?

So when I got there, I took a seat since the class was empty. As it started filling, I gave my seat up to an enrolled student and opted to stand.

Meanwhile, as I stood, there was this rather large and greasy man sitting in the front row, eyes trained on… me. I felt like a piece of pizza in a heated turnstile. Guhhhroosssss. I figured if I got in the course, I would make a mental note to never sit near Pizza Fingers.

In walks an older woman and a young girl with a cast. Both hobble by Pizza Fingers and he just stares at them as they talk about how they both need to “sit up close.” Just. Stares.

Then, when the teacher came in, she immediately asked everyone trying to enroll to raise their hand–and up went the gnarly hand of Pizza Fingers. He wasn’t even in the class, yet he didn’t even give up his seat to two women in need of a seat.

So until I found out that (sadly) I didn’t get the class, I stood in the front giving Pizza Fingers the evil eye. Then the unchosen ones were released and as I walked out, Pizza Fingers sauntered up to me. I could smell the grease a mile away.

“Hey. Bummer we didn’t get the class, right?”

I stared into his beady pepperoni eyeballs and said, “bummer that some people are too indecent to give up their seats to those in need.”

To which Pizza Fingers replied, “we were there first.” And at that moment, I realized I was speaking to a giant talking greaseball and that was kind of out of character for me since normally, the only weird things I talk to are myself and my dogs. Also, who talks to greaseballs, and if anyone around me ever saw me associating with one, they’d probably start judging me and dude, I was not about to be judged for talking to a wad of dumb.

The end.

Then I came home and made some Oatmeal Cookie Carmelitas. They kinda sorta rocked my world. If you’ve never had them, carmelitas are an oatmeal and brown sugary flavored bar topped with gooey, rich caramel and sprinkled with more oatmeal crumbles. Usually, carmelitas have little chunks of chocolate sprinkled in there, too, but I wanted a super golden bar without chocolate. Feel free to sprinkle them in if you like them!

Oatmeal Cookie Carmelitas 

1 (17.5 oz) pkg Betty Crocker Oatmeal cookie mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 jar caramel sundae topping
Sea salt, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix, butter + egg with a rubber spatula. Press 3/4 of the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. Bake for approx. 17 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the caramel sundae sauce on top; spread to even out. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt. Crumble the remaining 1/4 cup oatmeal cookie mix on top of the caramel. Return to the oven and bake for another 17-19 minutes or until caramel is bubbly and the oatmeal crumbles on top are light golden brown.
4. Allow pan to cool for several hours before cutting into bars. Store leftovers at room temperature for 2 days.

These bars are so gooey and chewy and totally awesome! I don’t know why I’ve never tried a carmelita before, but now I’m hooked. And using oatmeal cookie mix makes them SO easy to whip up!! You’ll love them!

Have a wonderful day!

xo, Hayley

{Lightened-Up!} Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fro-Yo

Dear Cookie Dough,

I just can’t quit you.

In the “olden days”, you were taboo. It was risky–dangerous, even.  People risked their lives for you. They figured nothing else in the world mattered in that moment, face-to-face with your sweet, delicate dough… and they threw caution to the wind and risked tummy aches and salmonella for you.

Now you’ve grown up. You’re more sophisticated. You’re less dangerous in the sense that salmonella risk is decreased; however, your tastiness factor has increased exponentially, and for that, you’re possibly more dangerous than you were before.

*sigh* You’re just too amazing.

A few days ago, I had an awful day at work. Obnoxious customers kept us busy from the minute I walked in until long after we closed. I was tired, I was hungry, and I was cranky–a deadly trio of emotions only a big, fat bowl of you could ail. And ail you did–and then some.

Dare I say you’re more amazing than your perpetually baked cousin, the cookie.

Yet I began wondering ways to somehow improve you. I know people say you can’t change someone and by no means do I want you to think you’re imperfect (quite the contrary). But you’re a model: you’re versatile, a blank canvas, if you will, and I had other ideas to hang out with you besides using a rubber spatula as a vehicle to get you in my mouth (how did this turn dirty?)

Something besides stuffing you into cupcakes or pies or cinnamon rolls. Something different, like making you into a frozen treat. Except not like the usual cookie dough ice cream which is 99% vanilla ice cream, 1% measly cookie dough specks.

I wanted you to be put to your full potential… full-throttle cookie dough action, if you will. Something unrelentingly brown sugary, some in-yo-face cookie goodliness. Something like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fro-Yo. Um, yeah, I think that is what the doctor ordered.

When I saw this recipe over at Two Peas and Their Pod, I knew I had to make it. I pinned it immediately and kept it in my mind knowing that I, too, could make you into this level of greatness.

And in my kitchen, you were transformed. Creamy, rich, sweet and surprisingly, light. By using fat-free vanilla yogurt + my favorite low-calorie chocolate chip cookie recipe, I made you into a serious force to be reckoned with. One I enjoyed in a cone, in a bowl, and with a spoon, straight from the tub numerous times over the weekend.

Cookie dough, I love you.

Love, Hayley

{Lightened-Up!} Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fro-Yo *inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod’s recipe & my Low-Calorie Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe 

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Oikos vanilla Greek yogurt)

1. In a freezer-safe bowl with a tight-fitting lid, combine the butter and sugars with a rubber spatula and stir until creamy. Stir in the vanilla and the milk. Lastly, gently stir in the flour and salt to combine. Dough will be soft. Stir in the chocolate chips.
2. Fold the vanilla yogurt into the cookie dough until fully incorporated. Cover with the lid and freeze overnight.
3. Store the fro-yo, tightly covered, in the freezer. This makes about 2-3 cups of fro-yo.

The texture of this fro-yo is creamy and sturdy.. almost like ice cream rather than the soft-serve kind typically found at yogurt shops. It holds well in a cone and tastes delicious no matter how you serve it–I honestly prefer mine straight from the tub!

And for those of you who dislike cookie dough ice cream for the lack of cookie dough (uh, me), then this is for you. There’s no vanilla in the way–all cookie dough here! Plus, it’s lightened-up so you can justify eating a tub and it’s practically considered health-food.

I hope you enjoy!! Please make this, it’s seriously amazing.

xo, Hayley

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