Red Velvet Cookies n Cream Magic Bars

cookievelvet

Okay, so Valentine’s Day.

Let’s just all agree that it’s totally a girly holiday, amiiiirrrriiite?

Because last time I checked, guys aren’t super into Valentine’s Day. That’s why they wait until THEEEE last possible second to buy their roses and cards and that’s why the grocery store lines are always so congested with frantic testosterone the night before.

And while I like Valentine’s Day, I can respect why guys don’t like it so much. It’s so girly. And mushy. And omg, shopping for cards is a NIGHTMARE. Valentine’s cards have a way of either sounding super disgusting possessed with the recipient (“you are my night, my day, my breath, my everything, and you make up the very fibers of my soul”) or are terribly generic (“hey you. Happy, ya know, day of Valentines or whatever.”) Isn’t there a normal card that says “You’re awesome. I like you. Happy Valentine’s” without the awkward vagueness or the attached restraining order?

But when I think about it, Valentine’s Day comes strategically after Superbowl Sunday, which is a total guy holiday. I mean, I like the Superbowl if only for the fact that there’s a plethora of delicious food and I am woefully powerless against a myriad of dips and chips. And I’m sure now I’ll watch it since my family’s precious 49ers are playing. But otherwise … count me out.

So us women trudge through Superbowl Sunday, dealing with the STUUUUPID commercials and our angry boyfriends/dads/husbands/brothers bite their nails down to the quick and shout expletives. We make their chicken wings and spinach dip, we replace their old beers with frosty ones, and we deal with having the TV jeopardized by a bunch of buff men tackling each other for 6 hours because deep down, we know that in two weeks, we’ll have our day. And we get a DAY, as opposed to guys, who only get a couple hours of actual game time before it’s over and they’re back on dish duty.

In two weeks, we will be bombarded with roses, chocolates and jewelry, which, I daresay, is far cooler than a myriad of dips (which I’m pretty sure my idea of heaven consists of). And we can play sappy music and watch rom-coms and demand fancy restaurant reservations and smother our lovers with pink and red.

DSC_0271And while guys everywhere will cringe at all of the chocolate and wine and candles and hearts, why not make this day special for them by baking them something manly and lovey, but still special for the occasion. Enter: Red Velvet Cookies n Cream Magic Bars. They’re totally dreamy red velvet bars topped with crushed Oreos, melty cookies n cream chocolate, and sprinkles. You and your man will flip for these, and these tasty treats may even sway him into watching Valentine’s Day with you for the fortieth time.

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4.7 from 3 reviews
Red Velvet Cookies n Cream Magic Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
 
Meet Red Velvet Cake's new, cooler cousin: the cookies and cream magic bar. You'll love these!
Ingredients
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 splash vanilla extract
  • About 15 Oreos, coarsely crushed
  • About 20-25 cookies n cream Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Wilton Cookies n Cream Sprinkles (available at Walmart and Michael's), optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil and mist lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, eggs and vanilla with a rubber spatula until blended. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for approx. 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately top with the crushed Oreos, unwrapped Kisses, and sprinkles in an even layer. Drizzle evenly with the scmilk. Return the pan to the oven and continue to bake, until golden and bubbly, approx. 10-15 minutes.
  4. Allow the bars to come to room temperature before cutting into squares. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for several days.

 

DSC_0278Now normally, I’m not a huge red velvet fan. There’s something about it that’s so “meh” to me. But these bars definitely won me over. They’re rich and satisfying–almost like a fudgy chocolate brownie–topped with all those lovely cookies and cream layers. The crushed Oreos add a nice texture to the red velvet “brownie” base, especially when blended with those creamy Kisses nestled alongside. You’ll love these and so will your kiddos and hubbies!

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart Chip Cookies

pbheart

A few days ago, my grandma was telling us a story about my dad and how he ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese shortly before he was due to meet my mom’s parents for the first time.

My grandma asked my dad why he was eating all that macaroni and cheese right before he was supposed to have dinner with my mom and her parents soon. My dad replied, “because you don’t know how much food there will be.”

And in that instant, any conflicting thoughts of me possibly being adopted dissipated into thin air because OHMAHGOSH that’s SO me.

Have you ever been invited to someone’s house and they’re like, “there’ll be food!” so you’re like “sweet, I will save my precious calories for this party promised with lots of yummy food!” and you get there and there’s like, NOTHING but a bag of chips and you’re like …. oh my god, these are non-food people.

Non-food people are people who don’t really like food or think about food the way food people do. It’s quite simple. You either love food and think about it constantly, or you don’t. And non-food folk scare the living jeebus out of me because they never have anything to eat at their house, parties which there is supposed to be food means the food will always be scarce because they actually think a box of macaroni and cheese is supposed to serve four people which is absolutely HILARIOUSLY silly, and where if you get more than seconds at their house, you’ll look like you haven’t eaten in six weeks and you’re a glutton. It’s a lose-lose, people.

And for some reason, I have the uncanny ability of choosing friends who are non-food people. So I’ll go to their house and I’m feeling rather peckish, and they’ll be like, “we have some Raisin Bran” and I’m like OH MY GOD HOW ARE YOU LIVING RIGHT NOW because there’s nary a box of crackers or a granola bar or a banana in sight and obviously people don’t choose to keep Raisin Bran on hand for guests who like food. I mean, Raisin Bran? I thought we were friends. What the hell.

Anyway, just so we’re clear, I am always a food person, so if you ever come to my house, you’re welcome to my pantry which is always stocked with stuff in preparation for a future apocalypse in which none of the nearby grocery stores carry cereal, chips or cake mix. Seriously — it appears at first glance that is all my family eats. And well, it’s basically true.

DSC_0305And if you come over, I’ll be sure to tempt you foodies with some delightful cookies. Together, we’ll eat cookies, shun Raisin Bran forever, and then go out to Red Robin and proceed to eat six baskets of extra crispy fries together because that’s what foodie friends do, dangit.

And I am your foodie friend for life.

DSC_0296Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart Chip Cookies *adapted from the Rainbow M&M Cookies recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
For peanut buttah lovahs only.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter chips
  • ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • About 28 chocolate peanut butter heart candies (I found mine by Palmer's at the Dollar Tree--holla)
Instructions
  1. First, make yo' dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter and sugars until creamy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Pour in the flour, soda, cornstarch and salt and gently beat until a soft dough comes together. Stir in the peanut butter + chocolate chips evenly. Chill the dough approx. 30 min-1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or mist lightly with cooking spray. Drop heaping Tablespoonfuls of dough about 1-2" apart on the baking sheets. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time, until set and golden. Remove from oven.
  3. A minute after taking the cookies out, gently press an unwrapped peanut butter heart candy in the center of the cookie. Allow the cookies to set on the cookie sheets about 10 minutes before transferring carefully to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cookies airtight, at room temperature, up to a week.

 

DSC_0304ERMAHGERD, GUYS. These cookies rock my socks! The peanut butter/chocolate chip cookie base is my favorite basic cookie recipe because it’s chewy, soft, and totally luscious. I love how the edges crisp up as it bakes, giving that nice texture along the outer rim of each bite. And the pockets of melty peanut butter + semi sweet chips are positively irresistible. Then, of course, you have that huge chocolate peanut butter heart pressed smack-dab in the middle, providing a gooey, warm center for these tasty treats! If you want to be super fancy, sprinkle some sea salt on top just after pressing the candy in the middle. Or substitute caramel-filled candies for a fun sweet-and-salty twist.

Have a good day!

xo, Hayley

 

Cake Batter Oreo-Stuffed Funfetti Cookies

bdayoreo

Today’s post is super special, guys!

Today, I am celebrating a baby.

*points to self* No, not my baby. Are you kidding me? I become unreasonably snotty if I get less than seven hours of sleep a night AND I can still justify spending an inordinate amount of money on clothes. There’s no way I could raise a child. I meaaaan..

Today, I’m celebrating the future baby to the adorable Mandy at Mandy’s Recipe Box!!

Mandy is about to bring in a special little bun into her life, and the coolest thing of all is she’s waiting to find out the gender until it’s born!

I mean, call me old-fashioned, but a baby’s gender is like, one of the true surprises in life. My parents didn’t know the gender of me and my siblings, and they believe most parents shouldn’t (though I totally understand how OMGSOTEMPTING it’d be to find out). But how cool will it be when she gives birth and it’s a complete surprise?! I’m SO excited for her and her family!

And I’m SO excited that I was asked to participate in a virtual baby shower for Mandy! She is such a sweet mama and awesome friend, and I’m so glad I got to meet her in this crazy world of blogging!

Mandy Baby Shower

So while I don’t really want to compare cookies to baby genders, I thought it’d be cool to stuff some Funfetti flavored cookies with two different types of Oreos … that way, from the outside, you’ll have no idea what flavor lurks inside the plush, cake-y cookie until you take a bite! Will it be stuffed with Cake Batter flavored Oreos, or Cake Batter flavored Golden Oreos? Another true surprise, and a perfect treat for a mommy-to-be and her sparkly, fun baby shower :)

DSC_0230What are you waiting for? Aren’t you anxious to see what’s inside?!?

DSC_0235Cake Batter Oreo-Stuffed Funfetti Cookies *adapted from my Rainbow M&M Cookies recipe & Sally’s Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe

Cake Batter Oreo-Stuffed Funfetti Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Funfetti-flavored cookies stuffed with more cookies!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp butter extract/emulsion
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sprinkles
  • About 12 cookies each Cake Batter flavored Oreos and Cake Batter flavored Golden Oreos
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, cornstarch and salt, and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, about a minute. Beat in the egg and extracts to combine.
  2. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Once dough has come together, stir in the sprinkles. Chill the dough for 30 mins-1 hour.
  3. While the dough chills, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone liners or mist lightly with cooking spray. Once dough has chilled, drop rounded Tablespoonfuls of dough on the baking sheets about 1″ apart. Gently press an Oreo in the center of the dough ball and top it with another rounded Tablespoonful of dough. Use your fingers to very carefully enclose the Oreo with dough. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake-time, or until light golden in color and centers are just about set–they’ll continue cooking on the baking sheet.
  4. Cool the cookies on the sheets about 5-10 minutes before carefully transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies airtight, at room temperature, for about 5 days.

 

DSC_0239These cookies are SO delicious and SO fun! The combination of the vanilla, butter and almond extract lends an authentic cake battery taste to each bite of these buttery, tender cookies without using a cake mix for that signature flavor. And if you haven’t tried those Cake Batter-flavored Oreos yet, you MUST go to your nearest Target/Walmart ASAP and stock up! They’re INSANELY good, and once stuffed in between these soft, chewy cookies, they make for an awesome, crunchy surprise!

I’m not the only one celebrating Mandy and her new behbeh. Be sure to stop by these other blogs to see their sweet treats for Mandy!! Congratulations, Mandy! We love you and are SO happy for you!! <3 ((hugs))

Nikki from Chef In Training
Dorothy from Crazy For Crust
Holly from Life as a Lofthouse
Tina from Mommy’s Kitchen
Stephanie from Back For Seconds
Ashton from Something Swanky
Becca from Crumbs and Chaos
Jocelyn from Inside BruCrew Life
Aimee from Shugary Sweets
Stephanie from Macaroni and Cheesecake
Brandie from The Country Cook

xo, Hayley

 

Happy Birthday: Funfetti Bubblegum Cake

hayleybday

Guess who is having a birthday today?!?

Little ol’, sweet ol’, sassy ol’, 22-year old ME!

meemememe

 

This little chickadee turns 22 years old today. I can’t even believe I’m 22. Some days, I feel like I’m 80 with my 9pm bedtime and my occasional hip problems. Other days, I feel like I’m 15, dressing like a cartoon character with absolutely zero trace of ‘adult’ in my blood .. or wardrobe.

I mean, in 8 years, I’ll be THIRTY. And 8 years ago, I was FOURTEEN. How does that happen, people?!

Anyway. Since today is an undeclared national holiday (go ahead, call in sick and tell your boss it’s for a very important reason and he/she is callous for not celebrating Hayley Day), I’m going to do whatever I please. This will probably consist of an inordinate amount of shopping (because that appears to be my favorite pasttime), maybe painting my nails (because freshly manicured nails equal birthday success in my neurotic head), and chowing down on food since calories are negated due to the birthday celebration (I’m looking at you, freebie Krispy Kreme donut. Get in my mouthhole ASAP).

cake2Because of my national holiday, I decided to make a cake sure to please me and probably only me. Unless you’re A) addicted to sprinkles; B) obsessed with bubblegum; or C) Hayley Parker, you probably want nothing to do with this obnoxiously bubblegummy cake smothered in sugar. Otherwise, welcome aboard. You’re in for a tasty ride, friend.

Okay, so I’m no Sprinklebakes, but I tried to make a prettiful four-tiered cake for my birthday festivities. I frosted it with Cool Whip icing because whipped cream frosting > buttercream. Yeah, I went there, homie. Whipped cream icing rules my face.

cake1Of course, said frosting is flavored BUBBLEGUM because bubblegum makes everything better and literally makes my soul smile. That icing not only frosts this miniature four-tiered cake, but also provides a sliver of frosting in between layers for an extra bubblicious punch. And since I also happen to be all thumbs when it comes to cake decorating (read: I’m awful), I smothered everything in sprinkles. If that isn’t obnoxiously but beautifully distracting, I don’t know what is.

Behold, my birthday cake. Happy Birthday, indeed!

cake5

Happy Birthday: Funfetti Bubblegum Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
My dream birthday cake -- layers of luscious Funfetti cake sandwiched around fluffy bubblegum icing and SMOTHERED in sprinkles!
Ingredients
  • 1 box Funfetti cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 & ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 small box sugar free/fat free vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 tub Cool Whip Lite (or you could use the Cool Whip Frosting in Vanilla--I did!), thawed
  • 1 pkt Duncan Hines Bubblegum Frosting Creations
  • Sprinkles and non-pareils
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease two 6" cake pans (the small circular ones, available at Michael's) with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, egg whites, water and applesauce with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in the pudding mix to combine. Pour the batter evenly between the two greased pans. Place the pans on top of a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spillover.
  3. Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Cool the cakes about 30 minutes before gently inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Very carefully, saw each cake in half evenly. Place one half on your cake stand or plate. Meanwhile, gently combine the bubblegum flavor packet into the Cool Whip to blend. Slather a generous Tablespoon or so on top of the layer. Cover with another layer, then frost. Repeat two more times until you have four tiers with frosting in between three of them.
  5. Frost the remainder of the cake in an even layer. Smother immediately with sprinkles. The more, the freaking merrier, y'all. Eat up! Store this puppy airtight, in the fridge, for a couple days or so... assuming it lasts that long, which would kinda be criminal.

 

cake4This cake is SO amazing; definitely my dream cake. The actual Funfetti cake is super moist and light, thanks to the egg whites (which also lighten it up calorie-wise), and the pudding mixed in. And that bubblegum whipped cream frosting is TO DIE FOR! When smothered in sprinkles and sandwiched between each buttery layer of cake, each bite is simply heavenly. Serve it with some bubblegum ice cream and call it a helluva birthday!

Can’t get enough bubblegum? Me either (it’s kinda serious). Here’s some more bubblicious treats for you:

3 Ingredient Bubblegum Ice Cream
Bubblegum Vodka
(oh yes I did)
Bubblegum Sugar Cookies

See ya soon!

xo, Hayley

Almond Sugar Valentine Cookies

valentinecookie

I want to talk about something serious today, people.

Animal Prejudice.

So, okay. I have an affinity with raccoons, right? I love them. I think their little striped faces and teeny hands are just SOFREAKINGCUTEICOULDDIE.

But anytime I bring this up, people scold me. “Raccoons are so mean” they say. “Raccoons will claw your eyes out and murder your family and then set your house on fire. That is the evil that roots itself within every raccoons soul.

But like .. how can people say that? How can EVERY raccoon be some devilish creature that has homicidal tendencies? I’m pretty positive that not every single raccoon in the world is evil. I’m sure there’s a nice raccoon family out there teaching their young to be tolerant, sweet raccoons, just trying to make ends meet every day and be a good citizen of the bountiful sewers in this beautiful country.

Or coyotes. They lurk around here sometimes (or so I’m told.. as far as I’m concerned, I think it’s an urban legend or something), and everyone says they’re “soooo mean” and “little beastly savages” but oh my god, you guys. You’re calling homeless dogs savages. That’s a really low blow. Coyotes have feelings too, ya know. And calling them a savage is like, super rude.

I’m sure the coyote moms come home after a long night of just trying to hunt food for their sweet babies and the mom coyotes start crying because everyone is so rude to them, and all they’re trying to do is get food, and omg this is 2013, why can’t people be tolerant?!? It’s just a travesty.

So in conclusion, just bear in mind that when you generalize that all animals are evil or mean or savages, you’re hurting their feelings. Sure, some raccoons out there are douchebags and I’m sure there are plenty of A-hole coyotes, but there’s also sweet ones.. ones I want to own as pets and stroke their fur and snuggle with them and feed them little peanuts because that’d be so freaking cute.

Anyway. This has absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. But whatever. And holy cow, Valentine’s Day is like, right around the corner. How did that happen?!!?

DSC_0226These cookies would be perfect for the 14th. They’re easy to make, bright and fun, and taste great! Jazzed up with a generous splash of almond extract, these sugary, butter cookies have a sweet flavor to them which is contrasted nicely with the chocolate Valentine’s Sixlets candies stuffed inside each bite.

Make them!!

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Almond Sugar Valentine Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Make these bad boys for your sweetheart.
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ⅓ cup Valentine's non-pareils
  • ⅓ cup Valentine's micro heart sprinkles
  • ½ cup Valentine's Sixlets candy
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or mist lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, eggs and almond extract with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in the different sprinkles and the Sixlets candies to combine.
  3. Portion heaping Tablespoonfuls of dough evenly on the baking sheets, about 1" apart. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time, or until centers are set and edges are lightly golden. Cool on the pans for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

 

DSC_0222Almond extract is underused in my house, but only because my mom is allergic to almonds (I know! So lame!) But I absolutely love that sweet brightness it gives frostings, cakes, and especially these delicate cookies. You’ll never guess they were made with cake mix because they’re SO chewy, super soft, and have that nice almond flavor. Plus, they’re too cute for Valentine’s Day!! And it makes about 2 dozen, so there’s plenty to give to coworkers or your kiddo’s classmates.

I have a special post for you tomorrow! Have a great Wednesday!

xo, Hayley

 

Birthday Cake Seven Layer Bars

bdaymagic

Things You Will Never Hear Me Say:

“This is too bright.”

“There’s such a thing as too much glitter.”

“I’m full.”

“On second thought, I’ll pass; I don’t need it.”

“No, I don’t feel like going to the mall today.”

“I could never spend that much on a Betsey Johnson dress.”

“This floor-length denim skirt looks GREAT!!!”

“Mom, will you buy me a pair of Crocs?”

“I’ve been craving a Bloody Mary!!”

“Mmmm!! Porkchops!!!”

“Kristen Stewart is one of the greatest actresses of this or any generation. Pure talent and pizzazz.”

…Or any sentence where I use the word ‘pizzazz.’

“I don’t want pizza tonight.”

“Let’s go to Old Navy–I hear they’re having a sale on flip flops!!!”

“That Taylor Swift is such a hopeless romantic! I love her songs, and no, they don’t all sound the same!”

“Ooh, John Mayer. He’s SOOOOO hot!”

“Are seven layers too much?”

So, okay, not to sound like a broken record or anything, but I heart seven layer bars. Like a lot. And not to be a one-trick pony or anything, but I made yet another version that tastes like cupcakes. You’ll thank me after your taste buds explode into the gates of heaven upon first bite, trust me. (Also trust me not to use anymore cliche expressions related to broken-record-playing-track-ponies).

DSC_0203The inspiration for these big, bad bars full of birthday cake goodliness came from THESE bars I made last week. Upon tasting them, I liked them, but I felt like they were missing some more cake-y action. And sweetened condensed milk, which I’m petitioning restaurants to start offering as a beverage. The world is so narrow-minded in its beverage choices, am I right?

So thus, these Birthday Cake Seven Layer Bars were born. Magic bars, seven layer bars, crack — whatever you prefer to call them, we’ll all inevitably know what you’re talking about when you bite into one and say “OMG YUM.”

DSC_0204

Birthday Cake Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
 
Happy Birthday to yoooooou. Celebrate tastily with these seven-layer bars!
Ingredients
  • 1 box Funfetti cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup sprinkles
  • ¾ cup miniature marshmallows
  • ½ cup (roughly about 10-12) Birthday Cake Golden Oreos, roughly crushed
  • ½ cup (roughly about 10-12) Birthday Cake Oreos, roughly crushed
  • 2 boxes Cupcake Bites*
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil, extending edges of foil over the sides of the pan. Mist lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter until a soft dough forms. Press into prepared pan in an even layer, and bake for approx. 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and immediately top with the semi-sweet chips, the white chips, sprinkles, 2 types of crushed Oreos, cupcake bites and marshmallows evenly. *However, I find the marshmallows cook best when they're put on as the first layer, then covered with the remaining ingredients* Drizzle the can of scmilk on top.
  4. Return to the oven and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into bars. Store airtight, at room temperature, for several days. These taste really good at room temperature or slightly warmed! So gooey!
  5. **Note: I found the Cupcake Bites (which are like round, cake-flavored candies) at the Dollar Store. I also found the limited edition Birthday Cake Oreos at Walmart and Target. Stock up!!**

 

DSC_0199These bars are OUTRAGEOUS. So many deliciously sweet flavors happening at once. The gooey marshmallows, the sugary sprinkles, the crunchy Oreos .. everything works cohesively to make a stunningly simple, stickily sweet cake batter bar. You and your kids will love it!

Happy Tuesday!!

xo, Hayley

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Stuffed Brownies

sugarcookiebrownie

How to Be An Indecisive Person

Wake up. But not really. I mean, you know you need to wake up, but couldn’t you maybe just sleep in for another five minutes? But then you’d be five minutes behind on getting ready and your usual routine. And you kind of want coffee since you’re newly addicted. But your bed is so warm. #firstworldproblems

Finally get up and get ready, which is sadly THEEE hardest thing in the world. I mean, what if you wear the wrong thing? It’d be a travesty. I mean, you want to wear the dress but it’s kind of cold and when you have to use the bathroom, tights are kind of cumbersome. But at the same time, of your 37 shirts none are appealing at the moment so wearing a shirt is kind of out of the equation. You’ll inevitable change your clothes, rotate accessories and walk around the house with two different shoes on trying to decide WHAT THE HECK to wear about 16 times before finally leaving the house. It is only then that you either A) hate what you’re wearing and want to call the day a complete fail, or B) realize you weren’t wearing the ring you decided that would be OMGSOPERFECT with this outfit and think the world will collapse onto itself because your ring is at home and woefully not on your finger.

While out shopping, you have a list of things you need to buy but are suddenly overcome with distractions of ridiculously tempting items like candy, a magazine, and random knick-knacks. You want to keep with your list, but the prospects of new things and random ideas as inspiration flows into your head like gushing waters of brilliance, you can’t help but throw a billion different things into your cart. You know you shouldn’t stray off your list too much, but abandoning that adorable chambray shirt when it has so many outfit possibilities would be like kicking your imagination in the face. So you reluctantly buy it, along with 14 bags of chocolate chips for what you think will be the best chocolate chip cookie ever, against your better (albeit indecisive) judgment.

Later, your friend/date/parents/significant other will ask you what you want for dinner and you’ll inevitably start feeling the beginning of a panic attack erupting from your very soul. Choosing where and what to eat is like basically doing trigonometry while a bomb is strapped to your chest and angry hornets will be released if you don’t recite the Declaration of Independence within 15 seconds. In other words, it’s scary as hell, people. I know that deep down, I want breakfast for dinner. But suddenly, the urge to eat a hamburger festers itself in my cells. And you’ll know that if you willingly say you want a hamburger for dinner, you’ll immediately regret it because once you’re seated at the hamburger joint, you’re going to be jonesing for breakfast. Or you’ll go to the breakfast joint with every intention of ordering country potatoes with biscuits + gravy but instead you’ll order a hamburger and feel like the dope who wastes their last life line on a dumbass question. Seriously–picking where and what to eat (or similarly, where to go or what to do) is a question that plagues my very core.

DSC_0154Thankfully, for indecisive people like myself, I have taken the horrible feeling of failure and misdirection by combining two often craved desserts simultaneously into one amazing dessert hybrid. Enter the cookie-stuffed brownie. Stuffed desserts aren’t new on this blog, but the idea of shoving a buttery, tender Lofthouse-style sugar cookie inside of a deep dish, unrelentingly fudgy brownie cup is pure brilliance for those cookies? No, brownies. No, cookies. I hate my life moments I have far too often.

Thank goodness I didn’t kick this idea in the face.

DSC_0152

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Stuffed Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cook
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Cookies, meet brownies. Brookies, meet your mouth.
Ingredients
  • 1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 pkg (approx. 12) miniature Lofthouse-style sugar cookies (I found mine premade in the bakery department of my grocery store, but I know Target and Walmart have them too!)
  • ½ cup chocolate frosting (canned or homemade)
  • Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare the brownie mix according to package instructions. Spoon a Tablespoon of batter into the bottom of each muffin cup. Place a frosted Lofthouse sugar cookie on top of the batter. Spoon another heaping Tablespoon or two on top of the cookie, covering it completely.
  3. Bake the brownie cups for approx. 18-20 minutes (mine were done at the 18 minute mark) until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or mostly clean. Cool the brownie cups completely on a wire rack.
  4. Once cooled, melt the chocolate frosting (you could also sub ¾ cup or so of chocolate chips) in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth and melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the brownie cups and sprinkle immediately with sprinkles. Let the drizzle set, about 20 minutes, before eating. Store these cups airtight at room temperature up to 3 days. They also taste great slightly warmed!

 

DSC_0155Okay, people. I know what you’re thinking: I am positively bonkers for putting a frosted sugar cookie inside of a brownie. But trust me–it works. And wonderfully so! The cookie remains tender and buttery inside of the fudgy brownie blanket. And that sugary buttercream pillow of frosting on top of each cookie? It melts into a delectable, crystallized sugar candy layer right underneath the tops of the brownies, creating an irresistible sugar crust and adds a wonderful crunch to these brownie bites! Trust me, you’ll want to bake with frosting more often :)

Happy Friday!!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter & Jelly 7-Layer Bars

pbj7layer

Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

With that said, prepare to be bombarded with about 347234872 more seven layer bar recipes in the next couple weeks. Forrealsies.

Seven layer bars are quickly becoming my new BFF. They’re like the ultimate go-to dessert because you can’t go wrong, the possibilities are seriously limitless, and they taste AHMAZING. Plus, you pour a can of sweetened condensed milk on top, and everyone knows SCMilk is like, nectar from the gods. Swear it. It says on the package.

They’re my go-to. My trusty companion.

Like, on the level of excuses, it’s as crazy and farfetched as “my dog ate my homework” but on the practicality level, it’s totally a “I have a migraine and it’s making me stabby.” People are going to think it sounds odd at first, but they’ll soon realize it makes sense. Unlike this entire paragraph which I’m sorry and ashamed I wrote.

Anywho. Seven layer bars flavored like that go-to snack, the peanut butter + jelly. Sweet raspberry jelly paired with salty peanut butter, swirled harmoniously together on a yellow cake base and topped with tons of magical candies, nuts and goodies sure to tantalize your mouth-hole.

Get yo PBJ on.

DSC_0109

Peanut Butter & Jelly 7-Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Peanut Butter Jelly (Bar) TIIIIIMEEEEEE! Dooo it.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup Reese's peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts (I used the sundae topping kind in a can)
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raspberry M&M's
  • ¾ cup Ghiradelli Dark & Raspberry chocolate squares, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil, extending the sides over the edges of the pan. Lightly mist with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter--mix until a stiff dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes or until lightly set in the middle.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately top with the Reese's cups, peanuts, peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chips, raspberry M&M's and chopped Ghiradelli chocolates in an even layer. Drizzle the can of scmilk over the top of the bars and return to the oven.
  4. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or so, or until the bars are bubbling and set in the center. Cool completely before gently lifting from the pan using the foil handles and cutting into bars. Store airtight, at room temperature, for several days.

 

DSC_0108Sticky, chewy, sweet, and gooey .. these bars are reminiscent of a favorite lunch box staple but in a candy-coated square of heaven. The combination of flavors and textures from the different candies, as well as the different tastes (sweetness from the raspberry jelly seeping from each Ghiradelli chocolate, the salty peanut butter oozing from the Reese’s cups), makes this treat a delicious experience in every bite. You’ll love these unique bars and so will your kiddos!! The only thing missing is a tall glass of milk :)

Happy Thursday!

xo, Hayley

 

Oatmeal Creme Pie Truffles

oatmealtruffle

A few days ago, I was reading the most recent issue of Glamour magazine when I stumbled across an article for “The $25,000 Workout.” Intrigued, confused and kind of angry that a workout in the world somewhere costs $25,000 (which basically means you’re paying more than a modest car to be tortured), I read more.

Apparently, if you do the circuit four times a week with cardio on your off days, you can lose weight and get trim in two weeks.

I just so happened to read this two weeks exactly from my birthday and thought if I could whittle myself a good, say, 20 pounds in two weeks, I’d be good to go. Happy Birthday to me!

I told my dad this plan and he looked at me crazy and said there’s no way I’d ever lose twenty pounds in two weeks and at the most, I’d lose a pound a week if I worked out really hard and ate better and whatnot. Then he gave me the “elevate your heart rate and keep it up” speech which I know, Dad, but something about raising my heart rate sounds unnatural and kind of scary. Like, I know high blood pressure is bad, so why is high heart rate good? Explain that, science.

But the whole time he talked I just imagined a scene in my head in which I wiggled into a size four dress and watched as it perfectly hugged every curve without making me look like an elongated sausage about to burst. I exited the fitting room to have flower petals thrown all over me, sales associates cheering and calling me a ‘fitness idol’ and a ‘true inspiration, both for fashion and fitness’ as I gracefully walked down the makeshift fitting room catwalk, magically twenty pounds lighter in two weeks.

Anyways, so I got to working out which basically consisted of me being put into disgusting, compromising positions on my living room floor looking like an animal and grunting like a wild beast, thinking that 45 seconds of ape squats was like, melting ten pounds off my thighs.

I kept up this rigorous ten minute workout for two days until… until… until my dog pooped on our walk and I bent down to pick it up, thus somehow cataclysmically straining my right kneecap in the process, which propelled me into a downward spiral of complaining and limping all the way home.

And dude, my leg has hurt since. It’s been like, four days now. And after researching “random leg clicking” and “kneecap pain” on the Google machine, I informed my family that it was highly likely I had shredded my meniscus (which sounds oddly like mucus), but they just looked at me and said I definitely did not shred my meniscus and probably just sprained my knee in some freak poop-picking-up accident that could only happen to me.

So long story short, I’m pretty sure I’ll be recovering from my gruesome kneecap accident for the next two weeks and will be unable to participate in $25,000 workouts or beast-noises. However, I’m hoping that since that workout costs $25,000, I could just get my money back or you know, lipo or something instead. Note: I did not actually spend $25K on a workout. Did you honestly think for that brief second that I did? Sheesh, I wish I had money to blow on stupid things. Actually, I do have money to spend on stupid things which is why I have no money currently. Yes, my bank account says $0.00. Not because of a gym bill. Hello, do I look like I would spend money on gym equipment? Don’t answer that; my muffin top and I don’t want to hear the truth. 

During my recovery, I’ve regressed back to days when calories were nonexistent (childhood) and made a favorite snack into a fun, new treat. Introducing Oatmeal Creme Pie Truffles! These little pups are a cinch to make, are only 3 ingredients(!!) and taste exactly like those highly addictive snack cakes you can get at the grocery store. Plus, smaller things have less calories (science, y’all) so I’m pretty sure like, 15 of these truffles equals one creme pie. But you should never trust a food blogger with math equations.

DSC_0131

5.0 from 1 reviews
Oatmeal Creme Pie Truffles
Author: 
Recipe type: Truffles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
These truffles are totally impressive and taste like those iconic Lil Debbie snacks.
Ingredients
  • 1 box (approx. 6) oatmeal creme pies, unwrapped
  • ¾ pkg white chocolate candy coating (I use Candiquik)
  • Cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. Place all of the oatmeal creme pies in a large bowl.
  2. Using clean hands, begin mashing the pies together to form a dough-like consistency. The mixture will naturally form into a ball shape. Using a cookie dough scoop or a Tablespoon measure, measure out Tablespoon-sized balls of truffles and place them on the cookie sheet. You should get a little over a dozen truffles (about 12-14).
  3. Freeze the truffles for about 1 hour to stiffen. Once frozen and solid, prepare the candy melts according to package directions until smooth + melted.
  4. Dip the truffles into the melted white chocolate with a fork, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Place gently on the foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle immediately with cinnamon sugar. Repeat until all truffles are coated.
  5. Store leftover truffles airtight, at room temperature for several days, or in the freezer for several weeks, bringing to room temp before serving. As I said, this makes roughly 12-14 truffles.

 

DSC_0133These truffles taste sooooo good. That classically sweet, marshmallowy frosting in the middle acts as the “glue” for these oatmeal cookie sandwiches, providing an excellent background of sweetness to the chewy oatmeal cookie truffles. Plus, I love the sweet and spicy addition of the cinnamon sugar on top. It brings the whole thing together!

Happy Wednesday!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Cookies ‘N Cream Cake Batter Bars

birthdaycakebar

I’m baaaaack!

And before I dive into my usual crazy/sugary shenanigans, I just wanted to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who commented, emailed and texted me this last week, giving me words of encouragement, sending me prayers and good thoughts, and who made me feel SO loved and supported during my personal post. Taking a little time off to readjust to my new dosage and take life in one day at a time helped immensely. And I can’t thank you enough for your loyalty, friendship and patience during this time. ((HUGS))

Okay. Back to normalcy. Or something like that.

It’s no surprise I’m kiiiindof a nosy person. I like hearing things about people’s lives and asking them questions and whatnot. In a nicer world, people would call me ‘inquisitive’ rather than a ‘voyeur’ or my mom’s term, ‘nosy’.

Anyway, as of late I have been obsessed with asking people — seriously, almost ANYONE (it’s only slightly embarrassing when I later think that I asked the cashier at Target this question)–who is your ‘free pass’? As in, if this person showed up on your doorstep rightthissecond, you’d have to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend/hubby/wife/FWB “Sorry, but _____ is my free pass. And I promise I’ll put in a good word with your free pass so you won’t be alone and stuff while I spend the rest of my life with this magical celebrity/person of my liking.”

I know my mom goes bonkers for Bradley Cooper, and I have friends who would drop everything and willingly forget their former lives and flames should Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp appear.

I’m sorry Bradley, Johnny, Brad… I would pass on you if it meant I could forever be with the beauty that is Jennifer Lawrence.

Seriously. Is that woman real life? She’s like perfect. And lately I haven’t been the slightest bit worried that I’m kind of being creepy by professing my love for her so openly. I mean, maaaaaybe the magical powers of love will carry my words the distance from here to Los Angeles and whisper ever so softly into her ear, “you’re awesome and I heart you. And I promise I’m not a serial killer.” E.g, every words a woman longs to hear from a stranger.

Anyways, I know that’d like never happen because I have really bad luck. Case in point: as a kid, I was totally in love with the TV show Figure It Out with Summer Sanders, and I was DESPERATE to get on the show. So I’d enter and enter and try soooo hard to be a contestant but realized I didn’t have any legit talents that would be worthy of television. I don’t know which is more sad: a young child who was woefully talentless, or the fact that I will die having never been slimed. Obvi it’s the latter.

So instead, I will read Silver Linings Playbook and obsess over J.Law’s Golden Globe dress and stuff my face with birthday cake bars. I’m pretty sure in a perfect world, Jennifer would go coo-coo for my Cookies ‘n Cream Cake Batter Bars. I mean, the two of them basically share the same magic.

DSC_0167These bars are for cake batter lovers everywhere. And cookie lovers. And sprinkle lovers. AKA, awesome people who have good taste. They’re chewy, rich, buttery and super sugary, thanks to being fully loaded with sprinkles (more is better), white chocolate chips, crushed Oreo cookies, and my personal fave, Circus Animal Cookies. And after Circus Animal Cookie Week was such a success last year, I figured I needed to incorporate these cheery pink & white animal cookies into more goodies for you guys! These bars were no exception.

DSC_0173You’ll have to taste for yourself, but I’m pretty sure the deliciousness level is a Ryan Gosling.

DSC_0164Cookies ‘n Cream Cake Batter Bars *inspired by my dear friend Sally, whose love for sprinkles knows no bounds, and who is an awesome source of inspiration and smiles!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cookies 'N Cream Cake Batter Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
 
No. Words. Just make 'em, friends.
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp butter extract or emulsion
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • ⅔ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ - ¾ cup Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed
  • ½ - ¾ cup Circus Animal Cookies, coarsely crushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, eggs, butter extract and vanilla extract with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Stir in the rainbow sprinkles, white chips and coarsely crushed cookies until lightly combined.
  3. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake until center is set and is slightly golden, about 17-20 minutes (mine finished at about the 18 minute mark). Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store airtight, at room temperature, several days. These also freeze pretty well, too!

 

DSC_0168Okay, so lemme give you a quick lowdown, folks: the butter extract combined with the vanilla (or per Sally’s recommendation: almond extract) creates a delightful, authentic “cake batter” flavor. While yes, using a box of cake mix as a base will definitely ramp up that cake batter flavor, adding an additional splash of butter and vanilla (or almond) will just deepen and enhance that deliciously rich flavor reminiscent of cake and frosting. And the add-ins are just phenom!! You’ll heart these bars, I promise.

Have a fantastical Tuesday!!

xo, Hayley

 

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