Samoas Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!Every year around this time, I start to realize bikini season is creeping up on me… and every year around this time, I vow to eat better, exercise more, and transform myself into a Victoria’s Secret model.

And for awhile, it works. I’ll throw spinach in my smoothies. I’ll walk an extra mile a day. I’ll send Victoria’s Secret my bikini modeling pictures and they’ll call me and tell me to please stop sending photos to them. Same old routine, you know?

But then… then something happens. I’ll be walking to the grocery store to buy more birdseed to snack on when suddenly, I’m attacked by throngs of miniature girls with ribbons in their hair and teeth missing in their mouths asking me in their cute voices if I’d like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies. And then there’s always that one little girl dressed up like a gigantic Tagalong or something and I just want to scream why are you doing this to me!? because it’s so rude to say no to a girl dressed up like a giant cookie, you know?

It’s like, I may say no to a cookie here and there, but a cookie with a face? A cookie with a toothless grin, pigtails, and shoes that light up when she dances? That’s a low-blow to breeze on by and be like, I don’t need you, dancing cookie girl. I just can’t do it.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!So inevitably I spend my kale money on Do-Si-Dos and Thin Mints and Samoas and insist to the moms multiple times that I’m buying for my family, we all love cookies, har har har, and then I get home and eat every last crumb of those evil concoctions. I’ll check the boxes later after the damage is done and see that one serving is two cookies and I’ll laugh because everyone knows that eating two Girl Scout Cookies is equivalent to the impossibility of seeing pigs fly, finding Justin Bieber attractive and eating pizza on the moon. It’s just not possible.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!So while my kale and boiled chicken diet may be done, my Girl Scout Cookie diet is alive and well. And since Samoas are my favorite Girl Scout Cookie in all the land, I have been ramping up my baking with tons of Samoas-inspired recipes for when Girl Scout season is over and my cravings are still alive and well. And you guys, these bars could not be easier and they taste just like a thicker, softer Samoa cookie!

Don’t mind me, just making the impossible into possibles. Except for J.Biebs. He’s a lost cause.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!*sugar cookie bar recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest

Samoas Sugar Cookie Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Thick, soft and chewy, these Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars taste like the Girl Scout Cookie classic but can be made yearround when the craving strikes!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg Kraft Caramels, unwrapped
  • About 3 cups toasted coconut, cooled
  • 1 pkg Chocolate CandiQuik
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract until combined. Lastly, beat in the baking powder, salt, and flour, adding the flour about a cup at a time, until a soft dough has formed.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the baking pan. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and center is set. Cool the bars completely in the pan.
  4. Melt the caramels according to package directions, or until smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut, tossing to coat. Working very quickly, spread the caramel-coconut mixture on top of the sugar cookie bar base. Using your greased hands or a greased off-set spatula or spoon, spread the mixture to cover the entire base; you may have to press it out, but be gentle about it as to not crush the sugar cookie base beneath. Allow the caramel coconut layer to set, about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the bars are set, lift the bars out using your foil handles and cut them into squares. Melt the CandiQuik according to package directions, until smooth. Dip the bottoms of the bars into the CandiQuik and place onto a wax-paper lined surface. Repeat with remaining bars. Pour the remaining CandiQuik into a resealable plastic bag, seal out the air, snip off a corner of the bag, and drizzle the remaining CandiQuik over top of the bars. Allow the CandiQuik to set, about 10 minutes, before serving.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!If I could, I would subsist exclusively on the caramel and toasted coconut layer alone – it is fabulous! These are so chewy and gooey, and such a great way to transform a basic sugar cookie bar into a fantastical Samoas-inspired dessert!

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!Have a sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Mint Oreo Overload Cake

Mint Oreo Overload CakeSoft serve has been a part of my world for my entire life.

Growing up, I’d beg my grandma to relinquish me into the wild and walk up to the nearest Yogurt Delite store with my friends. It sat there loyally in the same shopping center for years, with its black and white checkered floors, completely abandoned lobby, and one strange woman who worked there.

For awhile I didn’t notice the fact that no one ever went there. But then, as I became a more frequent customer, I realized that really, no one went there. It was kind of sad, actually. The Yogurt Delite woman was forever alone, banished to her home in the back of the yogurt shop. She’d emerge when she heard the delightful jingle of bells on the door, only to see the same dorky pre-teen and her gaggle of friends. She would quietly dispense our frozen soft serve and scoop spoonfuls of rainbow sprinkles on top of mine, no matter what flavor I got (okay, it was usually vanilla, swirl, or mint).

Then one day, I noticed someone in there buying something from her. She went into the back to get it and handed it over to him quickly in a brown paper bag. They spoke in low voices, occasionally emphasizing random words while raising their eyebrows in what I can describe as the worst subtlety ever. It dawned on me: perhaps she was running a side business. Like an underground secret business within her facade of a yogurt shop business. From then on, I was kind of suspicious of the Yogurt Delite lady, sitting in the back of the shop behind the empty yogurt cartons, plotting murders or dabbing in international espionage or smuggling arms into the country or something.

Okay, so she probably wasn’t, but hey, it got her more business – I kept coming back hoping to catch her trading a missile to someone in a large paper bag, but it never happened. However, I did get a ton of mint soft serve with sprinkles, and thinking back to that time in my childhood (plus the fact that St. Patty’s Day is approaching) inspired me to create this Mint Oreo Overload Cake!

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DSC_0447ALast year, I made both an Oreo Overload Cake and a Golden Oreo Overload Cake, both of which were dangerously delicious. A mint one was bound to happen, and this one happens to be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Mint + green? Instantly festive — can’t beat that.

And totally, totally delicious.

Both spies and non-spies, please enjoy.

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Mint Oreo Overload Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A thick, two-layer chocolate cake filled with a light and fluffy mint frosting and topped with Mint Oreos! Perfect for St. Patrick's Day or anytime a mint craving strikes you.
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 small box chocolate pudding (just the dry mix)
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp mint extract - you want MINT, not peppermint, divided
  • 1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • A couple drops green liquid food coloring
  • About 10 Mint Oreos, very finely chopped
  • FOR TOPPING:
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • About 10 Mint Oreos, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Liberally grease two 9" cake pans with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the cake mix according to package directions; stir the box of dry pudding mix into the cake batter.
  2. Spread the batter evenly among both pans. Bake according to instructions on box, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then very carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, mint extract and green food coloring with an electric mixer, beating until smooth for about 2 minutes. Fold in the Cool Whip until the mixture is uniform and combined. Lastly, fold in the very finely crushed Mint Oreos.
  4. Place a cake layer on a plate, flat side up. Top with the whipped mint filling - this will be a HUGE pile of mint filling, but you will use all of it! You want a nice, thick layer. Using an offset spatula, spread it out to the edges so it's a thick layer. Carefully top with the remaining cake layer, flat side down. Allow the cake to set in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the cap and foil from the can of frosting and microwave for about 20 seconds, stirring until smooth and pourable but not super melty. Stir in the mint extract to combine.
  6. Pour the melted chocolate mint frosting mixture on top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Immediately top the cake with the chopped Mint Oreos. Serve immediately, or store leftovers in the fridge, covered, for about 2-3 days.

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DSC_0468AI love this light and fluffy mint whipped filling! It’s so delicious and creamy, thanks to the tang of the cream cheese and the lightness of the Cool Whip. Combined with the rich, moist chocolate cake layers and the crunch of the Mint Oreos, this cake is a dreamy one you’ll love!

Mint Oreo Overload CakeHave a sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

Biscoff S’mores Seven Layer Bars

Biscoff Smores Seven Layer BarsAs you’re reading this, I am partying my face off in Orlando, FL for the Food Blog Forum conference. We’re at Disney World, and I’m pretty positive I will convince the cast members to let me move into Cinderella’s castle.

…or being kicked out of Disney World for pouting at their obvious ‘no, you may not live in Cinderella’s castle’ answer. Whatever.

With that being said, I’m gonna keep Sunday’s post short and sweet by introducing you to your new favorite dessert: these Biscoff S’mores Seven Layer Bars. I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

DSC_0120ASo yeah, Biscoff S’mores Seven Layer Bars. It combines the classic flavors of s’mores with an unexpected but delightful twist of Biscoff spread. You guys have heard of Biscoff right? It’s got the consistency of peanut butter but is made with ground Biscoff cookies, creating a very smooth, sweet and slightly spicy spread that’s perfect on virtually everything… including seven layer bars.

DSC_0128ASince graham crackers and Biscoff are similar enough, I decided to swap out classic honey grahams with Biscoff cookies in this recipe. It creates a nice, spicy kick to the bars thanks to the ginger, cinnamon and rich flavors in the Biscoff cookies, and it pairs so nicely with the sweet, fluffy marshmallow and the rich milk chocolate. You guys are gonna love these bars.

Okay, gotta go infiltrate the castle. I’ll invite you over for Biscoff S’mores Bars when it’s mine.

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Biscoff S'mores Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
These seven layer bars have two unexpected flavors that come together for a truly delightful and delicious sweet treat: Biscoff and S'mores! You'll love this new, winning flavor combination.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 4 pkgs (8 total) S'mores Pop Tarts
  • 1 cup Biscoff Cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Kraft JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
  • ½ cup Biscoff spread
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • About 2-3 squares of Chocolate CandiQuik
  • About 1 cup Kraft JET-PUFFED Mallow Bits, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil generously with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and oil with a spoon until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.
  3. Line up the Pop Tarts gently onto the crust. There should be four on top and four on bottom, but if needed, break up Pop Tarts to fit. Top first with the miniature marshmallows, then the chopped cookies and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, quickly whisk together the Biscoff spread and sweetened condensed milk until combined; pour the mixture evenly on top of the bars.
  4. Return to the oven and bake for approx. 18-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Center will appear just about set. Cool completely, preferably overnight.
  5. Once bars are cool, cut into squares. Prepare the chocolate CandiQuik according to package directions or until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate into a small resealable baggy and snip off a corner of the baggy. Drizzle the bars with the CandiQuik and immediately top with the Mallow Bits for garnish. Serve!

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DSC_0136AThese are so unbelievably delicious, you guys. Sweet, chewy, gooey, slightly spicy and just oozing with chocolate and marshmallow… they are a s’mores lovers dream come true! I highly recommend you bake with Biscoff cookies to add that additional crunch and spice – it’s what makes these bars extra special!

Biscoff Smores 7 Layer BarsHave a fabulous day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Lucky Rainbow Bark

Lucky Rainbow BarkYeah, I am totally guilty of trashing the living daylights outta that white chocolate. Sue me.

As a kid, I had this neighbor – we’ll call her Meow, since I remember her meowing on occasion, and I slept over at her house pretty frequently. She had anything a girl could ask for – her own pony, a really fluffy dog, a HUGE Barbie mansion, and the works. I remember being infinitely jealous of her Barbie collection since I was super obsessed with all things Barbie.

ANYWHO. On one particular evening sleepover, Meow and I were tucked in our sleeping bags and watching cartoons. The show ended and Leprechaun came on. Meow was kinda scared, but I begged her to keep it on since I was a morbid child who was admittedly frightened of this scary movie concept but also could not look away. This is similar to when I was freaking terrified of Forensic Files and would involuntarily shudder every time I heard Peter Thomas begin a sordid tale of murder, yet I would hide in the hallway and watch it without my parents knowing.

So we began watching Leprechaun and it proceeded to give me terrors over miniature mythical men wearing green suits and hiding in a box of Lucky Charms. Thankfully we didn’t regularly buy Lucky Charms and I never had to encounter any frightening creatures.

Fast forward a good fifteen or so years, and I’m now an adult and working a terrible job. I spotted a coworker snacking on Lucky Charms and it instantly made me crave fistfuls of that magical cereal. The next day, I went out and bought a box of it – and it soon became my go-to snack on the job. I never did find any leprechauns, FYI.

DSC_0407AWith St. Patrick’s Day coming up (it’s still awhile away, I know, but I’m a dork and get overly excited about holidays) I was brainstorming fun ideas with Lucky Charms and this bark came to mind. It’s not even a recipe – it’s just kind of a conglomerate of random, rainbow, sprinkly things held together by a huge plane of white chocolate. Yet all of those components create a totally delicious, outrageously SWEET bark that everyone is sure to love.

DSC_0419ANo meowing friends, terrified children, or Forensic Files-watching required.

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Lucky Rainbow Bark
Author: 
Recipe type: Bark, Candy
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Filled with a ton of rainbow, sprinkly goodies, this fun bark is perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any other time you're craving something super sweet and festive.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. vanilla CandiQuik, or another white chocolate almond bark
  • 1 pkg Circus Animal Cookies (my favorite!)
  • About 2-3 cups Lucky Charms Cereal (depending on as much as you'd like)
  • About 1 cup M&M's candies
  • Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
  2. Melt the vanilla CandiQuik according to package directions or until smooth and melted. Spread the vanilla CandiQuik in an even layer onto the foil. You don't want it to be super thick, but don't make it super thin, either.
  3. Immediately top evenly with broken up Circus cookies, Lucky Charms, M&M's and sprinkles. Likewise, you could add dried fruits, nuts, or other candies if you'd like.
  4. Allow the bark to set up before breaking into pieces.

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DSC_0430AThis bark is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth since it’s packed with the delightful crunch of Circus Animal Cookies, a bite from the chocolate M&M’s, and the melt-in-your-mouth sweetness from the Lucky Charms! Don’t like an ingredient? Feel free to swap out the Circus Animal Cookies for another favorite, or try using Chocolate CandiQuik for a different flavor.

Lucky Rainbow BarkHope you have a sweet weekend!

xo, Hayley

 

Samoas Magic Bar Pie

Samoas Magic Bar PieWhen I was in Girl Scouts, our troop leader totally didn’t do anything cool. Other troops were raising money to go to Disneyland, or sleepovers at the zoo, or other cool things.

We went camping. Once. It was lame because two girls kicked me out of their tent.

We went to a safety school. We learned not to walk in front of cars. All it made me do was want to walk in front of a car.

And the rest of the time, we spent in a cold, empty classroom at my elementary school. All the girls knew each other super well, so they clamored together. I was just kinda the outcast brownie, the one who never had all her patches sewn on, the one who didn’t get along with the other girls, and the one who longed for sleepovers at the zoo while secretly hating our troop leader for being a loser who totally dropped the ball on this life-building girl-power skills thing.

But I didn’t need the girls there. I had cookies, obvi. The cookies were pretty much the only redeeming factor of putting up with all those shenanigans because the second it was cookie season, I was alllll about the Samoas. To me, the Samoas are pretty much the perfect cookie. Crunchy shortbread, creamy caramel, sweet toasted coconut and that perfect drizzle of chocolate… it’s pretty much one heavenly, perfect little bite. And I know I’m not the only Samoa-freak out there… there’s hoards of ya, and this is our time to unite and REJOICE over the invention of this fabtastic pie.

DSC_0354AYou know magic bars? This is that… in pie form. It’s chewy, gooey and positively luscious. It tastes of Samoas, thanks to the classic components swirled in every bite: actual Samoa cookies, coconut, bits of caramel, chocolate chips, Rolos, and the whole thing is smothered in sweetened condensed milk (aka the nectar of the Gods). Then it’s baked until golden and bubbly and served up to Samoa-lovers everywhere. You’re welcome.

DSC_0372AOkay. Enough chit-chat. We need to dig in. This caramel is bananas. Or rather, s-a-m-o-a-s. I’ll stop.

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Samoas Magic Bar Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Samoa-cookie lovers everywhere, rejoice! This chewy, gooey, outrageous pie tastes just like a giant Samoa cookie, in a fun twist between magic bars and pie!
Ingredients
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (24 count) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (about 20) Samoas cookies, roughly chopped (if you can't find Samoas or don't want to chop up a box, Keebler makes a similar cookie sold at most supermarkets)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 pkg Kraft caramels, unwrapped and cut in half
  • ½ cup Rolos, unwrapped and chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Roll out the pie crust to fit into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the pie crust if you'd like.
  2. Using your hands, press the cookie dough into a plane of dough and press into the bottom of the pie crust; it'll be super thick. Top evenly with chopped Samoas cookies, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, caramels and chopped Rolos. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk. Cover the edges of the pie crusts with a pie shield.
  3. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until the center is golden brown and bubbly, but appears set. If it slightly jiggles, that's okay, but it shouldn't be sloshing around. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with ice cream or more caramel, if desired.

DSC_0381AGooooooooey. So very gooey!

DSC_0388ATo be honest, I added the chocolate chip cookie dough into the bottom layer for a couple reasons. 1) for substance. It helps create a nice, thick, gooey cookie base for this pie. 2) because I needed to use up some refrigerated dough I had in my fridge (oops). And 3) because it’s freaking delicious – why are you questioning my decision? :)

Samoas Magic Bar PieHave a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Oreos

DSC_0009AADo you guys remember when Cookie Dough Oreos came out last year?!

It may or may not have been the best day of my life… but this isn’t about me.

Seriously though, I loved them. Some people disliked the filling and said it was too coffee-y, but I thought the filling was just fine – and this is coming from a non-chocolate kinda girl. (#TeamVanilla!) Howeevvvver, I’m not one to turn down any kinda cookie dough, so I instantly fell in love with these amazing, one-of-a-kind cookies.

Cookie Dough Oreos4But then Oreo decided to toy with my emotions and did away with them. Limited edition? More like broken hearted forever. No bueno, Oreo. So I took matters into my own hands and made my very own Homemade Cookie Dough Oreos! I’m sharing them over at Food Fanatic today!

Cookie Dough Oreos3Do they taste like Oreos? Yes, but they’re softer, chewier, and have a real-deal cookie dough filling. They kinda remind me of Oreo Cakesters but better because they’re homemade and completely addictively delicious. You guys will not be fighting or nitpicking this filling – it’s pure, unadulterated cookie dough, and it’s awesome.

GET THE RECIPE for these bad boys over at Food Fanatic today, where I’m their resident Cookie Dough Fanatic!

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Neapolitan Seven Layer Bars

NeapolitanSevenLayerBarsWhat happens when you forget to post a Valentine’s Day-themed recipe before Valentine’s Day? You post it days later, obvi!

I try to stick to schedules since I tend to be a planner and a huge list-maker. But stuff happens, I forget, I don’t care, or Intervention is on and I just neglect it. I’m sorry. I’m the worst blogger ever.

BUT, the good thing is is that Neapolitan’s a yearround flavor. It doesn’t necessarily have an expiration date like eggnog or peppermint (though if it were up to me, eggnog and peppermint would not be judged in summertime), and it works because it’s comprised of three fabulous flavors that are seasonless: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. What’s not to love?!

…and it happens to be the theme of my sweet new blog design! BTW, did you enter my giveaway yet? I’m giving away a FREE pair of Tieks flats, a Too-Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette or a $25 Baskin Robbins gift card! Winners are chosen on Tuesday, so wiggle your butt over to that post to enter!!

DSC_0166AANYWHO. Since I’m a lover of both Neapolitan and seven layer bars, I figured there had to be some combining love-child makin’ happening between the two. The results are magical! There’s bites of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry goodness in every bite, and if you’re as fanatical about this flavor as I am, there’s a must-make for sure!

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Neapolitan Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Packed with strawberry, chocolate and vanilla, these fabulous Neapolitan Seven Layer Bars are a winner!
Ingredients
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract (optional, but enhances the flavor - I recommend it)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg. Ghirardelli Chocolate & Strawberry Squares, unwrapped and roughly chopped (if you cannot find this flavor, substitute with Chocolate & Raspberry - no one will tell the difference)
  • 1 cup Jet-Puffed Strawberry Marshmallows
  • About 20 Berry Oreos, roughly chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles, if you'd like
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, oil and strawberry extract, if using, until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven but keep the oven on. Evenly distribute the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped chocolate squares, marshmallows and Oreos onto the dough. I like putting the marshmallows on first so they're covered - it prevents them from burning and expanding as much. Drizzle evenly with the condensed milk.
  4. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes or until center appears set and the top is golden brown and bubbly. Cool completely (I recommend overnight) before lifting out of the pan and cutting into squares. Garnish with sprinkles, if you'd like!

DSC_0179AI love the rich burst of sweet strawberry in these chewy, gooey bars! They would be perfect alongside a bowl of Neapolitan ice cream… but that’s only if you want to do it a la Hayley :)

Nuts for Neapolitan? Check out my other fun Neapolitan recipes!

Neapolitan CupcakesNeapolitan Cupcakes – be sure to enter my giveaway! 

neabundtNeapolitan Bundt Cake

neapcheesecakeNeapolitan No-Bake Cheesecake

Have a sweet Sunday!!

xo, Hayley

 

The Best Banana Cake with Banana Frosting

Best Banana CakeI have always loved grocery shopping.

Mostly because our local supermarket gave kids free cookies in the bakery if you asked politely. They were sprinkle sugar cookies, and they were amazing because they were free, smothered in sprinkles, and because you didn’t need your parents permission to eat a giant sugar cookie before dinner.

(However, in later years I would try this as a teenager and unfortunately, they had an age limit. I suppose teenagers aren’t as cute begging for cookies as toothless, innocent children are).

I loved grocery shopping because my parents were so hell-bent against cooking dinner that we’d head to the store practically five times a week and pick out dinner there. It was usually something like frozen pizza or Lean Cuisines or fried chicken from the deli, but it was awesome since we could each pick what we want. And if you’ve ever grocery shopped when you’re hungry, whatever you get instantly looks like the most amazing food ever. Frozen meatloaf? OMG, gourmet! Deli-fried chicken that’s been under heat lamps since 2pm? COME TO MAMA. Pre-made deli sandwiches that are usually ham and American cheese with those mayo packets? Delish with a capital-D, yo.

Or maybe that’s just because I never really had a decent home-cooked meal. Whatevz.

When my mom and I would shop at Smart & Final, they had this Sara Lee Banana Cake in the fridge section that was to-die for. Anytime we’d shop there, I’d beg her to pleeeeaaasseee buy one for us to have after dinner, and without fail, she always said yes. It became our family’s favorite store-bought cake for its moist banana cake layer and the sweet banana frosting on top. It was positively perfect!

DSC_0335AYeeeears had passed since I’d had a slice of the beloved cake. And when I went to remedy this recently at Smart & Final, I was so saddened to see they’d done away with it. It was basically a blasphemous slap in my banana cake lovin’ face if you ask me. But it also motivated me to make this magical cake at home – and folks, I have officially succeeded.

DSC_0337AThis cake is SO impossibly moist and light, with sweet banana flavor swirled in every bite. The frosting is thick and rich and made with actual mashed banana, lending an authentic and world-class flavor to this phenomenal cake. If you’re a banana fan, you’ll love this cake! We like it as is since it’s identical to our beloved Sara Lee version, but if you’d like, feel free to jazz it up with chocolate chips, Nutella drizzle, or walnuts or pecans.

Now let us have cake!

DSC_0331A*cake adapted from Cake Mix Doctor

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Banana Cake with Banana Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Rich and sweet, this banana sheet cake is one of the best and my family's favorite cake! Flavored with banana in the cake and frosting, it's a perfectly sweet cake for any banana lover.
Ingredients
  • FOR CAKE:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 2-3 medium-sized bananas, the blacker the better)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp banana extract (you could also use banana liqueur if desired)
  • FOR BANANA FROSTING:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup ripe banana, peeled and mashed (about 1 medium banana)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp banana extract (more if you prefer a stronger banana flavor)
  • 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • About 3.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, brown sugar, mashed banana, cinnamon, water, oil, eggs and banana extract with a handheld electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until blended.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cake completely.
  3. Once the cake has cooled, prepare your frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, mashed banana, vanilla, banana extract and lemon juice with the paddle attachment until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until the frosting is light and fluffy but still kind of soft. You don't want it as stiff as you normally would for say, frosting cupcakes, but it should hold its shape relatively well.
  4. Spread the frosting on top of the cake in an even layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days.

DSC_0344AYou guys. Scouts honor, but this is seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. I’ve made it about four times since I originally whipped it up and my family and I have gobbled it up every single time. It’s so moist, rich, and jam-packed with banana flavor, which we cannot get enough of! As I mentioned before, try adding chocolate or peanut butter chips to the batter for a different flavor twist, or top with chopped nuts if you’d like!

BANANACAKEHave a fabulous day!

xo, Hayley

XXL Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies

XXLBrownButterCookiesWhen I was younger, I really wanted to open a bakery.

I thought selling cupcakes, cookies, super fudgy brownies and cakes would be so fun. Whipping up fresh buttercream, adorning each cake with cute sprinkles, packaging up fresh-baked cookies… it all sounded so blissful… until I realized how HARD owning a business is.

First of all, hiring employees. I was always a stellar employee at every job I’ve held, but trying to interview the mass public to find people to entrust with my business? Oh hell to the no. Could not do it.

Second, the hours! I would have zero me-time, and I’m someone who needs adequate me-time. I’d constantly be in the bakery at 2am baking cupcakes and frosting cakes and likely wouldn’t leave until late at night when I’d have to restart the whole process. Nope nope nope. That’s like, two hours of me-time a day and it would take about 4 days before I would commit myself.

And third, the work-related issues… like gaining ALL THE WEIGHT from eating ALL THE COOKIES. Especially cookies like these ones, because I could not stop eating these when I made them. Holy mother of pearl, peeps. These are out of control. And if they would be any indication of my bakery, I would weigh 34587634 pounds and would have no customers… because I would eat every product.

So yeah, owning a bakery is not in the cards. But baking bakery-style cookies? Totally doable. I don’t even need to hire anyone to do my bidding because I’ll gladly eat every last crumb of these bad boys.

DSC_0259AThe best thing about bakery cookies are their size! Bakery cookies aren’t your standard wimpy cookies – they’re easily double the standard cookie size for maximum cookieage. BTW, ‘cookieage’ is totally a word. Bakery cookies are also jam-packed with flavor and texture, creating a heavenly eating experience that makes you want more. These cookies boast both mega-flavor and uber-texture, thanks to five very important, super crucial components that make these cookies over-the-top, outta-the-field AMAZING. Those components include…

Brown Butter. Brown butter takes these to the next level of awesomeness. My standard cookie recipe features 3/4 cup of butter, but this recipe has 1 full cup of butter – 1/2 of which is browned. Brown butter simply means that you cook the butter down in a saucepan until its a nice, deep amber color with flecks of brown bits on the bottom. Those brown bits impart SO much flavor, it’s crazy. The result is an added richness and nuttiness that’s positively irresistible.

Vanilla Bean Paste. One of my favorite ingredients, vanilla bean paste elevates any dish it touches. Vanilla bean paste is stronger than extract since it’s more concentrated and comes out thick like caramel sauce. It has flecks of vanilla beans in it, lending the cookies a ton of rich vanilla flavor and wonderful flecks of bean throughout the dough.

DSC_0271AChocolate Chunks. Because chocolate chips are for losers. Kidding! But chocolate chunks really set these apart from your standard chocolate chip cookie. The chunks add great texture and cover more surface area of the cookie, giving a melty burst of chocolate in every bite! I love using Nestle’s Chocolate Chunks or Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chunks which are both roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Semi-sweet is recommended in this recipe, but milk could easily be used.

Sea Salt. It adds a great finishing touch on each cookie with those sexy, salty crystals on top. The coarse salt really off-sets the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla bean.

Last but not least? Espresso Powder. Yes, espresso! These cookies do not taste like coffee, nor do they taste like mocha. If you want that, simply add more espresso powder to the batter. Espresso powder functions as another element to deepen the flavor, adding more richness to the chocolate and heightening that flavor of the brown butter, chocolate chunks and vanilla bean. A little goes a long way which prevents the cookie from A) tasting like coffee; and B) being undetectable but still present in the dough. If you want to omit this, you totally can – but I highly, *highly* recommend adding a little smidge in.

DSC_0253ADoesn’t it sound like I should open a bakery? If these cookies were involved, I probably would. They’re kinda-sorta life-changing. Promise.

Now who wants to work for me?

DSC_0262A

5.0 from 2 reviews
XXL Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Thick, chewy and XXL chocolate chunk cookies are special in many ways, thanks to the use of espresso powder, vanilla bean paste, brown butter and sea salt. The chocolate chunks elevates these cookies from a classic to a modern, delectable twist.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided (make sure you're using REAL butter, not butter spread or margarine)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt, for garnish/sprinkling
Instructions
  1. First, make your brown butter. In a small saucepan, melt ONE (1) stick of butter over medium-low heat. The butter will eventually melt, then start to bubble, pop and foam up, turning frothy. This is normal. Cook low and slow for about 5-7 minutes, swirling the butter around the pan occasionally, until the butter is amber in color and fragrant, almost nutty. Do NOT burn the butter! Once butter has browned and is amber and fragrant, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool, about 20 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for approx. 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla bean paste to combine. Add in the salt, espresso powder, baking soda and cornstarch, and beat to combine. Add in HALF of the flour, beating to combine. Stream in HALF of the browned butter. Add the remaining flour, beating to combine, then stream in the remaining browned butter, adding in all the bits at the bottom. Once dough comes together, stir in the chocolate chunks.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 2 hours, but I recommend refrigerating for 4 hours to overnight. This step is MANDATORY as the dough will spread significantly if it does not sufficiently chill. The dough needs to be super duper cold before baking, so I really stress chilling for at least four hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment sprayed with cooking spray. Drop ¼-cup rounded mounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheets, keeping about 2-3" apart. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt as desired.
  5. Bake for approx. 10-13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear slightly under-done; this is normal and they will continue to firm up as they cool. If desired, add a couple more chocolate chunks on top of the freshly baked cookies for a prettier appearance. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before serving. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to a week.

DSC_0268AThese cookies *do* require a chilling time of a recommended 4 hours. I know, I know – major suckage. BUT I promise you that the results are MORE than worth it. Seriously – these may be one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. Swearsies. They are SO soft, chewy and moist, bursting with rich chocolate, sprinkles of sea salt, and are packed with amazing flavor from the nutty browned butter and sweet vanilla bean. They are positively INCREDIBLE and I know you’ll love them!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesHave a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Neapolitan Cupcakes {And A HUGE Bloggiversary Party GIVEAWAY!!}

Neapolitan CupcakesI am so so so glad you’re here today, because today I’m having a special bloggiversary party to kick off two very important things: my blog’s 4th birthday (omg!), and my blog’s new design (yay!).

It’s so crazy to think that four years ago, I had just created this blog. I was so excited to get started and create something that was completely my own where I could share my funny stories and wacky anecdotes, and where I could challenge myself to concoct unique desserts. And if I’m being frank here, I think I’ve succeeded!

DSC_0235ASince being born in 2011, The Domestic Rebel has grown far beyond what I could have imagined, with tens of thousands of fans on my combined social channels, working with top brands in the industry like The Pampered Chef, Kitchen Aid, Tieks, and the Real California Milk Advisory Board, and meeting so many fabulous people and making so many new fantastic blog friends. I’m so forever humbled and grateful to my opportunities because I know this job can be fleeting, and something bigger and better could come around the corner and turn my space on the interwebs into an even smaller particle of the world. It’s important to me to remain grateful to this awesome job and the people who make it possible: YOU!

DSC_0210ASorry to be sappy, but you guys rule my life. I love you all so much for coming to my blog, commenting on my posts, liking my Facebook and Instagram statuses, repinning my Pinterest pics, and overall being such a loyal, fun and supportive bunch. If I could, I’d bake you all the biggest, gooeiest cookie to resemble how I feel about you: oozing with lotsa love!

So with 4 years on the blog, it was also time for a change. A new facelift, to be precise. I’m positively loving my new design from the talented Erika S. at Designer Blogs. I think she perfectly encapsulated who I am as a blogger and person – with my intense love for donuts, to the rebellious-yet-fun new logo of my spatula and whisk crossbones, to the funky fonts I love so dear.

Besides the new look, here are a couple new features you’ll love:

1) The hovering Pin-It button on each picture makes it even simpler to directly Pin my creations to you favorite Pinterest boards. Simply click the donut icon that pops up in the right upper corner of each picture and voila! Instantly pinned. So easy!
2) Sharing couldn’t be easier with the new Share bar on the bottom of each post. Directly link my posts and pictures to your Facebook or Twitter feeds, Stumble them, or even email it to friends and family. No copying of links or saving pictures necessary.
3) The NEW Recipe Index makes searching for recipes a breeze, thanks mainly to the new visual icons for every recipe. I’m still working on a couple of the older posts that don’t have pictures, but they’re still accessible through the links. Craving chocolate? Simply click the Chocolate link and instantly be taken to a page where you can access all recipes tagged with ‘chocolate.’ This definitely helps streamline searching for your favorite recipes, or getting ideas of what you want to make!
4) You may also like… the new linked-within feature on every post! Featuring a handful of some older, archived posts, this is a great way to see stuff you haven’t seen (and some of my first recipes!) for more inspiration.

DSC_0206AI am SO VERY HAPPY (!!) with my new design and I seriously hope you love it, too! I really feel like this design perfectly defines who I am and I hope you’ll find the new look and features to be just as awesome as I do!

DSC_0220AAnd to kick off this brand new blog design and celebrating four blissful years blogging, I’m throwing a fabulous party and you’re all invited! And lemme just say, the party favors are pretty damn cool — there ain’t no gumballs or cheap plastic yo-yos here.

tieksFor being such an awesome person, you can enter to win three prizes! The GRAND PRIZE is a pair of Tieks Ballet Flats (a $200 value!!), the highly coveted and ever-so-stylish flats I’ve talked about prior and that are sweeping the world with their sleek appearance, shocking comfort, and gorgeous hues. Not only are Tieks incredibly comfy, but they come in a wide range of styles, colors and sizes to fit everyone perfectly. Amazing!

toofacedSECOND PLACE PRIZE is Too Faced’s brand-spankin’-new Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette! With sixteen flattering, highly-pigmented shades, this palette is perfect for everyone! Shades range from a bright blue called Blueberry Muffin, to a gold-flecked brown named Hot Fudge, to a shimmery sweet Butter Pecan highlighter color. Each shade is packed with real cocoa, giving a sweet aroma with every brush stroke. This limited edition palette is a fan favorite among beauty bloggers and fashionistas everywhere!

baskinrobbinsAnd last but not least, THIRD PLACE PRIZE is a $25 gift card to Baskin Robbins ice cream! The worst thing about 31 flavors? All the options to choose from! From Cherries Jubilee to Baseball Nut, Baskin Robbins has some of the best ice cream around! Second only to donuts, ice cream is one of my favorite desserts, and the Neapolitan color scheme is a clear theme in my new blog design. I absolutely love the sweet shades of rich chocolate brown, bubblegum-pink strawberry and creamy vanilla and love how they translated into my new look!

Rebel GiveawaySo, do you want to win one of these SWEET prizes?! Enter using the Rafflecopter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
GOOD LUCK, & THANKS FOR ENTERING AND BEING SUCH A FANTASTIC FAN OF THE DOMESTIC REBEL!

Okay, now who’s hungry? For today’s recipe, I thought I’d throw it back to one of my first-ever posts: Neapolitan Cupcakes! I made these for a bakery-themed 20th birthday party I had and they were an instant success. Everyone loved the cool two-toned cupcake flavors and the rich strawberry buttercream on top, and I knew I wanted to recreate them and give them a sweet, updated look for this special day.

So without further adieu, take a bite out of these ultra-sweet and fun to eat Neapolitan Ice Cream Cupcakes! :)

DSC_0219A

4.9 from 29 reviews
Neapolitan Cupcakes {And A HUGE Bloggiversary Party GIVEAWAY!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-20
 
Two-toned chocolate and vanilla cake is topped with a swirl of sweet strawberry buttercream to mimic the classic flavors of Neapolitan ice cream! Kids and adults alike will love these fun cupcakes as a nod to a sweet childhood-favorite.
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 small box sugar-free fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 small box sugar-free fat-free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • ¾ cup (1 & ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup seedless strawberry jam (I like Smuckers Simply Fruit)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsp strawberry extract (depending on how strong you'd like it)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Red food coloring
  • White non-pareils sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the chocolate and vanilla cake mixes in separate bowls using the ingredients and directions on the back of the boxes. Stir the vanilla pudding mix (the dry mix) into the vanilla cake batter, and stir the chocolate pudding mix into the chocolate cake batter. Allow the batters to set for about 5 minutes until thickened.
  3. Working quickly with two separate cookie dough scoops or spoons, spoon about a heaping Tablespoonful of batter onto the left side of the cupcake liner with one flavor. Then immediately spoon the other flavor onto the right side of the cupcake liner. Repeat layers, filling the cupcake liners about ¾ full. You should have roughly around 18 cupcakes, maybe a couple more depending on the box mixes.
  4. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  5. While cupcakes cool, make your frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, strawberry jam, vanilla, strawberry extract and milk with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes or until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until a light and fluffy texture has been achieved. Add in food coloring, only a couple drops at a time, and beat until a light desired pink shade has been achieved.
  6. Spoon the frosting into the piping bag attached with an open star tip. Pipe high onto cooled cupcakes and immediately garnish with white non-pareils sprinkles and a cherry. Serve immediately or store leftovers airtight in the fridge.
  7. *NOTE: If you want to pipe the frosting thick onto the cupcakes, consider doubling or tripling the recipe.*

DSC_0225A

DSC_0246ARich chocolate, creamy vanilla and sweet strawberry combine to create these decadent, delicious and festive Neapolitan cupcakes that taste strikingly similar to the classic ice cream flavor. The two-toned and dual-flavored cupcake is a striking, graphic touch with the bright, bubblegum pink-frosting on top. If you’d like, garnish these cupcakes with waffle cone pieces or pirouline cookies or slices of strawberry. You could also top the cakes with chocolate and white chocolate curls for a prettier touch.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for being a great fan of The Domestic Rebel! Love you! Mean it :)

xo, Hayley

*In the interest of full disclosure, I was generously provided with the Tieks grand prize (retailing at a $200 value) from Tieks. All other prizes were purchased on my own. All opinions are 100% my own and always will be. Winners will be chosen at random through the Rafflecopter widget on 2/24/2015 and will be notified via email. Winners will have 24 hours to respond to the email before a new winner is chosen. First winner randomly chosen will receive the grand prize, second winner randomly chosen will receive the second prize, and so on. 

 

 

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