Strawberry Marshmallow Cookie Cups {Happy 4th Bloggiversary To Me!}

Strawberry Marshmallow Cookie CupsSo, I totally did something dumb.

I missed my own blog’s birthday!

Seriously, how this happened, I don’t know. Actually, I do know: it’s because I was sick, I was busy planning my own birthday, and because I am lame and forget minor details like the DAY IN WHICH MY BLOG WAS BORN.

In other words, I’m a terrible blogger. #loserstatus

It’s hard to believe that four years ago, I created this little space in the interwebs. I just wanted to post pictures of my frilly, fun-flavored cupcakes and had no idea that I would garner so much attention, meet so many wonderful people, create so many delicious things, and make blogging my full-time job in just four years.

It’s been a long road, but a very fun one. Sometimes this job feels like work, but most of the time it’s hilariously fun and I pinch myself since it’s still unbelievable to me that this is my life.

So what I’m trying to say without being super mushy-gooey is, thank you for making this blog what it is. Thank you for being so supportive, so loyal, so loving and so interested in my silly stories and wacky recipes. Thank you for liking, commenting and pinning the living ‘ish outta my stuff. Thank you for being here!

DSC_0895ASeeing as I forgot, I don’t have a sparkly, sprinkly post lined up, but I *do* have some ultra-delish cookie cups for you to enjoy! These bad boys are sweet sugar cookie cups filled with creamy white chocolate and are topped with a strawberry heart marshmallow. They’re sweet, simple, and totally perfect to celebrate this bloggiversary and for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday!

I love you! Now eat your heart (cookie cup) out!

DSC_0907A

Strawberry Marshmallow Cookie Cups {Happy 4th Bloggiversary To Me!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Adorable, petite cookie cups filled with creamy white chocolate and topped with gooey strawberry marshmallows. These little bites are perfect for Valentine's Day!
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough (24 count), at room temperature
  • About 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 24 Kraft Jet-Puffed Strawberry Heart Marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 24-cavity miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Take one dough ball and gently flatten with your hand, then place into the muffin cavity to fit. Repeat with remaining dough.
  2. Bake the cookie cups for about 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven. Allow the cookie cups to cool for about 5 minutes, then using the handle of a wooden spoon, create small indents in the center of each cup, careful not to puncture the cup. Fill with a pinch of white chocolate chips in each cup's well.
  3. Immediately top the cups with a single marshmallow. Allow the cups to set for another 15 minutes or so before gently removing them from the pan with a knife. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving. These are best served at room temperature, or lightly warmed up before eating.

DSC_0904ACute, pink, festive and delicious! Valentine’s treats don’t get easier than these sweet 3-ingredient treats!

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Footballs

PB Cookie Dough FootballsOkay, let’s get real. I don’t watch football.

I know, I know. Shocker of the Year. But it just doesn’t interest me, ya know? It isn’t necessarily because football doesn’t interest me; it’s mostly because A) I have other things I could be doing than watching grown men tackle one another; and B) the commentators.

You know, the men who have to narrate every. single. play, every single breath a player takes, every itch they scratch, every thought they think… it’s just so distracting and annoying and completely unnecessary? I dunno, but it totally grinds my gears.

I think it’s because I have a deep-rooted psychological issue with watching TV with others. It all started when I was in elementary school and invited some classmates over to play. Inevitably Barbies got boring, so we turned on cartoons while we ate animal cookies and wasted our childhood brains away. But one classmate in particular — let’s call her Annoying Girl — had a habit of talking during the show. She had to repeat whatever the character just said. She had to narrate whatever the character just did. And she had to ask questions upon questions upon questions of inane subject matter so she could attempt to follow along with the mind-blowing plot of Scooby Doo, Where Are You?. Like, it’s Scooby effing Doo. The monster is always some senile old person. Get the net, homegirl.

But no. Annoying Girl continued her narration of every single grueling play-by-play as if we were deaf and blind and completely, woefully uninformed as to what we were watching.

In later years, I would date a boy whose mom did the same thing. Also, she had this really high-pitched laugh that I swore made the walls shake. Watching America’s Funniest Home Videos was like a death sentence since you never knew what toddler-falling-over video would send the house to crumbles.

And after that, I had a friend who would occasionally watch movies with me… or as much of a movie as you could watch from behind a cell phone screen. Every so often she’d glance up from her Facebook feed to check out the movie, then ask some obvious question that would be answered had she not been playing Farmville. Look, if Farmville is preferable company, then by all means, there’s the door, dude. I can watch my movie solo without fielding questions with someone who contracts a rash if they aren’t touching their phone 24/7.

So anyway, when it comes to narrating shows, answering and asking questions during shows, and generally watching shows with people other than my immediate family (who knows to shut their traps until commercial breaks), I’m not a fan. Unless you’re bringing enough spinach and artichoke dip that I can adequately bury my face in until half-time, I’m not interested in a TV party.

DSC_0803AHowever, I am interested in TV party-related foods, which are always delicious. Dips, fruit and veggie trays, cheese and meat, foot-long sandwiches, and lots of desserts, SuperBowl food is the bomb. And after building mini salami and cheddar cracker sammies all day long, everyone’s bound to crave something sweet to offset all the buffalo wing sauce and melty cheese. Enter these Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Footballs! Not only are they a cinch to make, they taste great — because who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate!? And they have that irresistible sweet-and-salty element everyone loves.

The best part? Everyone will be too busy stuffing their faces with them, which means uninterrupted TV for me :)

DSC_0797A

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Footballs
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 64
 
Filled with smooth and delicious egg-free peanut butter cookie dough, these Cookie Dough Footballs are sure to be a winner at any football party!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sleeves (about 64 crackers) butter-flavored crackers (I used Townhouse)
  • 1 pkg. Chocolate CandiQuik
  • 2 squares Vanilla CandiQuik
Instructions
  1. First, prepare your cookie dough filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar & white sugar with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat to combine. Lastly, add in the flour until a soft dough has formed.
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil and spread the crackers in an even layer among both sheets. Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, spoon the cookie dough in a log-shape onto one of the crackers; gently top with another cracker, creating a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and crackers until all crackers are made into sandwiches.
  3. Briefly allow the sandwiches to set in the freezer, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the Chocolate CandiQuik according to package directions or until smooth and melted. Dip each sandwich into the Chocolate CandiQuik, allowing the excess to drip off of the fork. Return to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining sandwiches. Once the chocolate has set, melt the Vanilla CandiQuik. Place the Vanilla CQ in a baggy, seal out the air and snip off a corner. Pipe stitching onto each football, then allow the stitching to set.
  4. Store leftovers airtight in the freezer and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

DSC_0815AButtery, crunchy, sweet and salty, these football sandwiches are perfect for the Big Game! The cookie dough is so sweet and creamy and tastes almost like the filling of a Reese’s PB cup! Combined with the milky-sweet chocolate and the crunchy crackers, these treats are a real winner. Don’t like peanut butter cookie dough? No problem! Feel free to use chocolate chip cookie dough (just use miniature chips to help make the sandwiches), sugar cookie dough, oatmeal cookie dough, or even chocolate cookie dough.

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava

ChocChipBaklavaSo. I kinda sorta trashed the living ish outta this baklava, but I’m not sure anyone will be too upset about it.

I remember the first time I tried Greek food. I was dating this guy — we’ll call him A — and he and his family lived in downtown Sacramento in this gorgeous 40’s-era mansion. ‘A’ and his folks were really liberal and artsy and totally not at all like what I was used to, growing up in a pretty conservative-dominant neighborhood. They shopped at farmer’s markets and liked thrifting; they listened to obscure jazz musicians, traveled the world, and used organic soap. Like, totally hippie-dippie-complete-opposite of everything I’ve ever known.

BUT. Because of this, I got a couple of odd (but good-odd) dates with A. Like, one time we went to a lecture for this supposedly-famous psychologist. And another time we went to a really nice restaurant two hours away from home, just because. But my favorite date had to be the time his parents gave us tickets to a Greek Food Festival.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but dude – Greeks are awesome. And their food is ridiculously good. As a girl who grew up on Taco Bell and Twinkies, pastitsio, dolmas and moussaka were a whole new world for me. And don’t eeeeven get me started on baklava. One bite of that heavenly, sticky-sweet confection and I was sold… and I don’t even really like honey all that much. It’s just something magical that the Greeks do to make phyllo and nuts taste like heaven. I’m convinced they have voodoo powers or something.

DSC_0342AANYWHO. Despite attending this food festival over 10 years ago (wait, omg.), I still had yet to make baklava. There was just something so … annoying? with all the preparation required in making it, and again – honey gives me the shivers. But I decided to get over my weird honey-phobia and stick it to baklava by making it my own unique way — trashed up beyond recognition with chocolate chip cookie dough and a gooey brown sugar & vanilla simple syrup.

DSC_0355AOh honnnnaaayy. This is the ultimate.

Y’all ready to get baklava crunk?

DSC_0346A*inspired from Tieghan’s recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Rich & sinful, this outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava will be your new favorite dessert!
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • FOR COOKIE DOUGH:
  • 1 & ½ sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • About 3 cups flour
  • 1 & ½ cups miniature chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 squares Chocolate CandiQuik
  • FOR VANILLA & BROWN SUGAR SYRUP:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 & ½ cups brown sugar (I used dark, but light works too)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" pan with cooking spray; set aside. Meanwhile, make your cookie dough: in a large bowl with a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar & sugar with a paddle attachment until creamy. Add in milk and vanilla, beat to combine. Lastly, add in the salt, flour, walnuts and chocolate chips until a soft dough has formed. Set aside.
  2. Begin layering your phyllo in the pan. Place one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the pan and brush it with melted butter. Top with another piece of phyllo, brush it with butter, and repeat the process until you've stacked 10 pieces of phyllo on top of one another. *NOTE: while you work, be sure to keep the rest of the phyllo dough covered with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.*
  3. Carefully press HALF of the chocolate chip cookie dough on top of the bottom phyllo layer. You may want to take chunks of cookie dough, flatten them in your hand, and kind of form them into a layer by hand to prevent ripping the phyllo underneath.
  4. Repeat by adding TEN (10) more layers of buttered phyllo (buttering each sheet of phyllo after laying it), then top with the remaining cookie dough. Lastly, add the remaining phyllo dough, buttering each sheet as you layer. Cut the baklava with a very sharp knife in square or diamond pattern.
  5. Bake for approx. 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and immediately pour the vanilla & brown sugar simple syrup over top. Allow the baklava to set for at LEAST 6 hours, preferably overnight* before cutting completely into squares or diamonds and serving.
  6. If desired, feel free to drizzle on melted CandiQuik for an added chocolate drizzle garnish, as I did. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for a couple days.
  7. *TO MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP: Bring the water, brown sugar and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

DSC_0358AThis stuff is damn good, people. The buttery cookie dough, crispy phyllo, crunchy walnuts and chocolate chips, and the drizzle of chocolate on top makes for such an indulgent, badass dessert. If you don’t like walnuts, feel free to leave them out – I liked adding them for crunch and to keep one traditional component to this baklava. You could also use pistachios, pecans or peanuts, or swap the cookie dough for a peanut butter, butterscotch or sugar cookie dough!

…Just invite me over if you make those changes :)

Happy Baking!

xo, Hayley

 

Red Velvet Scones

RedVelvetSconesSo as some of you know, I got back from a cruise recently (and will be posting pics and inspired recipes soon!).

Overall, the experience was wonderful. I met so many awesome people, gained so much exposure and knowledge for photography and blogging, and got to travel to the Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, St. Thomas and the Bahamas, taking in their exotic beauty, amazing culture and fabulous food.

But if I had to complain just a little about the experience, it was my raging seasickness (seriously, I didn’t think I’d be affected but dude, I was a dead man walking. Homie don’t play with seasickness) and the fact that my room was haunted.

Yes, haunted.

See, I was rooming with Alyssa from Simply Quinoa and even she agreed that our room was possessed, probably from people who’d fallen overboard or something in years past. We’d be chillin’ in our room minding our own business and suddenly the toilet would flush. I mean, I was under the impression that ghosts didn’t have bowel movements but seeing as our toilet legitimately flushed in our room, I suppose they ate the creme brulee and had to expel immediately.

Then on another day, Alyssa and I were chit-chatting and the shower started leaking. Not like the normal after-shower shower dribble most do, but like someone had turned it on for a couple quick seconds and then it shut off. It was so bizarre, and we both stopped mid-sentence and just looked at each other like, WTF. Later in the week, the shower did the same thing, the sink made a leaky drip noise, and we’d find towels on the floor that weren’t there prior. Needless to say, it was bizarro.

Oh, and then there was this enormously LOUD crash during the night. It woke both of us up in a startle and in the morning, we checked the bathroom thinking our makeup exploded everywhere, but the bathroom was pristine. No fallen pictures with shattered glass everywhere, no bloody messages written on the mirror, nothing.

In other words, our ghost was clearly the most hygienic ghost I’ve ever encountered. And the crash? It was probably doing its best to navigate the closet-sized bathroom too. I hear you, ghost. I was bonking my elbows everywhere while trying to shave in near-contortionist-positions. I feel ya, man. 

But next time? We’re forcing it to go in on the room cost. I don’t care that you didn’t bring clothes, that you aren’t hogging the outlets or that you merely disappear during nighttime, leaving the awkward “who’s that ghost guy gonna sleep with tonight?” question. You’re paying a third for using up all our towels and making the stateroom attendant think we’re insane with our voodoo toilet.

Now that I’m back home, I’m not experiencing anything paranormal except the need to make everything Valentine’s-y for Valentine’s Day. And to me, red velvet goes hand-in-hand with this lovely holiday since it’s such a rich, delectable flavor and of course, because of the ruby red color.

DSC_0454ASo if you’re already thinking ahead like me, may I suggest some Red Velvet Scones? Not only are they simple to make, but they taste phenomenal. Soft, flaky, chewy and moist, they taste identical to red velvet cake but in a scone form so you can eat ‘em for breakfast (you’re welcome!) They’re topped with a sweet and creamy cream cheese frosting to bring the whole flavor together and create a pretty striped topping. While I like them plain, feel free to sprinkle on nuts, dried fruits, or sprinkles for a festive touch.

And whatever you do, don’t share with the bathroom ghost.

DSC_0457A*adapted from Duncan Hines 

Red Velvet Scones
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Tender, moist and bursting with rich red velvet flavor, these scones are the perfect breakfast treat!
Ingredients
  • 1 & ½ cups red velvet cake mix
  • 1 & ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream or milk
  • 1 can cream cheese icing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper that's been misted lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and flour and whisk together. Drop in the cubed cold butter and using two forks or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mix resembles thick, coarse crumbs.
  3. Make a small well in the center of the mixture and stream in the cream or milk. Then, using a spoon or your hands, begin working the dough into the milk, working from the outside in, until the mixture is just barely combined. Do NOT overmix or this will result in very tough scones!
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead into a ball. Place the ball onto the prepared baking sheet and gently press it into about a 10" circle. Score the circle into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the scones appear set and are golden around the edges. Allow scones to cool for about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut the scones into separate wedges and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, melt the frosting in the microwave (be sure to remove the lid and foil wrapping first!) until pourable. Drizzle over top of the scones and allow the icing to briefly set before serving.

DSC_0460AButtery, soft, chewy, moist and bursting with that rich, decadent red velvet flavor, these scones are an indulgent breakfast that can’t be beat! The cream cheese drizzle is the icing on top of these flavorful, festive scones :)

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes It’s no secret that I work from home full-time… and that I am so incredibly blessed to blog full-time, work in my home, and be my own boss.

But let’s get something straight: working from home has its difficulties for sure. And before y’all roll your eyes as you head to work in 9am rush-hour traffic, hear me out.

First of all, I have a set schedule like you do, but the only difference is that my work is constant. Blogging doesn’t happen within a 9-5 confine; it happens 24/7. I can always be doing something work-related, whether it be Tweeting while using the bathroom, Instagramming before ordering in the Taco Bell drive-thru, or scheduling a couple of Facebook posts before a night out of drinking (and those are plentiful). People will always be craving chocolate chip cookies and there will always be that one person Pinning up a storm, so therefore, I am always working to supply those crazy Pinterest people’s needs.

Second of all, let’s not even get started on the work-related hazards. While I don’t have to deal with Dale from Accounting’s sexual advances, I *do* have to worry about the dreaded, incessant intake of calories because hello, my job involves food and I must eat it for, ya know, quality control purposes. So instead of deflecting a creepy coworker’s leers, I have to deal with my creepy-self eating a sixth cookie for breakfast. And yes, I totally eat cookies for breakfast. Because remember when I said that my schedule is wonky? Well, during certain Pinning binges or when I’m neck-deep in flour trying to perfect the most delicious cinnamon roll, I don’t exactly have time to reach for a nutritious breakfast. While I’d love to sit down peacefully in my sunlit breakfast nook and eat an egg-white omelet with wheat toast and fresh-squeezed OJ, the reality is, I’m most likely shoveling a day-old brownie in my pie-hole while guzzling milky coffee. #truelife.

And okay, the worst part of all? It’s that people just kind of give you that polite, tight smile and nod when you explain you work from home when you know they’re secretly thinking you’re some unemployed loser who wears pajamas all day long. Only the latter is true – I do wear pajamas and they’re damn cute – but I am surely not unemployed. Just because I don’t have coworkers, just because my paychecks are erratic and just because I can wear jammies to work doesn’t mean I’m unemployed. If anything, I’m the luckiest employee ever – my coworkers are gooey, buttery cookies and rich chocolate cakes. They don’t talk back, they aren’t trying to usurp my position, and they aren’t Dale the Creep. No one likes Dale.

DSC_0495AAnd when a new coworker comes along, I hardly ever worry about disliking them… especially not these Copycat Hostess Cupcakes. Because no one — and I mean no one — dislikes cupcakes. They’re like the Switzerland of the dessert world. Even cupcakes like Dale.

DSC_0485AThese cupcakes are the bomb dot com, yo. They taste nearly identical to the Hostess classic but better since they’re homemade! And you won’t believe how simple they are to make! My easy shortcuts make creating these soft, moist and chocolaty cupcakes such a cinch.

In fact, I think I still have a couple lying around… and yes, I do accept job transfers if anyone’s interested :)

DSC_0482A

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These delightful, chocolaty cupcakes taste nearly identical to their famous counterpart! You won't believe how simple they are to make with a few easy shortcuts!
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare the cake mix according to package directions or until smooth and blended, about 2 minutes. Portion the batter evenly among each muffin tin, filling about ¾" of the way full. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light, moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  3. Once cupcakes are cooled entirely, core them by using a small, sharp paring knife, careful not to cut the cupcake all the way to the bottom. Discard (or snack on!) the cores of the cupcakes. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the marshmallow fluff with about ¾ of the vanilla frosting; gently fold together to combine.
  4. Place the marshmallow mixture into a plastic ziploc bag and seal out the air. Snip off a corner of the bag and pipe the marshmallow mixture into the cored cupcakes, filling just about to the top of the cupcake. Refrigerate the cupcakes for about 20 minutes to briefly set the filling.
  5. Remove the lid and foil liner of the chocolate frosting and microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until nearly melted. Dunk each cupcake into the chocolate frosting, allowing excess to drip off but work quickly as to not lose your cupcake's filling! Invert the cupcakes back onto a cooling rack and allow the chocolate frosting to briefly set on top. Then, fill another piping bag with the remaining vanilla frosting and pipe squiggles onto each cupcake for the signature appearance. Serve immediately and store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

DSC_0496AMy family and I LOVED these cupcakes! I think they taste pretty darn close to the Hostess original :)

Want more snack-cake inspiration? Check out my other childhood favorite copycats! 

oatmealcremepiecopyCopycat Oatmeal Creme Pies

twinkieTwinkie Cupcakes

galacticCopycat Galactic Crunch (Star Crunch)

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

The Easiest Lemon Tarts

LemonTartsI struggle to call this a recipe since it’s about the furthest thing from it.

You know when you just happen to throw something together and of course everyone raves over it and asks for the recipe and you’re like, “um, I put ground sausage in my boxed stuffing mix” and they treat you like the Second Coming? Yeah, this is exactly that except minus sausage and stuffing and add lemon curd and sugar cookie dough.

I mean, not even a thing. But it’s totally a thing. Congrats, are you thoroughly confused now?

The best part about this faux-recipe is that it’s so simple and so… rustic. Rustic isn’t the right word but you know what I mean, right? Where you just throw it together effortlessly like some kind of chic baker without a care in your breezy world. Even though we all know ‘effortless’ is just a crap term for “I spent two hours arranging these organic, freshly-picked-from-my-garden tulips just-so in this makeshift mason jar vase with a raffia ribbon.” Or, “oh this top knot? I only had to watch 18 hours of YouTube tutorials before I could master taking my Lauren-Conrad-esque hair and piling it into this messy-yet-chic bun. Totes easy.”

But rustic almost implies lazy, like “I didn’t give two craps about the way this chicken looks, so eff it, I’m calling it rustic” …and everyone swoons. Wood paneling you didn’t feel like putting a second coat of paint on — hell, call it rustic. People will understand. It’s art, man. Don’t box me into your perfectionist world, dude.

I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. BUT I do know that you and I must make these tartlets together because not only are they adorable and bite-sized, but they’re friggin’ delicious. Rustic laziness or not.

Irresistible two-ingredient tarts. If that’s not effortless, I dunno what is.

DSC_0448A

The Easiest Lemon Tarts
Author: 
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Two ingredient Lemon Tarts are both refreshing and delicious! Feel free to top them with powdered sugar, as shown, meringue, or even fresh whipped cream.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg (24 cookie count) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, at room temperature
  • 1 jar lemon curd (or use your own homemade version, you effortless person, you)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional but recommended)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 24-cavity miniature muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using your fingers, gently flatten each ball of dough and press it into each muffin cavity, going up the sides of the cavity to create a small bowl of dough. Repeat with remaining dough and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes or until the edges are light brown.
  3. Allow the sugar cookie cups to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. While they cool, very gently press your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon into the center of each cookie cup to create a well; this will be filled with the curd. Once the cups have cooled some, use a knife to run along the edges of the cups to gently lift them out of the pan. Allow the cups to cool on a wire rack completely.
  4. Once cups are cooled, fill with about a teaspoon of lemon curd. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar if you'd like. Serve immediately.

DSC_0441ASo effortless, even Lauren Conrad would approve.

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

Avalanche Cookie Clusters

Avalanche Cookie ClustersWhen I was in high school, one of the coolest things to do was to visit Downtown Sacramento.

Now mind you, I am a kid from the suburbs, about 20 minutes away from Downtown. But seeing as the most exciting thing in my town was the halfway abandoned Yogurt Delite, Downtown seemed so cool and exotic and hip and different to a 15-year old.

For one, Downtown had a mall which was just as crappy as our mall, but better because it was Downtown. And it had a gargantuan Forever 21 in it which was sofreakinawesome because ours only had a Wet Seal and everyone knows Forever 21 > Wet Seal, amirite?

Second, Downtown was connected to Old Town, which is exactly what you think of when you think of a once-small mining town. Cute, quaint old buildings and cobblestone streets with wooden sidewalks and horse-drawn carriages clopping around. Old Town had some quirky shops that my friends and I loved to explore in, but mostly, we enjoyed hitting up the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory down there.

My mom would send me on my day-long jaunt to Downtown with $20 to spend on lunch, but little did she know that most of that money went to things at Forever 21 and of course, chocolates from Rocky Mountain. If you’ve never been to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory before, it’s pretty much the most heavenly place on earth, with floor-to-ceiling displays of chocolate truffles, candies, confections and more, and more often than not, they’re stirring up a fresh batch of caramel and dipping everything under the sun right in front of your wee beady eyes.

In other words, a hungry teenager’s dream come true.

One of my favorite things to get were the caramel apples (hello, best treat evah) and their Avalanche Bars. The Avalanche Bars are probably what Rocky Mountain’s most known for, and for good reason. If ya don’t know, Avalanche Bars are basically white chocolate and peanut butter mixed together with rice krispy cereal and marshmallows, then studded with chocolate chips. Prettttttty genius, with the whole sweet-salty-crunchy-gooey factors happening at once. And did I mention it was a hungry teenager’s dream come true?

But since my days of dwelling Downtown are long over (and since I’ve grown up and realized Downtown isn’t that cool after all, parking sucks, and is that homeless person flashing everyone?), it’s been quite some time since I’ve had an Avalanche Bar. But since I saw Shelly post her version of Avalanche Cookies, I knew I had to recreate this childhood treat at home… with my rebellious spin, duh.

DSC_0402AEnter pie crust. Yeah, pie crust. Homie play. Homie play like that. Pie crust offers a delightful, unexpected crunch to these clusters and a bit of a doughy, cookie feel. It’s hard to explain but easy to eat 10 of these incredible cookie clusters, also inspired by the mil-dollar Pillsbury Bake-Off winner’s recipe which includes bits of baked pie crust in her cookies, too.

Genius? Hell yes it is. And ohmigawd, did I mention a DREAM COME TRUE?!

DSC_0405ASeriously. Can’t stop, won’t stop — and you shouldn’t either. Make these NOW! Live the dream!!

DSC_0397A

5.0 from 3 reviews
Avalanche Cookie Clusters
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Irresistible, incredible and outrageously delicious, these addictive Avalanche Cookie Clusters are inspired by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's delectable Avalanche Bars! You and your family will love the unexpected twist of pie crust bits in these fabulous cluster cookies!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 & ½ cups miniature marshmallows
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pkg Vanilla CandiQuik
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
Instructions
  1. First, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or with parchment paper. Mist parchment (if using) with cooking spray. Place the pie crust on the baking sheet and, using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, cut the pie crust into thin strips, then cut crosswise to make small, bite-sized squares. Separate the squares so that they don't touch as much, and bake for approx. 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, melt the CandiQuik according to package directions or until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until blended. Working quickly, add in the cereal, marshmallows and pie crust pieces and toss gently to coat completely.
  3. Working fast, drop heaping ¼ cup-sized clusters of the mixture onto foil-or silicone-lined baking sheets. Because of the CandiQuik, the mixture could harden so it's key to work as fast as possible! Allow the clusters to set before serving. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for up to a week.

DSC_0408AButtery, creamy, crunchy, gooey, crispy, salty and oh-so-decadent, these are THE BOMB. Easily my new favorite cookie-candy hybrid and I guarantee they’ll be yours, too!

*Tip: for chocolate-lovers, feel free to sprinkle each cluster with some miniature chocolate chips before they set for a little chocolate kick!*

Have a fabulous day!!

xo, Hayley

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Cookies

Red Velvet CookiesSome of you may not know, but my dad is a popular history teacher at the local high school. And because we live in a smaller kind of city, I tend to run into his current or former students quite often.

Most of the time, I’m totally cool when they ask me if I’m Mr. Parker’s daughter, or if they rave to me about the treats I baked that he’d bring to class. Because most of the time, I’m not in a completely awkward position to talk about my dad.

Like, say, while I’m shopping for bras and undies at the Victoria’s Secret sale. Yeah, totally not the time when I want to be approached, much less talk about my father. The only thing slightly more embarrassing than holding a fistful of discount underwear is holding a fistful of discount underwear while a teenager tells you how much they love your dad. That’s great, but um, can you not tell me this here? Like, can we go to the food court or something and talk about it? I just really cannot have this conversation while I’m digging feverishly in a bin full of bras, thankyouverymuch.

So kiddos out there, please, please only approach me when I’m not buying something awkward, embarrassing, or compromising. I beg of you. I’ll listen to your stories about my dad telling the best jokes and your compliments over my cupcakes all day long, but as long as I’m not holding Prep H in my hands while juggling numerous boxes of clearance feminine products in my hands, mmkay? Thank you!

Anywho. One of his students mentioned these cookies to me in passing and how much they LOVED them. If I do remember correctly, they proclaimed them the “best cookies ever” which made me both blush from excitement and also beg them to be my best friend and tell me that constantly. (Craving validation, much?) However, that kid has some seriously good taste because these cookies rocked my face off, and I don’t even like red velvet that much.

DSC_0475AI know, I know. A red velvet hater is kind of an abomination. BUT(!!) I found these cookies to be incredibly awesome. First, they’re supremely soft and chewy, with delightfully crisp edges. Second, they’re studded with sweet white chocolate chips throughout, giving these nice pockets of fabulous white chocolate gooeiness. And third, the red velvet flavor is strong and rich – the perfect blend of vanilla and cocoa mixed with that gorgeous red color. They’re pretty much love at first bite.

And proclaiming your love for these is totally normal. Just maybe don’t do it in a Victoria’s Secret.

DSC_0470A

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Soft, chewy and ultra rich, these gooey Red Velvet Cookies are a red velvet lover's dream! You'll be surprised at how fantastic and easy these unforgettable cookies are to whip up, and how they're even easier to eat!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & ¼ cups red velvet cake mix (the dry mix)
  • 1 & ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 & ½ cups white chocolate chips, divided
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, or until creamy and smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla to combine. Lastly, add in the red velvet cake mix, flour, and baking soda until a soft dough has formed. Stir in ONE cup of the white chocolate chips.
  2. Chill the mixture in the fridge for AT LEAST two hours, or overnight if possible. Chilling is MANDATORY as it prevents the cookies from spreading into thin, globby saucers during baking. I promise, this is worth the extra time!
  3. Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or spray them lightly with cooking spray. Drop rounded Tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto each cookie sheet, keeping about 2" apart from one another. Bake for approx. 9-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear slightly undone but do NOT overbake as they will continue to set up as they cool.
  4. Place a couple more white chocolate chips onto the tops of the freshly-baked cookies for an extra bit of sweetness or to make them prettier, if you'd like. Allow them to cool on the pans before serving.

DSC_0479ASoft, chewy, gooey and FABULOUS. These are awesome!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Brittle Cupcakes

Peanut Brittle CupcakesPeanut brittle is one of those candies that I totally love but often overlook. One, because it isn’t sold in many stores, and two, because it isn’t as common as your average M&M’s or Skittles.

But when I am around it? Lawd have mercy, homedog. I’m scarfing it down like it’s my day job. It’s just so addictive!

Since I still have an enormous fear of candy thermometers (seriously, I do not have time for high-maintenance candy!) I haven’t actually made my own peanut brittle at home. If we’re being honest, I find it easier to just stock up at See’s Candies and get it for $6/box than stress over a pot of boiling caramel. Not my idea of a good time. Eating the peanut brittle, however, is a great time.

So while I haven’t mastered the brittle itself, I have mastered these scrumptious cupcakes! I have to admit, the peanut brittle flavor is spot-on. If you could somehow bottle it up and drink that delectable peanut butter caramel flavor, it would be the best beverage evah. But for now, you’ll have to settle with eating your cupcake and your peanut brittle, too. These are the best!

DSC_0316ASkip the candy thermom mama drama and buy yourself a box of brittle… and the ingredients for these cupcakes. You’ll be glad you did!

DSC_0310A

Peanut Brittle Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Peanutty and caramel, these Peanut Brittle Cupcakes taste like the addictive candy without the fuss of making it. Top with your favorite homemade or store-bought brittle for the perfect, tasty garnish.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup caramel flavored syrup (NOT sundae sauce, but the kind you can use to flavor your coffee, like by Torani)
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I like Jif!)
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 1 & ½ sticks butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup caramel flavored syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk, if needed
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Peanut Brittle, prepared or your favorite homemade recipe, broken into shards
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard muffin tins with about 16 paper liners; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, oil, eggs, water, caramel syrup and peanut butter together with a handheld electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until blended. Distribute batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling about ¾" full.
  2. Bake for approximately 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely while you prepare the frosting.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and caramel syrup with the paddle attachment until creamy and blended. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add the milk if frosting is too thick.
  4. Spoon the frosting into a disposable piping bag attached with a large open star tip. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes, then garnish with a couple of shards of peanut brittle. Top with caramel sundae syrup if you'd like! Serve immediately.

DSC_0324AThese are FABULOUS! They’re a must-try. If you haven’t had caramel + peanut butter before, you must give this insanely-delicious combination a go. It’s a total winner and is what makes the flavor in these delectable Peanut Brittle Cupcakes so spot-on!

Have a fantastic day!

xo, Hayley

Sparkling Mimosa Muffins

SparklingMimosaMuffinsI am definitely not a fancy alcohol drinker.

I mean, I do like having umbrellas in my drinks and the more cherries, the better, but when it comes to actually-fancy things, I’m out.

One time a friend wanted me to try Jameson because it was supposedly sooo much better than the Crown Royal that I worship. But within one sip I was gagging and begging for forgiveness because that stuff is raunchy. I don’t care how much better, more aged, or how fancy it is — I’m perfectly fine with the cheaper Crown.

And don’t even get me started on wine. I like the cheap white wines or Moscatos that taste like extra-sugary grape juice. And I drink them out of Tupperware tumblers that are older than time itself. Wine glasses? Champagne flutes? More like stemless cups from IKEA. I’m sure some wino would have an aneurysm at our lack of appropriate wine-drinking vessels. Riedel for champagne? Totes low-class.

Even when I popped my champagne at 9am to make these muffins, I drank it from a coffee cup. Why? Because you only live once, and spending money on fancy drinkware that I’ll never use isn’t my idea of a good time. Drinking at 9am while baking muffins on a Wednesday is, however, hence this fabulous recipe!

DSC_0336AThis recipe came to me just before the New Year when I stocked up on champs for New Year’s mimosas. My mom and I enjoy our mimosas and while sipping one, I had the idea to make a mimosa muffin. While these muffins do have a sticky-sweet champagne glaze, the real flavor here is the bright, punchy orange that’s so delicious and makes these muffins really pop. They’re moist, sweet, tart and have a fabulous sparkling top which lends a great crunch and reminds me of the sugared rim on a fancy drink.

2015. The year where we drink our mimosas and eat them, too.

DSC_0328A*adapted from my Best Blueberry Muffins recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sparkling Mimosa Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These light, fluffy and moist muffins are packed with the sweet-tart flavor of mimosas! Orange scented and topped with a champagne glaze, they're every bit as addictive as their liquid counterpart. Bottoms up!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional, but recommended)
  • Zest of one medium orange (about 1 Tbsp or more)
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sparkling sugar or coarse sugar, for garnish
  • FOR CHAMPAGNE GLAZE:
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup champagne
  • 1 cup white sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with about 18 paper liners; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, orange zest, and white sugar until combined.
  2. Add in the oil, buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla until a thick batter has formed. Batter may be lumpy; that's okay! Do NOT over-mix. Overmixing leads to very dry and tough muffins. Evenly drop heaping Tablespoonfuls of dough into the muffin tins, filling about ¾ of the way full.
  3. Bake for approximately 5 minutes at 425 degrees F. Then, without removing the muffins, lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown on top and when an toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the muffins completely.
  4. While the muffins cool, prepare your champagne glaze. In a small saucepan, bring the water, champagne and sugar to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a steady simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Dunk the tops of the muffins into the glaze, allowing excess to drip off. Return to the tin or a platter and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Serve!

DSC_0334AThe orange muffins are fresh and offer a nice citrus kick without being terribly orange-y. And the champagne glaze is sweet without being cloying; it offers a great, very subtle champagne flavor that makes these muffins extra special. If you don’t drink champs, feel free to sub sparkling soda (like lemon lime flavored) or even apple cider for a different kick.

Have a fabulous day!!

xo, Hayley

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...