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

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

 

Chocolate Cherry Cookie Bites

Chocolate Cherry Cookie BitesIt’s come to my immediate realization that I’ve never had anyone do anything romantic for me.

Like, ever.

After reading a forum on a website which asked the question, “what was the most romantic thing someone’s done for you?” I realized that no one has done anything remotely romantic for me. Why I’m incapable of having romantic things happening to me, I do not know, but I demand some answers.

Never have I ever had a candlelit dinner.

The last time I had a walk on the beach, we were fighting.

Romantic, spontaneous getaways for the weekend? Planned by me.

In fact, I don’t even know if my past significant others knew my favorite candy, which is clearly an indication that we were never meant to be since candy is like, my lifestyle.

Oh well. I suppose I’m meant to eat my Red Vines by candlelight alone.

At any rate, despite being single this Valentine’s Day, I’m actually really excited about it. There’s something exciting about love, even if I’m not in it. So I just make treats to compensate for my loneliness, and it all works out in the end. *cue rom com music here* Today, I’ve made for you – my valentines! – these delectable Chocolate Cherry Cookie Bites. They’re super delish and take hardly any time at all to make, thanks to some easy store-bought, seasonal swaps I found.

DSC_0923AEnter: Pillsbury’s new Chocolate Cherry Cake Mix and Frosting! They have a rich chocolate flavor with sweet hints of cherry swirled throughout, and they’re the base for these simple-yet-scrumptious cookie cups. Your Valentine will be none the wiser with your little store-swap secret, and you’ll be dubbed the best significant other ever. You’re welcome.

(And yes, I will take my Red Vines now).

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Cherry Cookie Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
These sweet and simple cookie cups are made using Pillsbury's new Chocolate Cherry cake and frosting mixes! Both of these ingredients lend for easy swaps in the kitchen yet impart a great, rich chocolate cherry flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1 box Pillsbury Chocolate Cherry cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • About 1 cup Chocolate Cherry Delightfulls Morsels (by Nestle - they're cherry-filled chocolate chips; find them on your baking aisle, or sub another chopped chocolate-cherry candy)
  • 1 can Pillsbury Chocolate Cherry frosting
  • Maraschino cherries with stems, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 24-cavity miniature muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and oil with a spoon until a soft dough has formed.
  2. Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls of dough into each muffin cavity, then gently flatten them down with your fingers. Bake the cookie cups for about 12-15 minutes or until the edges are set; do not over-bake. Allow the cookie cups to set in the muffin cups for about 5 minutes.
  3. Gently use the handle of a wooden spoon to make an indentation in the middle of the cookie cup, careful not to puncture through the cup. Immediately fill the well with a heaping pinch of the chocolate-cherry morsels. Allow the cups to cool completely before gently popping them from the muffin tin.
  4. Remove the cap and foil lining from the frosting and microwave it on medium-high power for about 30 seconds, stirring vigorously so it's smooth and pourable. Dunk each cookie cup into the melted frosting briefly, covering the top. Allow excess to drip off and return the cookie cups to a foil-lined baking sheet or wire rack. Immediately top with a maraschino cherry. Repeat with remaining cups, then serve!

DSC_0927AThese could not be simpler or any cuter! I’m a huge fan of the chocolate & cherry flavor combination and these cups hit it outta the park with their rich, chocolaty flavor and the bright bursts of cherry. If you can’t find the chocolate cherry cake mix or frosting, substitute regular chocolate cake mix with a teaspoon or two of cherry extract or maraschino cherry juice. And stir some cherry extract or maraschino cherry juice into canned chocolate icing in a pinch.

I hope you enjoyed! Have a great day, lovers!!

xo, Hayley

Strawberry Meringues

Strawberry MeringuesSo, unless you were born today, the Super Bowl was yesterday. And if you have Facebook friends like mine, they were updating you with play-by-plays the entire freaking time.

Like, I get it. If I wanted to watch approximately 235974 hours of football, I would be doing so. But I use Facebook as an escape – a way to creepily peer into the lives of my friends and acquaintances, not get misfit ESPN commentators giving me second-by-second descriptions of everything happening.

It’s kinda like how I feel about going to the movies, with everyone talking and repeating lines during the film. It’s a movie, not a freakin’ interactive play. Keep yo’ trap shut, homie.

Maybe I’m just bitter? Probably. Don’t answer that.

DSC_0887AAnywho. After an unsuccessful attempt at escaping to Facebook yesterday, I decided to do some brainstorming for Valentine’s Day inspiration. It was then that I remembered I had made some Cotton Candy Meringues a couple years back and how delicious they were! Meringues only seem hard, but they’re actually quite simple to prepare and make for a light, airy, and quite delectable cookie!

If you’re feeling super fancy, feel free to dip these in chocolate!

DSC_0882A*adapted from my Cotton Candy Meringues, recipe above

4.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry Meringues
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48
 
Light and airy, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are delectable and so perfect for Valentine's Day! If you'd like, dip the bottoms in melted chocolate or melted white chocolate for an extra special treat!
Ingredients
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar (make sure it hasn't expired!)
  • 1 pkt. Duncan Hines Strawberry Shortcake Frosting Creations (if you cannot locate this, feel free to substitute about 1 tsp strawberry extract and a couple drops of pink liquid food coloring)
  • Valentine's sprinkles, optional but recommended
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees F and line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, fill the bottom of a medium pot with water and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Place the metal bowl of a stand mixer (or another glass bowl larger than the pot) over the simmering water and quickly add in the egg whites and sugar, whisking them until frothy. Once frothed, remove from the stove and quickly attach the stand mixer bowl to the machine or pour the mixture into a stand mixer bowl.
  3. Add in the cream of tartar and strawberry shortcake flavor packet, and using the whisk attachment, begin whipping the mixture until stiff, glossy peaks have formed (about 6-8 minutes on medium speed). The peaks are done when they stand straight up. IF YOU ARE USING STRAWBERRY EXTRACT, blend in the extract and food coloring once the peaks are just about stiff, then whip until stiff.
  4. Spoon the meringue into a disposable piping bag attached with an open star tip and pipe little mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheets. If you'd like, top them with assorted Valentine's sprinkles for a festive touch. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Once the meringues are done, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and allow the meringues to set and finish cooling in the oven.
  5. Once cooled, remove from the oven and gently peel from the baking sheets. Dip in chocolate if you'd like, or serve immediately!

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DSC_0883AI love how tender these soft and airy cookies are! They practically dissolve on your tongue with a delectable, airy texture and a wonderful strawberry flavor :) The sprinkles add a festive touch and make these cookies extra special, but feel free to omit the sprinkles if you’d like, or use sparkling caster sugar for a sparkly feel!

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

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!

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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

Chocolate Cherry Seven Layer Bars

ChocolateCherryI will never understand super touchy people. You know the ones who always feel the need to touch you, hold you, hug you, pick at you… whether they know you or not?

As a teenager with Day-Glo colored neon hair, I was constantly being touched by random strangers. Picking out apples in the grocery store, I suddenly felt hands on my hair and turned to see a woman inspecting my hair to see if it was real or a wig. Um, excuse me? Or just the random people who seemingly couldn’t believe that real hair could exist in colors like that, so they’d just reach out and pet me like some kind of rare zoo animal.

And while I’ve never been pregnant, I have heard horror stories of mothers-to-be mentioning random people rubbing their bellies in public places as if the mother was some kind of magical Buddha. This ain’t no Chinese restaurant, and your fortune says to kindly eff off. Don’t touch my belly!

…I certainly don’t want anyone touching my muffin top and mistaking it for a child. I don’t know what would be more mortifying.

But yesterday I was in ULTA waiting in a mile-long line when I felt something on my head. I must preface this by saying that I loathe long hair on me. Like, super-duper hate it. One, because I am really low-maintenance with my hair. Like, I don’t even own a hair dryer and I wash it about twice a week. And two, because of my major-lax attitude about my hair, I don’t brush it. Say what you will, cringe if you please, but I loathe brushing it. And YES, I do have an appointment to get it cut, thankyouverymuch. I’m kinda-sorta counting down the minutes if we’re being honest, and I’ve come thisclose to shaving it off myself.

SO. That being said, I was minding my own damn jolly business when I felt something on my head. I quickly reached up to touch the back of my hair and was greeted with a hand. A HAND ON MY HEAD. I spun around and the woman behind me looked at me sheepishly and said, “you know you have a knot in your hair, so I was trying to get it out for you.”

So here I was, standing in line with arms full of beauty products, listening to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You for the 876th time, while a strange woman picked out the rat’s nest in the back of my head. It was both humiliating and irksome at the same time, which is a delightful combination of emotions if you weren’t sure. I had to politely tell the lady to PLEASE stop picking apart my dreadlocks because A) we are not apes picking bugs out of one another’s fur, and B) because really? There’s polite, and then there’s psychotic… and she surely wasn’t being the former.

And it was with that that I came home with my dreadlock and held it close. We may have our differences, but I’ll be damned if someone assault’s my dreadlocks in an ULTA line.

DSC_0087AAnywho. Let’s talk food, specifically these outrageous seven layer bars. You guys know me and my seven layer/magic bars. I love them. There’s something so irresistible about seven layers of glorious goodness within each bite, and I love coming up with brand new flavor combinations… including this one! I’m a big chocolate + cherry fan, and these bars are for all those chocoholic cherry lovers out there. Packed with multiple layers of bright, sweet cherries and rich, creamy chocolate, they’re the epitome of decadence in one gooey, bite-sized bar!

This is one instance where it’s totally okay to get touchy-feely. Pick away!!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Cherry Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Rich and gooey, these Chocolate Cherry Seven Layer Bars have bursts of bright, sweet cherry flavor throughout!
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 pkg Nestle Tollhouse Cherry Delight-Fulls Morsels
  • 1 cup cherry morsels (by LogHouse Foods)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg Andes Chocolate Cherry candies, chopped
  • 1 & ½ cups Hershey's Cherry Cordial Kisses, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
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 with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, and oil until a soft dough has formed. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Evenly top with the assorted chips and chopped candies; drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 18-20 minutes or until the bars are bubbly and the center appears to be just about set. It may wiggle slightly; that's okay -- it will continue to set up as it cools.
  4. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into squares. I recommend cooling them overnight for extra time to set up. You can also pop in the fridge to speed up cooling time, but allow to come to room temperature to cut. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature, and garnish slices with chocolate sauce and cherries if you'd like.

DSC_0101ADuuuuuuuuuuude. These are rockin’!

FYI – cherry morsels, cherry cordial Hershey’s Kisses and Andes Cherry Cordial Candies can typically be found during the Christmas season and sometimes Valentine’s Day. If you like these candies, stock up now since they tend to be seasonal. Nestle TollHouse Delight-Fulls are available yearround in the baking aisle next to the other chocolate chips.

Have a sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Super Simple 2-Ingredient Turtles

2 Ingredient TurtlesYou guuuuyyyyyysssss. These turtles. I can’t even.

Most recipes on the interwebs feature three or four-ingredient turtles, and that’s totally cool. But if you’re like me, you kinda sorta get a little pissy whenever you have to rinse out a sticky caramel pot or when you have to pry hardened chocolate off of a spoon. Like seriously, I would love to have a live-in permanent dishwasher. It would be AWESOME, and I would pay them entirely in treats.

But since I haven’t made it yet (at least to the caliber of hiring staff), I’ll have to settle with cutting out the middle man by using Rolo candies instead of your traditional caramel squares and melting chocolate. Rolos take the guess-work and fuss out of making homemade candy since you simply upwrap them and melt them for a delightful treat! No sticky bowls, no frustrated dishwashers. Easy-peasy, yo.

DSC_0143AAnd if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can always roll these poppable, addictive treats in sprinkles like I did for a festive touch. These really could not be simpler to make and hellooooo, no dishes equals a happy Hayley.

(Oh, and if you’re lookin’ for work, I *do* have a sink full of dishes at the moment soo… inquire within) :)

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Super Simple 2-Ingredient Turtles
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
These two-ingredient turtles are the EASIEST candies you'll ever make! Roll the melted chocolate edges in sprinkles for a festive touch that looks great any time of year.
Ingredients
  • Rolos, unwrapped
  • Pecan Halves (I like using Diamond of California Shelled Pecans)
  • Sprinkles, if desired
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place a pecan half down on the prepared baking sheet and very gently top it with an unwrapped Rolo candy. The pecan halves can be a little teeter-tottery, but try to balance them or choose flatter pecans as best as you can. There's no right or wrong way!
  2. Once the pecans have been topped with the Rolos, very carefully place the pan in the oven for about 2-3 minutes or until the Rolo candies are shiny but not melted. Remove from the oven and gently press another pecan half on top of each Rolo, sandwiching them slightly. Allow the turtles to cool for about 10 minutes before rolling the sides in sprinkles if you'd like. Otherwise, allow the turtles to set completely before serving or packaging. This recipe can make as many or as few turtles as you'd like.

DSC_0139AI love the spirited touch of the Christmas-colored sprinkles rolled around each candy; it makes them look more special and like you spent all day making these fabulous turtle candies! No one will guess they are just two simple, everyday ingredients and these make fantastic gifts for friends and family!

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Sugar Cookie Seven Layer Bars

Sugar Cookie Seven Layer BarsAs a slightly insane food blogger, it’s my civic duty to report to you guys about the latest food products on the market.

So without further adieu, FRENCH TOAST CRUNCH CEREAL IS BACK!!! 

If I could somehow scream this through a megaphone, you bet your cute booty I would. I am so excited, people. I’ve waited years for this glorious reunion of miniature toast-shaped cereal flavored with maple and cinnamon.

But while on the hunt for this iconic 90’s throwback, I stumbled upon some other doozy products I just had to buy… AKA, what happens every time I shop at Target. (No wonder I’m always so broke).

First up: Sugar Cookie PopTarts. I mean, really? It’s like the folks at PopTarts just get me, you know? Shoving sugar cookie dough inside of a pastry and calling it breakfast… if only I could get a guy to think the same philosophy and I’ll put a ring on it.

Next: Sugar Cookie Peeps. I know Peeps are a love-it-or-leave-it food, but I happen to love them. Along with Sugar Cookie, I also spotted Hot Chocolate, Red Velvet (!!) and Peppermint. Yes, jump in my cart and take my damn money.

But after pushing my cart full of sugar cookie Peeps & PopTarts around, an idea gave birth in mah brain. What about Sugar Cookie Seven Layer Bars?! It was a brilliant idea that had to happen… and that was promptly eaten in one sitting. Sorrynotsorry.

DSC_1527A{BTW, every Christmas my mom begs me to make sugar cookie cut-outs with royal icing. Well, royal icing gives me the heeby jeebies and after numerous failed attempts, has made me moderately homicidal, so we compromised with these bars that pack the sugar cookie punch without the hassle of cut-outs and royal icing murder.}

DSC_1528AEAT UP.

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5.0 from 3 reviews
Sugar Cookie Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Seven layers of sugar cookie heaven, packed into one glorious bar! No need to hassle over cut-out sugar cookies since these pack the sugar cookie punch in a convenient cookie bar that everyone will love.
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 5 Sugar Cookie Pop Tarts
  • 1 (12-cookie count) pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • About 12 baked sugar cookies, roughly chopped
  • 2 pkgs Sugar Cookie Peeps, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional)
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, melted butter and vanilla until a soft dough has formed. Spread the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven but keep the oven on. Gently lay the Pop Tarts across the surface of the dough in an even layer, breaking Pop Tarts to fit if needed. Top the Pop Tarts layer with pieces of sugar cookie dough, the chopped sugar cookies, the chopped Peeps candies, and the white chocolate chips as evenly as possible. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the center appears just about set. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired. Cool in the pan completely, then gently lift the bars out of the pan using the foil sides and cut into squares. I like letting my bars sit overnight for an easier cut.

DSC_1530AAll that’s missing is a HUGE frosty glass of milk! These are the ultimate for sugar cookie lovers… so much sugar cookie goodness packed into one petite, fabulous bar!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting

GingerbreadCupcakesI’ve decided that I’m never shopping at Target again, because every time I do, something mortally embarrassing happens.

Like the time I told the cashier I was going to eat Oreos naked (wrong context). Or the time my mom was my wing-woman.

ANYWHO. A couple days ago I was in the big red bulls-eye when the sparkly, frilly, feathery wonders of the little girls clothing section drew me in. Since I’m buddy-buddy with Dorothy’s kiddo Jordan, I figured I’d find her some can’t-live-without glitter-smothered dress for Christmas and began my search. As I was knee-deep in sparkles and sequins and loving every minute of it, an employee approached me and asked if I needed any help.

A simple enough question, but for me to answer it? Oh lawdddd have mercy.

I could have simply said, “yes, I’m fine, thanks.” But instead I said, “Yes, I’m okay. I’m just looking right now. I mean, I don’t even own a child, so I’m not sure why I’m here, but I’m okay, thanks.”

Seriously. Don’t even own a child. OWN. I said “own.” What in god’s name is wrong with me?

The employee kind of looked at me strangely and did one of those awkward polite chuckles, but I knew she was probably making secret signals to the surveillance cameras to get a closer look at me so they could put me on some kind of Crazy Person List as the lady who doesn’t “own” kids and who shops in the children’s department just ’cause. *sigh*

DSC_0161A

DSC_0150ASo after realizing I’m a weirdo, I left and went home to bake cupcakes. Cupcakes make everything better, even if you are on Target’s blacklist for being a creeper. Thankfully, cupcakes aren’t judgmental and they are a really scrumptious way to feel better about your shortcomings. These Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting certainly do the trick and are so festive for the upcoming Christmas holiday!

Now get to eating, you weirdo!

DSC_0149A *adapted from my Gingerbread Cupcakes, in the archives

5.0 from 2 reviews
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16-18
 
Soft, spicy gingerbread cupcakes are topped with a sinfully light and fluffy vanilla bean marshmallow frosting that's to-die for! These irresistible Christmas cupcakes are every bit as delicious as they are festive.
Ingredients
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or substitute vanilla extract)
  • ¼ cup cream or milk
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • Gingerbread Sprinkles and Cookies, for optional garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 16 paper liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, ginger, cinnamon and allspice with an electric mixer until blended, about 2 minutes.
  2. Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin cups, filling about ¾ths full. You should have roughly around 16 cupcakes.
  3. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake comes back clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  4. To make the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, marshmallow creme, and vanilla bean paste until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, then stream in the milk or cream to help thin the frosting out, adding more milk or cream as needed. Frosting should be light and fluffy.
  5. Fill a piping bag attached with a large open star tip with the frosting. Pipe high onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with gingerbread men sprinkles and a gingerbread cookie if desired. Serve immediately or store cookies airtight at room temperature or in the fridge. Note that the cookies on top will get softer with time, especially in the fridge, so if you're planning on storing them for a later time I would garnish with the cookies right before serving.

DSC_0160AThe Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting is the perfect light, sweet and fluffy accompaniment to these spicy, irresistible gingerbread cupcakes! Nothing is more festive or fabulous for the holiday season!

Hope you have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

 

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Cups

GingerbreadCookieDoughCupsTo me, there are three flavors synonymous with the holidays: eggnog, peppermint, and gingerbread.

While I’ve always had an affinity with peppermint, eggnog and gingerbread took awhile to get used to. As a kid, I wanted to like them so badly. Eggnog just seemed so cool – like something suave businesswomen in turtleneck pantsuits would drink (it was the 90s) but I just couldn’t stomach it; it reminded me of melted ice cream but not in a good way. And gingerbread, of course, for all the gingerbread home construction that I’d build during this magical time of year. But demolishing said house? I went for the candy and abandoned the stale frame behind.

But as an adult, I realized I actually enjoy all of these flavors (and none of the turtleneck pantsuits). Eggnog is best enjoyed, in my opinion, in moderation, such as a glaze on a cake or a sip here and there (spiked because hello, it’s the holidays and how else am I supposed to be so jolly?). And gingerbread, because I finally left those terrible, crumbly gingerbread cookie homes behind and had real-deal, chewy, perfectly spiced gingerbread cookies that totally assuaged my stale-cookie nightmares.

And now, gingerbread is a must during the holidays. Whether you prefer your cookies soft and chewy, or thinner and crispy, I think everyone can agree that one of the best parts of this Christmastime classic is the cookie dough. But then again, isn’t that the case with all cookies? :)

DSC_0203ACookie dough is one of my favorite treats and I combined my love for the sweet, uncooked batter with my newfound love for gingerbread to create these fabulous, sweet-and-spicy Gingerbread Cookie Dough Cups. Kinda like peanut butter cups, but surrounded by smooth white chocolate and filled with a decadent, perfectly spiced gingerbread cookie dough. These sweet, poppable cups are then topped with a small sprinkling of dried ginger which offers an irresistible pop of flavor atop these festive treats.

Both my cookie dough and the dried ginger garnish come from Gourmet Garden, the folks behind those oh-so convenient squeezable tubes of fresh herbs and spices. Gourmet Garden knows that not everyone has time or money to buy a fresh bunch of herbs for a single recipe. More than likely, the herbs will spoil before you have a chance to use them! But Gourmet Garden has created these convenient squeeze tubes filled with your favorite herbs and spices to make cooking and baking a breeze — and no more dreaded garlic fingers! Simply squeeze the amount of herbs or spices needed into your recipe and voila! No mess, no waste. It’s that simple — and the fresh pop of color and flavor added to the dishes is outstanding.

DSC_0206AGourmet Garden just released their new line of Lightly Dried Spices for your cooking needs. The Lightly Dried Line is the closest thing to fresh you’ll get in appearance, flavor, and aroma and they stay fresh for 4 weeks after opening. From cilantro to ginger, parsley to chili pepper and basil, Gourmet Garden has your herbs and spices covered to ensure a perfectly flavorful dish in no time.

…And speaking of flavorful… just look at these cups! They’re just bursting with that sweet gingerbread dough and smooth white chocolate. If this doesn’t scream “Christmas” I don’t know what does!

DSC_0211A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Cups
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30
 
Perfectly spiced gingerbread cookie dough is enrobed around sweet white chocolate and topped with dried ginger for these refined yet utterly delicious candy cups!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Gourmet Garden Ginger Stir-In Paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pkg Vanilla CandiQuik or white chocolate candy coating
  • Approx. 5 Tbsp Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Ginger, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Line a miniature muffin pan with approx. 30 miniature paper liners. Set aside. Meanwhile, melt HALF of the white chocolate coating according to package directions or until smooth and melted.
  2. Drop heaping teaspoons or so of melted white chocolate into the bottom of each muffin liner. Using the spoon, gently brush the white chocolate along the sides of the muffin cup about halfway. Allow the chocolate to set.
  3. To make your cookie dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and molasses until combined. Beat in vanilla, milk and ginger paste. Lastly, beat in the spices and flour until a soft dough has formed.
  4. Roll scant teaspoon-sized balls of dough with your fingers and place them, slightly flattened, into the white chocolate cups. Once the cups are filled with all of the cookie dough, melt the remaining white chocolate. Drop heaping Tablespoons of white chocolate on top of each cookie dough ball, ensuring the balls are covered completely by the white chocolate on the top and sides. Sprinkle the tops of the cups with the dried ginger, and allow to set before serving.

DSC_0215AI love the spicy, aromatic flavor ginger lends to this recipe. Both the Ginger Paste and the Lightly Dried Ginger add such a tremendous amount of freshness and warmth to these unique and festive cookie cups! If you’d like, you could also top the cookie dough cups with a sprinkling of festive holiday sprinkles or jimmies as well.

Gourmet Garden brandmarkBe sure to connect with Gourmet Garden to learn more about their company, product line, news, and more! You can follow them on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST & INSTAGRAM for more delicious recipes, tips and more, including great Holiday Baking inspiration like this!

And be sure to check out other amazing Holiday Baking Recipes from friends featuring Gourmet Garden!!

Hope you have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was generously provided with samples of Gourmet Garden’s Products to review and develop a recipe. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. 

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