Cherry Almond Cupcakes

These Cherry Almond Cupcakes are sweet, light and luscious and so easy to prepare! No one will know this easy recipe came from a box! I am the worst music-listener ever.

First, I listen to the same songs over and over and over. Like, if we still used records, my records would be tore up. Seriously, it’s like the songs are going away tomorrow and I have to listen to them repeatedly in order to preserve them in my memory forever.

Second, I hate finding new music to listen to. It’s one of my least favorite tasks, up there with putting socks on damp feet and emptying the dishwasher. I just feel like, if I find a new artist or album and listen to the whole thing and hate it, it would be a huge waste of time, you know? And right now, my time is money… writing a cookbook is taking up every last second of free-time (and non-free-time), so I just don’t have the energy to seek out a new artist.

But why don’t you play a new album while you’re baking, you ask? Because if I don’t know what to expect, I’m way off my game. I’ll start burning stuff, under-beating batter, and tripping all over myself because of this new ambiance that I’m not used to. It’s like I have to bake to what I know in order to be in my “element.” (Also things in my “element”: a stack of magazines, joggers, and powdered sugar in every crevice).

And third, I always fall victim to the latest hits, anyway. I only had to hear Fifth Harmony’s ‘Worth It’ one time before that song permanently etched itself into my brain. So if it’s catchy, poppy, and plays in Hershey’s commercials, you know I’m guaranteed to listen to it really loud while no one’s home. And maybe imitate the choreography. Maybe.

Anyway, let’s talk about these spectacular Cherry Almond Cupcakes. I happen to love the combination of cherry and almond together – it’s sweet, fruity, and totally delicious. These cupcakes start with a cherry chip cake mix – a flavor I often forget about, admittedly – which gives a great cherry base to these cupcakes. Then the frosting is where the almond comes into play – thick, light, luscious sweet almond flavor. Top it off with a maraschino cherry and voila! Instant happiness.

While these cupcakes are perfect year-round, they would be especially great for Valentine’s Day! Top it with festive sprinkles or a drizzle of chocolate sauce to complete the look.

Enjoy!!

These Cherry Almond Cupcakes are sweet, light and luscious and so easy to prepare! No one will know this easy recipe came from a box!

Cherry Almond Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These Cherry Almond Cupcakes are sweet, fruity and utterly delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1 box cherry chip cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small box instant dry vanilla pudding mix
  • ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp almond extract (more or less depending on your preferences)
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cavities with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, pudding mix and maraschino cherry juice with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or until combined. Portion evenly among muffin cups, filling about ¾ full.
  3. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, beat together the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until creamy. Alternate adding one cup of the powdered sugar and a little of the heavy cream until frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes (if piping, you may want to double the frosting batch). Top with a maraschino cherry. Serve!

These Cherry Almond Cupcakes are sweet, light and luscious and so easy to prepare! No one will know this easy recipe came from a box! Sweet, light, and perfect for any day, you’ll love these cupcakes!

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Strawberry Shortcake Fluff

This Strawberry Shortcake Fluff is so simple to make - only 5 ingredients that you probably have on hand! Light, refreshing, no-bake and made in minutes, you'll love this easy recipe any time of year! I’m so excited to bring this Strawberry Shortcake Fluff recipe to you guys today! It’s in partnership with Lucky Leaf – I’m a brand ambassador for them this year and I am so stoked!

Lucky Leaf is all about celebrating everyday, and this fluff is all about that life, too. It comes together in minutes, only needs an hour to chill, and starts off with a can of Lucky Leaf’s Strawberry Premium Fruit Filling & Topping… which happens to be one of my favorite flavors in their line-up.

This idea came to me because my Grandma Pat, whom I lovingly call “Grammie”, always makes fluff salads of some kind for holiday dinners and parties. Her usual staple is a classic fruit cocktail fluff, but sometimes she’ll jazz things up with a mandarin orange fluff or even pistachio fluff.

And if you haven’t been invited to one of Grammie’s parties, or you just haven’t had an older lady make you a fluff salad, it basically consists of fruit (canned, fruit topping, fresh), Cool Whip, and sweetened condensed milk all whisked together, and usually with added ingredients. Today’s fluff salad features strawberry fruit filling & topping, sweetened condensed milk, Cool Whip, miniature marshmallows, and pound cake pieces for that irresistible, unmistakable strawberry shortcake flavor!

Plus, I heard Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching, and this would be a nice alternative to a box of chocolates. Just sayin’.

And if you have kiddos at home, this would be such a fun dessert to make with them! Have them get involved in folding together the ingredients… or sampling every component for quality control :)

Either way, you guys have to give this fluff salad a try. (Oh, and bee tee dubs, I have NO idea why it’s called a ‘salad.’ Except that it’s the bestsaladever because it doesn’t have lettuce.)

This Strawberry Shortcake Fluff is so simple to make - only 5 ingredients that you probably have on hand! Light, refreshing, no-bake and made in minutes, you'll love this easy recipe any time of year!

Strawberry Shortcake Fluff
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
This Strawberry Shortcake Fluff Salad is a delightful no-bake treat that comes together in minutes and tastes fantastic!! Perfect for any day, any time of year!
Ingredients
  • 1 can (21 oz) Lucky Leaf Premium Strawberry Fruit Filling & Topping
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
  • ½ loaf (about 2 cups) frozen pound cake, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • Sprinkles, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, fold together the Lucky Leaf Strawberry Fruit Topping, the condensed milk, and the Cool Whip until combined. Fold in the pound cake cubes and the miniature marshmallows.
  2. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for about an hour to set up.
  3. Dish it up and serve! Garnish with sprinkles if desired.

This Strawberry Shortcake Fluff is so simple to make - only 5 ingredients that you probably have on hand! Light, refreshing, no-bake and made in minutes, you'll love this easy recipe any time of year! Be sure to connect with Lucky Leaf on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and stay tuned for more delicious recipes with them! And for more recipes, check out their website!

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a brand ambassador for Lucky Leaf this year. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog!

Soft-Baked Frosted Almond Sugar Cookies

These Soft-Baked Almond Sugar Cookies are irresistibly soft, tender and so easy to make! Keep this recipe for any special occasion when you're craving buttery, sweet almond sugar cookies! You guys – these Soft-Baked Frosted Almond Sugar Cookies. I can’t even.

So Valentine’s Day is coming up – do you have any plans?

I do not. Like, not in the least. I’m not dating anyone, I don’t have any friends, and my only Valentine’s are my dogs and they couldn’t care less about the day.

But I still like to celebrate, even if I’m hopelessly alone. Okay, not hopelessly. More like “forever single.” And in a weird way, I’m kind of okay with that. If my soulmate is out there, he either A) died, or B) probably realized he was gay. And that’s totally cool! I’m perfectly happy being a spinster forever, as long as I can have no less than 10 dogs at any given time…

…and the ability to eat whatever I want without judgment. Or wear sweats to bed instead of cute pajamas.

So this year, if we’re being honest, I’ll probably watch Criminal Minds reruns while spoon-feeding myself Ben & Jerry’s sandwiched between these cookies because you only live once and I don’t have anyone to impress. SCORE.

These Soft-Baked Almond Sugar Cookies are irresistibly soft, tender and so easy to make! Keep this recipe for any special occasion when you're craving buttery, sweet almond sugar cookies! These cookies are so buttery, rich and delicious and have a delicately sweet almond flavor in the dough. The cookies themselves are pillowy soft and tender, creating the perfect base for the vanilla buttercream frosting. These taste a lot like those store-bought Lofthouse cookies but with a sweet almond flavor!

Make ’em for yourself. Or for your Valentine. Or for a Monday in February. You won’t be disappointed!

These Soft-Baked Almond Sugar Cookies are irresistibly soft, tender and so easy to make! Keep this recipe for any special occasion when you're craving buttery, sweet almond sugar cookies! *adapted from this Best Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Soft-Baked Frosted Almond Sugar Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
These soft and tender cookies will soon become a new favorite!
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cans vanilla frosting (or use your favorite vanilla buttercream recipe)
  • Pink food coloring
  • Assorted sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, oil, white sugar and powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and the eggs until combined. Lastly, add in the baking soda, cream of tarter, salt and flour and beat slowly until combined. Refrigerate the dough for at LEAST one hour, up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls of dough 1-2" apart from one another on the baking sheets and bake for approx. 9-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time, until golden and set. Cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting them. To make the frosting, stir the desired amount of pink food coloring into the vanilla frosting. Fill a piping bag with a closed star tip and pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cookies; top with assorted sprinkles. Allow frosting to set for about 15 minutes before serving.

These Soft-Baked Almond Sugar Cookies are irresistibly soft, tender and so easy to make! Keep this recipe for any special occasion when you're craving buttery, sweet almond sugar cookies! Buttery, tender, soft and sweet, these cookies will soon become a new favorite! The best part is that they’re a cinch to make and can be made for any occasion!

These Soft-Baked Almond Sugar Cookies are irresistibly soft, tender and so easy to make! Keep this recipe for any special occasion when you're craving buttery, sweet almond sugar cookies! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs

These Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs are so delicious and EASY to make! You're just four ingredients away from these super fudgy, ultra chocolaty wonders!It’s no secret that I’ve gained some weight over the years.

And while I’d love to have a body like Gigi Hadid, I know I won’t ever look like that, so I’m okay with how I look. Except when I accidentally surprise myself with selfie mode on my phone’s camera and my face looks like a potato.

But in years past, when I was skinnier and more outgoing, I used to get picked up ALL the time. I couldn’t even go grocery shopping at the butt-crack of dawn without having the Coca Cola stock boy hitting me up while I awkwardly bought Diet Pepsi. (Don’t ask – my dad drinks that crap. I’m a Coke Zero girl all the way).

Now I find myself being left alone all the time… and I love it. I can finally go shopping in peace without people badgering me all the live long day.

It’s like my fatness is a force field that prevents me from being accosted anywhere, radiating leave-me-alone vibes to boys and men everywhere.

This also probably has to do with the fact that when I was slimmer, I also did my full makeup for my 6am grocery trips and dressed cute. Nowadays, you basically have to threaten me with a knife to get my joggers off and real pants put on. And makeup? Honey, I haven’t touched my Urban Decay palette in about 3 months.

So basically, I’m the opposite of sexy. And you know what? I’m totally okay with that.

Because even without makeup, even with 100 extra pounds on my frame, and even while wearing leggings and sweatshirts, I still have an awesome personality, a great sense of humor, creativity that seeps from every pore, and a cookbook in the works. Does Gigi Hadid even have that? Well, probably, but there’s room for the both of us :)

ANYHOO. Let’s talk about the fact that Valentine’s Day is coming up in a month, basically. Are you ready for it?! I will likely spend the duration of the day binge-watching Criminal Minds and wishing Dr. Spencer Reid was here to ignite my imagination and tell me a plethora of fun facts about Valentine’s Day, so I clearly have no plans… except for maybe force-feeding myself these Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs.

The idea came to me when I noticed all the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates at my local Target, and I realized I could stuff these inside of my famous, signature brownie bombs. It’s so easy, and totally comes together quickly. Plus, chocolate boxes are out. Brownie bombs are in. Get with it!!

These Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs are so delicious and EASY to make! You're just four ingredients away from these super fudgy, ultra chocolaty wonders!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs
Author: 
Recipe type: Brownie Bombs
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
These Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs are loaded with chocolate and SO EASY to make!
Ingredients
  • 1 box (about 15 count) of assorted chocolates, or your favorite chocolate candies
  • 1 (13x9") baking pan fudge brownies, baked, cooled and cut into 15 equal pieces (edges removed)
  • 1 pkg chocolate CandiQuik
  • 1 square vanilla CandiQuik
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Take a cut square of brownie and gently flatten it with the heel and palm of your hand. Wrap it around one of the chocolates until it covers it completely, and roll it in your hands to form a ball. Place the ball on the baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes or until firm.
  2. Once bombs are firm, melt your chocolate CandiQuik according to package directions. Dip each brownie bomb in the chocolate, coating completely and allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Return to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining bombs. Once chocolate has set, melt the vanilla CandiQuik and place it in a ziploc bag. Seal out the air, snip off a corner and drizzle the white chocolate over the bombs. Allow to set.

These Box of Chocolates Brownie Bombs are so delicious and EASY to make! You're just four ingredients away from these super fudgy, ultra chocolaty wonders!You could also make these no-bake brownie bombs by using premade or store-bought brownies or brownie bites! Proceed with the recipe as normal.

Have a super sweet 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!

DSC_0171A

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

 

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).

DSC_0915A

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!

DSC_0889A

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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4.0 from 1 reviews
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

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

{The Chewiest!} Red Velvet M&M’s Cookies

redvelvetmmcookieSooooo I just got back from Disneyland, and I am having some serious issues to adjusting back to the real world.

Instead of waking in the morning feeling like P.Diddy in my luxurious hotel room, I wake up looking like a hobo in my twin-sized bed with ripped plaid sheets.  There isn’t anyone to restock miniature toiletries in my bathroom when I leave for a small period of time.  And when I walk outside, I don’t see gigantic furry animal costumes, hear sounds of laughter and sparkles, or smell freshly fried beignets and irresistible churros.  I just see my dead front yard and hear cars drive by, which is hardly glamorous.  And there’s definitely no churro aroma, either.

I’m just trying to figure out whyyyyy I can’t live in the castle, ride Space Mountain all day or stuff my face with Monte Cristos.  It seems kinda cruel that I must transition back to this cold, cutthroat real world when I was just riding roller coasters and my biggest issue of the day was deciding exactly which keychain to buy.

Oh, the cruelty of this world!  There is a serious lack of magic in my neighborhood.  And any rodents I see are not dressed in polka dotted dresses.  I’m also pretty sure they’re rabid and don’t come from a land of smiles and giant mouse-shaped waffles.

Anyways, it’s been kinda rough as I struggle to navigate back into the real world, where calories count and happy music isn’t constantly humming around you.  Especially since the day after I came home, I was greeted with a huge pile of bills waiting for me and my mom informing me that her work is dropping my vision and dental insurance.  I mean, it would have been tooootally different if she handed me a stack of bills and mentioned that little diddy while I had mouse-ears on and was posing with Goofy, but noooooooo.  Welcome back from paradise, Hayley — adulthood didn’t bother to take a vacation from being sucky!

Dammit, reality.  I hate you.

DSC_0269AWhile at Disneyland, I had the pleasure of attending a Disneyland Lunch which was sponsored by the TechMunch conference I was there for.  At the lunch they had a Whoopie Pie Bar where you could choose your pies and fillings and the pastry chefs from Disneyland would happily fill and decorate them to order for you.  It was such a neat idea, and for someone who usually resists red velvet, there was something super enticing about these freshly baked whoopies.  So I ordered a red velvet one with classic cream cheese frosting and oh mah god, it was phenomenal!  The pie was perfectly plush and chewy, the cream cheese filling delightfully luscious.  In fact, it had me hankering for some more red velvet deliciousness, so when I got home I whipped these cookies up.

They’ll definitely be that security blanket when reality bites.

DSC_0253A

5.0 from 2 reviews
{The Chewiest!} Red Velvet M&M's Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Sinful red velvet cake turns into delicious cookies in this super simple recipe, featuring red velvet flavored M&M's! Can't find the special M&M flavor? Substitute them for regular M&M's or pretzel M&M's, or leave them out altogether.
Ingredients
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • Splash vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup red velvet M&M's (available at Walmart as a Valentine's Day special -- see note if you cannot find these M&M's)
  • Heart Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone liners, or mist lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and vanilla extract with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Stir the M&M's and white chocolate chips in by hand until combined.
  3. Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop Tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough onto the prepared sheets, about 1" apart from another. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure an even cooking process. Remove from the oven and while still hot, sprinkle the tops liberally with heart shaped sprinkles. Likewise, you could also roll the dough balls in sprinkles before baking, but I wanted the tops to be sprinkly.
  4. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store airtight, at room temperature, up to a week.

DSC_0271AThese are easily some of the softest, chewiest cookies I’ve ever eaten or made!  A lot of people knock cake mix, but it produces some seriously moist, light & chewy cookies that are absolutely to-die for!  Plus, it makes creating red velvet cookies a cinch — just open a box of red velvet cake mix, add a few simple ingredients and bake.  I love the addition of the red velvet M&M’s and the white chips for added color and a little pop of crunchy texture.  The red velvet M&M’s have a hint of red velvet flavor but aren’t too strong — just like red velvet, they kinda just tasted like chocolate.  But I liked the idea of having that crunch and texture in the soft cookie.  I know you will, too!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

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