Butterbeer Cupcakes

butterbeerWhen Harry Potter came out, I could not get into it.

As much as I tried, as hard as I’d wanted to, I just couldn’t.  It wasn’t that I found it boring or lame or anything; it just couldn’t hold my interest — or patience — for long.

But I remember all my friends and classmates and every single human within a 65432 mile radius of me LOVED Harry Potter.  They proudly wore their Gryffindor maroon-and-gold scarves, or I’d occasionally see the rogue Slytherin fanatic.  I would hear fellow peers bicker about their favorite characters, about whether or not certain spells could do certain things and why, and of course, brag about their reading skills.

I read the entire first book in one day.”

Oh yeah?  Well I just got the fourth book at noon and I’m already on page 486.”

And I would just sit there, completely out of touch and wishing so desperately that I could like Harry Potter and not have prior childhood attachments to a certain other (less famous) witch.

You know.  Sabrina.  Homegirl was the shiiiiizzzzz, y’all.  I remember prancing out into the living room on Friday nights at 8pm when a new episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch aired.  I was jealous of her bedroom.  Her time-traveling closet that boomed with thunder and lightning whenever they’d time travel.  Her witty, dry-humored cat Salem, who always seemed to know what was up.  And her British aunt because dude, British people are just so damn cool.

This likely stemmed from my addiction to Clarissa Explains It All which meant I was bound with a die-hard loyalty to Melissa Joan Hart in the 90’s.  No other witch and/or warlock could satisfy.

And Harry, your owl is cool and all, but it doesn’t even talk.  What the what is up with that?

DSC_0430AAnywho, I know that people are loyal to their favorite lightning-bolt-scarred wizard and I totally understand — while I have yet to read the books (I KNOOOOWWWW), I have seen the movies and think they’re really well made & interesting (sorry if you’re cringing right now — I am totally being that person I usually hate who loves the movie but who hasn’t even read the book which is so much bettttterrrr it hurts).

So when I found this Butterbeer at my local Whole Foods Market, I had to pick it up!  First of all, don’t get your panties in a bunch, k?  While it’s called butterbeer, there’s no alcohol in this, so kids and adults alike can down it happily.  Second of all, it’s actually a butterscotch flavored soda which is uber-sweet but super yummy.  Very rich and creamy, with a slight hint of salt per the natural flavor composition of butterscotch.  And it’s the star of these cupcakes that would make any wizard (or wannabe wizard) happy.  Including ones who prefer talking cats over owls.

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4.8 from 5 reviews
Butterbeer Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Bite into these sumptuous, rich cupcakes flavored just like Butterbeer from Hogwarts. Topped with adorable edible broomsticks and a golden snitch, they're perfect for Harry Potter fans and wizards alike!
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 bottle butterscotch soda (if you can't find butterscotch soda, use one can/one bottle of cream soda)
  • 1 small box sugar free/fat free butterscotch instant pudding mix
  • ¾ cups butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp butterscotch sundae sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Gold Sixlets
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • White Grapefruit Gummies (if you can't find these either, use yellow Laffy Taffy!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and the soda-- NOTHING ELSE! Beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until well combined. Stir in the butterscotch pudding mix. Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin tins, filling about ⅔" full.
  3. Bake the cupcakes for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, butterscotch sauce and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes. Adorn with a broomstick and a golden snitch. Serve immediately.
  6. TO MAKE THE BROOMSTICKS, attach the pointed tip of a grapefruit gummy to a pretzel rod using a little melted chocolate. Let them stand at room temperature to harden. If you'd like a more authentic broomstick look, brush the gummy with edible brown luster dust. If you cannot find grapefruit gummies, gently flatten a banana Laffy Taffy candy with the heel of your hand and cut strips about halfway through the longest side to create the fringe. Wrap the Laffy Taffy around the pretzel rod and secure with chocolate if needed.

DSC_0429AThe butterscotch flavor in these cupcakes is to die for!  If you’re a butterscotch fanatic like my sister and I, you’ll really enjoy the authentic, sweet-yet-slightly salty flavor of these moist, rich cupcakes.  And Harry Potter fans will enjoy the fun edible broomsticks and golden snitch adornments.

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Creepy Crawly Cupcakes

creepycrawlySooooooooo at my work, we just got our cubicles.

Needless to say, it’s been like Design Star all up in hurrrr. 

I’ve been picking out cute notepads, printing off my favorite pictures of Mannie and I, and collecting trinkets to display to make me oh-so happy while I’m tinkering away at work.

Meanwhile, other coworkers have caught the nesting bug as well.  It’s hard not to want to hang up Christmas lights, bring in your Keurig and have pizza delivered to your cube just to break up the banality of the dull office.  Most are doing the usual: bringing in a small figurine, family photos, or their favorite scented lotion.  Others have brought in more elaborate items, like candles (??), books about positive thinking, and a variety of catalogs spread out just-so on their shelves to peruse while on breaks.

And then there’s the plant people.

I, myself, am not a plant person.  I do not like plants and I cannot keep them alive, so I usually avoid them like the plague.  However, there are lots of plant people in the world and I totally respect that.  I like walking by other cubicles and they look like lush botanical gardens within a steel-gray cube.

I mean, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if I walked by someone’s hydroponic garden at work with a farmer’s market set up shop during breaks.  The plant thing at my work can get kinda serious.

Anywho, I have a cube-neighbor who decided to jump on this work-plant bandwagon and transform her cube into a tranquility zone by purchasing some medium-sized potted plants and placed them feng-sui-ish around her space.  I didn’t think anything of it until one day I arrived at work and she giddily greeted me with her plant in hand, practically shoving the dirt in my face and exclaimed, “Look!!  I have pets!!”

Immediately, my mind flashed to a few days prior when I tried convincing my supervisor to enact ‘Bring Your Pet To Work Day’ because it makes me less homicidal when I’m sitting in a gray square all day.  So naturally, I wondered if this had been enacted without my knowledge and glanced in her cube to look for a furry, cuddly kitten or a sweet, mellow dog.

Instead, at the emptiness of her cube, I looked down into the plant thrust into my face and saw what she meant by pets.

Three syllables.  Squiggles.  Squirms.  Leggy.  POISONOUS.

Time’s up!  Centipede.  A motherfriggin’ CENTIPEDE.  Times like, six, because there was a freaking family living in there.  Along with little white flies, a couple moths, and what looked like millipede neighbors (I only wish I were joking).

DSC_0158AI’m not usually one to squirm around this kinda stuff (I actually like snakes and spiders, as well as conventionally cute rollie pollies and butterflies), but arthropods are not something I can tolerate.  Frankly, I think they make snakes look like cuddly bunnies in comparison.  They are so foul.

So you can imagine my inner OH HELLLLLLL NAAAAAHHHH coming out when she showed me her pets.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon advising her (kindly and not so) that she needed to get rid of the plants because I shoooooo as hell wasn’t working with creepy crawlers around me all day long.  And thankfully, she took my advice and the arthopod visitors left the building shortly thereafter (but not before I raced home and took 8 scalding hot showers).

Most people are totally disgusted by anything creepy and crawly (I hear ya!).  However there are a rare breed of weirdos (I say that lovingly, I promise!) who enjoy all things scary, slimy and squiggly.  And sour!  I could never get behind that kinda stuff.  Like those 90’s commercials advertising create-your-own-edible-slime for boys?  GROOOOOOSSSS.  Pass me my Barbie bubblegum maker, please & thanks.

DSC_0166AAnd Halloween is the perfect time to break out everything truly gross and unnerving.  No bugs are off limits!  So I decided to whip up a spine-tingling, goosebump-popping cupcake to bring out that oogey boogey in all of us, whether you love it or not.

*No real bugs were used in the making of these cupcakes.  Trust me, I will only handle bugs made out of sugar.  

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Creepy Crawly Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Scary, slimy and spooky, these Creepy Crawly Cupcakes are the perfect spell-binding treat at Halloween!
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 3 packets Duncan Hines Blue Raspberry Flavor Creations
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Baby Bottle Pop in Blue Raspberry
  • Sour gummy worms
  • Bug sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Stir TWO packets of the Blue Raspberry flavoring into the batter to combine.
  2. Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin cups, about ¾ths full. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, milk, vanilla and the remaining blue raspberry flavoring until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until light and fluffy.
  4. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes; sprinkle liberally with the baby bottle pop sour candy and adorn with the gummy and sprinkle bugs. Serve.

DSC_0160AIf you or your kids are a fan of sour candy, these cupcakes are meant for you!  They have that nostalgic, tart blue raspberry flavor swirled throughout the moist cupcake and the sweet buttercream frosting.  And the powder on top just enhances that lip-puckering feeling sour-lovers enjoy.  Feel free to adorn these with any other sour candies or gummy bugs/body parts etc for a really spooky cupcake that tastes really yummy!

Have a deliciously creepy day!

xo Hayley

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart Chip Cookies

pbheart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I am your foodie friend for life.

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

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

 

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

Have a good day!

xo, Hayley

 

Santa Claus Cupcakes

santalegs

Food Trends I Could Never Get Behind:

Raw Top Ramen. In middle school, eating Top Ramen raw was like THEEEE thing to do. Kids would bring packets of chicken ramen to school and crush the living bejeezus out of that poor brick of squiggly noodles and then add the seasoning packet, sha-shake it like a polaroid picture, and then eat it. I desperately wanted to fit in with the cool kids so I attempted this same phenomenon, only to realize that being popular wasn’t worth it if I had to eat this junk to be cool. It was awful. Also, the one time I accidentally brought the shrimp flavor to school was like, the worst day of my lyyfeeee.

Beef jerky. Who in their right mind decided beef jerky was an acceptable, EDIBLE thing? It smells of dog treats and it lingers on your fingertips much longer than something that smells of misery should. Ew, seriously, when Jessie eats beef jerky, I want to vom. The smell.. the chewing.. and the fact that it’s strips of beef just chilling there. People are eating logs. of. dried. beef. This is not okay.

Sour candy. Duuuude, remember when Sour Skittles came out and it was ALL the rage? I remember middle + high school cafeterias consisted of adolescent kids drinking Mountain Dews and choking back packages of Sour Skittles like they were going out of style. I never could get behind the sour trend because why the hell would I want my tongue to burn with the sour power of a thousand citric acid suns for “fun”? And those people who legitimately enjoy the sour powder at the bottom of the packet? Masochists.

Popcorn kernels. One time, I spent the night at this girl’s house and we had some popcorn with our MKA movie marathon. Her older sisters joined in and together, we plowed through that bowl of popcorn like nobody’s business. It was clear we were finished when there were only unwanted kernel remains, but to my shock and dismay, the sisters began picking and eating the kernels. I sat there in the midst of a cacophony of bone-grinding, tooth-breaking noises as they crunched the raw kernels like this was appropriate to do. I tried it, nearly broke a molar in half and decided this was beyond moronic and the day I decided to eat raw popcorn kernels by choice would be a very depressing one.

At any rate, besides these foods I’m pretty cool with mostly everything else (except the evil that is porkchops). I even like some foods most people dislike, like Brussels sprouts (LOVE), salt + vinegar chips (one of my favorites) and black licorice (in smaller amounts, but I enjoy it.. and Jagermeister).

In fact, I like to imagine Santa being an open-minded food man himself. After all, he doesn’t really have requirements about what kinds of cookies are left out for his visits, so I’m sure he gets a multitude of weirdo cookies in addition to the welcoming classics, like sugar or chocolate chip.

Speaking of Santa, he visited my house early and dove headfirst into one of these confetti cupcakes. Guess he’s not picky.

055-2These cupcakes were a Christmasy spin on the Wicked Witch Cupcakes I made for Halloween. I got the Santa legs idea from Sugar Siren, who used fondant for her Santa legs, but I went for the ingredients and method I had used for my witches to make these adorable Santa cupcakes.

Bottoms up, Santa!

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Santa Claus Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Can you blame Santa for being waist-deep in luscious buttercream-frosted cupcakes? I can't!
Ingredients
  • 12 cupcakes, baked and cooled (I made holiday funfetti)
  • Vanilla buttercream (canned or homemade)
  • 24 pieces strawberry licorice (I used Darrell Lea, found at Target)
  • 3 squares white chocolate, melted
  • 24 large black jelly beans
  • Snowflake sprinkles, optional
  • FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Almost an entire 32 oz bag powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
Instructions
  1. First, frost your cooled cupcakes with buttercream. I used an Atecco tip #807 (a large open circle) to frost these. Sprinkle the frosted cupcakes with the snowflake sprinkles, if desired. Set the frosted cupcakes aside or in the fridge while you make the Santa legs.
  2. (TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM: 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter + vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until light and fluffy. You’ll need to add in a little stream of milk every now and then to fluff up the frosting.)
  3. On a large foil-lined baking sheet, line up all the licorice legs; set aside. Meanwhile, in a resealable plastic bag, pour in the melted white chocolate. Seal out the air and gently snip a very small corner off the edge of the bag. Pipe white chocolate squiggly "fluffs" along the ankles of Santa's licorice pants.
  4. Using a teensy bit of remaining white chocolate, place a small chocolate dot on the top of a black jelly bean and gently press the jelly bean onto the bottom of Santa's legs; hold for 20 seconds or so to adhere.
  5. Place the completed Santa legs in the freezer to set, about 30 minutes. Once set, gently invert the legs (shoes up) and place them into the frosted cupcakes. These cupcakes are best served the same day, at room temperature.

 

051-2I love these festive little Santa leg cupcakes! They’re super fun to create with the kids and make for an awesome and creative presentation for a Christmas or holiday party at work or school. Plus, Santa’s legs taste pretty good! (Don’t tell Mrs. Claus I said that).

Have a happy Tuesday!

xo, Hayley

PayDay Cupcakes

 

Things that suck about being an adult:

Bills. Mom, you never told me as a kid that bills existed. You mean to tell me that high-speed, wireless internet; cell-phone data plans and cable TV all come with hefty bills!? I thought those were free gifts from life. Obama & Romney, I get you want to lower taxes and all that jazz, but how about instilling a law where high-speed internet is free? It’s what the fore-fathers would have wanted: life, liberty, and the pursuit of all questions Googled at the click of a mouse. Or something.

Gas. As a kid, going to the gas station meant time without a parent present in the car to harass my younger siblings. Or to get Slurpees. I didn’t think gas stations were a place where you watch your soul get sucked out from your eye sockets at $4 a gallon. Every time I drive anywhere, I die a little inside.

401K. I don’t even really know what that is, so I’m going to bet I A) don’t have one, and B) am not going to cash in on it anytime soon. I hear adults talking about it all the time and it sounds kind of magical, like a bank account you didn’t know you had and then when you’re old, life rewards you with one for now having to use orthopedic shoes (so unstylish). I’d like to think you get $401,000 too, because that’d be pretty snazzy. Thanks, life.

Anti-Aging Prevention. A couple days ago I asked the woman at Clinique if she could recommend some anti-aging/retinol products for me and she looked at me all crazy-like. I’m only 21 and have nary a wrinkle, but since I’m an adult now and adults worry about wrinkles and crows-feet (feet on my face? As if), I figure I need to start worrying about this stuff, too. Pretty soon, I figure I’ll be drinking Snow White’s blood to stay youthful looking, so I better acquire a taste for it now.

Clothing jealousy. How come every time I walk into Target, I see a bunch of clothes I like from the little girls’ department? Ruffled cardigans in bright colors, a maxi skirt with safety pins on it(!!), sparkly tutu skirts… SO fun and not for adults. Meanwhile, I’ll go to the adult section and die of boredom. Tribal printed dresses? Ack. Cardigans in the most boooooooring colors… Does becoming an adult mean you need to dress so.. blah? Where are the sequins and tutus? Why do adults have to wear slacks? Slacks are awful.

Thankfully, for all the misfortunes being an adult brings, it brings some fortunate things. Like being able to eat cupcake after PayDay Cupcake because I’m an adult. Or going to Happy Hour, the world’s way of saying Sorry life gets crappy once you turn 18, here are cheap drinks. Unless you’re in Massachusetts, where I hear Happy Hours are illegal (I think people of MA need another cupcake for their suffering).

These PayDay Cupcakes are phenom. Rich butter cake is topped with a caramel frosting, rolled in honey roasted peanuts, topped with chopped PayDay bars, drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with sea salt. It’s truly a sweet+salty lover’s dream come true…

…and it tastes great with a cheap cocktail 🙂

PayDay Cupcakes

For Cupcakes:

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup water
1 tsp butter extract (can substitute vanilla)
1 box sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding mix

For Caramel Frosting:

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup caramel syrup (the coffee-syrup kind, NOT the sundae kind)
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 5 cups powdered sugar

For Garnish:

1-2 PayDay candy bars, roughly chopped
About 1 & 1/2 cups honey roasted peanuts
Caramel sundae sauce (for drizzling)
Sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cupcake ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Portion the batter evenly among muffin cups, filling about 3/4 cup full. Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
3. For the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, caramel syrup and vanilla until creamed, about a minute. Gradually add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Spoon into a piping bag attached with a large open circle tip (I used Atecco 807). Pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes.
4. Gently press the honey roasted peanuts along the perimeter of the frosted cupcakes. Top each frosted cupcake with a couple pieces of chopped PayDay bars, then drizzle with the caramel sundae syrup. Finish with a light sprinkling of sea salt.
5. These cupcakes are best served the same day. Store leftovers at room temperature, up to 1 additional day.

Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you. While these cupcakes look fancy, they get a lot of help from the boxed cake mix that’s dressed up to taste ultra rich & buttery, thanks to the butter extract. And the tops are just divine. Heavenly, smooth caramel mixed with crunchy PayDay bars and the perfect sprinkle of sea salt.. the top was my favorite part!

I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Hayley

 

Wicked Witch Cupcakes– Halloween Week!

 

When I was younger, I had a minor obsession with The Wizard of Oz. 

Then again, who doesn’t? (If you don’t, you’re probably slightly inhuman. Just saying).

However, there is something about Oz I don’t like.

1) The music that plays when the Wicked Witch is nearby. It haunts the darkest corners of my soul.

and 2) When the gang enters Emerald City and the Wizard has all that fake lightning going on and his voice is all loud and boomy and it scares To-To. Don’t mess with To-To.

Oh yeah. And the trees that throw apples. I swear, I didn’t look at trees the same way after that. Or after watching Disney’s ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts‘ song on the Sing-A-Long Song tapes. Ask my mom: she’ll tell you I begged her to fast-forward that part of the VHS tape because those creepy trees gave me goosebumps.

And, uh, witches in general. Why are they so warty? Do witches have some kind of genetic predisposition to having crooked noses and warts? If so, I’m thankful I bypassed that chromosome.

As memorable and gorgeous as Glinda the Good Witch is/was, the most iconic had to be The Wicked Witch. Those striped stockings! Those glittery red shoes! Holy technicolor, she was badass from the legs down. And I knew that for Halloween Week with Dorothy, I had to witchify some cupcakes honoring those iconic legs.

These are surprisingly easy to make and make for a pretty snazzy presentation, if you ask me. No need to drop houses or anything.

Wicked Witch Cupcakes

24 cupcakes, baked and cooled
Your favorite buttercream (I tinted mine green using Wilton’s leaf green gel food coloring)
48 black liquorice sticks
2 squares white chocolate, melted
1 square (or a couple disks) milk chocolate, melted
48 red jelly beans (the larger kind)
48 miniature red M&M’s

1. Frost your cupcakes with the tinted green buttercream. For these, I used Wilton tip #1M, a large open star tip and piled it on high (I doubled my usual buttercream recipe, which I’ll include below). Set your cupcakes aside.
2. Let’s make your heels. Take a teensy bit of melted milk chocolate on the tip of a toothpick and dab it onto the printed side of the mini M&M. Gently press the mini M&M onto the bottom of a jelly bean toward the end (like a heel). Hold it for a minute and repeat. Freeze those heels for a couple minutes to set.
3. Next, using the remaining milk chocolate, attach the heels to the black liquorice pieces. Hold for a sec, then pop in the freezer to set totally.
4. Melt your white chocolate squares and pour them into a resealable sandwich baggy. Snip off a tip of the corner and lightly drizzle lines over the black liquorice for the striped tights. Once drizzled, again, pop in the freezer to set for a couple minutes.
5. Once your legs are complete, stick two of ’em on top of each frosted cupcake. Serve immediately.

Quick Buttercream (this recipe is pre-doubled)

2 sticks butter, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
Almost an entire 32 oz bag powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter + vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until light and fluffy. You’ll need to add in a little stream of milk every now and then to fluff up the frosting.

Eeeeek! These cupcakes totally make up for the times when I was scared silly of that spooky Oz witch!

Be sure to pop on over to Dorothy’s site to see her version of a witchy treat (it’s pretty awesome!) Oh, and if you love Halloween like we do (minus the skankarific costumes, of course), be sure to return on Friday when we’ll have a super fun Halloween linky party! You can link up all your fave Halloween treats–new and old–and share ’em with us!

xo, Hayley

 

Slime Monster Cupcakes

Growing up, our old house had a storm drain right outside our yard.

I distinctly remember mornings before school, we’d get ready to leave and see fog rising slooooowly from the storm drains.

My brother and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.*
*Side note: I never understand why parents buy children toys since children are always stupidly fascinated with weird stuff like storm drain fog and boxes. My parents told me that as a kid, I would be more excited about the box my present came in than the actual gift inside. Skip Barbies, buy boxes. End of story.

Anywho, to make it all creepy my dad would say that CHUD lived in the drains. If y’all aren’t hip with campy scary movies from the 80’s, CHUD was just that. Standing for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.” Nuff said.

So CHUD lived in our storm drain. I always imagined CHUD to look like a big, gross pile of slimy sludge, kind of a weird, creepy mixture of Jabba the Hut and Gloppy from the original Candyland board game.

Then I grew up and realized there’s probably a scientific reason why there is fog rising from the storm drains and there isn’t, in fact, a cannibal form of slime lurking beneath the neighborhood streets. I know, I know, I’m so wise.

Anywho, CHUD came to mind because of the cooler temps (hopefully) approaching and I wondered if I could possibly create a “cuter” CHUD in cupcake form. Then I saw THESE cupcakes from Make Bake Celebrate, fell in love, and tried to recreate them with my CHUD-inspired twist.

Also: does anyone remember Slime Time Live? I friggin’ loved that show and was disgustingly obsessed with that slime stuff they dunked celebrities in.

So, in short, this is my homage to stupid campy movies, childhood imagination in regards to storm drains, and Slime Time Live.

You’re welcome.

Slime Monster Cupcakes *inspired by the ADORABLE(!) Slime Cupcakes from Make Bake Celebrate

About 20 chocolate cupcakes, baked and cooled
1 (3.4 oz) box vanilla instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 4 cups powdered sugar
Wilton Leaf Green and Lemon Yellow gel food coloring
Assorted Halloween sprinkles (I used candy eyeballs, Halloween jimmies, bones, creepy bugs/ants, mini pumpkin quinns, “zombie” quinns, etc)

1. First, core your cupcakes. Using a small paring knife, carefully cut out the cores of your cupcakes, discarding the middles. Careful not to cut too deep.
2. Next, make your filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and cold milk for about a minute. Add in enough leaf green food coloring to tint it to your desired creepy slime shade. Start with a little, then work up–you can always add more! Refrigerate for five minutes.
3. Fill your cupcakes with small teaspoonfuls of the slime pudding mixture; do not over-fill. Refrigerate while you prepare your frosting.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add in a Tablespoon or so of milk to thin out the frosting if needed. Tint your frosting a slimy green shade using the leaf green and the lemon yellow, again, starting with small amounts of each (you’ll use more green than you will yellow).

To Assemble:

1. Divide frosting among two piping bags: 3/4 of the frosting goes to a piping bag fitted with Atteco tip #807 (very large open circle) and 1/4 of the frosting goes to a piping bag attached with Wilton tip #6 (smaller open circle).
2. Pipe frosting high onto cooled cupcakes using the 807 tip in a clockwise swirl pattern. Once piped, use the smaller circle tip to pipe “bumps” onto the frosted cupcake; make it creepy so it looks like random warts.
3. Now, decorate your cupcakes with your Halloween sprinkles. I shoved bones, jimmies, bugs and quinns all around the monsters, then used two eyeball sprinkles for eyes. There’s no wrong way to do this! You just want to make the sprinkles kind of random so it looks like a slimy monster.
4. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge for up to 1-2 days.

These are fun little monsters to decorate with kids. Just do the frosting, then set out the sprinkles for them to decorate their own mini monsters. This would also be super cute with mini cupcakes for mini slime monsters! A big thanks for the inspiration from Make Bake Celebrate!

Have a fantastically (slimy) day! 🙂

xo, Hayley

PS: Have you guys registered for Online BlogCon yet? If you didn’t know, Online BlogCon is an online blogging conference taking place October 22-24. Enjoy blogging 411 with special guest speakers and all your bloggy buddies in the comfort of your own home and PJs. Registration is $15 and if you register, not only will you have access to this AMAZING information and exposure, but also access to AMAZING giveaways like this one for a Kindle Fire! If you’ve registered, be sure to enter now!
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Firecracker Cupcakes

I admit it: I get bad writers block sometimes.

I hope you all don’t think I’m some walking jokester, always at the ready with some awesome quips and riveting stories.

I’m so sorry to crush your perfect, sparkling vision of me. I really am as beautiful as I look!! Just sometimes, not as clever.

Don’t worry–I’m not like Petermen, desperately purchasing stories from Kramer on Seinfeld. I swear, all this crazy sh*t does happen!

But then sometimes, things don’t happen. Like, I can’t very well create an awesomefantastical story about how I ate watermelon for breakfast. Except that I do still wonder what happens to all those ingested seeds…

And I mean, I could tell y’all the story of when I fainted headfirst off my gynecologist’s exam table because this technically is still news to you guys since I have told the story zillions of times to people I know & they’re all woefully unimpressed, as if crazy girls nose-dive off exam tables every day or something.

(In short: my hoo-ha was being a bitch and so I went to the doc for some answers. But since apparently my lady parts were casting for a starring role in Law and Order with an extra dose of mysterious allure [and by allure, I mean agony], we had no answers and had to do a biopsy. Basically, after the biopsy the doc was kindly explaining the possible outcomes when I closed my eyes and had another sip of my water and woke up sprawled on the floor in a puddle of aforementioned water, bleeding from my eyelid which had been cut in the nose-dive I decided to unknowingly perform off of the (still lifted) exam table. Both my psychopathic lady parts and eye were eventually fine, and to this day, the nurse offers me crackers and juice before my visit and the table is no more than one inch off of the floor. I’m famous, bitches!)

But sometimes, there’s just nothing. I draw a blank. I keep my eyes peeled, my observer glasses on, but nothing happens. And I’m sorry. I wish I lived in a perpetual crazy world where I could be like OMG GUYS GUESS WHAT JUST HAPPENED all the time.

Maybe the moral of this story is I’m joining the circus of nose-diving gynecological patients. Someone has to be the ringleader.

So to kick off the circus, I made some Firecracker Cupcakes. Technically, they’re for the 4th of July, but really, circus, the 4th–who’s counting?

They’re actually super simple to make and totally adorable. Plus, the Poprocks add a fun pop of color and well, a pop. I guarantee kids and adults will love them! Or if nothing else, a gang full of nose-divers.

Firecracker Cupcakes*inspired by this recipe at Kraft Foods

24 mini cupcakes, baked, cooled and frosted
3 pkgs each flavor of Poprocks candy (I used tropical punch, strawberry and blue raspberry)
1 heaping Tbsp coarse sugar sprinkles in each color (e.g., blue sprinkles for the blue raspberry Poprocks, pink sprinkles for strawberry, etc)
1 Pull N Peel Twizzler stick, peeled into individual strips and each strip cut into fourths

1. First, dump all your Poprocks according to color in three ramekins or small bowls. Next, add the coordinating sugars into each of the bowls and stir to combine.
2. Invert a frosted cupcake and dunk it into one of the Poprocks mixtures, gently shaking the ramekin around to thoroughly coat the frosted cake with candy and sprinkles. Remove the cupcake from the ramekin.
3. Gently press a snipped licorice piece vertically into the top of each sprinkled cupcake to look like a “fuse.” And you’re done! These are best served the same day.

The mini cakes are cute and fun and so festive for the Fourth! I hope y’all enjoy!

xo, Hayley

Snickers Cupcakes

A few days ago, I’d decided I’d had enough with this raccoon business.

I live in a neighborhood where apparently, at the exact witching hour, they’re roaming about, eating bugs, fighting housecats and rummaging through garbage. AND I WANT TO SEE ONE, DAMMIT.

Dude, how hard is it for me to see a raccoon? Apparently, very hard since I’ve lived here three years and have yet to see an effing raccoon.

So a couple days ago, I had hit my end and wanted to explore. I convinced Jessie to sit outside of my neighbor’s house and stare at the storm-drain across the street, convinced an entire family (including the in-laws, extended cousins and great grandparents) of raccoons would hoist themselves up from the sewers and wow the sh*t out of me with their mystical raccoon powers.

But I have this problem when it comes to waiting that prevents me for waiting maybe a grand total of about one minute and twenty-one seconds before it feels like I’ve been waiting for hours and I become restless and impatient… more than usual.

Also, Jessie tried telling me they were nocturnal, which meant they wouldn’t be coming out around 8:30 because it wasn’t dark enough yet to go hunting.

Um, they’re raccoons. What in the world do they POSSIBLY do besides eat and sleep? If I slept all day, you can bet your ass I’d be itching to crawl out of my poop drain and grab some half-eaten food in someone’s garbage can even if it was only dusk. I really doubt they have like, watches or clocks or something, much less a concept of time, so I was just hoping one would crawl out and be like “Ohmigawd guys, I am so sorry to keep you waiting! I was just so damn hungry from sleeping all day and decided why the hell not start my hunting thirty minutes earlier, you know?

Also he’d wear a pocket-watch and a monocle, because that’d be effing adorable.

So we decided to take a long, leisurely walk through the neighborhood to hunt for some raccoons, or “rackies” as I lovingly dubbed them.

“So I’m hoping we find some rackies or maybe a prostitute. Now that’d be a good night,” I said to Jessie.
“Prostitutes? They aren’t even around here,” Jessie replied.
“Yeah, but that’s the whole magical aspect of it, you know? That they could be anywhere. They’re magical.”
“Why don’t you go down to Fulton Ave and find some? Or Vegas?” Jessie suggested unhelpfully.
“Because,” I started, “that defeats the purpose. Every girl is a prostitute in Vegas. It’s not novel.”
“True,” Jessie said. “Very true.”

We walked through the creepy dark park at nighttime and Jessie convinced me that jackals were going to eat me (he is very loving). And as we were walking home, we spotted this cat laying on the base of a basketball hoop in someone’s driveway and decided to swoon it. But as you know, cats are fickle creatures and really don’t give a sh*t if you’re cooing at it and basically fawning all over it; they are narcissistic and careless of your feelings. Basically, if the zombie apocalypse doesn’t kill us all, cats will rule the world and make us their bitches.

Anyway, I quickly grew tired of trying to impress this strange cat but Jessie, however, was hell-bent on impressing this feline and crouched into the sidewalk to get on its level. The cat just stared at us stupidly, probably distracting us from a gang of jackals approaching us from behind.

“Come on, we got to find some hooks and rackies, Jess,” I said, losing patience with this cat, but instead, Jessie walked up their dark driveway and tried petting this a*hole cat who was rolling around on its back now, clearly showing off and being a douche.

That also happened to be the same time a minivan began approaching as Jessie and I were leaving, and noticed the minivan crawl to a slloooooowww pace right beside us. I tried to be cool and collected, walking at a unsuspecting pace, when I noticed the minivan was slllooooowwwlly pulling into the same driveway with the douche cat and I thought to myself, greaaaat. The last time this happened, I almost had a career as being a prisoner named Big Bertha.

Now, I figured it was highly probable these people would call the cops because some suspicious, meddling kids were picking on his housecat and had distracted the cat to leave the base of the basketball hoop which could have ended badly if that cat had actually been anchoring down the hoop because what if it broke?

And then the cops would come out and question us and be like, “Excuse me, miss? Why were you teasing that man’s housecat in the dark? Or better yet, why were you night-walking? Don’t you know that’s creepy?”
“I know, officer and I’m so sorry. It’s just that we were looking for raccoons and possibly hookers and I really didn’t mean to tease that cat but if we’re being honest, that cat was totally an a*hole and wouldn’t even let us pet it; it just rolled around like a douche on the ground and I tried giving up on him so we could find a magical hooker or something but Jessie insisted on petting it, and that’s when I kind of lost control of the situation.”
“Wait, you were looking for hookers? Were you trying to proposition a hooker, miss?”
“Dude, NO! It’s just they’re kinda like mystical creatures to me because everyone says they exist but I have never seen one and I was hoping that, in the best case scenario, I’d find both raccoons and hookers because that’d be awesome.”
“Why didn’t you go to Vegas and find a hooker? There’s like a bajillion of them down there.
“Ugh, IT DOESN’T COUNT!!!”

But the police never came and Jessie and I ended up walking home and watching a show about prison inmates and thus, never found neither a prostitute or any raccoons. I would call it a complete lose-lose since I was hoping I’d find one or the other, or maybe a supposed jackal, but instead I think I got a mosquito bite which totally made the night raccoon-hunting adventure a total bust.

Raccoons and hookers are soooo overrated.

You know what isn’t overrated? Snickers Cupcakes. Holy cow, they rock. A rich, dense chocolate cake with caramel icing, a caramel drizzle and chopped Snickers bars? Yes please.

Totally makes up for non-existent, real-life magical things.

Snickers Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1 small box sugar free/fat free instant chocolate pudding mix
Caramel Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Caramel sauce (for drizzling)
About 6 mini Snickers bars, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 24 paper liners. In a large bowl, prepare the cake mix according to package directions; stir the dry pudding mix into the batter to combine.
2. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely while you prepare the frosting.

Caramel Frosting

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup caramel syrup (the coffee syrup [like Torani], not the sundae syrup)
About 6 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and caramel syrup until blended and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or wet.
2. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes. Immediately after piping, drizzle the frosted cakes with the caramel sauce. Sprinkle the cakes with the chopped Snickers bars.
3. Store leftovers airtight for 1-2 days. Best served the same day.

Not only are these pretty, they taste pretty darn close to a Snickers bar. Rich, sweet and slightly salty from the peanuts in the candy bar and the caramel sauce–and absolutely perfect!

I hope you enjoy! Have a wonderful day!

xo, Hayley

Chocolate Chip Cookie Caramel Coconut Candy Bars

Let’s preface this by saying any recipe with 6 consecutive ‘C’s in the title is automatically awesome.

Unless it’s not… like Crusty-Chilled Cod Carcass & Chewy Clams with Curry Sauce.

Obviously because curry is gross.

Anyway, I have a weird story to tell. Actually, it’s the story of a weird person who will now be publicly shamed for their actions because they were so ghastly and awkward.

BASICALLY, I had a presentation due in one of my classes and to bribe the class onto my side, I thought there was no better idea than to bring in baked goods. Right after lunch, no one could resist a delicious sweet treat, right?

However, time ran out the day before and in a pinch, I picked up two dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme on the way to school.

Every mortal loves donuts.

So I went to my first class and minded my own business, discreetly (or as discreetly as you can hide two dozen donuts emanating donut smells from everyone) hid them under my seat for the duration of the class.

A couple people near me made comments: “ooh, those look good” or “those all for you?” or something generic like that, to which I’d just smile and say, “I know, I can’t wait for my presentation next class; I’m using them for bribery” and they’d say something generic again like “I love Krispy Kreme!” or “wish I were in your next class!” or something.

All. Fine & Good.

Then some weird stranger would later give me a creepy look and say “I like them best when they’re hot and ready” but we won’t go into the subtler innuendos of that comment.

So after my first class is my lunch, and I went to a table, dove headfirst into my delicious havarti and honey turkey salad, and got to work on my upcoming presentation with my class partners.

We were discussing the poetical meanings behind war poetry when suddenly, I saw a flash of red behind me. I turned to look and lo and behold, it was someone from my math class earlier.

At first I figured they were going to ask me something about math seeing as we have absolutely nothing in common other than a shared math class and we have never really spoken before this anticipated moment, save for the couple of times they had rudely “helped” me after I asked someone nearby for help on a problem and they had decided to take it upon themselves to “assist” me with their horrendously condescending tone.

So I said “hi”, half anticipating this person to ask me for my notes or something, though at the same time simultaneously confusing myself as to why they’d want my notes since they probably have an A in the class and I do not; and also due to their nasty ‘tude/ignoring me every moment up until this very moment. I was practically reaching for my notes in a confused haze when they said:

“Can I have a donut?”

The thought hit me like a small sock filled with rocks and I thought to myself, can you have a donut?! A stupid look must have crossed my face, along with a flash of surprise at the audacity of their comment.

Can I have… a donut.

Can I have a donut?

CAN I HAVE A DONUT.

Seriously?!?!

I don’t even KNOW YOUR NAME. Much less do I WANT to know your name since you’ve been so rude to me in the past. Much less do I WANT to give you a donut since I would NEVER ASK SOMEONE I BARELY KNEW IF I COULD HAVE ONE OF THEIR DONUTS.

Like I’m toting 24 glazed rings around needlessly, just waiting for someone to ask me for one. “Oh yeah! These? I just spent my OWN MONEY on random donuts so anyone who had the guts to ask a complete stranger for a donut could have one!”

WHAT. THE. EFF.

So I choked out, “No, sorry, these are for a presentation next class” and protectively put my hand on my donuts. Where was that ‘hot & ready’ creep? I’d rather he came back and accosted me with sexual donut innuendos than deal with this person who crawled out from under a rock, clearly new to this wide world of manners.

To which they replied, “okay” and walked away. As if nothing weird had just happened. As if they didn’t just stare at me all class, seek me out in the cafeteria, decide to pull the stick out of their ass, and ask me for a donut.

I mean, I’m not a crazy donut-denying bitch, because if this person were nicer or more helpful, or I knew I had too many donuts and could spare a few, I would have totally given them out to the cool people in my math class who always help me with my inane questions. God knows when I made treats for my math class a couple weeks ago, I didn’t bat an eye when the boy who always answers my questions took several treats because I knew he deserved them more than anyone else!

And just so you know, no one EVER shows up to the class warranting the donuts and presentation, but literally EVERYONE showed up for our presentation, so two dozen barely covered it. Not that I need to JUSTIFY MY OWN PURCHASE OF DONUTS.

Sheesh.

So after school (and a good presentation), I was woefully donutless but still thinking about this crazy person. Thankfully for them, their craziness inspires not only a blog post but a recipe–one that’s completely CRAZY and involving lots of C-words.

Though not the C-words you’re thinking of, I’m sure. Good, happy, yummy C-words. Like Chocolate Chip Cookie Caramel Coconut Candy Bars. See? No harm!

They’re ooey, gooey, sticky, chewy and perfect: a chocolate chip cookie base topped with toasted coconut and chopped Rolos, and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. In other words: heavenly.

And since you’re my friends, yes, you can have one. I’ll even give you the gooeiest middle square, because you guys are cool & I know you don’t disappoint me in real life.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Caramel Coconut Candy Bars *inspired by Deluxe Chocolate Caramel Bars from The Ultimate Cake Mix Cookie Book

1 pkg chocolate chip cookie mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 & 1/2 cups shredded coconut, divided
2 cups miniature Rolos, cut in half
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil, extending the ends over the sides of the pan, and lightly grease the foil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the cookie mix, egg and melted butter until a soft dough has formed. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coconut. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the chopped Rolos and remaining coconut over the top of the par-baked crust. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk.
4. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the center is just set and light golden brown. Transfer bars to a wire rack to cool completely before removing foil from pan and cutting into bars. Store leftover bars airtight up to 2 days.

My brother took some leftover bars to his girlfriend’s mom who loves coconut, and they got rave reviews! I love how the caramel oozes from the Rolos, leaving this gooey, toasted-coconutty crunch on the tops of the bars–it’s seriously so good!

No shame in asking for these 🙂

Hope you have a wonderful day!!

xo, Hayley

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