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Root Beer Float Cookies

16 Jun

I am ignoring my laundry…for another 5 minutes. If I ignore it much longer, it will most likely explode all over the house.

These cookies are pretty darn awesome. They aren’t crazy-full of root beer flavor, but have that creamy taste of a float. Perfect for a summer treat.

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INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cream butter and sugars together.
  2. Beat in instant vanilla pudding mix well.
  3. Add eggs and root beer concentrate and beat until well incorporated.
  4. Add flour and baking soda and beat until well incorporated.
  5. Stir in white chocolate chips.
  6. Roll into 1″ balls and place on greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

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Original recipe: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/11/root-beer-pudding-cookies/

 

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Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

22 Apr

We had a little fun with our Easter cupcakes yesterday! You can’t go wrong with a strawberry cheesecake cupcake base; add a little surprise center, and top with a festive Peep (which I really hate, but look darn cute sitting on their little cupcake-birdie nest!). The kids had fun putting the eggs on, and I had fun eating all the of the cupcake centers that I had to scoop out to make the nest. 🙂 Win, win!!!

This recipe is really so easy – just a boxed cake mix with a make-over. But no one would guess it’s from a box! The star ingredient being real-life strawberries, which really makes the flavor fresh and Spring-y. I frosted them with Buttercream Frosting, but my neighbor has a spectacular strawberry frosting that I must steal and try with these…

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Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix

1 (3 oz) pkg strawberry gelatin

4 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup crushed fresh strawberries

3 large eggs

Filling:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350^F. Make cupcake batter by combining all ingredients and mixing until completely incorporated. Make filling by doing the same. Spoon or scoop about 1/4 cup of cupcake batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling it to 2/3 full. Spoon a generous Tbsp of the cheesecake filling over each cupcake. Place cupcake pan on the center rack of the oven and bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger – about 20-25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes or longer before frosting.

For Easter Nests:

Scoop out a tsp size hole in the middle of each cupcake and fill with sprinkles. Top with a candy egg. 

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Swirl frosting around egg, like a nest, and top with a Peep.

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Cream Cheese Berry Roulade

14 Apr

I have about 20 some-odd recipes sitting in my drafts…I am falling so behind! But I am in the process of making a fabulous Prom dress for my neighbor’s daughter. It is going to be so pretty (I’ll have to sneak in a few pictures)! But I am learning a lot on this project, and am finding that learning a lot requires making a lot of mistakes. I almost cried when I got the bodice all put together only to find that I got a section caught in the serger and cut a nice little hole in the very delicate chiffon. After a sleepless night trying to figure out how to fix it, I finally concluded that I couldn’t fix it and would have to replace the panel. It was a grand mistake…painfully grand. But I have been ever careful of my serger edge ever since. Yay for me.

Thank goodness I had a little slice of this heaven sitting in my fridge so I could wash the bitterness of a careless mistake down with a truly sweet treat. Delicious beyond words. So easy. Don’t skip the whipped topping. And don’t cut holes in Prom dresses.

P.S> The whipped topping can also be used for a great fruit dip!!!

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Ingredients:

2 packages Crescent Rolls
8oz Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Fruit Preserves (strawberry, blackberry…I used plum!)
Fresh Strawberries
Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1 Lemon
Confectioners Sugar
1 egg

Lay out the crescent rolls and press seams together. Mix cream cheese with brown sugar and vanilla until soft. Spread inside crescent rolls. Then spread preserves on top. Sprinkle blueberries and strawberries on top. Pull edges of crescent rolls over. Egg wash pastry. Bake at 375 for 20 mins. In separate bowl mix juice and zest of a lemon with confectioners sugar until it becomes an icing. Garnish with strawberries.

Whipped Topping:

  • 1 large (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding
  • 32 oz. container vanilla yogurt
  • 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 1 pkg. frozen strawberries

Mix together pudding mix and yogurt. Fold in whip cream. Fold in strawberries.

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Key Lime Bars

22 Mar

Spring has sprung, and so has my craving for all things citrus!!! Take a step out of the traditional lemon-bar box and throw in a little key-lime twist. 🙂 The crust on these almost makes me more happy than the filling – almost. Yummy.

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Ingredients:

Crust –

1 cup flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup pecans, chopped finely

1/4 cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling –

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup sugar

2 tsp key lime zest

1/4 cup key lime juice

1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350^F. Lightly butter and 8×8 baking pan.

For crust: Sift together flour and powdered sugar. Stir in pecans and coconut. Add butter. Press lightly in pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.

While crust is baking, beat together eggs, sugar, zest, lime juice, and baking powder. Pour mixture over baked crust. Bake 13-17 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and center is set. Cool completely. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.

 

Snickers Ice Cream Cake

18 Mar

I should be posting about the fabulously Irish dinner we had tonight, but I don’t have the pictures uploaded yet, so instead you get the equally fabulous ice cream cake we made for my husband’s birthday. Holy crap this is a rich cake! Very, very tasty and it gets an A++ for presentation. In all honesty, I think next time I will substitute the peanut butter ice cream for plain vanilla. Not that I didn’t like it, it’s just that I couldn’t even finish an entire slice because of the richness. I was done about half way through. A little less sweet, and I could have eaten half the cake – so maybe it’s a good thing I was forced into moderation. 🙂 But, keep the vanilla ice cream option in mind if you like to tone things down a little.

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Ingredients

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients required on box
1/4 cup milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
1 20 oz bottle chocolate sundae syrup
1 20 oz bottle caramel sundae syrup
1 11.5 oz bag mini snickers, chopped, divided into three groups

Instructions

NOTE: An 8-inch springform pan is best for this recipe so that you can easily remove the cake once it’s been assembled. If you do not have a springform pan, line your pan with clear wrap before adding your parchment paper and cake board. You can use the clear warp to lift your cake out of the pan once it’s assembled and frozen.
Brownies:
1. Make brownie dough according to instructions on back of box.
2. Grease two 8-inch pans (preferable springform pans, see above) and line the bottoms with parchment paper to allow for easy removal. Bake at temperature on box, reducing baking time to about 20 minutes (You can also bake 1 big brownie – which would cook for the normal time – and cut it in half, but cutting a brownie in half isn’t super easy).
3. When brownies are done baking, allow to completely cool.
Ice Cream:
1. Combine milk, cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer. Mix until completely combined.
2. Fold in the cool whip.
Assembling it all:
1. Line the sides of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. The parchment paper should stick up above the top edge of the pan, since the cake will probably be a little taller than your pan. If you want, put a cardboard cake circle in the bottom of the pan.
NOTE: You should be using the same 8-inch pan you used for the brownies. Not all 8-inch pans are exactly the same size. Your brownie needs to fit in this pan.
2. Put the first brownie layer in the bottom of your pan.
3. Spread 1/2 cup caramel sauce and 1/2 cup chocolate sauce over the brownie. Top with first group of chopped snickers.
4. Top with half of the peanut butter ice cream.
5. Add second brownie to the pan, on top of the ice cream.
6. Again cover with 1/2 cup caramel sauce and 1/2 cup chocolate sauce. Top with second group of chopped snickers.
7. Top with remaining peanut butter ice cream.
8. Allow ice cream cake to freeze completely.
9. When frozen, remove from springform pan and remove parchment paper from sides.
10. Top with additional caramel sauce and chocolate sauce, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.
11. Cover with remaining chopped snickers and a little more caramel and chocolate sauce.

 

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Original recipe: http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2013/05/28/snickers-peanut-butter-brownie-ice-cream-cake/

 

 

Candy Apple Pie

15 Mar

Happy Pi Day! I had a friend suggest that since this month is 3/14, it should really technically be Pi Month…I do not disagreed.

My husband’s work decided to celebrate Pi Day with, well, a pie party – naturally. Everyone was supposed to bring a pie to share. He sent me a text: “I want to win the ‘this is not a competition’ competition.” Challenge accepted!!! After the verdict was in, I asked how we fared compared to the other pies and he declared ours the unofficial winner, because it was the only one that people kept coming up for seconds of. I actually haven’t even tasted this pie because, even though I requested that he save me a piece, all that came home was an empty pie tin! But, there are three good reasons why I know it must taste pretty darn good. One: It smelled incredible while baking. Two: Mine was the only pie to be completely devoured. Three: My husband ate an entire slice (this is the crowning glory because he doesn’t really like pie in general, and I have never seen him voluntarily eat apple pie). Sounds like a winner to me. Hopefully I have an excuse to make it again soon because I would really like to test my theory. 😉

**UPDATE**

I can now add one more reason to why I know this pie tastes good. Four: I got to taste it! 🙂 I actually made two  pies, one for Hubby’s work, and one for my sweet neighbor who’s family has had a rough week. I mentioned to her that I hoped it tasted good since it was a new recipe, so, when she returned my pie tin today, she included a slice for me to taste-test. Better late than never! And now I know for a fact that this pie is delicious. It is a caramel candied apple. Yum!!

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Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup chopped pecans

Apple Filling:
5 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, sliced very thin) *Or any firm apple that holds up well during baking (I used Honeycrisp)
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream Cheese Topping:

8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and press into a 10-inch pie plate and up the sides. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden in color. Remove pie shell from oven and cool completely. Pour caramel into pie shell and sprinkle with 1 cup of chopped pecans. Refrigerate pie shell while making apple filling.

3. In a large (12-inch) skilet over medium heat, melt butter and add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add apples and stir. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until apples are softened and tender. Let cool for 10 minutes and pour into pie shell. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

4. In a medium bowl, using a hand-held mixer on low speed, combine cream cheese and sugar for about 1 minute until smooth. Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla and beat for 1 minute or until fully blended. Pour over apple filling in pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes until an inserted knife comes out clean. Remove pie from oven and let cool. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Let stand outside the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Top with whipped cream, caramel and pecans, and swirl with a knife. Slice and serve.

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Original recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/-best-pie-bakeoff-2008-entry-1-10-69632

Bakery Cake from a Boxed Mix

26 Feb

We had a birthday this month! Five years old and I wasn’t a bit surprised when she asked for a ‘Frozen’ cake! It was a mad scramble to find Anna and Elsa dolls, let me tell you! Everyone and their dog is sold out of pretty much everything ‘Frozen.’ But, a gazillion stores later, we got a hold of them both! Because the skirts are the actual cake, I couldn’t do anything too fancy with the cake flavors – no filling or good stuff like that. But I had seen a recipe floating around: “Make any boxed cake mix taste just like it came from the bakery.” So, we gave it a go! The first cake got scrapped because we discovered after the first ‘skirt,’ that the pan needed two cake mixes – it doesn’t work well if the cake only makes it to the dolls’ knees. 🙂 The second run was better, but then my mom remembered that the pan came with a metal dowel that you are supposed to put in the middle to help it cook, so we plugged that into the third. Yeah…the cake overflowed a little. And when I say a little, I really mean a lot! And a huge sink hole deflated the middle. But, I figured that just made it easier to get the doll’s legs in. 🙂 We cut off any burnt parts of the lava cake, and had to improvise a little with fondant (scary! I’ve decided I need to take a class because after my first attempt I’ve concluded that, frankly, I stink at fondant) to make it all the way up to Elsa’s waist since the cake shrunk a little, what with 1/3 of it over flowing. My mom said that now she remembers why she was so happy when all us kids grew out of dolly cakes.

All in all, I’m kind of ridiculously proud of how my cakes turned out! Even Olaf, who fell over a couple of times and required major cake rehab, turned out pretty cute. You can’t tell from the pictures too well, but Elsa’s dress has edible glitter on her skirt, so she sparkled – Olaf got a little pinch on him too. I had to close my eyes and make my husband cut into them at the party. So much work, just to hack them to pieces! But it was worth it. My daughter loved it – she told me, “Mom, I just love my cake. I’m crying!” Can you tell what I do when I’m super happy? 🙂 And it tasted great too! I liked the chocolate more than the white, but that may be because I just like chocolate cake better anyways!photo 2

 

Ingredients:

Step 1: Look at the directions on the cake mix.
Step 2: Add one more egg (or add 2 if you want it to be very rich).
Step 3: Use melted butter instead of oil and double the amount.
Step 4: Instead of water, use whole milk.
Step 5: Mix well and bake for the time recommended on the box.

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Frosted with Buttercream Frosting

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Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookie Bars

19 Feb

My husband came upstairs and said, “Whatever that is that you made – it actually tastes really good.” To some, this may seem a little…snarky? But coming from my husband – a man who’s dessert intake in strictly limited to rice crispy treats and brownies – it was a huge compliment. He ate one of my desserts, of his own free will, and he liked it.

These turned out a little more cake-y than sugar cookie-y for me…it was my first try and I very well could have mixed them funny (I think I forgot to press the batter into the pan) – but regardless, they were really good. Definitely a repeat!

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Ingredients

    • 2 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 1/2 Tbsp powdered milk
    • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softenend
    • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3 Tbsp sour cream
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and powdered milk for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Add in eggs one at time mixing until combined after each addition. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Butter and 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then with buttered hands gently press and spread cookie dough into an even layer in dish. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 17 – 21 minutes. Allow to cool completely then frost with cream cheese frosting. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Stir in vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar and continue to mix until fluffy.

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Original recipe: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/08/cinnamon-roll-sugar-cookie-bars/

Almond Joy Brownies

13 Feb

My children are on some sort of sugar high tonight. And I’m not…I am most defiantly not. This morning my husband rolled over and said, “I’m tired. How about you?” I said, “I’m always tired.” I can’t wait to wake up one morning and feel completely rested. It will happen – it will.

I almost forgot to take pictures of these – I literally grabbed the last 3 brownies :). I also almost lost the recipe! And this is not one that I want to lose – so, so yummy! I have a hard time finding good home-made brownie recipes. Is it sacrilege to prefer boxed over home-made? I like most home-made recipes ok, but they are never gooey enough. Or if they are gooey, they are grainy. I have endless complaints. But I really like the base brownies in this recipe, which makes the coconut and ganache toppings just straight out of heaven.

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Ingredients

FOR THE BROWNIES
1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (64 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds

FOR THE COCONUT FILLING
2 1/2 unsweetened coconut (you can use sweetened coconut, but if you do, omit the confectioners’ sugar)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

16 whole almonds

Chocolate Ganache

4.5 ounces milk, white, bitter-, or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
scant 1/2 cup (about 7 ounces or 218 ml) heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.

Bring the heavy cream to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and (now melted) chocolate together into smooth and glossy

To make the brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour and 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sugar until combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in the almonds until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow brownies to cool completely before topping with the filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the coconut and sugar, stirring until all of the coconut is evenly coated. Add the heavy cream, and stir until well combined.

Assemble: Press the coconut mixture on top of the cooled brownies, spreading it evenly. Chill the brownies for 20 to 30 minutes in the freezer.

While the brownies are chilling, make the ganache.

Once the brownies are chilled, top with the whole almonds, then pour the ganache over the top. Allow to set up for an hour or so before serving.

* I put the ganache over the brownies and then, after chilling, cut into squares. It ended up being a little messy – the ganache preferred sticking to my knife over the coconut. I would suggest cutting brownie squares first and then putting ganache over each one individually – unless you don’t care what they come out looking like 🙂

Original recipe: http://bakingdom.com/2013/03/almond-joy-brownies.html

Chocolate Chip Cookies

6 Feb

I’ve had a terrible hankering for chocolate chip cookies lately. I love the recipe on the back of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, but they turn into hockey pucks if you don’t eat them quickly. I made these cookies 4 or 5 days ago, and they are still soft! Hooray!!! My kind of cookie.photo 2

 

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups)  butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips

Instructions

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

*I didn’t have cake flour, so I just used all purpose flour – you can substitute the bread flour for all purpose as well, but it does help the cookies stay soft longer. I also did not refrigerate the dough for 24 hours. I only put it in for about 1/2 hour, and they still turned out great.

 

Original recipe: http://iambaker.net/chocolate-chip-cookies/