Watermelon Pops

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I saw this super cute idea for star-shaped watermelon pops over at The Party Dress and had to share them with you!

All you need is a cookie cutter, watermelon (or other fruit) and straws. So simple, right?

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Head over here for the instructions.  Enjoy!

no bake nutella cheesecake.

I found this recipe for No Bake Nutella Cheesecake over at My Baking Addiction and decided that I HAD to make it this past Sunday for our Super Bowl BBQ.  The original recipe called for using frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip) but I decided to make my own (instructions below).  Unfortunately, my pictures did not turn out well and did not do this fabulous recipe any justice so I’ve included the pictures from the original post below.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

For the Crust

12 Oreo Cookies, crushed into crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) whipped topping*

*For the Whipped Topping

1 (8 ounce/227 g) container of fresh whipping cream
1/4  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 packet of Splenda

For the Garnish

whipped topping, optional
chocolate shavings, optional
toasted, chopped hazelnuts, optional
fresh strawberries, halved, optional

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.

2.  In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream, vanilla and Splenda until soft peaks form (approximately 5 minutes).  Set aside for step 3.

3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well blended and no streaks remain.

4. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

5. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping, strawberries, chocolate shavings, and/or toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

review: sprinkles dark chocolate cupcake mix

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Sprinkles Cupcakes is proclaimed to have been the “World’s First Cupcake Bakery” and kicked off a cupcake craze after opening in Beverly Hills in 2005.  We were lucky enough to have a branch open in Scottsdale, Arizona and their cupcakes have been my favorite ever since.  My soon to be sis-in-law was recently in NYC and surprised me with a package of Sprinkles Dark Chocolate Cupcake Mix.  I was so excited…and very curious to see if the mix would be as good as those made in the store.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the mix is actually not all inclusive and that quite a few additional ingredients are required in order to prepare them. For the cupcake base, you need eggs, butter and milk, and as you will see below, the frosting needs to be made entirely from scratch (recipe below).  I was so happy with how the cupcakes turned out.  They were so moist and delicious…just as good as (if not better than) those made in the store.  My frosting skills still need some work but once you add the trademark “dots” it really doesn’t matter if they aren’t perfect :)  I was a very happy girl to have my beloved Sprinkles in Vienna, if only for a night.  The downside?  I’ve been craving them ever since.

  • 1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter, firm but not cold
  • 2 1/2 cups (250g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 oz (85g) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

To make the frosting:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Do not overmix or the frosting will incorporate too much air; it should be creamy and dense, like ice cream.  Add milk, 1 tsp at a time, if the frosting does not have a spreadable consistency (note: I did not have to do this).

Note:  You can generously frost 12+ cupcakes with this recipe.  My fiancé and I both agreed that this is the best chocolate frosting we’ve had in a long time and that this will become my “go to” recipe from now on.

glorious treats: sweet heart cupcakes

Valentine’s Day is just four weeks away, so what better time to share this super cute idea from Glorious Treats?  It was love at first sight when I first spotted these creative cupcakes.


The base of these ‘cakes is a simple chocolate cupcake recipe.  Glory, the creator of these beautiful treats, used a Maraschino Cherry frosting, but you could also use any of your favorite light colored frostings and add a drop or two of food coloring to tint it pink.  Head on over to her post for the full recipe and assembly instructions.  I plan on making a version of these soon and will share my results.  Hopefully they turn out just as lovely :)

best.brownies.EVER.


WARNING:  If you are a “cakey” brownie lover you probably wont like this brownie.  This recipe is for serious fudge brownie lovers only!  Read on if you love a rich & gooey brownie :)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Combine the melted butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and then gradually stir the flour mix into the chocolate mix until just blended. Do not over stir!
  4. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the batter evenly into the greased baking dish.
  6. Bake in preheated oven about 35 minutes*. Remove and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.
  7. Serve with a tall glass of cold milk and enjoy :)

* You can bake a little longer if you want less gooey brownies.

Yields about 24 brownies.

 

 

eggnog cheesecake.

There’s not much to say about this recipe except O M G!  If you like eggnog, you will love this cheesecake!  It’s so creamy and has a wonderful consistency.  Seriously, this is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve made.  Make sure you follow the instructions exactly- especially the part about using a food processor for the cream cheese.  It makes a world of difference!

easy oreo truffles.

(lots and lots of oreos to be crushed)

(this is what the oreo + cream cheese mix looks like…not very appetizing, I know…)

The finished product- I haven’t quite perfected how to make them look more “professional” but they sure taste great!  You can find the recipe here.  I’ve used this recipe twice-  I follow it exactly but I refrigerate the filling overnight.  It makes the handling of the truffles much easier!

chocolate peanut butter cups.

Do you love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as much as I do? If so, then you have to try my easy recipe for homemade mini chocolate peanut butter cups.  They make great holiday treats!

(yep, these 4 ingredients are all you need)

(filling the cups is a breeze with a squeeze bottle)

(they look like the real deal, no?)

(tip: display the finished product on a Christmas tree tray)

Ingredients:

  • 320 g dark chocolate chips
  • 200 g peanut butter (I use creamy but you could also use crunchy), room temperature
  • 2 g salt
  • 50 g powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Line a mini muffin tray (I use a tray like this) with paper liners.
  2. Melt half of the chocolate chips in the microwave on medium heat (this should take approximately 1.5-2 minutes…be sure to stir the chocolate about 1/2 way through).
  3. Fill the liners with the melted chocolate about halfway full making sure to coat the sides of the cups.  This can be done easily with a small spoon.  Place the tray of cups into the refrigerator to cool and harden.
  4. While the cups are cooling, mix the peanut butter, salt and powdered sugar in a medium sized bowl.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a squeeze bottle and divide the mix into the prepared cups.
  6. Melt the remaining chocolate and either transfer to a squeeze bottle or spoon over the cups making sure to spread the chocolate to the edges (I use a bottle and then a spoon to smooth out the tops).
  7. Place in the fridge until chocolate is firm.
  8. Eat and enjoy!

Yields about 24+ mini cups.

Note:  This recipe has been adapted from here.

avocado mushroom & chicken pasta.

I am a lucky girl and normally my fiancé does the cooking (since I do the baking, I think that’s a fair trade, no?).  It’s not that I’m opposed to cooking, it’s just that he works from home and I do not, so a) it’s easier for him and b) he’s really good at it :)  However, every now and then I get the urge to break out the pots and pans and whip up a yummy meal for us too.  Last night was one of those nights and I am happy to report that my attempt at this recipe was a success.  I followed the advice from some of the comments and added a splash (or two or threee…) of white wine.  I also read that adding bacon makes it even more wonderful so I will be trying that next time.  Bon appetit!

frosted sugar cookies.

(festive Christmas cookies)

(pre frosting)

(hard at work-excuse the  mess! :) )

(all images by jetsetbarbie)

Something about the holidays brings on a craving for sugar cookies.  I generally don’t love to make them but come December I start itching for the soft, sugary+buttery goodness of a freshly baked and frosted sugar cookie.  I use the same recipes for the cookie and frosting every year- they are virtually foolproof  and produce yummy results every time.  So why don’t I make them more often?  I am too impatient!  I hate waiting around for the dough to chill (overnight is best) and I am not a skilled decorator.  My cookies tend to look like a 5 year old made them but I’m okay with it ;)  Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie?

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