Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars {Recipe}

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BarsNormally when I make recipes, I make them with someone else in mind - my husband, my kids, my co-workers, friends, etc.  Very rarely do I make something that’s just for me.   And for that reason, I don’t make a lot of mint recipes.  My husband is not a fan, my kids tend to avoid it, and my co-workers would prefer to pass.  But me?  Well I love mint.  In fact, if you ask me, Chocolate + Mint = Sheer Perfection.  Mint Chocolate Chip is my absolute favorite ice cream flavor and a Thin Mint cookie can turn my day from bad to good.  And I’m pretty much in love with those Mint Oreos I posted about late last year.  Yum.

But every now and again I find a mint recipe that looks so good that I just have to try it…even if I’m the only one who is going to eat it.  Because it just looks that good.  And I was pretty sure that I’d found that exact recipe in a mouthwatering mint cheesecake recipe on Pinterest earlier this week.  But in normal fashion, I didn’t pin it, and I wasn’t able to find it when I went back to make it.  Unwilling to give up on the recipe (it looked amazing, there was no way I was going to give up on it), I found another recipe and modified it a bit to include chocolate chips and an Oreo crust.  The result?  Delicious!  And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day – even though they’d be great any time…

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars - Recipe

Okay, so the portion size on this one is probably a little too big to eat all by myself, but something tells me that I’m going to give it my very best shot before bringing the rest of them over to my friend’s house on Sunday!

You will need:
20 Oreo cookies, with cream removed and finely crushed
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
3 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp green food coloring or food gel (approximate)
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp flourMint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Ingredients

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Step 2 - Combine finely crushed cookies with the melted butter.  Once well combine, press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 until it’s thin and even.

Step 3 - Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add sweetened condensed milk, then eggs, and then peppermint beating on medium speed until well combined.

Step 4 - Add food coloring or gel to desired color.  I used approximately 1/4 tsp of green food gel, so you may need more if you’re using the liquid drops.

Step 5 - Coat one half of the chocolate chips in flour (1/2 cup).  I found that the simplest way to do this is to actually drop the teaspoon of flour into the measuring cup your using to hold your 1/2 cup of chips, and then stirring.  Once coated, fold the chips into the cheesecake mixture, stirring until well distributed.

Step 6 - Pour chocolate chip cheesecake mixture into a 13 x 9 pan.  Just before putting into into the oven, top with the remaining chocolate chips (those chips do not need to be coated in flour).

Step 7 - Bake for 1 hour or until you can press down on the cheesecake and it springs back.

Note: Try to avoid over baking this one.  I left mine in for an additional 10 minutes because, although it sprung back when touched, I was concern it wasn’t quite “done”.  Turns out they were done and all I ended up doing was browning the edge pieces, which took away from the pretty green color I was trying to create.  Trust me, once it springs back – take it out of the oven!

Step 8 - Cool at room temperature, then chill for 2-4 hours.Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Instructions


3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze {Recipe}

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple BreadAbout three years ago, I decided to try a recipe for 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins.  While I’m a lover of just about everything pumpkin, I really tried it to see if it would work more than anything else.  Because 2 ingredients?  Are you kidding?  How could that possibly work?  But sure enough, it did.  In fact, they were delicious…and supposedly a WW approved treat, so not so bad on the waistline either.  As a new blogger at the time, I even decided to write a post about it (you can find it here – please pardon the not so awesome craptastic pictures, I really was a new blogger).

Nearly 3 years later, that post still gets a ton of views, particularly in the fall.  As it saw it come up in my blog statistics last week, I remembered how delicious those muffins were and decided to put them on my fall baking list.  But then I thought, why not do something a little different?  People had emailed me letting me know that they had tried this recipe tons of different ways – they added raisins, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, you name it, people tried it.  And although it upped the original ingredient count, they all sounded pretty delish!  So I decided it was my turn to modify it a bit, and add some apples.  And since we’d already done muffins, we’d do bread this time (I’m not going to lie, it also gave me a great reason to go out and buy that cute loaf pan that I’d been eyeing but didn’t want to spend $10 on because I already have a loaf pan).

Because I was adding an ingredient, I worried a bit about this recipe, but it turned out beautifully.  It’s sweet and dense and pumpkin-y with a little touch of apple…it’s everything that a fall treat is supposed to be.  My kids actually asked for it as their dessert after dinner 2 nights in a row!  If you love pumpkin, you’re going to love this recipe!

You will need: (makes 2 loaves)
(2) Spiced flavor boxed cake mixes
(2) Cans pure pumpkin
(1) Can apple pie filling – I used a Comstock 21 oz can

Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Liberally grease the inside of two 9×5 loaf pans.

Step 2 - Pour the apple pie filling into a small dish, and using a knife (preferably serrated), cut the apples into smaller chunks.  If you prefer larger apples, you can skip this step.

Step 3 – Place cake mixes and cans of pumpkin in a large mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed until well blended (about 4 minutes).  Gently fold in apples.  Pour into 2 9×5 loaf pans.

Step 4 - Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife comes out of the center clean.  I know that’s a long time to wait for bread, but don’t worry, it’s totally worth it!3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread Slice

Now if you’re someone like me, you might think this cake is missing something.  You know, a little finishing touch…like…oh…I don’t know…a glaze?  Yep, you can totally glaze this cake.  And I did!  3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread with Glaze

To top it off with a delicious glaze you only need 5 more ingredients, for a total of 8, which I still think is pretty good.  This glaze isn’t my recipe (I borrowed it from Martha), but compliments it perfectly.  Why mess with a good thing?

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I substituted a small amount of lemon juice concentrate for this one)
3 Tbsp milk
Pinch of salt

Step 1 - Place cream cheese in a medium sized mixing bowl and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.  This took me no more than 1-2 minutes,

Step 2 - Add sugar and beat on medium-high until well combine.  Then one at a time, add the lemon juice, milk, and salt, beating for approximately 30 seconds in between each new ingredient.  After the last ingredient, beat on low speed until smooth.

Step 3 - Drizzle over cake.  If too thick to drizzle add more milk until it’s the desired consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

Sweet Treats: Blueberry Bundt Cake {Recipe}

Blueberry Bundt CakeWhenever my mom comes to town I go out and buy fresh bagels for breakfast.  It’s kind of a treat for both of us.  My family loves bagels, but often can’t finish a bakers dozen – or even a half dozen – before they go stale…and as much as I always say I’m going to freeze them, life often gets in the way and I forget.  My mom loves bagels, but never buys them for herself.  So each time she comes to visit, I head out that very first morning that she’s here and buy a baker’s dozen and several types of cream cheese, because she loves flavored cream cheese.

But as it turns out, she was sick during her last visit and most of the bagels went uneaten.   That flavored cream cheese?   Totally unused.  As I took an inventory of the fridge a day or two after she left, my eyes landed on the container of blueberry cream cheese I purchased.  It was still sealed, but according to it’s expiration date, it wouldn’t make it until her next visit.  So I decided that it was time to get creative in the kitchen.

And then I thought about the ginormous blueberries that I’ve seen on sale at the grocery store lately.  Seriously, they’re huge – and it’s not even officially blueberry season!  I decided to get to work and make a blueberry bundt cake that would incorporate both the blueberry cream cheese that I already had and those massive grocery store blueberries, modifying a pound cake recipe I found a few months ago when I made my Iced Lemon Pound Cake.  It was made using a cake mix – and you know how much I love cake mix recipes.

The result did not disappoint.  My girls each ate a piece and asked begged for more.  I had a second piece myself (after they went to bed, of course) and I don’t even like blueberries.  But this cake is just perfect.  Dense, moist, sweet perfection.  It’s a must try, blueberry season or not!

Note:  If you can’t find blueberry cream cheese, don’t worry.  Simply use 6 – 8 oz of regular cream cheese and add in an extra 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries.  You can also substitute frozen blueberries if it isn’t blueberry season. 

You will need:
1 white box cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 box vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 container blueberry cream cheese (6 oz)
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup fresh blueberries, or more if you prefer
1 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Step 1 - Grease a 9.5″ fluted pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2 - In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, and sugar.  Once combined, add the cream cheese, water, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Using a hand or stand mixer, beat for 1 minute on low followed by 4 minutes on high, until smooth and well blended.  The batter will be thick.  Make sure to scrap the sides of the bowl frequently as the cake mix will try to hide towards the bottom of the bowl.

Step 3 - Using a spoon or spatula, carefully fold in the fresh blueberries.

Step 4 - Pour batter into the greased pan and bake for 50 minutes (double check to make sure it’s baked all the way through by using a knife or toothpick).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Step 5 - Once your cake has cooled, prepare the glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and milk.   My glaze turned out a bit thin and seemed to get sucked into the cake.  If you want yours to be thicker (and sit on top of the cake), try adding only 2 tablespoons of milk instead of 3.  If it’s still too thin, add some more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it up.  Once you reach your desired consistency, drizzle over the cake.

TIP:  If you want to add a little extra flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of vanilla or a little lemon juice to your glaze.

Serve with coffee or on it’s own.  Either way it will be delicious!BlueberryBundtCake-1

Sweet Treats: Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes {Recipe}

I love 2nd trimester energy!  I’ve been tackling things on my to-do list lately like it’s nobody’s business – and I’m even posting here more, too!  It’s been delightful and well deserved after an awful 20 weeks.  One of the things on my to-do list from way back around February or March was to make Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes.  Unfortunately, after I went out and bought all the ingredients, my food aversions and nausea prevented me from actually making them.  This week as I was searching through my cupboard for dinner ideas, I saw that I still had the ingredients and decided to give it a whirl.  While the recipe for the cake is my creation (with help of a box mix, of course), I borrowed the strawberry buttercream recipe from here.  It looked quick and easy (which it was), but most importantly it didn’t require pureeing fresh fruit, something I couldn’t do because it seems my food processor blade is, um, missing.  [gulp]  Gotta find that.You will need:

1 box lemon cake mix + ingredients required on the box

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 package lemon pudding mix

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup strawberry jelly, strained

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1 - Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line your cupcake pan or coat with nonstick spray.

Step 2 - In a medium mixing bowl, prepare cake mix as directed, then add in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the package of lemon pudding.  Mix well.

Step 3 - Spoon mixture into cupcake tins and bake for 22 minutes.  Typically, I bake things on the lower end of the recommended baking time (for this box mix that was 18-22 minutes); however, in this case, I had to bake it a bit longer due to the pudding and extra juice being added in.  Remove from oven and cool.

As a side note, don’t you wish that cupcakes stayed this way after they’re out of the oven for a few minutes?  Mine always sink a little in the middle.

Step 4 - In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add in strained jelly and mix well using electric mixer.  Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, until you reach your desired consistency.  You can always add 1-2 tablespoons of milk if you want the frosting to be softer, or add confectioner’s sugar to make it stiffer.

Although this is hands down the best strawberry frosting I’ve ever tasted, there’s no denying that it came out a little pale in color.  It’s pink, but very pale pink…and a far cry from the bright pink can variety.  If you want to make it pinker, you could always add a little red food coloring.  I’m sure just a few drops would perk it up a bit.  I would have done this, but I didn’t have any.

Step 5 - Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost.  I couldn’t find my fancy icing gun when I was making these, so I had to frost these “high school bake sale” style.  Although not as pretty, they were still delicious and the strawberry and lemon tastes complimented each other very well.  So light and refreshing – these cupcakes are perfect for summer!


Recipe for Raspberry Lemon Muffins {Guest Post}

Raspberry lemon muffins are just delicious, perhaps the best muffins you will ever have. I love to cook for people and raspberry lemon muffins are one of my all time favorites. I love to have pastries in breakfast, but I can’t eat them all the time as they are rich in fat and sugar. However, these muffins are great as morning sweet treats. Although, low on fat they don’t lack anything when it comes to taste. These muffins are moist and tasty, and are perfect for the everyday breakfast menu. The best part is that it’s quite simple to make these raspberry lemon muffins. Here’s an easy to follow recipe for raspberry lemon muffins.

You will need:

Plain flour – 2 cups

Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon

Baking powder – 2 teaspoons

Caster sugar – 150g

Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Nutmeg, freshly grated – 1/4 teaspoon

Vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons

Egg whites – 2 eggs

Light brown sugar, firmly packed – 2/3 cup

Lemon extract (optional) – 1/2 teaspoon

Lemon zest, grated – 1 tablespoon

Milk – 1 cup

Unsalted butter, melted – 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick)

Raspberries or blueberries, fresh/frozen – 1 cup

Preparation method:

Step 1 – Muffin Pan Preparation

Set the oven to preheat at 425°F. Take 12 standard muffin tins or cups and use paper liners to line them.

Step 2 – Mixing the Batter

Take the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a big bowl and stir together. In another bowl, mix together the egg whites, milk, butter, lemon zest and brown sugar. Now combine the wet egg mixture and the dry flour mixture together until they are well blended and acquire even consistency throughout. Gently stir in the raspberries until distributed evenly.

Step 3 – Baking

Fill the prepared muffin tins or cups with the batter to three-fourths full using a rubber spatula. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes until the muffins turn golden brown. Transfer them to a wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes.

Your raspberry lemon muffins are ready to eat now.  Serve it and enjoy!

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving equals 179 calories, 30 mg cholesterol, 8 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 146 mg sodium, 1 g fiber and 3 g protein.

Other TipsMake sure you use fresh berries or opt for frozen berries if you don’t have fresh. Also, ensure to grease and flour the muffin tins before using them.


About the Author: Hi, I’m Allen Jennifer from Livesnet, a great site for you if you want to see reviews on baby gears and useful parenting tips as well. So to know more about baby gears, just go for our site and do check out my hot reviews on Britax marathon 70 and mamas and papas strollers.

Mini Chocolate Swirl Cheesecakes

Last weekend while our families were in town, Erajh and I had the idea of inviting everyone over for dinner on Friday night before Greenleigh’s party on Saturday.  We quickly set a menu, determined who would make what, and decided that we would have dinner on our back patio (due to our ridiculously small kitchen and dining room).  Erajh would grill and I would make the side dishes and dessert.  But then it rained.  Really hard.  For a long time.  So much for our plan to have a leisurely meal on the patio.  We quickly moved the dinner inside and began to rearrange our plans.  Then the repair man came to fix our hot water heater that had “exploded” the day before – a post for another day, just know that a good portion of my upstairs and downstairs was soaked for much of the weekend…  In short, it was chaos, and desert was forgotten.  For that day at least.

But I just couldn’t stop thinking about this recipe for mini cheesecakes that I had found a while ago.  Even if I didn’t have a crowd of people to bake for, I decided to just try it – then I would know if they were really that good.  Could cheesecake really be that easy to make?  I’ve never made a cheesecake before, so I wasn’t sure.  Best to try it first, right?  I decided to change it a bit, making my own Oreo crust for the bottom, but stuck to the recipe for everything else.

You will need:

2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 Tbsp lemon juice

melted butter

10-12 Oreo cookies

cupcake liners

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 375.  Place cupcake liners in muffin tins.

Step 2 – Crush Oreo cookies until fine.  I used my small Cuisinart’s “Grind” function to do this, but I’ve heard others just crush the cookies and it turns out just the same.  The Cuisinart definitely saved me some time though – forty-five second and they were done!

Step 3 – Add melted butter to the finely ground cookie crumbs.  I didn’t use any specific amount, I just added butter until the mixture started to stick together.  It didn’t take more than 2 tablespoons or so to get it to the perfect consistency (although as you can see, I originally melted much more than that).

Step 4 – Spoon the cookie crumb crust mixture into the cupcake liners and press down firmly using the back of a spoon.  You want it to be firmly packed.  I actually did this while the liners were still in the pan, but took one out so you could see how it is firmly packed.

Step 5 – In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well blended.  Add the eggs and lemon juice, then continue mixing.

Step 6 – Spoon the cream cheese mixture into each muffin pan, filling each cup 3/4 full.

Step 7 – Bake for 6 minutes, then remove from oven.  Drop chocolate chips into the cream cheese batter and allow 1-2 minutes to melt.  The original recipe said 4-5 chocolate chips, but I used lots more than that…I love chocolate.  Once melted, swirl using a knife or a tooth pick.  Put back in oven for another 9 minutes.

Step 8 – Remove from oven, take the mini cheesecakes out of the pan, and allow to cool.   Store in the fridge until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

It turns out cheesecakes really can be that easy – minimal ingredients, 15 minutes in the oven, and hardly any mixing time at all!  The only thing I would change about this recipe is the baking time or temperature.  Mine weren’t burned, but many of them came out a bit more toasty than “golden brown”.  It could just be my oven, but in the future, I will reduce the cooking temperature to 350 degrees or reduce the time by 2 minutes.  I will be making these again!

Weekend Baking: Rainbow Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting!

Every Friday, I share my crafts and recipes in a collection hosted by Happy Hour Projects.  The purpose is to show off what you’ve been working on and gain inspiration for new projects.  About a week ago, as I was adding my Valentine’s Ribbon Wreath from Hell, this recipe for Rainbow Cake caught my eye.  It looked beautiful!  And delicious!  I had to try it.  But it was a diet recipe, and as began to read the reviews on other blogs, some indicated that the diet recipe had changed the taste of the cake…and not for the better.  I couldn’t take that chance.  So I decided to “fix it”.  And as if making the recipe without the diet adjustments wasn’t enough – Remember that marshmallow fluff buttercream I used in my Whoopie Pies?  I decide that would be the perfect topper for this vivid cake.

For the cake you will need:

2 boxes of white cake mix (and all the requirements on the box, times two since you are making two boxes)

Food Color Gels

parchment paper

For the frosting you will need:

2 cups marshmallow fluff

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter, softened

Step 1 – Pre-heat the oven as indicated by your cake mix.  Grease the sides of a 8″ or 9″ round pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Step 2 – Make the cake mix as indicated on the box.

Step 3 – Once the batter is mixed, separate into 6 separate bowls, about 1 1/2 cup of batter per bowl.  Add food gel to each of the bowls to get your desired colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple).  Unlike food coloring, you don’t need to use a ton of the food gels to color the batter.

Step 4 – Using a measuring cup, add the batter to each of the pans.  I measured 3/4 cup of each of the colors putting it one on top of the other.  In one pan I placed the colors in a red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple order, and then I did the opposite in the other pan (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red; placing one color on top of the other in concentric circles).

Step 5 – Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Make sure the knife comes out clean.  One of my cakes needed an additional 4 minutes, not sure why, just be aware that it’s possible for one cake to need more time.

Step 6 – Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and continue to cool on wire racks.  Don’t forget to remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake.  When my cakes were completely cool, I trimmed off the edges since they looked a little crispy and I wanted a very soft cake.

Step 7 – Mix the marshmallow fluff, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla for 3 minutes or until smooth.

Step 8 – Using a knife or spatula, frost the cake.  I found the best way to do this was to place globs of frosting on the cake and then spread from there.  Make sure to keep your knife clean or little pieces of the cake will end up in your frosting and it won’t be as pretty – this is the downside of trimming off the edges.  It got rid of the crunch part, but I had to be super careful when frosting the cake or little pieces of the colored cake would be everywhere.  You might be able to get away with cutting the buttercream recipe in half, but I wanted to make sure that I had more than enough to cover the cake.  Plus, I like to frost cakes pretty liberally.  So much for being a diet cake!


Holiday Baking: Candy Cane Swirl Cupcakes

I saw this recipe back in October, but I was too focused on Fall and all things pumpkin to give it a try.  I tucked the recipe away, waiting for the perfect occasion.  Today we had a baking “pot-luck” event at work and I decided that this would be the perfect time for these festive cupcakes.  The recipe didn’t require anything terribly out of the ordinary (except for red food paste, which I soon learned was not the same as food coloring and can be purchased in the baking section of a craft store, like Michael’s), and said to be only 25 minutes in prep time.

You will need:

1 box white cake mix, 1 lb 2.25 oz size

Ingredients required by boxed cake mix – water, oil, eggs (refer to box for exact amounts)

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 teaspoon red paste food color

1 container of fluffy white whipped frosting

30 hard peppermint candies

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350.  Put paper baking cups in each of the muffin cups.

Step 2 – In a medium to large size bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, egg whites, and peppermint extract with an electric mixer on low-speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scrapping sides of bowl intermittently.

Step 3 – Divide batter in half.  To one portion, add 1 teaspoon red paste food color.  Stir until well mixed and evenly colored.  It may look a little more pink than red, fret not.  Leave the other portion uncolored.

Step 4 – Place 2 tablespoons of red batter in each of the muffin cups.  Then place 2 tablespoons of white batter on top of the red batter in each of the muffin cups.

Step 5 – With the tip of a knife, swirl the batter to give it a marbled look.  Don’t be afraid to really swirl on this one (don’t mix, just swirl).

Step 6 – Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan.  Cool for an additional 30 minutes.  Frost cupcakes as normal.  

Step 7 – Crush peppermint candies.  This was where I found out that my meat tenderizer was missing…I ended up using my potato masher, which turned out to be a fabulous substitute.

Step 8 – Sprinkle tops of cupcakes with crushed peppermint candies and stick a small candy cane in the center.

These were the perfect addition to our holiday pot-luck.  Despite my apparent inability to use a pastry bag, they looked really pretty, too.  I will share a tip with you though.  Don’t put your crushed peppermints on top of your cupcakes until you are ready to serve them.  I put them on last night, and by this morning they were all sliding off and some of the color had transferred from the candy to the frosting leaving streaks behind.  They still looked okay and tasted good, but it wasn’t the same.  Also, if you aren’t a huge fan of peppermint, don’t worry.  The flavor on this is very light.  If you skip the peppermint candies on the top and just use a candy cane for decoration, I think they would be just as delicious.

A special thank you to my good friend and cupcake making companion, Shannon, who is visiting from New Jersey.  I don’t think these would have turned out the same without her (Actually I know they wouldn’t have – I accidentally dumped way too much peppermint extract into the bowl and was tempted to just wing it from there, but she had the smart idea of starting a new batch.  Note to self: Don’t measure over your mixing bowl even though it might be easier sometimes.).  She is also proof that if you stay at my house for more than a day (or sometimes even a few hours) I will find a project for you.

Weekend Baking: Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies & Cream Frosting

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe online for Oreo brownies.  The recipe looked simple enough, you lined the bottom of the brownie pan with Oreos, poured the brownie batter over the top of the Oreos, and then baked as required by the batter.  I thought, “That can’t be right, surely the Oreos would burn.”  I decided to give it a try making cupcakes.  I figured they were either going to be delicious or I was going to burn them.  Worth a shot, right?  If they turned out delicious, I thought this was the perfect time to try making my own buttercream frosting.

You will need:

1 box cake mix (any kind that you like, I used Chocolate Devils Food because that is my husband’s favorite) & ingredients required by that mix


1/2 cup butter, softened

4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 Tablespoons 2% milk

Step 1 – Preheat oven to temperature indicated on cake box mix.  Line muffin pan and drop an Oreo cookie in the bottom of each liner.Step 2 – Make cake mix as directed on box.  Fill muffin cups with batter, 3/4 full.Step 3 – Bake for 18 minutes.  Test with toothpick before removing from the oven.Step 4 – Time to make the frosting!  Place the butter in the bottom of a large bowl.  Using a mixer on medium speed, beat until soft and fluffy.  Add in sugar, vanilla, and milk, and beat until smooth.Step 5 – Place 3 Oreos in a plastic bag and crush until they are in small pieces.  Frost the cupcakes and garnish with Oreo pieces.So that was my idea, but as I was making these cupcakes I thought, “why not add cookie crumbs to the frosting itself?”  At this point I was winging it…  If you want to make cookies and cream icing, skip step 5 and do this instead.

Step 5 Alternative – Place 5-6 cookies in a food processor.  Grind until fine:Step 6 – Slowly add ground up Oreos to the buttercream icing.  Blend using the mixer on low-medium speed.  Voila!  Cookies & Cream Buttercream Frosting.  Yum!How did I not know how simple it is to make your own buttercream frosting?  Sure it’s easy to pick up a container of frosting at the store, but making your own frosting takes about 5 minutes and is delicious.  Love it!

And, just in case you were wondering – the Oreo didn’t burn at all.  I couldn’t believe it.  It tasted the same as a normal Oreo but more delicious because it was part of a cupcake.

Fall Baking: Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Normally I save my baking posts until the weekends (because that’s when I have the time to bake), but I have an event tomorrow that requires me to bring a dessert, so my recipe post is coming to you a little early.  Since it’s Halloween weekend, I figured I should stick to a pumpkin recipe.  I’ve never made a crumb cake before, so decided to try this recipe.  It has a ton of ingredients, but don’t let that scare you off.  They’re pretty basic ingredients, and I already had most of them in my house.  The steps are fairly easy and it is delicious!  Completely worth the time.

You will need:


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp  cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Step 1 – Make the cake topping first - In a bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Add pieces of butter.  Combine with fingertips until mixture is crumbly.  Put in refrigerator.

Step 2 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 13×9 cake pan.

Step 3 – In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

Step 4 -  In a large bowl whisk together vegetable oil, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, and dark brown sugar until well mixed.  Whisk in eggs.

Step 5 – Add flour mixture in the small bowl to the pumpkin mixture in the large bowl.  Stir just until combine.  Do not over mix.  It will be lumpy, don’t panic.

Step 6 – Pour batter into cake pan and spread evenly.

Step 7 – Take crumb topping out of the refrigerator and sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Step 8 – Bake for 45 minutes.

Step 9 – Remove from oven and allow to cool (in cake pan) on a wire rack.

This is an old recipe from All You magazine, but I adjusted the amount of ginger.  The original recipe calls for 2 tsp, but on the advice of a friend, who is an amazing baker, I reduced it by half.  I’m so glad I did.  The recipe states it should be baked for 50 minutes, but I think 45 minutes is more than plenty.  This is perfect for breakfast, especially if you have company visiting over the holidays.  The taste of pumpkin isn’t overpowering, so even those who aren’t huge pumpkin fans will like it.



Last chance to enter my blog giveaway for the adorable hat from Babes ‘n Beads!  Entries will close on October 28th at noon (EST).  Thank you to all those who have already entered.  If you haven’t entered yet, click here and enter before it is too late!