Month: September 2013

Strawberry Pop Tart Cupcakes

There were a few foods that I wasn’t allowed to eat when I was a kid. Not that my parents were overly snobby about food (they weren’t), but my mom cringed at the thought of me eating two things: Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Pop Tarts. Nope. No way. No how. Wasn’t going to happen.

I was introduced to Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese at my babysitter’s house – it was like a whole new world! And I was introduced to Pop Tarts when I was in middle school. I’m not a huuuuge Pop Tart fan anymore, but I loved the idea of making these cupcakes — a celebration of all the junk food we weren’t allowed to eat as kids! :)

Strawberry Pop Tart Cupcakes
Recipe source: Your Cup of Cake
Print Recipe

Vanilla Cake:
1 box white cake mix
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons hot water
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Strawberry Buttercream:
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed in food processor
3-4 cups powdered sugar
*OK, I cheated here. I used store-bought icing with one of the new strawberry flavor packs that Duncan Hines (I think) sells. I’m in law school, I get busy, and I couldn’t find freeze-dried strawberries in my grocery store.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, gently whisk eggs, egg whites, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract together.
3. Add cake mix and stir until smooth.
4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
5. Glaze: Combine all ingredients and use a fork to whisk until smooth. Use more powdered sugar to make thicker or more water to make thinner.
6. Dip the top of cooled cupcakes into glaze and let set.
7. Buttercream: Beat butter for 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and freeze dried strawberries. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
8. Pipe buttercream over glaze (once dried) and top with a piece of Pop Tart.

Rainbow Brownies

Aren’t these dreamy? I can’t stop staring at the pretty colors. And the best part? They are so, so easy. Seriously. If you need to make a treat for a get-together or a party — and want to make a big impression — try these!

Rainbow Brownies
Recipe source: Rock UR Party
Print Recipe

1 box brownie mix (plus required oil + eggs)
3 tubs of vanilla icing
Various food colorings (choose any colors you’d like – I used Wilton gel colorings)
Disposable pastry bags
A knife or kitchen scraper

1. Make brownies according to box directions. Let the baked brownies cool completely. Do not cut them. Remove the uncut giant brownie onto a cutting board or serving platter.
2. Divide the icing into six bowls. Dye each bowl a different color.
3. Snip the ends of the pastry bags – about 1/2 inch. You won’t need a pastry tip.
4. Fill the pastry bags with the icing. Pipe stripes onto the brownies. They can be messy and totally imperfect – doesn’t matter. Just cover the slab of brownies with lines of icing.
5. Smooth out the icing with a kitchen scraper or a knife.
6. Cut the brownies into squares and serve. Simple, right?!

S’mores Puppy Chow

I know that summer is pretty much gone for most of us, but we had a bit of an Indian Summer here in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. It was in the 90s and very unlike September. Thankfully that nonsense corrected itself and we’re back to cooler temps!

Do any of you go camping in the fall? No matter what time of year, s’mores are always a must if you’re camping or sitting around the fire. If you lack a campfire, this snack is a great substitute. Seriously, this version of puppy chow is SO GOOD! The only thing that would make it better would be to melt the marshmallows, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that with puppy chow.

S’mores Puppy Chow
Recipe source: Your Cup of Cake
Print Recipe

6 cups rice Chex cereal
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup brownie mix, from the box
3 cups Golden Grahams
3 cups marshmallows

1. Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In a microwave proof bowl, melt chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
3. Pour over cereal and fold until covered.
4. Dump into a large plastic bag and add brownie mix, seal and shake until coated.
5. Dump onto a cookie sheet and let cool.
6. Pour into a large bowl and mix with Golden Grahams and marshmallows.

Brown Butter Rolo Toffee Cookies

My mom, culinarily speaking, is obsessed with two things: Rolos and anything having to do with toffee. This recipe popped up on Pinterest and within 5 minutes, I had it printed out and a grocery list made for the required ingredients. I made these for my mom and she loved them. The brown butter is fantastic (and why wouldn’t it be? BrownButter.) — it gives a nutty flavor to the cookies without having to use nuts (which is a definite plus in my book).

Brown Butter Rolo Toffee Cookies
Recipe source:
Print Recipe

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
16 Rolos, unwrapped and quartered

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes. The butter will start to smell nutty. Once this happens, remove from heat.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat browned butter and sugars on medium-high until well combined. Beat in vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture at low speed, beating just until incorporated.
5. Gently fold in toffee bits, chocolate chips and Rolos.
6. Drop tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until edges are golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Makes a couple dozen cookies.

Breaking Bad Cookies

OK, who else is obsessed with Breaking Bad? I think it’s one of the best shows of all time. That may sound overly dramatic, but if you’ve seen the show, you know I’m right. Oddly, I hated the show during the first season. I found it dark, depressing, uncomfortable, and the thought of watching Walt go through chemo just wasn’t my idea of great TV. I’m glad I stuck with it though. . . even though it’s still dark, depressing, and uncomfortable!

The series finale is in a few weeks and I am dying to see how it all ends. I made these cookies back in August when I had more school-free time. The cookies are just a basic sugar cookie – use any recipe you’d like that is meant for cut-out cookies. Bridget’s recipe is great, as is Annie’s. I used my grandmother’s recipe for these. I’m sure she’d be so proud knowing that her beloved cookie recipe was used to make cookies representing a violent television show. ;)

As I have mentioned many times before, please visit Annie’s perfect post about decorating with royal icing. She’ll give you the entire rundown on how to outline, flood, etc.

And where do I come in? Let me give you a rundown on each of these cookies!

  • The rooster. Represents Los Pollos Hermanos! I found the rooster cookie cutter on Amazon. I kept it simple and just used yellow and red icing.
  • The chicken leg. Well… Los Pollos Hermanos is a fried chicken restaurant, so I had to include a fried chicken leg! I was inspired by Bridget’s post at Bake at 350. I didn’t have to buy a chicken leg cookie cutter. I used the same cookie cutter as I did for the Erlenmeyer flask – and rounded the edges more to make it look like a chicken leg.
  • The Vamonos Pest sign is self explanatory. I cut the rectangle out by hand, as I didn’t have a rectangle cookie cutter. I used neon green and bright yellow icing.
  • The pink teddy bear. If you watch the show, you remember the pink teddy bear falling from the sky. If you’re looking for a teddy bear cookie cutter, do a search on Amazon. There are a ton to choose from. The teddy bear on the show is more magenta than true pink, so I added a little purple food coloring to the pink icing I made. Sidenote: the bear also looks like evil Lotso from Toy Story III
  • The beaker of blue meth. Well, duh. Blue Sky is the name of Walt and Jesse’s meth. The beaker cookie cutter was included in this kit. I bought blue rock candy at a local candy store.
  • The test tube of pink manganese. OK, so they don’t make anything having to do with manganese. But remember Hank’s obsession with minerals? I liked the quote from Walt: “Manganese can have an oxidation between minus three and plus seven which takes it through a range of colors–purple, green, blue–but it’s most stable state is plus two… which is usually pale pink.” Given how much Vince Gilligan loves color, anyone else take that quote to mean that Walter WHITE and Jesse PINKman are at their best when they are working together? The test tube cookie cutter was part of this kit and the pink rock candy was from a local candy store.
  • The oranges. Surely we all remember when Carol dropped the grocery bag of oranges in the season premiere. “Hello, Carol.” Oranges are also thought to be a symbol of death on this show (and the Godfather, for anyone keeping track). I used a round cookie cutter to make the orange slices – just cut the circle in half.
  • The purple atom. The atom cookie cutter came from this kit. I made it purple as a tribute to Marie, who loves the color purple more than life itself.
  • The “Br” and “Ba” squares. The opening credits of the show use the periodic table in the text – ex: Breaking Bad. The opening credits use dark green. I cut the square myself, as I didn’t have a square cookie cutter.
  • The Erlenmeyer flask. Just a fun cookie that goes along with the chemistry theme of Walt and Jesse’s empire.
  • The quote bubbles. You’ll recognize all the quotes if you watch the show. Instead of buying a quote bubble cookie cutter (which I’m sure is out there somewhere), I used my circle cookie cutter — and made a few modifications to make it look like a quote bubble.
  • These cookies were a labor of love — but I love the show and I’m so sad that it’s ending!