Month: August 2014

Cherry Chip Bars

DSC_8484x900Remember how I mentioned in Monday’s post that I have a lot of leftover cherry chips? Well here’s a recipe that used some of them up! Cherry is my favorite flavor of just about everything, so I was a big fan of these.

Cherry Chip Bars
Recipe source: Picky Palate
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1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cherry chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars.
3. Add egg and vanilla mixing until well combined.
4. Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt, white and cherry chips. Mix until just combined.
5. Transfer dough to prepared baking pan, pressing evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and baked through. Let cool completely then cut into squares to serve.

My pan made 9 bars; the yield will depend on how large you cut the bars.

Dilly Bar Cupcakes

DSC_0842x900My hometown has a little (and I mean LITTLE) Dairy Queen that is only open seasonally. It’s a small shop that has been around as long as I can remember. It closes every fall and re-opens every spring. Everything about it screams small town and I LOVE it. My favorite Dairy Queen treat is a medium chocolate cone (exciting, I know). I also love blizzards. But you know what I REALLY love? The candy coating on Dilly Bars. I could do without the vanilla soft-serve, but I wish I could buy that cherry, butterscotch, and chocolate coating in bulk.

Last summer I made Dairy Queen cupcakes — and this summer I made cupcakes inspired by Dilly Bars. The cherry cupcakes required cherry chips — which were a challenge to find. I had to order them in bulk (six bags) online, so I have a few more cherry chip-inspired posts scheduled this week!

Dilly Bar Cupcakes
Print Recipe

I used box cake mixes for the cupcake portion of each flavor. As a result, you’ll end up with a lot of cupcakes. You can choose to just make one flavor — or you can make as many cupcakes as you want and throw away the extra batter (this is what I did; I chose to make about 8 cupcakes in each flavor).

Buttercream Icing:
I made two batches of the following recipe – and it covered about 24 cupcakes; so if you plan on making about 24 cupcakes, double the recipe below:

1 cup butter
1 two pound bag powdered sugar (about 7-8 cups)
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
Dash salt

Cream butter with mixer. Add the vanilla and milk. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix well. This recipe is from

Cherry Dilly Cupcakes:
1 box cherry chip cake mix, plus required eggs/oil (hard to find! I found it at WalMart)
Buttercream icing (see above)
1 bag of cherry chips
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Round pastry tip + pastry bag

1. Make the cupcakes according to box directions and allow to cool entirely on a wire rack.
2. Using a round pastry tip, pipe icing onto each cupcake.
3. Place the cherry chips and oil into a double boiler; stir until melted and smooth.
4. Dip each cupcake into the cherry coating.

Butterscotch Dilly Cupcakes:
1 box vanilla cake mix, plus required eggs/oil
Buttercream icing (see above)
1 bag of butterscotch chips
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Round pastry tip + pastry bag

1. Make the cupcakes according to box directions and allow to cool entirely on a wire rack.
2. Using a round pastry tip, pipe icing onto each cupcake.
3. Place the butterscotch chips and oil into a double boiler; stir until melted and smooth.
4. Dip each cupcake into the butterscotch coating.

Chocolate Dilly Cupcakes:
1 box chocolate cake mix, plus required eggs/oil
1 batch buttercream icing
1 bag of chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Round pastry tip + pastry bag

1. Make the cupcakes according to box directions and allow to cool entirely on a wire rack.
2. Using a round pastry tip, pipe icing onto each cupcake.
3. Place the chocolate chips and oil into a double boiler; stir until melted and smooth.
4. Dip each cupcake into the chocolate coating.

Banana Split Cupcakes

DSC_0763x900Useless and random fact: I’ve never had a banana split. I know, I know, what kind of American am I?! Cause if there’s anything America loves, it’s treats in large portions — and the banana split is just that. But I’m always inclined to choose other things over ice cream treats that involve fruit. These cupcakes were just too cute not to make though! The decorating/presentation was inspired by A Happy Food Dance — and that link features an entirely homemade version of these cupcakes. I used box muffin mix and store bought frostings because sometimes that all I’ve got time for.

Hope you enjoy!

Banana Split Cupcakes
Recipe inspired by: A Happy Food Dance
Print Recipe

You’ll need:
Banana muffin mix (plus required oil, eggs)
Vanilla frosting (I used store-bought)
Chocolate frosting (I used store-bought)
Strawberry frosting (I used store-bought)
Maraschino cherries
Cupcake liners
A large, round pastry tip + a pastry bag

1. Make the banana muffins according to box directions and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
2. Using a large, round pastry tip, pipe little blobs (very technical term, I know) of each kind of frosting onto the top of each muffin.
3. Garnish with sprinkles and a cherry.

Recipe yield will depend on what kind of muffin mix you use; I made 12.

Olaf (from Frozen) Birthday Cake

DSC_0885x900Happy birthday to Chloe! Her grandmother asked me to make Frozen-themed goodies for Chloe’s birthday party. I made a batch of these cupcakes — as well as this Olaf cake. I don’t have step-by-step instructions for this cake, but below you’ll find some bullet points with some tips and hints. Warm hugs from Olaf to you all!

Olaf (from Frozen) Birthday Cake
Print Recipe

  • I made two 9×13 chocolate cakes. I used box mixes for the cake cause they are reliable and delicious. Any flavor cake would work for this design.
  • All of the icing used on this cake is the White Buttercream Icing recipe — which you can find on this page. I made three batches to be sure I’d have plenty to work with.
  • When the cakes have cooled, assemble and frost the entire cake with white buttercream icing.
  • I piped a border using purple and blue icing. I used Wilton gel colorings — Violet and Sky Blue. I used a small star tip. I don’t remember the exact tip #, but many would work for this technique.
  • I rolled out of a package of purple fondant (Wilton brand) and cut out “Happy Birthday Chloe!” using small alphabet cutters (craft stores sell these, as well as online retailers like Amazon).
  • I piped Olaf by hand. As a result, I don’t have many tips or tricks to offer you. I found a photo online to work from and drew the design into the cake with a toothpick (a good idea in case you make a mistake — you can just smooth the icing over and start again!). I then covered the toothpick sketch with black icing (use a small round pastry trip).
  • I used store-bought chocolate icing for his arms, eyebrows, and hair. Again, use a small round tip — smaller than the one you used for the outline of Olaf, if possible.
  • I piped his orange nose on with a round tip, as well as his black buttons.
  • His eyes are candy eyes — which are a Wilton product I found at Target (craft stores also sell them).
  • The snowflakes were piped on with a small round tip.
  • If you have any questions, please let me know and I can try to clarify! I’m sorry that I can’t provide exact pastry tip numbers — I forgot to write them down when I was making the cake!

Airplane Cookies

DSC_0777x900It’s EAA week in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin! EAA’s annual air show, AirVenture, is the largest air show in the United States. It’s kiiiiiiind of a big deal for anyone in aviation. For a week each summer, our little airport becomes one of the world’s busiest. There are planes buzzing overhead all week long and it’s just a really cool event that Oshkosh is fortunate enough to host.

I’m going to EAA (locals call it EAA, not AirVenture) today – to continue my tradition of going almost every year since I was a little kid. I made these cookies to celebrate. I ordered the airplane cookie cutter online and didn’t pay enough attention to the size — it’s pretty tiny! So it’s a small miracle that these cookies don’t look worse, considering I’m not great at piping outlines! I decorated them with the colors of the Christen Eagle, my favorite airplane.

Happy Friday to you all!

Airplane Cookies
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If you are a new to decorating with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • I ordered the cookie cutter from Amazon. As I mentioned above, I didn’t pay attention to the size and the cookie cutter I received is quite small. If you are hoping to make larger planes, look closely at the size.
  • I outlined the cookies in black royal icing.
  • Once the black outline was dry, I piped the red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple stripes. I dyed the icing with Wilton gel colorings.
  • When the stripes were dry, I flooded the cookies with white royal icing.

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).

White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.