Chunky Monkey Magic Bars

Seven layer bars

Growing up in Vermont, we know a few things: maple syrup, cheese, cows and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. All of these things I love, well except the cows, they kinda smell, especially in the summer time. Every year, Ben and Jerry’s hosts Free Cone Day, which is a national holiday in my opinion.  There was a Ben and Jerry’s café down the street from my elementary school, so on free cone day (if you had a good teacher) your class took an afternoon field trip to get a free ice cream cone. Then, after school, you and your friends waited in the longest line ever for your second free ice cream cone. And then maybe you repeated that a few times. I remember one year, this kid had every flavor on the menu, no joke, there was something like 50 flavors on the menu.

Seven layer bars

What was awesome about free cone day was trying new flavors that you might be out of your comfort zone. For me, that was Chunky Monkey. Chunky Monkey is a banana ice cream with chocolate fudge and walnuts mixed in. I had about a dozen “favorite” flavors of their Ice Cream. Once I tried the Chunky Monkey, it was added to my list. Today, the Chunky Monkey ice cream was the inspiration behind these bars. Continue reading

Brownie Stuffed Funfetti Cupcakes with Chocolate Funfetti Frosting

Funfetti Cupcake

Sometimes when I make cupcakes, I feel the urge to try and combine as many flavors as possible just to see how things turn out. Last weekend, during my baking extravaganza, I had a batch of leftover brownies and no one to eat them. In an attempt to avoid eating them all myself, I decided I wanted to put them inside a cupcake. Yes, a brownie stuff cupcake.

For the cupcake, I used my favorite funfetti recipe from yourcupofcake.com. For the frosting, I wanted to see if I could make a chocolate funfetti frosting. I mean, who wouldn’t want to combine the best two cupcake flavors ever, right?!

Funfetti Cupcake

Brownie Stuffing

3 C Crumbled brownies

1/2 C Chocolate frosting

  • Bake a boxed mix of brownies according the package instructions. Cool completely.
  • When ready, use your hands to crumble brownies into pieces and measure out 3 cups into a separate bowl.
  • Combine with ½ cup of chocolate frosting. Use your hands to mix everything together into one large ball, ensuring the frosting is well mixed.
  • Roll 24 balls of the brownie mixture, about 1 tbsp in size.
  • Set 1 brownie ball in each cupcake liner.

Funfetti cupcake

Funfetti Cupcakes
Recipe from yourcupofcake.com Vanilla Cupcakes

Follow ingredients from Vanilla cupcake and add 1/4 C Sprinkles

  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • Combine egg whites, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk gently.
  • Slowly mix in cake mix until well combined.
  • Add sprinkles and gently fold into batter.
  • Fill lined cupcake pan 2/3 full, tap the pan a couple times to evenly coat the brownie. Bake for 12 minutes, check with a toothpick and bake another 2-3 minutes until tops are golden or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  • Let cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Having a brownie stuffed inside the cupcake was pretty dang amazing, but what impressed me the most about these cupcakes was the frosting. I whipped the heck out of this frosting and used heavy cream instead of milk to make it super light and fluffy. There’s actually cake mix in the frosting and cocoa powder to create a chocolate funfetti frosting.

Funfetti Cupcake

Chocolate Funfetti Frosting

1 C Unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 oz Cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 C Cocoa powder

1 C Vanilla cake mix

4 tsp Pure vanilla extract

3 C Confectionary sugar

2 tbsp Heavy cream (no substitutions)

  • Allow butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  • Use a fine sifter to sift the cocoa powder, eliminating any clumps.
  • Once softened, combine butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Slowly add cocoa powder and continue to beat on medium speed until smooth. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract. I like to add the vanilla extract after the cocoa powder to help keep the mixture smooth.
  • Add 1 cup vanilla cake mix and continue to beat on medium speed; add the other 2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Continue to slowly add confectionary sugar followed by the heavy cream. Beat for several minutes with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed. Switch to the whisk attachment and beat for another 3-5 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy.

Funfetti cupcake

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the airiness of the frosting after beating it for so long! I feel as though the longer I whip the frosting, the better it becomes. I choose not to put sprinkles into the frosting because I liked the look of the sprinkles on top.

 

This post is linked up on the Back for Seconds blog.

Lemon Raspberry Shortbread Magic Bars

Seven layer bars

Did everyone have a good weekend? I did some serious catching up on my sleep and made more desserts than I intend to ever make again in one weekend. I have a busy next couple of months, which means less time for baking, but hopefully not less time for blogging!

So I have some exciting news to share. Over the next several months, I will be partnering with Walkers Shortbread as an official Walkers Blogging Ambassador and I couldn’t be more excited. I received a shipment of Walkers Shortbread Cookies and immediately opened the chocolate chip cookies; I didn’t share. Thankfully, I hadn’t eaten lunch that day and had plenty of room for cookies. Walkers generously sent me several boxes of cookies to try. My favorite, besides the chocolate chip, was the lemon and the vanilla shortbreads. So I knew I was going to make something special with these cookies.

Seven layer bars

Today, just for you, I made Raspberry Lemon Shortbread Magic Bars. You know magic bars, seven layer bars, the best type of bars on earth; they all live in the same category. The best part about making these bars, is that you can totally customize the bars to your own taste. You can substitute the nuts or chocolate or even your favorite  jam. Continue reading

Sweet and Salty Junkyard Brownies

Caramel brownies

Who’s ready for some more chocolate? I am so good during the day while I am at work (most of the time), but I get home and I just need something sweet. Yesterday, my second reminder to “get my butt in shape” popped up on my iPhone; I set them for myself in January. Yet, I traded in my workout shoes for one of these Sweet and Salty Junkyard Brownies.

A couple of months ago while browsing through my favorite Wholefoods ever, I spotted some ridiculously amazing looking brownies topped with all sorts of salty snacks. I could see the caramel oozing out the sides and knew I was going to have to make them at home.

caramel brownies

These are really quite simple. I used a boxed mix of brownies and added some Hersey’s baking melts for added chocolate, because nothing goes better with chocolate than more chocolate. I smothered my brownie in caramel sauce and then topped it with pretzels, crushed cashews and caramel popcorn. Continue reading

Mint Chocolate Brownies

When I was only four years old, we relocated from Wisconsin to Vermont, where I grew up until after I graduated college.  Some of the kids I graduated high school with, I have known since pre-school. Several years after we moved to Vermont, a few mothers in my 2nd grade class got together to a organize a holiday cookie exchange. Twenty years later, it is still going on with most of the original moms and some new ones we have met along the way.

When I was little, I looked forward to the cookie exchange every Christmas. It meant a few things for me. I got to help my mom bake cookies and I had an excuse to see my friends on a school night. Plus I got to eat lots and lots of delicious homemade cookies. This year was the 20th anniversary of my Mom’s cookie exchange.

Chocolaty goodness

I thought it would be fun for my Mom and I to each make a recipe of her mother’s Mint Frosted Brownies on the weekend of the cookie exchange. Even though I am 3000 miles away, we constantly swap cooking advice, especially around this time of year. How do I make that again? These mint frosted brownies were one of my absolute favorite Christmas cookies that my grandmother used to make; I swear, this is how I became hooked on mint chocolate. Well Grandma’s recipe is true to it’s taste, the same way it was when I was a child.

Continue reading