Sunday Inspiration {S’mores Edition}

Smores 3
I have to admit I don’t love marshmallows. The only time I’m down with them is when they are brown, bubbly and melty between chocolate and graham crackers. Aka the s’more. With summer around the corner, s’mores are going to be all over the place. But why stop at a simple, traditional s’more when you could make them into pies, cookies and desserts galore. Am I right?

S’mores Macaroons. You so fancy.

Fun and portable Mini S’mores Hand Pies.

Making anything sweet and salty is always a good choice.

S’mores Buttercream Frosting, whaaaat?

S’mores for breakfast? Yes and yes.

S’mores Cookie Dough Dip. You all know how I feel about dip.

Make ’em boozy

Add fruit, it makes them healthy.

I’m seriously dying over this pie.

Toasted S’mores Milkshake. Enough said.

Ooey Gooey s’mores combined with oatmeal cookies. Winning combination.

A kid’s dream right here.

A new campfire spin on s’mores.

So there you have it, enough s’mores recipes to last you all summer.

Butterfinger Blondies

Butterfinger Bars 5
My mixer hasn’t seen much action the past few months and Noah really wanted to make a pretend birthday cake. Yep, he’s a weird but very very smart child. He can think of any excuse for dessert. He’d been throwing me a pretend birthday party all morning and what’s a party without cake? I have trained him well.

So, these aren’t cake but I had them on my mind since my mom raved about them days before when she had sampled them at a luncheon at work. It didn’t take much convincing to make blondies instead of cake since they had frosting AND chocolate.
Butterfinger Bars 3
I also assume you all have been really missing the sugary goodness around here so I decided I would sacrifice for you and sample one of these bars as my cheat for the week. Oh, the things I do for you guys! But then they were immediately wrapped up and sent to work with Joel. I just couldn’t be trusted with them in the house.
Butterfinger Bars 1
They are chewy and gooey with all kinds of butterfinger goodness throughout the blondies and frosting. Make sure to bake them just until they are set for ultimate deliciousness. Let me warn you, they are incredibly rich so just a few bites will satisfy your sweet tooth sufficiently.
Butterfinger Bars 4
And make sure to keep these in mind to use up those extra butterfingers after Easter!

Butterfinger Blondies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approximately 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approximately 4 “Fun Size” bars)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined. Stir in your chopped Butterfingers.

2. Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

3. For the frosting: cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. Add in you powdered sugar on low speed. Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth Stir in your chopped Butterfingers. Spread on your cooled blondies

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting

Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting
So I have a little thing to tell you guys and I hope you won’t be mad at me. For Lent I’ve decided to eat clean (except for 2 meals a week). Gah, I’m scared but totally committed so wish me luck. Joel wasn’t too thrilled when I informed him on what I had decided but he’ll get over it. He gets free catered lunch every day from all kinds of yummy restaurants so he can get his fill of junk food then.
Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting
That being said, I figured I should share this delicious dessert we had for Valentine’s day before I bid farewell to sugar. I gave Joel a bunch of different dessert options and this is what he chose. He is a cookie dough fanatic so it was kind of a no brainer.
Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting
The butter and brown sugar in the cake and frosting really make this taste like a complete cookie dough fest. And I am totally digging recipes with instant pudding mixes. They make everything so moist and delicious.

You can’t really go wrong with a moist yellow cake dotted with chocolate chips smothered in a cookie dough frosting. Plus, it’s incredibly rich so a little piece goes a long way. Try it and enjoy all the sugar on my behalf.
Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting
Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting
recipe from Mother Thyme

1 cup all-purpose flour
3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding (just the mix, do not prepare)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cookie Dough Frosting:
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square or round pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, pudding mix, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, butter, sour cream, egg and vanilla.

3. Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring as you do so. Mix until the batter just comes together then stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan (you can also leave it in the pan if you want to serve it that way.

5. For the frosting: cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla and a small amount of milk. Keep adding milk until desired consistency is reached. Mix in mini chocolate chips. Frost cake once it has cooled completely.
Chocolate Chip Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting

Frosted Zucchini Brownies {Gluten and Lactose Free}

Frosted Zucchini Brownies
My zucchini supply is finally starting to wind down, thank goodness. As much as I normally like zucchini, I will be happy to not see it for awhile. I had picked the last few right before we were heading out for Kansas City to visit our new nephew and see the Royals play the Red Sox and I knew I wouldn’t have time to do something with them for dinner but didn’t want them to go to waste. So, I decided I would whip up a baked good to bring along for the weekend.

I’ve mentioned before that our nieces eat gluten and lactose free so that can sometimes make things difficult. A lot of gluten-free recipes I come across use about 50 (exaggerate much?) different kinds of flours that I just don’t want to invest in since it’s only a once and awhile thing for us. But I do always keep a box of gluten-free all-purpose flour around for such occasions. I have had pretty good success switching the gluten-free version for regular flour in most recipes.
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
When I whipped up these brownies, I followed the recipe exactly and the batter was incredibly dry and I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. I decided to mix in an egg and then it was the perfect consistency. And an added bonus was that it made them more dense, rich and cake-like. The zucchini kept them moist and I promise you can’t taste it in the finished product. It’s almost like it melts away in the batter.

This may not be the healthiest way to use up that last bit of zucchini growing in your garden but it is quite delicious and is still a way to sneak in some veggies. You could totally trick your kids or significant others…I tried with Joel but he isn’t a big chocolate fan so he didn’t want them. Darn, I love foolin’ that guy.
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Frosting:
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegan margarine (or regular if dairy isn’t a concern)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup almond milk (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

2.In a large bowl, mix together the oil, egg, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Shark Cupcakes

Shark Cupcakes 2
Like I mentioned yesterday, I love Shark Week. We go through the entire week ahead of time and DVR way too many shows then spend the week of glued to the TV once Noah goes to bed. It’s kind of ridiculous but I look forward to it every summer. And what makes Shark Week better? Cupcakes. Especially lightly fluffy cupcakes with wavy delicious cream cheese frosting and a surprise center to fit the shark theme. And the chance to make homemade fondant for the shark fins!
Shark Cupcakes 1
The inspiration came from these adorable cupcakes I saw on Pinterest. Aren’t they adorable? But just wait until you bite inside. See, they are gory too. I kind of love it.
Shark Cupcakes 5
Because of the filling, I decided to keep the cake simple and go with my favorite white cake recipe. Once the cupcakes are cooled, cut out the center and fill. Rather than pipe the frosting on, I decided to slather the cupcakes with it then take a knife which I dipped in the frosting then quickly lifted to make it appear like choppy waves.
Shark Cupcakes 6
When it came to the fondant, I simply rolled it out and used a little template I drew to cut out the shark fins (make sure to use a sharp knife). And they would look even cuter dyed gray but I ran out of black food coloring and the nearest store that carries the gel colors I like is about 30 minutes each way and it was one of those “ain’t nobody got time for that” kind of days. So, alas, the fins are white but still pretty darn cute in my opinion.

I sent these to work with Joel and his coworkers probably think I have a weird obsession. And this post probably isn’t helping matters.
Shark Cupcakes 4
If you are a shark lover like me, whip these up, put on your stretchy yoga pants and settle on the couch for Shark Week.

Shark Cupcakes

1 recipe white cupcakes
1 (18 oz.) jar strawberry preserves*
1/4 recipe homemade fondant, rolled out and cut into fins

For the frosting:

1 stick butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 lb. powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Once cupcakes have cooled, cut out a hole in the center of the cupcakes (not all the way to the bottom). Fill with strawberry preserves.

2. For the frosting: whip together the butter and cream cheese. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Whip for a few minutes until frosting gets light and fluffy. Swirl in blue or teal food coloring to desired look (I left a little white throughout to look like the surf of the ocean).

3. Slather cupcakes with frosting and lift knife or spatula as you are swirling it on to make it appear like waves. Top with fondant shark fins and enjoy!

*I didn’t use the entire jar but got pretty close.

4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes

4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 2
I shared these pudding pops with you on Monday and well, one patriotic treat just isn’t enough so I’m bring you these beauties today. Can you tell that I’m totally going down the easy route these days? I’m only 25 weeks pregnant but I’m kind of ready to be done already. My first time around was much easier. I could sleep, put my feet up or just relax whenever I wanted but these days my little dude keeps me running. At least I will be in better shape!
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 4
So, anyway I have seen these cute cupcakes floating around the internet for awhile and they popped into my head when I was trying to think of fun and easy treats for the 4th of July. Plus, I don’t think I have ever met a person who didn’t like rice krispies so they will be popular too. They are easily customizable to any holiday, just switch up the sprinkles. And with all the different flavored marshmallows they have these days, you could have fun with flavor combinations too.
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 1
I totally planned on making homemade frosting to top these, but I got lazy. If you are awesome and have way more motivation than me, whip some up on your own. Go ahead and show me up. I dare ya.
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 3
Be sure to check out some past patriotic deliciousness following the recipe!

4th of July Rice Krispies Cupcakes
recipe from side of rice krispie box
yields 54 mini cupcakes

3 Tbsp. butter
1 (10 oz.) bag marshmallows
6 cups rice krispie cereal
2.5 oz. patriotic sprinkles + more for topping
1 can frosting (I used strawberry)
Red or blue gel food coloring (depends on what color frosting you want)

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in rice krispie cereal and sprinkles.

2. Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick spray then spoon rice krispies into the tins, pressing to form. Allow to cool then move to a platter.

3. Mix frosting with desired food coloring. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe frosting onto rice krispies then top with sprinkles.
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies

Layered Cupcake Tutorial and Finished Product

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries
Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
4th of July Fruit Skewers
4th of July Fruit Skewers

And for a little DIY fun, Cupcake Picks.

Mini Lime Cupcakes

Mini Lime Cupcakes 2
I always love when a holiday rolls around because that means some themed baking is going to happen in my house. With St. Patty’s in a few days, I asked Noah what we should bake and he said cupcakes….so cupakes it is!

I have had this recipe pinned for quite awhile and have been waiting for the perfect recipe to bake up these little guys. I love that they are lime instead of the traditional mint or pistachio flavored cupcakes I came across for St. Patrick’s Day. I also love that they are itty bitty for easier portion control…unless you feel like you have to eat all the ugly ones since you don’t want your husband’s new co-workers to question your baking abilities….yeah, that totally didn’t happen.
Mini Lime Cupcakes 1
Noah calls these cupcakes green tiny little baby ones. I think that kid is pretty funny. You know why else he’s funny? He is a typical boy so clothing is sometimes optional, even when cooking. I decided if he ever has a food blog it should be named “The Naked Chef” and my mom thought the tagline could be “Don’t burn your business” or “No pants, no problem.” That’s how he rolls, see.
The Naked Chef
Sorry for the tangent, he just cracks me up. I think the socks totally make the outfit.

The cake had a light lime flavor but man did the frosting pack an amazing lime zing. They were just perfect for the springtime that we are all dreaming about. It’s actually supposed to be in the 60’s today but then get chilly again this weekend.
Mini Lime Cupcakes 5
Just wait and see what awesome cupcakes I found for Easter, you might just die.

Hope you all have a happy and safe St. Patty’s!

Mini Lime Cupcakes
recipe from A Farm Girl Dabbles

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
5 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. finely grated lime peel
Green food coloring (I always use gel food coloring because it’s more vibrant)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk

for the frosting*:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. finely grated lime peel
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then the lime juice, lime peel, and food coloring. Batter may look curdled, but that’s just fine. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 additions. Spoon batter into liners, about 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean. This took about 12 minutes for me, but it will depend on the size of your tins, so pay close attention to your baking time. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before adding frosting. This recipe yielded 86 mini’s for me but once again, it will depend on the size of your muffin tin.

3. For the frosting: beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth.  With a medium-large plain round tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, or simply spread it on with a knife.  Sprinkle a bit of fresh lime zest over tops, if desired.

*The frosting only made enough to frost about 2/3 of my mini’s. I would recommend making a recipe and a half if you have a tiny mini muffin tin (the silicone ones seem to be bigger so if that is what you are using you should be fine with the original amount).

Mini Lime Cupcakes 3