Peach Crumble Tarts

I made little baby pies!

Aren't they adorable?! I prefer all of my food to be as cute as possible. It's a total bummer that there is so much ugly food. AND, a lot of the time, the ugly food is the best tasting food. I think it should be illegal for good food to be ugly. Actually, it should be illegal for food to be ugly at all!

These little tarts, just like the truffles that I shared on Wednesday, were made many weeks ago. I was anticipating being in school and being extremely busy, and I thought it would be great to have a couple of recipes all baked and photographed and ready to go, in case of emergency. You know, in case there was a week when I was slammed with homework and studying. But, I'm not in school and I have more time on my hands then I ever expected to have. 

And somehow, I'm less productive than I've ever been. This happens to me all the time. It's frustrating and confusing, so I'm drowning my troubles in food. Like always. I only wish that I actually had one of these little tarts, but like I said, they've been gone for months. If I'm recalling correctly, the tarts were delicious. Sweet and fresh with a nice crumbly topping. OH, and they were really phenomenal with a little vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Peach Crumble Tarts

6 mini graham tart shells
2 cups diced, peeled peaches
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons quick oats
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart shells on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a bowl, combine peaches, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch; toss to coat evenly. Divide the filling into six portions and scoop each portion into a tart shells.
In another bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, flour and oats until combined. Add melted butter and mix until moistened and coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the tarts. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on the pan. Serve warm or cool.

I love a good cute lil tart like this one! 

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles

Every time the season changes, I make a big deal about seasonal ingredients.

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles.JPG

Obviously, we're well into September now, so I feel like I should be baking with pumpkin and squash and lots of oatmeal and nuts or at least some apples. But I have chocolate. And peanut butter. Is chocolate seasonal? I mean, it doesn't really seem like a "fall" thing. But it's not really a winter, spring or summer thing, either. However, I enjoy chocolate year round. So I'll blog about chocolate year round. 

Oh, and by the way, I did end up cleaning my front porch a few days ago [my entire body is literally still sore from all of the things I carried/moved] and then I went down to the dollar store that was just recently built right behind my house [I can't stop spending money there; it's bad!] and bought a ton of autumn decorations to add to my collection and then I decorate. I do this every year. It's pretty much a tradition at this point. You can see a picture here.

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles (2).JPG

These truffles are not very festive. They definitely wouldn't be considered an autumn dessert. They're no bake which pretty much screams summer in my book because no bake = no oven which = less heat. You know? Well, they scream summer because I made them in the summer. I brought them to a cookout back in mid June, I believe. It's a little bit difficult to accurately write about/describe something that you ate over 3 months ago. 

In this recipe, a simple peanut butter truffle gets taken way over the top by the addition of rice krispie cereal. It adds excellent texture plus the essence of a rice krispie treat which is the ultimate no bake dessert. The truffle is creamy and crunchy and smothered with smooth milk chocolate. You really can't beat creamy + crunchy or chocolate + peanut butter. These truffles have it all.

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
2 cups chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth and combined. Add the cereal and mix just until combined. Chill for 1 hour. Roll the chilled mixture into 1-2" balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Chill for an additional hour. 
Melt chocolate chips and canola oil together in the microwave in 30-second increments. Stir until smooth. Dip each chilled truffle in the chocolate then place back on baking sheet. Drizzle with a little melted peanut butter, if desired. Let dry completely before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles (4).JPG

so delicious.

Lemon Ricotta Cookie

My ode to summer ends right here with these cookies.

When I was making these, I needed to refill my sugar jar, so I grabbed a bag out of the pantry and found about five cans of pumpkin hiding out behind my sugar bags and I realized something. I am 5000% ready for pumpkin baking and fall and pretty mums on my front porch. As a matter of fact, I'm going to clean and decorate my front porch this weekend because it's pretty much my favorite thing to do. I look forward to this all year long. 

[I have no friends. No biggie.]

Speaking of sugar, these cookies contain one of my favorite things in the entire realm of baking. I was first introduced to lemon infused sugar at the beginning of the summer when I made these blueberry crumb bars, and I am now thoroughly intrigued with it. You have to sort of massage lemon zest into a pile of sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. You'll then cream that sugar with the butter. The sugar smells SO amazing and flavors the cookies in the most elegant and understated way possible. I don't really know how to describe it, but it's good.

When I took these cookies out of the oven, I was really discouraged because the texture seemed ... off. It was spongy, and much more like a cake than a cookie. And cakey cookies aren't really my thing. But I went with and let them cool and then dunked them in a lemony glaze [the glaze is so good, I wanna take a bath in it] and let it all set up. And it was magical. The cookies firmed up a bit and became dense, chewy and sweet!

It was fantastic! I ate practically a hundred of these because they're little and cute and so irresistibly pop-able and very addictive. Even my sister who "hates dessert" and "just doesn't really like food or eating" loved these! She added them to her list of foods that she likes enough to eat until she's sick: mcdonald's, laffy taffy candies and these cookies. I feel honored. And a tiny bit disturbed. But the cookies are fantastic!

So please, bake away.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

2 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Mix/massage with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and lemon sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add ricotta cheese and lemon juice and beat for 1 -2 minutes, until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. 
Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie on to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the tops are set and the edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before glazing.
Once all the cookies are cool, prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Dip each cookie in the glaze then place on a wire rack and allow glaze to harden before serving. Garnish the cookies with a little lemon zest, if desired. Store the cookies in an airtight container. YIELD: 4-5 dozen cookies

(source: My Baking Addiction)

next week will probably include at least a little pumpkin.

Layered S'mores Bars

I'm not one of those people who wants summer to stay forever.

Summer is actually one of my least favorites seasons. Like many other girls, I'm mildly obsessed with autumn. But summer seemed to fly by this year, and I didn't accomplish everything on my bucket list and I didn't even read all of the books on my summer reading list! [most of them, but I've still got a couple which I'm trying to finish up .... hopefully by the end of this month.] So I'm sort of trying to hold on to summer for just a little while longer by baking all of my favorite things of the summer.

I started with those super sunshiney lemon bars on Monday and now I've got these delightful layered s'mores bars because everyone knows that s'mores are the food of summer. They just are. Summer is not complete until you have roasted a marshmallow over a bonfire until it's nice and toasty and mashed it between two graham crackers with some milk chocolate. I did that this summer on numerous occasions. It was great.

Since my bonfire/roasting marshmallow days are over for the year, I have to go back to recreating s'mores in my kitchen. Obviously, I don't really have a problem with that because, hello, baking is what I do and it's what I love. What I don't love is attempting to layer the second half of the cookie dough over the chocolate and marshmallows. It's such a pain, but I think the end result is worth it.

Other than the layering [and maybe that's just me, maybe the rest of the world likes layering desserts and I'm the only one who hates it and can barely do it], these bars are a cinch to throw together. The cookie dough is made with a generous amount of graham cracker crumbs and is the perfect complement to the creamy milk chocolate and fluffy marshmallow filling. It's like a s'more inside of a really chewy cookie bar. Basically, it's awesome.

Layered S'mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (4.4 oz) Hershey's milk chocolate candy bars
12 marshmallows, sliced into thirds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat for an additional minute. Slowly add in flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt and mix just until combined. Split the cookie dough in half and press half of it onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with milk chocolate candy bars. Top the chocolate with the sliced marshmallows. Cover with the remaining cookie dough, evenly covering the marshmallows as much as possible. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

(adapted from: Cooking Classy)


Sunny Lemon Bars

I had my first taste of fall this past weekend.

My brother's girlfriend brought over a box of glazed cider doughnuts and they were phenomenal. They reminded me of just how much I adore autumn. Plus, all the stores are breaking out the pumpkins and mums and scarecrows and I can't wait to buy more decorations that I don't need and decorate my front porch. It's basically my favorite thing to do at the end of September each year.

Since autumn is rapidly approaching, I figured I'd dedicate one last week to summer so I'm baking/sharing three summery recipes with you this week. That basically translates to a couple of lemon desserts and some s'mores bars. It's going to be fun. And delicious, as always. 

This lemon bars are first on the list and let me just tell ya, they're lemony. The most lemony dessert I've ever made [which, technically, isn't saying much because I've made a whole of about two lemon desserts. oops] and don't they just look sunny? I'm sure I sound completely cheesy and/or cliche, but I'm pretty sure that the only word that accurately describes these bars is "sunny." Or maybe, "bright." ? But that's not much better.

The crust on these bars is really great - it's simple and easy, but suuuuuper delicious! It's tender and moist and kind of like a shortbread? I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but it's really tasty and it perfectly complements the filling. And the filling! I looooooved the filling! It's super smooth and creamy and again, I'm not 100% sure of how to describe, but it's kind of like a very bright and tart custard. It works well with the simple crust. Really, the combination is just perfect.

I'm loving this last taste of summer.

Sunny Lemon Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar 
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, slightly softened & cubed

2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13" x 9" pan; set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar, brown sugar and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. 
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling (the filling should be poured over a hot crust and baked immediately). In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest. Add lemon juice and orange juice and mix until combined. Add in eggs, egg yolks and heavy cream and mix vigorously until completely homogeneous. Pour the mixture over the hot crust, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 25 minutes. 
Cool the bars at room temperature for one hour. Place the bars in the refrigerator and cool for an additional hour and a half or up to 8 hours. Dust with powdered sugar, slice & serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. 

(source: Cooking Classy)

aren't these bars just so pretty!?

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Bites

I'm probably completely overdoing it here with all the brownie recipes.

For some reason, I've craved brownies and brownies only for approximately the last 17 weeks. In an effort to make it less boring for all of you readers, I've added peanut butter, cookie dough, additional chocolate and mini chocolate chips. And I promise that there will be no brownie recipes next week. But the week after that .... well, I can't make any promises. 

These little brownies were a tiny bit finicky. I had quite a struggle attempting to pry these out of the mini muffin tins. Actually, I guess they weren't finicky. I guess it was my fault. I totally forgot to grease the pans. That's real life baking for you. Things go wrong sometimes. Anyway, that's why some of my little brownie bites might look a little, uhm .... off. 

It's really easy to hide imperfections in desserts though.

Just look at these. By the time you get through the mini chocolate chips, chocolate ganache and peanut butter cookie dough topping, you barely even realize that the brownies are a little bit mangled. Because they taste so incredibly wonderful. Everything, and I seriously mean everything, about these little bites is absolutely phenomenal. This brownie recipe is my new favorite. I've made it a number of times in the past few weeks and it's come out perfectly fudgy, moist and delicious every time.

And then there's the peanut butter cookie dough. I don't think that I'll need to convince you that the stuff is so ridiculously delicious and addicting that you'll be eating by the spoonful. 

Oh, there's chocolate ganache too. I almost left that off. I was trying to convince myself not to put drench the cookie dough in extra chocolate. But they looked kind of naked. And when I added a bit of chocolate ganache on top of the first little bite, it looked kind of like an ice cream sundae, so I was sold. Obviously.

Don't forget to garnish with a few extra mini chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Bites

3/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup chocolate chips
1-2 teaspoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a few mini muffin tins; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Gently whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each little compartment about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the brownies are set. Cool completely, then loosen from pans using a butter knife and remove to a wire rack or cookie sheet.
To prepare the cookie dough topping, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, mixing until combined. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix. Add flour, salt and mini chocolate chips and mix until smooth and combined. Scoop little spoonfuls of the cookie dough on top of each mini brownie. Place in the freezer while preparing the chocolate topping.
Add the chocolate chips and canola oil to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between each burst. Mix until smooth. Pour a little bit of melted chocolate over each cookie dough topped brownie. Sprinkle with a few more mini chocolate chips, if desired. Refrigerate until serving and refrigerate any leftovers. Yield: about 3-1/2 brownie bites

(adapted from: Life, Love and Sugar)

I ate too many of these to count...

Chocolate Swirl Red Velvet Bars

These are basically brownies.

But I'm calling them red velvet bars because that makes it sound like I do actually make something other than brownies. I just realized that two out of my three latest posts have been brownie recipes [see these brownie sundaes & these twix truffle brownies. so good!] AND I'm making more brownies for Friday's post [make sure you don't miss that one - they're gonna be so delicious!]. So these red velvet bars are mixing it up a little bit.

I used to think that I didn't like red velvet. Now that I think about it, that sounds crazy since red velvet is just a light chocolatey flavor and why would I not like that? But back in February, I made red velvet cookies because my cousin was over and he adores red velvet. I ate one cookie and suddenly found that I adore red velvet too.

I still make those cookies and I still love them.

So I'm expanding my red velvet repertoire, one recipe at a time. Truthfully, these red velvet bars looked way too delicious to pass up. They ended up tasting really delicious too. These bars are nice and fudgy, kind of like a brownie, but don't have quite the intense chocolatey flavor that most brownies have. So they have the texture of a brownie, but not the taste. But! I drizzle plenty of melted chocolate on top and swirled it all around so there's still plenty of chocolate flavor.

Just think of these as a new, slightly less chocolatey but much more red version of a brownie. I promise they're fantastic. You'll love them. If you love brownies. But you probably love brownies, right? Because you're on my blog and that's basically all I bake these days.

Chocolate Swirl Red Velvet Bars

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3-5 teaspoons red food coloring
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, egg and brown sugar until smooth and combined. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Add the food coloring and mix to incorporate. 
Whisk in the flour and salt just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the batter and lightly drag a toothpick through to create swirls. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool the bars in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Best if chilled for a little while. Store the bars in an airtight container.

(source: averie cooks)

red velvet never looked so good!

Chewy Confetti Sugar Cookies

Friday's post was pretty indulgent...

So I figured I'd simplify it a bit today. So I made these cookies and they're incredibly simple. But! Simple does not mean not delicious or lacking flavor, texture, etc. Simple can still mean fantastic and with these cookies, it does mean fantastic! 

The only problem with these cookies being ridiculously easy and simple is that there's not much to tell you about them. And I hate being boring. So I might ramble a little bit ... I think I'm going to have to be quite wordy in this post. 

And now I'm going to completely contradict myself because now that I think about it, I can actually say a lot about these cookies. For starters, these are quite thick and chewy. And they're not low on flavor at all. I often shy away from making sugar cookies because I find them bland and kind of crumbly ...? Almost like a shortbread cookie. But! These sugar cookies have a texture much more like a chocolate chip cookie, but not quite so chewy. but still really chewy!

I need to learn how to write.

My favorite thing about these cookies is - well. I have two favorite things. One is the sprinkles because, duh, sprinkles. Sprinkles are life because they make everything fun and pretty and colorful and photogenic. And that leads me to number two: the pictures! I basically fail at food photography [or ... any photography for that matter], but I kind of sort of loved these pictures!  Cookies and pretty pictures make me happy.

Chewy Confetti Sugar Cookies

1-1/3 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup colorful sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined. Gently mix in sprinkles until evenly dispersed. 
Roll the dough into 1" balls and place on baking sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until edges are golden and the top looks slightly under baked. Cool on pans for about 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

(source: buns in my oven)

happy Labor Day weekend to you! (buuuuuut, it's Monday? and it's a weekend?)

Twix Truffle Brownies

I made brownies again

These were even better than those little brownie sundaes that I shared with you on Wednesday. Remember how I said that the brownie base of those sundaes was the best homemade brownie I'd eaten yet? Well, I was wrong. The base of these twix truffle brownies is the best homemade brownie that I've eaten yet. It actually compares to a boxed mix. They're so chewy and so fudgy and ridiculously easy and simple. The recipe was so straightforward that I almost thought that I was doing something wrong or leaving something wrong.

Well. I didn't do anything wrong or leave anything out. And the brownies were perfect. Annnnd then I went a little bit crazy and added a pretty substantial bunch of toppings. 

I think I've mentioned before that Twix bars are my favorite candy bar? Well, they are. I absolutely adore them. So good. [oh, and if you don't know what a twix bar is - it's a candy bar that features a layer of shortbread cookie topped with caramel and wrapped in chocolate. it is as fantastic as it sounds.] I made these a few weeks ago, but I had to make them again and photograph them for the blog because - uhm. Best brownies ever.

When I'm excited about the most recent decadent dessert that I've baked and devoured, I tend to not complete my sentences or make a lot of sense or use proper English grammar. I'm sorry about that. Buuuuut, to make up for all of my ramblings, I'm sharing with you my current favorite dessert and perhaps, the best thing I've made so far this year. I love everything that I share with you guys, so sometimes, I may sound like I'm exaggerating. For once in my life, I'm actually not exaggerating - these brownies really are ridiculously good.

SO. What makes them so good? Well, I mean, the fudgy brownie base is really, really wonderful. But topping that with all of the elements of a Twix bar just takes these brownies straight to perfection. First, there's the shortbread truffle layer which is just ridiculous. Next, there's a layer of gooey caramel which is one of the best things in life. Lastly, there's a thin chocolate layer to finish it off. Please don't be afraid of all of the steps. These are quite simple to make, and I promise that the little bit of extra time is so, so, so worth it.

Twix Truffle Brownies

3/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 box (10 oz) shortbread cookies
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 bag (14 oz) chewy caramels
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13" x 9" pan with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely in pan while preparing the twix bar toppings.
Add the shortbread cookies to a large plastic bag and crush them into fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and mash together with cream cheese and sugar. Press gently over the cooled brownies. 
Next, in a microwave safe bowl, melt caramels and heavy cream in 30-second increment, stirring between each 30-second burst. Heat until completely melted and smooth. Pour over the shortbread layer and place the entire pan in the refrigerator to cool briefly.
Add the chocolate chips and canola oil to a microwave safe bowl. Melt in 30-second increments, stirring occasionally until smooth and melted completely. Pour over the cool caramel layer and refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Slice and serve. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. 

(brownie recipe adapted from: life, love and sugar // toppings adapted from: chef in training

I'm already craving about four of these. 

Individual Brownie Sundaes

Gahhhhhh, I'm finally telling you about these sundaes.

I made them forever ago. Seriously, I think almost a month ago?! But really, there's not much to tell about these. All I did was bake some super fudgy brownies in my muffin top pan [I'm mildly obsessed with it. if you don't have a muffin top pan, you could just use a regular muffin pan, I think], plop giant scoops of chocolate ice cream on top and douse the whole thing in colorful sprinkles. These are ridiculously easy, foolproof and make a perfect end of summer treat. 

Speaking of which, woah. Summer is over and all the kids are heading back to school and every social media outlet that I have is full of back to school pictures, tips and tricks. Also, I am not going back to school and that's making me super sad because the only thing that I love more than super fudgy brownies and extra cheesy pizza is sitting in a lecture hall or writing a paper or taking an exam. My college plans didn't work out, so I'm taking the year off to work and bake and consume plenty of chocolate. And then, in January of 2015 [what!], I'll apply to a number of other colleges.

But let's get back to the brownies. These brownies were the star of the show. They're not the best brownies I've ever eaten, but they're pretty darn delicious. They're super fudgy and they're probably the best homemade brownies I've ever eaten. 

My brother brought a girl over to our house last weekend and she brought brownies that she had cut up and placed in cupcake liners and sprinkled with powdered sugar. She got major points for presentation, plus she had made her brownies from a box and we agreed that boxed brownies are just better. Hers were SO good! I ate, uhm .... a lot. 

Anyway, these little sundaes are super easy and they're completely versatile. You can swap out the chocolate ice cream for any that you'd like, but chocolate is my personal favorite. And when it comes to toppings, the possibilities are endless. I kept mine simple with sprinkles, but you can add sauces, whipped cream, cherries, nuts, candies and more! Gooooo crazy with it.

Individual Brownie Sundaes

1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter, chopped
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
ice cream
sprinkles + any toppings you'd like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin top pan; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, butter and unsweetened chocolate. Heat in the microwave for one minute then stir. Continue heating in 30-second increments, stirring between each burst, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs and egg yolk on medium speed until thick and pale. Beat in vanilla extract. Add chocolate mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix gently until combined. 
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin top pan and bake for 8-11 minutes or until the brownies are set. Let the brownies cool completely before topping with scoops of ice cream and toppings. Serve immediately. 

(brownie recipe from: handle the heat)

guess how much fun it was to shoot that melty ice cream in the middle of July?

Chocolate Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats

It's been approximately 16 days since I last wrote a blog post

I'm pretty sure that in all my 3+ years of blogging, I've never not blogged for that long. This summer has been intense. There has been a lot of family drama and a lot of big changes coming for my family. On top of all that, I spent about a week and a half of the last two weeks out of town. There was also a funeral. And finally, a few devastating & painful losses in my personal life. All of this added up to a complete loss of creativity and basically no desire to write. Or bake. But of course I still wanted to eat baked goods. 

So I had to suck it up. Plus, I realized that baking and writing is making me feel better. So I whipped up a series of intensely chocolatey desserts which you will see on the blog this week. 

These rice krispie treats came about last week while I was at my aunt & uncle's house. I have two cousins who possibly like dessert even more than me [woah ... what?!], so making some after-dinner treats was a must. And I've been craving rice krispie treats for about the last seven and a half months, so I finally made some.

But you know me. I can never leave well enough alone. So I opted for rice krispie treats. With lots of salty pretzels crushed up inside. And extra chocolate on top. I've always adored rice krispie treats, but this extreme sweet and salty chocolate version was just .... woah. Mind blowing. Oh, and ridiculously easy. I whipped these up in 15 minutes. And I may or may not have eaten one or two before we even ate dinner. Oops. 

Chocolate Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats

1/3 cup butter
1 bag (10.5 oz) mini marshmallows
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups cocoa krispies cereal
2 cups pretzels, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil
additional crushed pretzels

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows, stirring constantly util completely melted. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. 
Stir in cereal and pretzels and mix until well coated. 
Using a buttered spatula, press the mixture evenly into a greased 13" x 9" pan. Set aside to set. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and canola oil together in small, microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30-second increments. Stir until smooth. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels all over the top of the rice krispie treats. Drizzle with the melted chocolate mixture. Let sit until the chocolate is completely set. Slice into bars and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

I feel like I haven't blogged in months. I'm never going this long without blogging again.

Easy Peach Breakfast Muffins

These are the simplest & freshest muffins ever.

They're plain but not boring and I love that about them. Generally, I love over the top desserts like those brownie batter cheesecakes that I shared on Friday, but once in a while, you just need a little dessert detox. Sooo naturally, I detox with muffins. They have fruit in them! So we're basically talking health food here! [haha, I sound like one of those ads that makes a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast slathered with Nutella a "healthy & balanced breakfast" if you just drink a glass of orange juice with it. in other words, these muffins are not health food.]

So. These were supposed to be blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins are such a classic, right? Well. I didn't have blueberries. But I wanted muffins. And I had peaches. So these peach muffins were born. I'm mildly disappointed though because blueberry muffins are a thing. Peach muffins are not a thing and I had to make them a thing. Think about it this way - what if you had to make strawberry shortcake, but you could only get your hands on blueberries? You'd have to make blueberry shortcake, but that is not a thing! So sometimes, you have to create a new thing.

Best Peach Muffins (2).JPG

Case in point - these peach muffins. They're super easy and I think that I'd like to eat them for breakfast every day of the week, if possible. The peaches that I used were soooo ripe and sweet and juicy. I'm not one to go on and on about a piece of fruit, but let me tell you, these were some seriously spectacular peaches. They were absolutely perfect in the muffins [so much flavor and made for such moist muffins!] and they were absolutely perfect on their own as a mid-day snack or part of a [real] balanced breakfast. 

This muffin recipe is, quite possibly, the simplest & easiest muffin recipe ever, which is perfect! If you want, you can make them the night before, but they're fast enough to prepare in the morning and eat for breakfast. You will need a couple of bowls, but overall, these are very simple and take hardly any time at all. 

You must try experimenting with different fruits!

Easy Peach Breakfast Muffins

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups fresh peaches, diced
coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two muffin pans with liners; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In another bowl, mix together sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract; set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beat well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture in three additions, alternating between wet & dry and ending with the dry. 
Evenly divide the batter between the pans and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 24-27 minutes, or until muffins are golden and baked through. Cool in pans for about ten minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

(adapted from: bakers royale)

annnnnd now, I'm craving some blueberry muffins too.

No Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecakes

Gah. I hardly know where to start.

Everything about these delicious little no bake cheesecakes is everything that I love in a dessert. Crispy crumbly chocolatey crust - check. Rich, fluffy chocolate cheesecake - check. Super light sweetened homemade whipped cream - check. Individual, no bake, in little trifle glasses - check, check, check! I love it all so much. 

My life has been a chaotic mess lately [I'll tell you all about it soon. or maybe, soon-ish]. So a few days ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put my ear buds in, closed out the world and spent about an hour and a half making these, chilling these and photographing these. It was so good to just ignore all of my responsibilities and whip up an incredibly good dessert. The only problem is that I literally don't know which element of these cheesecakes I should tell you about first. I guess I'll just start from the bottom and work my way up.

So let's discuss crust! This crust is the first of its kind that I've ever made or eaten. It's a graham cracker crust, but made with some additional sugar and a little cocoa powder whisked in. So it's basically a chocolate graham cracker crust. It was such a nice change up and makes a great base for the cheesecake. Speaking of cheesecake - OH. MAN. Wow. This cheesecake filling is so wonderfully fudgy and rich and, true to its name, is almost brownie like. Generally when I make a no bake cheesecake, I add whipped topping to lighten up the cream cheese base.

I didn't do that this time. This time, I add homemade whipped cream and I'm pretty sure it made for a way better no bake cheesecake than I've ever made before. Which leads me to the last element of this cheesecakes - the giant dollop of homemade whipped cream on top. I think I've finally found my perfect cream to sugar ratio. This whipped cream was just sweet enough. A swirl of whipped cream plus a little sprinkle of the crust mixture makes the perfect finishing touch for these cheesecakes. You're gonna love these!

No Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecakes

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar and melted butter. Mix until combined and moist. Reserve about 1/2 tablespoon of the crumbs then divide the remaining crumbs between four or five 8 ounce dessert glasses. Press onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of the glasses. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
In a large, clean mixing bowl whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and whip for an additional minute to incorporate the sugar. Spoon out of the mixing bowl and set aside.
Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl and cream on high speed for about one minutes or until fluffy. Add cocoa powder, flour and sugar and beat on medium speed until combined. Add milk and whip for about one more minute. Gently fold in half of the whipped cream until completely incorporated. Spoon this filling evenly into the dessert glasses right on top of the crusts. Pipe the remaining whipped cream on top and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Store in the refrigerator until serving for no more than one or two days. 

(adapted from: lauren's latest)

this is the best thing I've eaten in soooo long!

Toasted Marshmallow Blondies

I have only recently discovered the wonder of toasted marshmallows.

I know - I'm so behind and I'm so out of the loop and I fall in love with things that people have been over for months or even years. Except, are people over toasted marshmallows? How could you possibly be over toasted marshmallows?? 

Anyway. I've spent a bit of time around a fire pit this summer and that is something that is kind of new to me. I mean, I've experienced sitting around a fire pit before, but it's happened a lot more than it ever has this summer. [side note: I ramble too much and probably make my blog posts a lot more complicated than they need to be. I'm sorry!] Sooo along with fire pits comes s'mores, right?? And with all of the s'mores that I've devoured this summer, I've realized something big: I adore toasted marshmallows. I'd rather just toast a marshmallow and eat it by itself than add the chocolate and graham cracker.

Me turning down chocolate is huge.

Because I'm so obsessed with that delicious toasty marshmallow flavor, I decided to start incorporating it into my desserts. I thought that I'd start out with something simple like these blondies. Blondies are basically a batch of cookie dough baked in a pan, so they look like blond brownies [pretty sure that's where the name comes from...?]. Generally when I make blondies, I use a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but this time, I used a slightly different recipe. Instead this recipe uses lots of vanilla extract, a ton of toasted marshmallows and no chocolate!

Obviously, I contemplated throwing some chocolate into the cookie dough, but I opted to leave these chocolate-less. I think it was a good idea because without the chocolate, these blondies were perfectly sweet. These blondies are buttery & sticky and full of intense vanilla and toasted marshmallow flavor. We adored these - you have to try them for yourself!

Toasted Marshmallow Blondies

6 oz regular sized marshmallows
1 cup butter, cold
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 egg
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice each of the marshmallows in half and place on the prepared baking sheet. Toast under the broiler, on high heat, for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully. Once the marshmallows are thoroughly toasted, place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line an 11" x 8" pan with parchment paper; set aside.
Chop the cold butter into small cubes and add to a large mixing bowl along with sugar and brown sugar. Cream for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Slowly add in flour, baking soda and salt, mixing just until combined. Coarsely chop the chilled toasted marshmallows as best and possible and add to the dough. Mix just until no large globs of marshmallow remain.
Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Chill for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

(adapted from: Annie's Eats)

These blondies are perfect for a late summer day like today! Make make make!

The Best & Chewiest Cookies

On Friday, I told you guys about this cake. The one that didn't look special, but actually is.

Well. I'm here to tell you a similar story about these cookies. They don't look special. They look ordinary. They look like any of the other hundred variations of chocolate chip/oatmeal cookie recipes that I already have on the blog. But I promise you, these are better. In fact, they're the best. I don't normally refer to a recipe as "the best ____," but I'm going to this time because these are, in fact, the best & chewiest chocolate chip oatmeal cookies I've ever eaten. And trust me, I've eaten a lot of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies before.

You may or may not know that chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are my favorite. I love chocolate chip cookies, but adding the oatmeal is like adding an element of awesomeness that puts the cookies completely over the top. AND they must be chocolate chip oatmeal. NOT oatmeal raisin. I enjoy raisins once in awhile, but not in a cookie. Never in a cookie. Raisins and nuts are two things that are just fine by themselves but do not belong in cookies. I'm very particular about my cookies. That's why I'm giving you this recipe for the best cookies ever.

Let's discuss. This is much more a method than a recipe and it's a very particular recipe which should be followed precisely in order to get the best results. I will admit, however, that I mildly adapted the recipe from its source, but I was extremely happy with my results. It produced the thickest and chewiest cookies I've ever made and it didn't skimp on flavor! 

Lately, I've had no trouble baking soft & chewy cookies. I learned all the tricks to the perfect cookie texture long ago. But lately, though my cookies were perfectly soft & chewy, they kind of lacked flavor. They didn't have that buttery depth that I love so much. So I've been looking for a new go to recipe. And I've found it! This recipe was perfect. Not only was the texture exactly how I like it, but the flavor was also perfect. Everyone was going back for more!

The Best & Chewiest Cookies

1 cup butter
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar and sugar until combined. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and add eggs and vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. Add flour, oats, baking soda and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 2" or 3" balls. Place on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
Remove from refrigerator and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool on pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen large cookies

(lightly adapted from: i am baker)

I'm not even going to admit how many I ate...

july favorites

So many things about the month of July ending are causing me serious surprise. Like, woah. We're heading into the eighth month of the year, meaning we're 2/3 of the way through 2014! It never surprises me just how quickly time flies by. Also we've only got one month of summer left! Which is depressing since we've just started seeing some beautifully sunny days. And I'm starting school in less than four weeks! 

Before I become an emotional wreck about something as minuscule as the calender, let's get on to all of my fav things from the month of July! (please note, these pictures don't necessarily correlate to the items that they are pictured below/above, I just wanted to share some of my pictures from instagram this week.)

cucumber water - I've long been a fan of cucumbers & I drink a ton of water, but recently, I haven't been able to get enough glasses of ice cold water with chunks of fresh cucumber. love!

2048 - ok. so this is a puzzle game app and I was completely addicted to it until I beat it. and it took me forever to beat it! please download it. but actually, don't. because your productivity will be ruined forever!

ed sheeran's album "x" - this album is ridiculously good. every single song is so beautiful and heartfelt. I love every song on the album, but my absolute favorites are sing, afire love, don't, all of the stars and especially, photograph. gooo listen!!

black plimsolls - I'm absolutely loving these shoes from forever 21. pretty sure I'm gonna buy a pair in black and in a few different colors to wear all the time when school starts back up!

pb&j sandwiches - I literally ate a pb&j sandwich every single day for three weeks straight this past month. I'm addicted. creamy peanut butter & grape jelly is the way to go!

white jacket required - I love Jenna's blog Eat, Live, Run so I knew I had to read her book at some point. I picked it up earlier this week and read in less than two days. it was wonderful! beautifully written and so heartfelt with plenty of foodie stuff mixed in. I loved it!

smoothies - I can't stop drinking them!! if you follow me on instagram, you've probably seen plenty of of pics of smoothies because I'm currently addicted. I really like blueberry/banana/orange or strawberry/banana/orange/pineapple. so refreshing!

being outside - this isn't necessarily a product or "thing," but I've been loving getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine. so good for the soul!

tell me what you're loving lately!!

[be sure to follow along on facebook, twitter & instagram!!]

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

I KNOW. This cake does not look special. It does not look important.

But but but! Just you wait. It is special. And it is important. And it happens to be my favorite cake of all time and possibly, my favorite dessert of all time. So this is huge! It is also delicious.

If you had to ask me to pinpoint what exactly it is about this cake that I love so much, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you. It's not like the sheet cake is the most phenomenal thing I've ever eaten and the frosting, though completely delicious, isn't exactly mind blowing. But the combination of those two elements? Out of this world. There is something about pairing the simple, dense, pound cake-like cake with pourable fudgy frosting. It is my favorite combination and I am currently very annoyed with myself because my very weak writing skills are probably not doing a very good job of convincing you that this cake will be the best thing you've ever eaten.

Let me just tell you this: every single time I make this cake [and I make it fairly frequently because it's the best], I try to restrain myself and I tell myself that I'll eat one, maybe two, pieces like every other sane human being. But every single time, I find myself on my eighth or ninth piece for the day and I can't stop! And then the next day, when I wake up and realize that it's all gone, I sometimes feel a panic attack coming on. My love for this cake is real and intense and I'm betting that if you make it too, you'll feel the same way!

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 15" x 10" x 1" sheet pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each additon. Beat in vanilla extract. Add flour and mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare frosting by combining sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and chocolate chips until melted. Cool slightly; stir and pour over cake. Let set before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

(lightly adapted from: taste of home)

This recipe makes a huge cake, but I'm sure you'll be able to find a way to finish it up.

Tropical Fruit Smoothies

I’m a little bit torn right now.

I really, really, really want to tell you about these delicious little smoothies that you are currently seeing. But I also really, really, really want to tell you about the meal that I devoured last night. So I guess I’ll tell you about both.

I’ll start with last night’s meal. It was a doozy. Our power went out [long, complicated story - it was out for about 24 hours, hence the reason that this post has been published a little bit later than most of my posts are published. no electricity = no wifi/internet], so we went out to dinner at this cute little family diner that’s not too far from our house. I was definitely in a burgers & milkshake kind of mood, so that’s exactly what I ordered. BUT. My sister ordered the chicken quesadilla appetizer and it was literally the best thing I’ve eaten all year. Maybe even the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I’m not kidding. So ridiculously good. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the entire thing was smothered in cheese. I dipped mine in sour cream and ate so many that I was practically full by the time that my meal came.

But you know that I’m never too full to turn down good food, so I was pretty pumped when my food arrived. I went with an angus beef burger with cheddar jack cheese, lettuce, bacon & tomato on a pretzel bun with a side of mac n cheese and a chocolate milkshake to drink. The burger was absolutely delicious, the mac n cheese was pretty wonderful and the chocolate milkshake was the best milkshake I’ve ever had.

And I haven’t even told you about the best part of my meal yet.

Dessert. I barely have words to describe it. It was called “peanut butter blitz” and it was kind of like a slice of pie. There was a chocolate cookie crumb crust, topped with a layer of peanut butter fudge filling, covered in dollops of super light and fluffy chocolate & peanut butter mousse and the whole thing was drizzled with extra chocolate & peanut butter. It was completely wonderful. All I know is that I need to recreate it at home as soon as humanly possible. Gah.

And now I’m realizing that it’s pretty unfair that I’ve just told you about all of this crazy rich and ridiculously delicious food, but now I’m going to share a smoothie recipe with you. But it’s my current favorite smoothie recipe and it’s definitely a good one, so I think it’s worth it! I’ve been on an “early morning workout then drink a smoothie” kick lately, so I’ve experimented with lots of different versions. This strawberry/banana/pineapple/orange combo is currently my fav. I freeze all of the fruit the night before and then the next morning, I simply toss it all in the blender & whip it up and then sip away. Perfectly delicious & refreshing and super easy.

Tropical Fruit Smoothies

2 bananas, frozen & sliced
1 cup frozen strawberries
½ cup frozen pineapple
¾ cup orange juice

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend in 30-second increments on medium-high speed until smooth. This recipe makes three 8 ounce smoothies. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one day. Enjoy!

I wrote a paragraph about working out & drinking smoothies after discussing the richest dessert I’ve ever eaten. So ironic…

Frosted Red Velvet Cookie Cups

So there was this one time when I made red velvet cookies.

I believe it was back in February. My cousins were staying with us for the week and one of them really loves red velvet desserts. I prefer cookies over cake, so I made him a big batch of red velvet cookies instead of a big red velvet cake. If I'm recalling correctly, we devoured the entire batch within minutes because they were so chewy and delicious!

I've been thinking about those cookies a lot lately because I've been experiencing lots of red velvet cravings [which is weird because I don't particularly love red velvet] and I've really been craving cookies. And then last week, my brother was all "why don't we have any cookies in the house!?" and that sealed it. I knew I had to make some more red velvet cookies. 

So I went back and took a look at that blog post so that I could grab the recipe and I noticed that in that particular post, I had gone on and on about how I should have added frosting! 

You know what that means. I had to make them again and I had to add swirls of fluffy cream cheese frosting because cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with red velvet desserts and it just so happens to be my favorite frosting of all. I also decided to bake the dough in mini muffin tins so that I'd have little cookie cups instead of regular cookies. Cookie cups are basically extra mini cupcakes, so they're really, really cute and they make the perfect vehicle for little dollops of perfectly swirled cream cheese frosting. 

SO, that is the story of how these little cookie cups came to be. I guess the only thing I've left out is the part about sprinkles. I added colored red sugar, but you can added any kind of sprinkles or colored sugar that you'd like. You know how I feel about sprinkles - they make everything better. Oh, and I should probably mention - these cookie cups? Absolutely delicious.

Frosted Red Velvet Cookie Cups

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 teaspoons red food coloring

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two mini muffin tins; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until combined; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg, heavy cream, vanilla extract and red food coloring and mix until combined. Add in dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Roll the dough into 24 one-inch balls and place the dough balls in the mini muffin tins. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set. Cool completely.
To prepare frosting, cream cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add heavy cream and whip until light and fluffy. Use to frost the cookie cups. Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

(cookie recipe adapted from: the novice chef blog)

Red Velvet Cookie Cups (4).JPG

Ooooh and make sure you eat some of the dough!