Smores Cupcakes

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Happiness

Happiness

Some time ago I saw on the aisle at the grocery store a box of Smores cupcake mix kit type thing. I looked the box over. A light bulb went off. I could do that, I had all the ingredients I needed at home.

First I must confess, this was some time ago. Like beginning of summer. Yes I am a slacker to wait this long to share. But the worst is yet to come, I was so excited to try this I did not even think to take pictures until things were almost ready to go into oven. So pictures are scarce and we must rely on my memory from that day. In short we are doomed!

Here is how I recall that day.

My dad who at the time was on this kick of buying me cake mixes when he saw them on sale. There was this one mix that was, double chocolate or something like that. I just remember it was more chocolate then your average chocolate cake mix. So it was to be sacrificed in this experiment.

I mix the cake according to package directions. Now time for the graham cracker crust to be our foundation. I made a guess on how much I would need to line the bottom of the cupcake liner. So graham cracker crust is something I do make on a regular basis , I did not measure I eyeballed, cause you know my extensive experience would never lead me astray . I put some graham crackers in my little generic cheap version of the bullet thingy (technical term). Once I had crumbs I began adding melted butter till it was moistened. Well I made way too damn much. So I am going to make a guess and say you need 1 to 2 cups. Not a bowlful as I ended up with.

I pushed this mixture done firmly into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Now goes a thin layer of the cake mix. Here is the part that had me wishing I just bought the darn box kit to make this as I‘m sure the company has found the best way to handle this part. I needed to transfer my marshmallow cream into a baggie to squeeze the stuff into each cup. I first tried just using a spoon and putting a spoonful of cream into each cup but I was getting the stuff everywhere but the center, you know how sticky that stuff is. I went to the squeeze bag method.

Marshmallow cream is messy. Maybe it’s just me but that stuff fights me. So after fighting it into the baggie I snipped my corner and squeezed. Worked much better than the spoon. I then covered the cream with another layer of the cake mix. Into the oven to cook following the cake mix temp and time.

As I stood up from putting the pan in the oven I noticed the disaster of my kitchen and myself. My kitchen and my arms, hands, front of shirt and have mercy, even my hair had cake mix and marshmallow cream on them. Again I felt I would have been better off buying the box kit.

FYI: coconut oil will help get marshmallow cream out of hair.

As I finished cleaning up my timer let me know my cupcakes were done. I took them out of the oven. I wanted so badly to bite into one right then but I had this vision of me biting into one and marshmallow lava erupting all over me. I let them cool down while I took a few quick pictures. They were cooled down enough to taste test.
I finally took my first bite.

Holy Mother of Cupcakes. I don’t know how the box kit of this stuff taste but this, this was cupcake heaven. No icing was needed. At all. Now I had enough of everything to make a second pan but I was not fighting the marshmallow again. EVER.

You know you want to bite me

You know you want to bite me

SMORES CUPCAKES

Ingredients:
Chocolate cake mix from a box or your favorite recipe
Items needed to make the batter (eggs, oil, etc)
1 to 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
Enough melted butter to moisten the crumbs
1 jar of marshmallow cream or fluff as some people call it.
Strong baggie or icing bag to pipe out cream/fluff
Coconut oil to get that stuff cream/fluff out of your hair

Mix batter according to instructions on box or your recipe.
Moisten crumbs with butter, put a spoonful of crumb mixture into bottom of each cupcake liner. Press down until bottom is completely covered.
Next put down a thin layer of cake batter.
Pipe in a small amount of cream/fluff into center of the batter. Try to avoid it spreading to the edges.
Cover with another layer of batter.

Bake according to box/recipe instructions or until toothpick comes out clean. Avoid doing this to the center you will just hit the cream. Let cool, eat as is or cover with chocolate icing.

Now remember I made my own using ingredients I had at home. If you have to buy all the items it just might be cheaper to buy the box kit instead. It’s on the grocery store baking aisle with the cake mixes.

Don’t want to use the box kit? My recipe to vague? Hit Pinterest and search. I know there’s a recipe out there. Trust me when I say, if it’s not on Pinterest it doesn’t exist.

Warning: marshmallow cream is sticky and messy

Warning: marshmallow cream is sticky and messy

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Cookies plus Chocolate equals Happiness

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In a world filled with stress and tragedy bombarding us everyday we need something to help us cope, something to fill us with happiness even. Is there such a thing that can do this? Is it possible something can bring us joy amidst the stresses in life?
Hell yes there is something. Chocolate. Chocolate by itself, chocolate with marshmallows, with peanut butter, with ice cream, in milk, in cookies, chocolate covering other items, like nuts or raisins or even bugs. For the record I have never ate a chocolate covered bug but If there is ever a chocolate shortage and that’s what’s available. Look out bugs.

Today it is chocolate chip cookies that are calling my name. “Gotha. Gotha” they are whispering to me.
I found a pin that took me to a post with several chocolate recipes. This one claimed to be THE Best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Was it the best? Close, what would have made them the best was if someone else had baked them for me. Ha-ha. Seriously, out of all the chocolate cookie recipes I have tried over the years this one is my new #1.
Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I used 1 cup, I’m a rebel that way)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. I used a hand mixer and it works better if you use a fork to work your butter a few minutes before using the hand mixer. Add the brown sugar along with the sugar, mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Next add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix in the wet ingredients until well combined. The cookie dough will be thick, if you’re using a hand mixer it will be struggling at this point. Add the chocolate chips and mix for several seconds until evenly disbursed, at this time I just used a fork to mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with aluminum foil to chill for at least 1 hour.
After the dough chills is done chilling out in the fridge let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. I used a silicone mat, I love it!
Roll into balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough per balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should keep up to one week. If they last that long, they are pretty darn good.
IMG_6213

Yummy Indoor S’mores

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The universe talks to us all. We just have to learn to listen. For example I had bought some of the new Hershey chocolate spread to try out. It was Wednesday. Thursday I come home from work to find a surprise left for me on my kitchen counter, marshmallow Peeps. My dad had got them for me after Easter and just decided that Thursday afternoon it was time to give them to me. So almost an hour later that same day I open up the sales paper from our local grocery store. Graham crackers were buy one get one free. Yes universe I hear you loud and clear…you want me to have smores.
Can’t fight fate people.
So later that evening I was enjoying a couple of indoor S’mores. To top it off I was enjoying my snack while wearing my ‘Chillin with my Peeps’ t-shirt.
Happy, I was so very happy. It seems toasting little yellow marshmallow bunnies puts a little lightness in my dark soul.

Indoor S’mores

You need:
Hershey chocolate spread
Marshmallow (peeps or the regular)
Graham crackers

The Gang

The Gang

Turn oven on to the broil setting. Take one of your graham crackers spread on the Hershey’s heavenly spread. Set aside. Put marshmallow on other graham cracker, place on cookie sheet.

The sacrifice

Pop that marshmallow in the oven. Watch closely. When the marshmallow is brown to your preference remove from oven.

Toasty Bunny

Toasty Bunny

Now marry the toasted bunny up to the chocolate covered graham cracker. Now you have a sandwich of gooey marshmallow chocolate happiness. Also known as S’mores.

After doing all that there are two things left to do: sit back and enjoy.

Yummy Indoor S'mores

Yummy Indoor S’mores

What the Peep? Cake

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bunny3
It is apparently cake baking week here at the crypt. I’ve been baking cupcakes or cakes everyday this week. Family gatherings, birthdays and tomorrow, Easter dinner.

A year ago I hosted a baby shower for my daughter who was expecting her first child. We had peep smores at the shower. So for Ms. Kaylei’s first birthday I suggested we peep out the cupcakes. My daughter agreed, which was a good thing since I had just bought a ton of peeps to try out the peep cake I saw on Pinterest. I had a lot of peeps. It was a peep invasion here at the crypt. So today I’m going to kill two peeps with one post.

The peep cake pin caught my attention for the simple fact. I LOVE PEEPS! I have never met a peep I didn’t love. This cake actually had peeps mixed in with the batter. Holy Peeps in a cake, Batman! I was excited to try to make this cake. I followed the pin to the website that had the full instructions.
The instructions used a spring form pan. I don’t have one so I used two round cake pans. FYI: if you have the spring form pan, use it. Before we go any further I must tell you. This cake was delicious. Mine did not turn out as pretty as the picture on the pin but I was able to live with that. I’m sure using the spring form pan would have changed the outcome of my cake. Guess maybe I need to invest in one.

To see the instructions I followed please visit the original site for Peepza Rustica. Here is my journey I took along with my peeps.

Peeps Inside the Cake Instructions:
Ingredients
Your favorite white cake box mix or white cake recipe
About 2 dozen peeps. A variety of colors.

Heat oven to your cake recipe/box instructions. Prepare your pan.
Mix your batter. Again follow the recipe/box instructions.

Now get your peeps chop those little guys up, show no mercy. The original recipe has you chopping the peeps into tiny pieces. Mine were bigger, mainly because those things are sticky. The more you chop the more marshmallow insides are exposed and the more stickier things get. I was not a happy peep slayer when things got sticky.

Butchered peeps

Butchered peeps

If using a spring form pan: Once the peeps are chopped. Pour enough batter into your prepared pan to just cover bottom. Cover batter with your half your peep parts. Layer in more batter. Layer in rest of peeps, cover with rest of batter.

If using two round pans: Once peeps are butchered. Cover bottom of each prepared pan with a thin layer of batter. Split your peep parts into half. Layer one half in one pan the rest in the other. Cover each peep layer with rest of batter.

Bake according to recipe/box instructions or until an inserted a toothpick or fork comes out clean.

pre bake and bake

I cooled my two little cakes. Once cooled I turned them out. Before I could layer them atop one another the top layer fell apart. What the peep? The cake is just so fragile when you divide it in between two pans. I then understood why the spring form pan was used. So forgive my pictures of the little slices I was able to save.

slice 1
So you see it wasn’t a pretty sight. Oh my, it tasted so good. So incredibly good. The cake did not even need frosting. I don’t think I will make this cake again. Mainly for the fact chopping those peeps up is pretty sticky business. I just can’t convey how sticky of a mess it was.

Peep Topped Cupcakes Instructions:

Bake your cupcakes. I made chocolate.
Frost the cupcakes.
Add your colored sugar or sprinkles. (optional)
Now pop a peep on top of each cupcake.
The chick peeps you just have to place on top of cupcake and push down slightly.
The bunny peeps, you need to make an indention in the icing in center of cupcake and hope the bunny stays upright when you place it on the cupcake.

Ain't no party like a Peep party!

Ain’t no party like a Peep party!

Party time with my peeps!

Party time with my peeps!

Kaylei grabbed a cupcake with a bunny on top. Crammed the cupcake into her face. When she pulled the cupcake away there was the bunny peep sticking out of her mouth. She is such a cute peep slayer. The other kids loved the peep cupcakes also. What’s not to love? An awesome cupcake with a marshmallow peep on top. Life just doesn’t get any better.

The poor peep. He didn't stand a chance.

The poor peep. He didn’t stand a chance.

I hope you try adding peeps to your next cake. Either inside your cake or placed on top as a decoration. I’m sure you and others will enjoy the amazing peep/cake combo!

Thanks for joining me on a Pinteresting peep adventure!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Cake

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stars1
If you have been on Pinterest I’m sure you have seen the pin showing how to bake a cake with a heart shape running through the middle. The pin is just a series of photos merged into one long photo showing the process. I was unable to find, and believe me I searched all over, but could not find written/detailed instructions on how to do this.

Here is the Heart Inside Cake Pin

So even though there was a pin I was still on my own on this one. The pictures were self explanatory so how hard could it be? Right?

Well it wasn’t difficult. It sure would have been nice to have some pointers with experience behind them. Well I’m going to share what I learned from the mistakes I made and the things I did right.

You will need:
2 cakes. Each different color. (I used box mixes. One chocolate the other strawberry)
A 9×13 pan to bake the first cake in.
A cookie cutter.
A loaf type pan to bake the final cake in.

I did not have a heart shape cookie cutter like used in the pin but I did have a pack of star shaped cookie cutters in various sizes. I choose the smallest one. That was my first and second mistake. I should have used a more simple shape, one without pointy small parts. I also should have used a bigger cutter.

star cutter

I lined my 9×13 pan with a product that is parchment paper on one side aluminum foil on the other. You could grease and flour the pan if you prefer.
Bake the cake according to directions on box. Looking back maybe I should have added an extra egg to the mix to make the cake denser.
Let cake cool, use cookie cutter to cut out the stars. I just cut out as many as possible. My dad just happen to come by as I finished cutting out the pieces and he offered to ‘dispose’ of the scrap pieces of cake I had left over. He is too kind.

the first cake
I only had a loaf pan. I knew it wasn’t going to be large enough for this project. Yet the crazy woman in me said, just do it. Here’s where I made the third mistake, well fourth if you count using to small of a loaf pan. I put a bit of batter down in bottom of pan before lining the pan with the shape pieces. Don’t do this.
My next but not last mistake was I did not cram the pan full of the star pieces. I lined them up like the pin showed but I should have packed them in tight. There were gaps. Did it occur to me that those gaps would get filled with chocolate batter causing things to go wrong? No.

in the pan
So I poured the batter in over the star pieces. Of course the batter oozed between the stars and a few stars moved around because I poured the batter in to fast. You should spoon your batter in, you will have more control.
The pan was too small so the cake overflowed some. I was prepared for this, I had placed a pan under the cake to catch any overflow. When she see the photos you will notice I did not place the catch pan in the best spot. Clean up was still easy though.

Oops, too much cake for one pan

Oops, too much cake for one pan

I turned the baked cake out of the pan to let it cool. As you look at the pictures I promise there is a star shape in there…somewhere.

So what I learned:
Simple shape cookie cutter. Skip the star shape. Don’t use the smallest cookie cutter.
Use the deepest loaf type pan you have.
Don’t pour any batter on bottom of loaf pan before placing in your cut shape pieces.
Cram the cake shapes in line so there isn’t any gaps for the batter to ooze between.
Spoon batter slowly over cake shapes so not to displace them.

There's a star in there. I promise.

There’s a star in there. I promise.

Really there is.

Really there is.

I will try again and I will perfect this. I actually have an idea of my next shape in cake, cake. It is Halloween themed. I will share it with you when I make it.
Thanks for joining my on this very Pinteresting cake adventure.

Tame Your Evil Side, Feed it Cookies

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Crinkle cookies

Crinkle cookies

Crinkle Cake Mix Cookies. OH YES! This is more than a recipe, it’s a technique that once you learn the cookie possibilities are endless. Endless really? No. But there will be a lot of cookie possibilities.

The air was cold, the wind had a bitter bite to it. Good cheer was abundant. Decorated trees peeked out of frosty windows. Yes it was that time. Christmas. I always plan a raid on those Who’s down the mountain this time of year. I will celebrate Christmas but I’m not a big fan of it. Why you ask? Well I am full of evil and darkness but that’s not the reason I’m not a Christmas fan. To some people (I’m one of them) the holiday is just a reminder of what has been lost. The hubby and I lost a child some years ago. We tend to stay home more during the holiday and only limit our outings to work and family gatherings. We avoid the public as much as possible, it is too hard, even after all these years, to be out and around people during the holiday season. It seems our sadness and heartache intensifies that time of year.
Why am I sharing this sad story? Not for pity. I want people to know when a co-worker, neighbor or even a stranger ‘Bah humbugs’ Christmas it’s not because they are bad it’s because it is just to painful. So please keep that in mind next holiday season. Don’t be angry or pity them just understand for some of us we don’t celebrate Christmas we just try to survive it.

Okay now that I’ve bummed out myself and maybe even you let’s cheer up by baking some crinkle cookies! Since I’m home most of the holiday season I spend time on Pinterest and a whole lot of time baking. It’s nice to have a full belly of some fresh baked goodness when you are going on all those Whoville raids.

Me and my Grinchy self was snooping around Pinterest looking for some cookie recipes I could make to share at a family gathering. What grabs my who hash hoarding soul’s attention? GRINCH CRINKLE COOKIES! I repeat: Grinch. Crinkle. Cookies.

Here is the direct link to the blog by Cookin’ Cowgirl and her “How the Grinch Crinkled Christmas” cookies. If you visit her site, stay awhile and wandering around. She has some great recipes. I mostly go by her recipe but I have changed it slightly. You may prefer her recipe so hit that link that will transport you to the Cookin‘ Cowgirl (after you scroll down past this first recipe and check out my devils food crinkle cookie recipe).

The cookies have the word Grinch in them because the cookies are green not because it’s made from real Grinches. I’m sure that’s a relief to know!

Green Cake Mix Crinkle Cookies

1 white cake mix.
6 tbsp melted butter.
1 tbsp vanilla extract.
2 eggs.
Green food color.
Powdered sugar.
Mix cake mix, butter and eggs together.
Add food color, mix well.
At this point I put my dough into freezer for several minutes to firm up. It works better for me that way.
Remove from freezer. Roll a spoonful dough into powdered sugar. Once covered roll into ball. Bake at 375 degrees 8 to 9 minutes.
Transfer from cookie sheet to wax paper to cool.grinch2

Below is the cookies I ended up making for my family get together.

Devils Food Crinkle Cake Cookies
1 box devils food cake mix.
2 eggs.
1/2 cup vegetable oil.
2 tbsp coffee.
Mix by hand.
Set in freezer 30 minutes(makes it easier to roll).
Roll in powdered sugar. I use 2 spoons to cover dough in powdered sugar before rolling them into balls. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 8 minutes. Transfer to wax paper to cool.
*Line cookie pan with parchment paper. Makes clean up easier. I store the cookies in a plastic container, each layer is covered in wax paper to keep each layer of cookies from touching. These cookies are delicate and will stick to each other.

These cookies disappeared like diamonds at a kleptomaniac convention. I set them on the dessert counter at my grandmothers, went to car to grab the other things I cooked, walked back to the dessert counter and bam! No more cookies. They were gobbled up that fast. Everyone was expressing their disappointment that I hadn’t brought more.

gccc2

So one recipe used melted butter the other oil. You can adapt either recipe to any cake mix. Easy as heart shaped pancakes. (if you’ve read my other postings you totally get that)

When Caramels Attack

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Inside this chocolate goodness lurks a surprise

Inside this chocolate goodness lurks a surprise

Last Christmas I did so much baking and candy making for family and friends. When all was said and done I had a few things left over I needed to use. One thing I had was little caramel candies. Honestly I don’t even remember what I used them for originally. They were still there taking up much needed cabinet space.
I remembered a pin where you put a ROLO candy in the middle of a cupcake or brownie before baking. I thought why not use the caramels in the same way? So the plan was simple, bake some chocolate cupcakes with caramels inside as a nice little surprise.
Yeah, pretty thought. Everything appeared to have worked out greatly. I opened one up while it was still warm, oh it looked so heavenly. The hubby and I ate one right away. The others I put some icing on after they cooled.
So after they cooled, icing applied and they sat on the counter for a little bit I decided I needed to eat another one. Did you know that once melted and cooled those damn little caramels get hard again? Hard as a damn rock. Why that did not dawn on me when I came up with the plan, I do not know.
Biting into that soft moist cupcake then hitting that hard sticky piece of caramel. Not a happy moment for me. I’m not going to lie one of my teeth got stuck in that chunk of caramel. I had to run to the nearest mirror and thus began the fight to get my tooth free from that evil caramel. I was in a panic I feared if I yanked that caramel to hard my tooth would come out with it. I envisioned an emergency trip to the dentist where once he asked to see the tooth I would shamefully pull from my pocket that piece of caramel with my tooth embedded in it. That was not going to happen!
I tugged, I twisted, I even tried to talk that caramel from my tooth. Wouldn’t budge. Finally I grabbed the caramel with both hands and yanked as hard as I possibly could. There was a “pop” then it was over. Thankfully it ended well for me. The tooth is still where it is suppose to be. No shameful emergency dentist visit. Whew!
I threw those cupcakes in the trash. I would say lesson learned but I know me I will see some pin, read the directions and decide to try it my way. Once again I will be off on another Pinteresting adventure.

Looks so innocent doesn't it? That caramel is EVIL!

Looks so innocent doesn’t it? That caramel is EVIL!