Saturday, October 22, 2011

Watermelon Jolly Rancher Cupcakes

My husband puts up with a lot.  Like coming home to find me wielding a hammer and trying to smash Jolly Ranchers to dust on our brand new wood floor. 

There are some things you folks can learn from SECOND hand experience, one of those being- Jolly Ranchers cannot be crushed with a hammer, mallet, rolling pin, food processor, or other sharp, heavy, or intimidating object- unless already altered from their original state! Seriously, those babies are HARD. Read on for the method I finally got to work.

The cupcakes can be assembled super fast if you make the cupcakes and Jolly Rancher topping/dust in advance.  Be aware the dust will clump over time (see picture above) so if you prefer an even, sugary look, you may want to do this day-of.

To make these you'll need some Jolly Ranchers, I bought a variety bag and tried blue raspbery, cherry, and watermelon.  Watermelon was by FAR the most delicious.  Next time I will just buy those watermelon Jolly Rancher "sticks" from Maceys for about 15 cents each and call it a day.

Jolly Rancher Cupcakes

-Watermelon jolly ranchers
-Vanilla cupcakes, baked and cool (from a box is fine)
-White frosting (I used Vanilla Bean Buttercream. If you use this one be sure to use unsalted butter, but do add a pinch or two of salt to taste. This frosting isn't my favorite but it worked well for these cupcakes.  You want something that's not too insanely sugary, because you are going to be adding candy all over the top of it. Next time I may try a marshmallow frosting without some of the sugar and see how it turns out.)

Place your jolly ranchers on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake in a 300 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until they're melted flat.  (You will have jolly rancher puddles basically). Remove pan and allow to cool to room temperature. You can now put the flat brittle pieces (that's all of them) in a heavy freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin.  You could also try putting them in a food processor. When fully crushed, place jolly rancher dust in a small bowl.

Frost each cupcake and either roll in Jolly rancher dust, or sprinkle the dust on top. Chances are you will want big beautiful frosting clouds like in my picture, but truly, these are yummier with a small amount of frosting and a LARGE dusting of jolly rancher dust.  When I ate mine I knocked off about 3/4 of that frosting.

That's it!  So simple!

Well,  minus the hammer-smashing-fun part.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

After the Twix Brownies, how could we not, really?  Twix is still my favorite, but these are pretty high on the list.

I actually split my brownie mix between two pans and tried these two separate ways- topped with Reeses before baking, and topped with Reeses right after baking.  EVERYONE went for the brownies topped post-baking, but tasting them blind- the baked-in version won every time.  So you really have to decide if you want pretty brownies or yummy brownies.  Unless you feel like compromising and doing both that is...

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have mixed feelings about mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I really like mint and chocolate. Together.  (By the way, I think this is a girl thing, because the only two people I know who don't like mint/chocolate combo are my husband and my brother.  Men are weird.)  Anywhooo- I just don't like how the chocolate gets all hard and frozen in ice cream. I feel like chocolate should melt in your mouth.  Know what I'm sayin'?

Well friends, let me introduce you to my friend, the mint chocolate chip cookie.  These are yummy and a nice twist on the usual chocolate chip cookie.  They brown near the edges and there's not much you can do about it, but after lots of therapy, you'll probably get over it.  Don't be scared about using the sugar cookie mix.  These don't taste at all like a sugar cookie, and you'd never guess they use a mix. 
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup and Whipped Cream

Favorite. Breakfast. Ever.  That's all you need to know.  Every time I run out of dinner ideas- we end up eating these. I actually prefer them topped with whipped cream alone, but some of my family can't live without the cinnamon syrup.  If we ever have leftovers (rare), I freeze these for quick breakfasts and snacks and they are a hit.  These are a bit time intensive, so I don't recommend them for first thing in the morning when you're starving. 
Also, be aware, when you take the waffles off the iron they will be very limp.  Be careful not to tear them, but don't worry, they will crisp up as they cool down. 

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carrot Patch Dirt Cups

I've been having issues lately. First was the death of my memory stick adapter which I use to move pictures from my camera to my computer.  Then we went on vacation (that's not so much an issue as just a super fun time). Next came the death of my laptop charger resulting in a looong "5-10 days delivery" without a computer.

By the way, I kid you not, that charger went out with a bang.  I woke up in the middle of the night to this weird crackling buzzing sound (which turned out to be my possessed charger).  I thought it would probably be a good idea to unplug it and throw it out immediately since a) it hadn't really been working for several days and b) it was smoking.  The good news is I didn't start a fire.  The bad news is, I no longer had a charger for my computer.  Even my husband, who is the "this can be salvaged" KING, agreed it needed to be thrown away.  (This is the man who packed flip flops for California that had (literally here guys) quarter sized HOLES in the heels. And refused to let me buy him new ones!  Because a dollar is DEFINITELY too much to pay Old Navy for a crappy pair of flip flops you might wear to the pool three times.)

Anyyyways, the point I am trying to make is that I have been absent for far too long for lots of bizarr-o reasons and I have lots of yummy treats backed up and begging to be posted, so check back often.

Dirt cups and I go way back to the first grade.  Or maybe even the kindergarten (you know- the garden where they keep children).  I brought dirt cups with gummy worms for my whole class on my birthday, knowing I was pretty much the coolest EVER. (My rolled socks, and scrunchie-tied XL shirt over leggings only added to that illusion, I assure you).

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