Cotton Candy Birthday Bars

If you haven’t realized this on your own yet… I don’t bake very often.

Today I’m baking for a special reason.  It’s my sister’s birthday!!  (well tomorrow)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELISSA!

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I decided to make her these colorful Cotton Candy Bars as an homage to our childhood.  Mellie and I always chose the most disgusting  outrageously sugary and colorful flavors everywhere we went.  Whether it was ice cream, the soda syrup at Nifty Fifty’s, or the fluoride at the dentist office… you could put money on Mellie and I choosing the weirdest one.  Cotton Candy was always the winner over Bubblegum.

When I saw this recipe on The Domestic Rebel (the most amazing blog about sweets), I immediately thought about Mel.  I had to make these for her!

The best thing about The Domestic Rebel is that she does a ton of semi-homemade goodies.  These bars were so easy to make which was perfect for my busy weekday schedule.

Cotton Candy Birthday Bars

Ingredients:

1 Box Funfetti cake mix
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Canola Oil
2 pkts Duncan Hines Cotton Candy Recipe Creations Flavor Mix
1 cup White Chocolate Chips
1 can Duncan Hines Frosting Starter kit
Sprinkles

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil and ONE packet of the cotton candy mix with a rubber spatula until blended and combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Plop the mixture into the baking dish and using your hands, spread the dough evenly over the bottom.  Bake for 10-14 minutes (Hayley suggested 14-16 but after checking around 11 minutes, mine was ready to come out… so keey an eye!) until edges are lightly golden and center is set.  Allow to cool completely before frosting 
4. Stir the remaining flavor packet into the can of icing. Spread the icing evenly onto the cooled bars and top with sprinkles. Refrigerate for about an hour before cutting into squares.  

Recipe from:  The Domestic Rebel

You know you've seen these in the baking section this year!  I was super psyched to try them out.

You know you’ve seen these in the baking section this year! I was super psyched to try them out.

BLUE!!!!!!!

BLUE!!!!!!!

I could eat this whole dough ball, I swear.

I could eat this whole dough ball, I swear.

The mixture turns out pretty thick so I had to press down with my hands to spread it out as best as I could.

The mixture turns out pretty thick so I had to press down with my hands to spread it out as best as I could.

I had so much fun swirling the cotton candy flavoring into the icing :)

I had so much fun swirling the cotton candy flavoring into the icing :)

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YUM!  I just love how perfectly blue these babies turned out.  It’s not often you get to eat blue food… unless you have an awesome Mom like we did who let us put food coloring in our mashed potatoes!

So give these sugary bars a shot and let your inner child have some fun!  Happy Birthday Mellie!

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Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Where have I been?  Oh, I’m sorry… I’ve neglected you because I have to work off all of the calories I’ve consumed over the past weekend!  Dave, Stella, and I joined my parents “Down the Shore (see post here)” to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip :)

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip :)

We dined at one of our favorite restaurants, Chef Vola’s… eating LARGE portions of delicious home-cooked Italian food and even better desserts.

Although we ordered a slice and devoured Chef Vola’s’  famous Banana Cream Pie, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my Dad in honor of his favorite flavor combination:  Chocolate & Banana.

I feel like most people hate on Bananas and Banana flavored things.  I’ve never understood why?  I love it, and it is by far my Dad’s favorite thing ever.

After pinning and saving several poke cake recipes all over the internet, I though this was a great chance to try one out.  The best part about these cakes is that they’re very easy- they’re just doctored up cakes!

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Ingredients:

1 Box Golden Butter Cake Mix (or other yellow… whatever!)

Ingredients to make cake (3 eggs, 7 TBSP butter, water)

1 pkg Banana Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix

1 pkg Chocolate Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix (i used Chocolate Fudge mmm)

Ingredients to make puddings (2 cups Milk per packet, so 4 total!)

1 tub Cool Whip (light)

1 cup Crushed Nilla Wafers

Directions:

1.  Bake cake according to directions on the box.  Meanwhile, prepare the puddings.  Let the puddings rest for 5 minutes, they will thicken up right away.

2.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes through to the bottom all over the cake.

3.  Spread the banana pudding over the cake making sure to get into the holes.  Take the wooden spoon again and poke a few more holes ontop of the banana pudding.  Spread the chocolate pudding over the banana, spreading evenly over the cake.

4.  Now, spread the Cool Whip over the puddings and cake.  Finish the cake by sprinkling lots of crushed Nilla Wafers on top.  

I want to recommend putting some sliced or chopped up banana in the pudding layer too!  But like I said, this is for my Dad and I didn’t want to “ruin” the dessert with fruit (haha).

We all loved this cake, it was perfectly moist and wasn’t too overly banana either.  I can’t wait to try out other poke cake recipes!  What should be next?!

They don't call it a poke cake for nothin'!

They don’t call it a poke cake for nothin’!

Yummy...

Yummy…

Banana first

Banana first

Then chocolate, mmm!

Then chocolate, mmm!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

I rarely make desserts but when I do, I make it count!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

Oh HI friends…. it’s been a while.

While I meant to post these babies just in time for Valentine’s Day… that just never happened… so you’re getting them now!  I mean really, who doesn’t love Red Velvet ANYDAY!?  There’s no rule saying you can only eat it for V-Day.  Am I right?

Beautiful flowers from my Valentine!

Beautiful flowers from my Valentine!

Dave and I went to the Circus for Valentine's Day!

Dave and I went to the Circus for Valentine’s Day!

It was so much fun... I loved the poodles and the elephants.

It was so much fun… I loved the poodles and the elephants.

 

I actually searched far and wide for the perfect cookies to make the boys for Valentine’s Day.  Everything I found was either too chocolately or just too complicated.  After stumbling across a semi-homemade Paula Deen recipe for which I only had to buy ONE thing at the grocery store… I knew I found a winner.

I do have to mention the color of my hands after rolling the dough… OMG!  It looked like I was experiencing some disgusting type of Stigmata.  So, make sure you keep your hands to yourself and wear your apron for this recipe!

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

Adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) brick Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 stick Butter, at room temperature
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist Red Velvet Cake Mix (unprepared!)
Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.  

2.  With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the egg, and then the vanilla extract and beat.  Add in the cake mix and beat.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for two hours (this makes it easier to roll the batter into cookie balls!).

3.  Put about 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl or plate.  Roll the chilled batter into Tablespoon sized balls.  Roll them into the powdered sugar, covering the ball.  Place on the cookie sheets.

4.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cool completely as they will still be super soft and gooey.  Once they are cool sprinkle with the leftover powdered sugar.  

Rich red cookie batter

Rich red cookie batter

Into the sugar it goes

Into the sugar it goes

I love using Silpat, especially because mine is pretty purple :)

I love using Silpat, especially because mine is pretty purple :)

Cookies are done!  YUM!  Now if only we could ALL wait until they were cool to dig in (yeah right)

Cookies are done! YUM! Now if only we could ALL wait until they were cool to dig in (yeah right)

We really enjoyed these cookies!  Next time, I’d like to make them but top them with some cream cheese frosting or glaze and sprinkles.  How pretty would that be?

The cookies indeed, as Paula mentioned… SUPER gooey and melty and delicious.

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This recipe can be found at this week’s Foodie Friends Friday!!

Foodie Friends Friday

Cookie Butter Pinwheels & the Be a Good Cookie Spatula from OXO

So, have you gotten the Cookie Butter fever yet?  Biscoff?  Speculoos?  Like, OMG!  It’s the best stuff ever.  It’s like the non-chocolate version of Nutella.  It tastes like mashed up butter cookies and cinnamon.  What could be bad?

SOOOO Yummy!

SOOOO Yummy!

You can get Biscoff Spread at any grocery store near the peanut butter, or you can pick up a jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.  It was supposed to be seasonal but it was such a big hit that they sell it all year round.

I’ve been eating Cookie Butter by the spoonful or with pretzel rods, bananas, graham crackers, you name it!  I was totally satisfied eating my spreadable heaven in these delicious ways… well, that is until I saw this recipe on Cookies & Cups blog the other day.  Whoa!  (Joey Lawrence voice…)

Cookie Butter Pinwheel Cookies

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cookies and Cups

Ingredients:

1 can Crescent Rolls

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter or Biscoff Spread

1 cup Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoons Milk

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Unroll the Crescent Rolls and spread out flat.

2.  Spread the cookie butter in a thin later until it covers the entire square.  Tightly roll the dough jelly-roll style, lengthwise.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Take out of the plastic wrap and slice into 1/4 inch pinwheel cookies.  Place the cookies spread out on a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden.  Let cool.

4.  Prepare the cinnamon glaze:  Mix the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add sugar to make it thicker to drizzle or add milk to thin it out to have the glaze go over the entire cookie.  Put the glaze over the cookies, be patient and let it set… THEN enjoy!!

Cookie Butter is spread onto the Crescent Rolls and rolled up into a big long log.  Let sit in the fridge for an hour than slice... mmm

Cookie Butter is spread onto the Crescent Rolls and rolled up into a big long log. Let sit in the fridge for an hour than slice… mmm

Pretty!

Pretty!

I kept mine in the oven about a minute or two too long (12 min... try 8-10) but they were still so good

I kept mine in the oven about a minute or two too long (12 min… try 8-10) but they were still so good

um... YUM!

um… YUM!

These little cookies are so yummy!  They turned out to be nice and soft but crispy on the bottom.  I could hardly wait for the glaze to set before I ate them… like five of them… eeeek!

I couldn’t wait to make cookies in my new place, so I could use my new OXO “Be a Good Cookie” spatula.  I’ve been waiting to use this cute little orange spatula since I got it during the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  All participating bloggers received a free spatula during the swap which raised money for the charity Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  OXO even got involved by matching all of the money raised by the Cookie Swap- doubling the donation to this awesome charity.

You gotta enjoy making cookies to help raise money for a good cause.

You gotta enjoy making cookies to help raise money for a good cause.

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You might also want to check out these other cookies too!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Cinnamon Toast Crunch & White Chocolate Cookies

Cinnamon Toast Crunch & White Chocolate Cookies

Caramel Apple Milkyway Stuffed Cookies

Caramel Apple Milkyway Stuffed Cookies

 

 

Coffee & Chocolate Marshmallow Krispies

Being the coffee addict that I am… when I came across this grown-up Rice Krispy Treat recipe on Shutterbean, I couldn’t turn away.  Rice Krispy treats with coffee AND chocolate?  Yes please!

I’m pretty sure it was the allure of this fab dessert recipe that was the final push to send me grocery shopping this weekend.  SO glad I did.  Except that it took, like… 2 hours.  Ugh!  Anyways… enjoy this awesome recipe!

Coffee & Chocolate Marshmallow Krispies

Recipe adapted from:  Shutterbean

Ingredients:

1 stick Salted Butter

2 bags Mini Marshmallows (10 oz)

5 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

2 teaspoons Ground Coffee (not instant)

1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1.  Line a square baking dish with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Melt the butter over med-low heat in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add 1 1/3 bags of marshmallows once the butter is melted and stir occasionally until the mallows are melted and smoothed out.

2.  Using a wet spatula, fold in the rice cereal.  Add almonds, cranberries, ground coffee, chocolate chips, and marshmallows and fold quickly to distribute. 

3.  Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Wet your hands and press the treats into the pan into an even layer.  Now, let cool completely (be patient) and cut into squares.

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These were soooo tasty!  My first recommendation is to definitely let them cool all the way, as it will make it so much easier to cut.  NEXT, You should actually turn the heat OFF of the pot once you’re going to mix everything after the cereal in.  It will keep the chocolate chips and extra marshies together and melt less.  (I did not do this… still delish but not as pretty).

These Krispies were really fun and so easy to make.  It took less than 10 minutes for the entire thing to be made, cleaned up, and put into the refrigerator to cool.  The hardest part is the waiting!  I’m thinking Fruity Pebbles & White Choc chips next?!????

Check out these other yummmmyyyy desserts…

Apricot & White Chocolate M&M Cookies

Apricot & White Chocolate M&M Cookies

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting