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

Happy Birthday, to me!

My birthday is a holiday.  It just always seems to turn out that way… and I’m okay with it.  We really have been celebrating my birthday here and there for the past month!

1.  Three Weeks ago, our friend “Patrice” came to visit from Cali!  I took a half day and we went to a Phillies Game.

2.  Coronas on the beach

3.  Birthday celebration in Atlantic City wouldn’t be complete without a White House Special from the best hoagie place in town… White House!

4.  Donny came to the celebration w/ a White Trash Creme Brulee Pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies in Baltimore.  WOW.  We cut it using a credit card.  Classy…

5.  Regan treated everyone to a fabulous dinner at Yama, filled with lots of sushi & sake bombs!

6.  Fast forward to this past Friday, Birthday Eve.  Got out of work at 2pm to have a few drinks with my work girls!  Love the BrewPub sampler!

7.  Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45/48 charges brought against him in the Child Sexual Abuse case.  The pups were watching intently with the whole family as we watched the announcement on CNN.  No winners in this story but at least justice is starting to be served!

8.  I received some really awesome birthday gifts!  My favorite being the homemade giant card Dave gave me 🙂  He also bought me my first cast iron skillet & dutch oven… think of all the recipes I can make with them!!!

9.  We spent my actual birthday, June 23rd at Dave’s college roommates wedding, Brian & Danielle.  They had gorgeous weather.  Danielle looked stunning and the wedding was such a great time.

With a few other little things in between… it was a great birthday!  Thanks to everyone who made this birth-month so special.  I love you all!