Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3 Ingredient Boxed-Cake-Mix Cookies

I finally caved to the Pinterest frenzy!  I've always been a fan of cruising the site, just never wanted to create an account, pin, repin, and all that other stuff that comes with it.
But after a suggestion from a follower, I created an account to help spread the blog and all my sweet treats! So follow me, Messylilbaker..Although I'm still not too sure how to use it, I only have one board for now called Sweets and sprinkles <3

So what do you do when your kid decides to tell you that he promised you'd make cookies for his bake sale..at 10pm the night before? Or your neighbors invite you to an impormptu Sunday BBQ at their house this summer and you're asked to bring dessert?
Well the local stores are closed and you're about to have a panic attack becuase you dont want to be "that person" who doesn't bring the ONE thing you're suppose to.  You scour the pantry for anything to throw together in a bowl, but you realize that's not going to work. Until you reach way back in the pantry to find the one thing that usually makes bakers cringe.
Boxed cake.

Don't get my wrong, when you're pressed for time and in a rut, Funfetti cupcakes taste good no matter what.  And even easier than that is using boxed cake to make cookies!
It's as simple as 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of vegetable oil.

But why stop there--pump these cookies up with your favorite smacks, and it will look like you had these planned for weeks!

After talking about smores with a friend this weekend it was the first thing that came to mind.  Mixed into some red velvet cookies CUT-IT-OUT {Uncle Joey said it best}
Initially I planned for just some mini marshmallows and chocolate chunks.
Then when I opened the pantry it struck me. Mini Teddy Grahams. Talk about genius.
For the white cake mix I planned for an abundance of sprinkles and some mini crushed Oreos.
Threw in a last minute curveball with some white chocolate chips. Because simply put..white chocolate makes everything better.
I even mixed by hand {which I haven't done in a year and a half since I got my Kitchen Aid} to show you how easy it really is!

Boxed-Cake-Mix Cookie Recipe
Boxed Cake Mix of choice (Red Velvet, Funfetti, etc)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Optional Add-ins:
Chocolate Chunks
White Chocolate Chips
Mini Marshmallows
Mini Oreos
Mini Teddy Grahams

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper {I ran out, but they cooked just as well without it}.

Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl.  Stir in any additional add ins.

Drop by tablespoon onto lined baking sheet and cook 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove to cooling rack and allow to cool 15 minutes {or enjoy while still warm! }
For additional add-in ideas, try your favorite candy bars and cookies! Twix, Milyways, Reeses, Butterscotch chips, Peanut butter chips, Nuts, Pretzels....And I fully support a combination of as many of these fillings as you can fit :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cake Pops Galore!

A lucky groom in a pack of brides.

Okay I was trying to woe you by starting off with a pretty picture, but I'm SO SO SORRY that I've been slacking! I've actually been getting busy doing some cake pop orders for real people (YAY!), that I unfortunately haven't had much time to mess around with cool recipes for you.

I love cake popping, I find it to be rather therapeutic. But it does take a few days and various steps to get them done in time for the weekend.
Bake the cakes.
Roll the balls.
Insert the sticks.
Dip.
Decorate.
{These were red velvet and carrot cake, nom!}
And for the recent pops I've made the decorating took almost a full day in itself, but they were so worth it and adorable!

Brides and Grooms for an engagement party, I mean how freakin CUTE are these?! I can't wait to do these again some day soon and play around with more details and designs. 
Watch out for the Tuxedo Army!
Then there were the beach balls for a dear friend and sorority sister's surprise bridal shower.  These were more time consuming than I initally imagined, having to make each strip a using a different color sugar, but I definitely got to practice my painting skills :)
For these I dipped them fully in white, let them dry, then used a toothpick to draw light lines dividing the ball into 8 equal parts.  Then the trick was how I was going to get every other portion to be a different color.  My first thought was melted chocolate, but that would potentially dry too fast or cause clumps and make a huge mess.  I was a little stumped until I did my research and realized the perfect solution. Corn Syrup. That along with a tiny little paint brush so I could stay within the lines, and Viola!
 
Although I still think my absolute favorite pops are the ones doused in bright sugar crystals or nonpariels. So simple,yet Chic. I LOVE <3
I promise promise promise I will have a new fun recipe for you in the week to come, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ultra Chewy "Monster" Cookies

I seriously think my co-workers have developed a  love-hate relationship for me, based solely on my weekly baking {at least that's what I tell myself}. But it was yet again another holiday, and I sort of skimped out the week before with just the Cadbury bark, so I just HAD to make it up to them :)  Besides, I had just received amazingly awesome farm fresh eggs from another co-worker purposely so I could bake with them, how could I not.
So I've been waiting to make my own rendition of "Monster Cookies", which by the way I have never seen  made the exact same way twice.  My first decision was nixing the peanut butter. I know, it's probably the most essential part of the cookie, but the way I look at it oatmeal is delicious on its own and I really wanted that to be my strong base. 
That plus my aversion for peanut butter and chocolate, which I regrettably admitted to you in earlier posts, resulted in my view of an ideal monster filled cookie.

However making these cookies sparked the time old debate: Chewy vs. Crunchy.  To me there is hands down no debating the fact that cookies should be Chewy..I thought this was a common ground. Boy oh boy was I wrong.  It turns out about half of my worthy critics are indeed Crunchy cookie fans; however there was no debate when it came to how delicious, perfect and tasty these cookies truly were.
For my oatmeal cookie base I have tried many recipes, including family treasures, but I have yet to find a cookie that tops  Love Me Tender: Soft Oatmeal Cookies from the wonderful Bake at 350. It's fantastic, you have to give it a try! I figured M&M's were a must, as well as chocolate chips, and topped it off with a bunch of coconut to add to the chewy texture and a nice refreshing hint of flavor.  Yes I am NUTS for coconut <3
And since I decided to double the batch because something in my brain automatically thinks one batch is never enough {totally wrong by the way, there were plenty!}, I made a few variations using the second half of the batter.
Butterscotch-chocolate chip. and classic oatmeal raisin.  YUM!

Monster Cookies Recipe
Oatmeal base adapted from Bakeat350

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
6 Tbs sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cup flour
shredded coconut*
M&Ms*
chocolate chips*
butterscotch {optional}
raisins{optional}
* I don't have measurements for the mix-ins for you because I tend to keep pouring until the cookie dough is completely filled, but perhaps about 1/2 cup each to start.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour in a large bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable oil and sugar.  Add the egg and continue to beat until mixture is fluffy. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until well combined.
Stir in the oats.  Add in the dry ingredient mixture a little at a time until fully combined.
If you decide to make different batches like I did, separate the dough into three bowls. Stir in the coconut, M&Ms and chocolate chips into one bowl.
 In the other two bowls, add whatever mix-ins you'd like {butterscotch-chocolate chip, raisins, etc}
Let the dough sit for 15-30 minutes before baking.  Drop by tablespoon into parchment line sheets and bake about 12 minutes or until light brown. 
Transfer to a cooling rack {or enjoy warm like I would hehe :) }

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Push Pop into Spring!

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday, I sure did! I haven't seen my baby cousin since Thanksgiving and I was in serious withdrawal.  He is undoubtably the happiest baby with the most contagious laugh ever.  Plus I think we look alike with our chubby cheeks AND he loves the camera just as much as I do.  God I could just eat him up!
And you know how in my last post I was whining about how my Easter baskets were too simple growing up and all the cool chocolate they have out now..well Linda {my mother} really out did herself this year.  Although she KNOWS I'm paleo and can't eat any treats, she also knows I have incredible self control so she proceeded to make me a basket and somehow found everything I'd want! 
EVEN THE WHITE CHOCOLATE M&M'S I SWOONED OVER! I think it's a sin for me not to try them, but I'm holding strong. And I love how awesome baskets are as we get older- they include wine! That won't last long, but the rest will have to be hidden until I give in to a cheat. 

As every holiday lately I'm gladly in charge of making most desserts.  I know carrot cake was an obvious choice for Easter, but I made that the last time I visited my family, so I decided to go with Red Velvet instead.  I have just about mastered my red velvet with cream cheese icing and it is always an instant hit.  

Since I knew all the sweets and chocolate around might be tempting, I decided to make Paleo brownies and they came out absolutely fantastic.  I highly suggest giving them a try if you eat Paleo, grain-free or gluten-free. I used PaleoParent's recipe for Samoa Brownies and made the caramel and toasted coconut as instructed, but ended up loving them way more plain.
For the kids I wanted to do something more fun than cupcakes and less time consuming than cake pops.  Push pops- a less messy option with a greater icing:cake:sprinkle ratio, HOW COULD YOU GO WRONG! I haven't been able to find push pops in all stores yet but I know they will be hitting the shelves as the new craze soon enough.  However, Target never ceases to amaze me with their new holiday treats, as my mom found a set that came with this adorable Easter stand!
These were so easy and fun to make. I'm already picturing how awesome they'd be for Memorial Day/Fourth of July with red and blue icing {hint hint}!

Spring Push Pops
Vanilla Cake {from scratch or a box}
Buttercream Icing*
Red and Yellow Food Coloring {or any other colors you prefer}
Festive Easter Sprinkles
Push Pop Containers

Make the vanilla cake in two 9x13" pans, in order to make them thin enough to fit two layers in the pops. Use the top of the push pop to cut out circular pieces of cake. Begin my dropping one piece of cake into the bottom of each push pop.
Make your favorite butter cream icing. *I used my recipe metioned in my earlier Funfetti Cake post. Seperate evenly into two bowls.  Dye the icing until the desired color is achieved. Pipe in the first layer of icing about the same thickness as the cake.  Add in festive sprinkles.
 Drop in the second layer of cake and repeat with the alternate color icing.
Then top off the cakes with more sprinkles. {be careful not to fill the pops too much over the edge or the cap won't fit properly}
Besides what ended up on their faces from licking off every drop from the inside of the tube..there was no mess to clean up. Success!

These are the perfect treat for any birthday or holiday, so get push-popping this Spring :)