A Sweet Challenge

I (Tina) recently received a gift that consisted of a box of caramel cake mix, a tub of dark chocolate frosting and a bag of Heath bits. Along with this gift came a challenge to create a dessert using these ingredients. Challenge accepted! First I thought I’d make dark chocolate caramel Heath cupcakes. Then I considered making caramel cake cookies with dark chocolate frosting and Heath sprinkles on top. I even wondered if I could use these ingredients to create an unique kind of cake pop. But the winner ended up being Dark Chocolate Frosted Heath Caramel Cake Bars. A winner indeed!

dark chocolate frosted heath caramel cake bars

Dark Chocolate Frosted Heath Caramel Cake Bars

Ingredients

  • • 1 package Signature Caramel Cake Mix
  • • 2 large eggs
  • • ¼ cup water
  • • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • • 1 cup Heath Bits
  • 1 container of dark chocolate frosting

Baking Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease 13″x9″ pan.
2.Combine cake mix, eggs, water, brown sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir until thoroughly blended. Mixture will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in greased pan.
3.Bake at 375ºF. for 24 to 27 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.
4. Before cutting into bars frost with Duncan Hines® Dark Chocolate Frosting. Sprinkle with Heath Bits. Cut into bars.

Easter Sweets

Hooray! Not only is it Saturday, it’s Easter weekend too. We hope you have lots and lots of fun things planned. We sure do! And fortunately our events revolve around yummy treats! Trina will be bringing a yummy Easter mix of GORP to her in-laws and I will be whipping up a batch of ooey gooey Monkey Bread to take to my in-laws. If you need a last minute idea of what to take to your Easter gathering, why not give one of these a try. They are always crowd pleasers. Happy “Hoppy” Easter!

Monkey Bread

monkey bread

Monkey Bread Recipe

GORP

GORP

GORP Recipe

Sweetsville

Did you have a best friend growing up who had the very best after school snacks and treats?  We sure did! Her house was always stocked full of the best junk food ever!  It’s where we first tried Cool Ranch Doritos, cream soda, and oatmeal cream pies. Oatmeal cream pies…yummies in our tummies!  This Saturday we decided we needed to take a trip down memory lane to Nostalgiaville and recreate our own version of oatmeal cream pies.  Maybe there will be enough left over for an after school snack. Oh, who are we kidding?  Better make a double batch!

oatmeal cream pies

Oatmeal Cream Pies

  • 3/4 cup Butter Flavored Crisco Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups quick oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Heath bits
  • frosting (pick your favorite)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine Butter Flavored Crisco, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended.  Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and Heath bits. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheet.

Bake from 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Allow to cool on wire rack. Once cookies are completely cool put frosting on one side of a cookie and sandwich it together with another cookie. Add ice cream or whipped cream on top if desired.

*adapted from the Butter Flavored Crisco Oatmeal Chewy Cookie Recipe

Endless Sweet Options

We firmly believe that there are times when there isn’t much better than dark chocolate frosted cupcakes. The only way to trump them is by adding on tasty toppings. The options are endless; caramels, M&Ms, Heath Bits, chocolate chips, coconut, butterscotch chips, pretzels. And…wait for it….Birthday Cake M&Ms! Have you tried them yet? AMAZING!  What cupcake toppings do you like best?

cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 box of your favorite cupcake mix (plus ingredients on the back of the box)- We used Pillsbury Dark Chocolate Premium Cake Mix
  • your favorite frosting – We used Pillsbury Velvety Cream Cheese Easy Frosting and Pillsbury Decadent Chocolate Fudge Easy Frosting
  • your favorite cupcake toppings – We used dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dark chocolate M&Ms, Birthday Cake M&MS, Kraft Caramel Bits, and Heath Bits.

Directions

Mix and bake cupcakes according to the directions on the back of the box. Allow to cool completely. Frost and top cupcakes to your liking. Devour!

Farewell Pumpkin, My Sweet

Can you believe Christmas has come and gone? We hope you had a happy one. We sure did! We’re ready for all the new year has to offer. But we’re certainly not ready for it to be the end of “pumpkin dessert season”, as we like to call it. We decided to share one last one.  Ring in 2014 with these scumptous Pumpkin Streusel Caramel Bars.

Pumpkin Streusel Caramel Bars

Pumpkin Streusel Caramel Bars

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Ingredients:
•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
•1/2 cup granulated sugar
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•3 large eggs
•1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
•1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•3/4 cup vegetable oil, such as canola or corn oil

•Streusel Topping:
•3/4 cup all-purpose flour
•1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
•6 tablespoons butter, softened
•1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
•3/4 cup chopped pecans

  • caramel syrup
  • vanilla frosting

Preparation:

Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350°.
In a bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar and granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until well blended, scraping the bowl a few times. Stir in the dry ingredients until blended. Spread in prepared baking pan.

In another bowl, combine the 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until crumbly; mix in the pecans with your fingers. Sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool in pan on a rack. Drizzle with caramel syrup and vanilla frosting. Cut in squares to serve.

*recipe adapted from Southern Food

Sweets for Santa

You better watch out cause Santa Claus is coming to town (IN THREE MORE DAYS!) Every year at Christmas we decorate sugar cut-out cookies with our kids to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve. With these cookies you can guarantee you’ll make his nice list. Plus Santa must really love them because the plates are always empty on Christmas morning!

sugar cookies

Christmas Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Prep Time:30 min
Cook Time:9 min
Yield:6 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 1 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • DECORATIONS
  • Granulated sugar, colored sugar crystals, frosting or assorted candies

PREPARATION DIRECTIONS:

    1. BEAT shortening and sugar in large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until well blended.
    2. COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to shortening mixture at low speed until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.
    3. HEAT oven to 375ºF. Roll 1/3 of dough at a time on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough with 2 to 3-inch floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
    4. BAKE 5 to 9 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer cookies to cooling rack. Frost and decorate as desired.

*recipe adapted from Crisco’s Ultimate Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sweet on Brownies

Brrr!  Baby, its cold outside!!! Nothing’s better on a cold day than heating up the oven (and your belly) with a warm baked treat. We’ve been missin’ brownies a lot lately so we decided that our goody this week had to be some sort of brownie version. We concocted a recipe for Brownie Sandwiches with maple buttercream filling.  Warm brownie maple scrumptiousness.  Simple and yummy!

Brownie Sandwich

Brownie Sandwiches with Maple Buttercream
For the brownies:
2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix
For the maple buttercream:
1 container of buttercream frosting
Maple syrup
1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. Whip up the brownie batter according to the directions on the box.

2.) Bake the brownies in a divided bar pan (we used one that made square bars) for 12 to 15 minutes.

3.) Allow the brownies to cool for about 3-4 minutes, and then carefully move them to a cooling rack. Using a very thin, flexible spatula to move them will help keep them from falling apart!

4.) While the brownies cool, make the buttercream. Combine the buttercream frosting and maple syrup. Add maple syrup one tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired flavor. Pipe or spread the maple buttercream onto the bottom of half the brownies, and gently sandwich a second brownie on top of the maple buttercream.

Voila!