I have been a baking machine the past few weeks, but you wouldn’t know it based on this blog! This is high season for baking, and I’ve certainly been keeping my oven busy, and finally I got around to snapping some photos of my creations. So far this month I’ve made decorated sugar cookies, M&M chocolate chip cookies, a peppermint bundt cake, and these adorable cupcakes. It’s hard not to want to make ALL THE THINGS around the holidays, but I try to limit my list only to a few classics and one or two new endeavors. This one was a bit of a risk, but I’m SO happy with how they turned out – just look how cute!!
These reindeer cupcake were inspired by all the cute unicorn cupcakes and cakes I’ve seen around the past year. I actually decorated an ornament as a unicorn for a contest at work, and when I saw a reindeer cake on Instagram with a similar esthetic, I was inspired to try the look on cupcakes too. I didn’t make these too elaborate – I could have added little chocolate ears and some decorative frosting rosettes for flair – but the simplicity of them is pretty charming. The antlers are obviously pretzels that I strategically broke, the eyes are made from melted chocolate that I piped on a piece of wax paper and let dry, and the noses are plain red M&M’s. I could have mixed it up and did some brown noses too but I bought the holiday pack and only had green and red so Rudolphs all around it was!
You could use any cupcake and frosting recipe you want, but I opted for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I thought the carrot cake was a clever nod to the carrots we all leave for Santa’s reindeers and the cinnamon-y spicy flavor seemed appropriate for the holidays too. The cream cheese frosting isn’t the best for piping tall swirls, but that’s one of my favorite parts of carrot cake so I didn’t want to substitute. These are definitely easier to put together than the Christmas tree cupcakes I made last year, and a mix of them would be totally adorable on a platter! What are you baking this holiday season??
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz carrots, peeled
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
for the cream cheese frosting:
12 oz cream cheese, cold
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Red and/or brown M&Ms
Semisweet chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line muffin pan with liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. In a food processor fitted with a shredding disk and shred the carrots. Transfer the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside. Rinse out the bowl of the food processor and fit with the metal blade.
Process the sugars and eggs until frothy and combined, about 20 seconds. With the machine running, add the oil into the feed tube and continue to process until mixture is light in color and combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until completely incorporated. Divide the batter among muffin cups and bake 20-24 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and gradually add the powdered sugar until well-combined. Beat until smooth for about 2 minutes. Load frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe swirls on each cupcake.
To make the eyes, lay out a piece of wax paper and melt the chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag in the microwave or a disposable piping bag. Snip the corner of the bag and pipe eyelash shapes onto a piece of wax paper. Place the wax paper into the fridge for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
Add the pretzel pieces as antlers, the chocolate eyelash pieces, and M&M's for the noses. Enjoy!
I was scrolling through my blog’s Pinterest page last week and got an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I’m so proud of all the content I’ve created over the past EIGHT years but I can’t believe I’ve let this little blog go without a new post for three whole months!! I have been baking a lot, but just not getting around to photographing and sharing everything here on the blog as much. So I made a point of making something blog-worthy this weekend because I’m not ready to give up on Erica’s Sweet Tooth quite yet. I’ve dressed up one of the easiest (and tastiest!) desserts ever for Halloween in an effort to get myself back into the blogging game.
Although I’ve never made the classic pretzel/Hershey kiss/M&M combo before, I’ve had them plenty of times and always love the sweet and salty treat. Whenever I bake for an event, I’m usually expected to bring a dessert that’s more involved, but if something so easy can be this cute, I’m not going to pass this up! I used Hershey hugs and orange candy melts with a combination of edible candy eyes that I got at Micheal’s and Target. So festive, a bit spooky, but totally cute!
Making this batch of pretzel bites literally took me a total of 20 minutes. And they’re so yummy! It was great to be behind the camera again getting creative with the styling and set up for the photos. I’m hoping this is something I can get back into the groove of, especially since the 8th anniversary of Sweet Tooth just passed a few weeks ago! Good thing it’s the high season of baking – Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we know it!!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pretzels in rows with a hug or candy melt on top. Place in the oven for 2 minutes, take them out, and immediately place candy eyes on top. Chill in the fridge until the chocolate is set.
Every July I celebrate the abundance of peaches and nectarines with a complete over-indulgence of all stone fruits for as many weeks as possible. But somehow there are very few peach recipes featured here on the blog. Most likely because I prefer to eat my peaches and nectarines straight from the fridge, but with enough crumb topping I will happily eat peaches in bar form as well. Not surprisingly I also enjoyed these bars the most after they chilled in the fridge for a day, but they could also be enjoyed warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Baking with seasonal produce is always a favorite of mine, particularly if I can get the fruit locally. Although I haven’t been berry or fruit picking yet this summer, I especially love baking with fruit I picked myself! This summer Ryan and I are doing a CSA from a local farm, but only vegetables are provided. Looking forward to making some zucchini bread soon with the over-abundance of squash and zucchini that July and August bring. The peaches I used to make these bars came from the grocery store, but next time I’m going peach picking and throwing together another batch of these!
Showing up to a summer BBQ with a platter of peach crumb bars will always be well received, especially if you have a pint of vanilla ice cream in tow as well. I was randomly in the mood to bake last weekend (I definitely don’t bake as often as I used to!!) and made these for a casual family BBQ. They were easy to put together, featured seasonal fruit, and made the perfect sweet treat for the end of an al-fresco summer meal. Grab some peaches from a tree, a farm stand, or a grocery store and celebrate the deliciousness of summer peaches at your next gathering!
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
for the crumb topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
for the peach layer:
2-1/2 cups peach chunks (from about 4 large peaches)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
for the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 tsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper.
For the crust, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix just until no more streaks of flour remain. Transfer dough to the prepared pan and pat it down until it's distributed evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until lightly browned around the edges. Allow the crust to cool for at least 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the recipe.
While the crust is baking, prepare the topping by mixing together the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla extract until just combined. Set aside.
Peel and cut the peaches into 1/2" chunks. Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt and stir until evenly coated. Pour the peach layer evenly over the top of the baked crust and sprinkle the topping over the peach layer. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the topping has browned and the peaches are bubbly. Cool completely before adding the glaze.
For the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together until well combined. Add the milk and stir. Spoon the glaze over the cooled bars. Store the bars in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Believe it or not I don’t have cookies and cream or Oreo cupcakes posted here on the blog. I did an epic Oreo cheesecake layer cake a few years ago with amazing Oreo buttercream, but never in cupcake form. And so when it was my assistant’s birthday, who is a HUGE cookies and cream fanatic, I knew it was finally time to make Oreo cupcakes, with a special treat inside. OREO TRUFFLES! Inside a cupcake!! It’s genius, and I can’t take credit for the idea (thanks Love from the Oven!), but this is perfect for anyone who is obsessed with Oreos.
I opted for a yellow cake here because I really wanted the Oreo truffle to stand out visually, and because it might have just been too much chocolate otherwise. Since I took the extra steps to make the truffles by hand for these cupcakes, I cheated a bit and used boxed mix for the cake. When recipes get complicated with fillings, cake, and frosting, sometimes I like to take shortcuts if I’m baking on a weeknight. The truffles and buttercream are non-negotiable in terms of being from “scratch”, so the boxed cake mix is the obvious shortcut to take here. Oreo truffles are one of the easiest desserts out there (and sooo good!) so don’t be too overwhelmed by the extra steps. The truffles stayed moist even after the cupcakes baked, and made the final cupcakes some of the most decadent I’ve ever made!
With all the fancy cupcake flavors and combinations these days, sometimes just baking simple cupcakes with frosting seems too boring. If you’re looking to go a little overboard with dessert and have a cookies and cream lover in your life, these cupcakes are for you. I was so happy with how they came out, especially with the happy pink liners, and I am glad to finally have a special Oreo cupcake to share with all of you!
1 box (minus 7) oreo cookies
1 8oz package of cream cheese
for the yellow cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
for the Oreo buttercream:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 cup whipped cream or Cool Whip
15 Oreo cookies, crushed
12 Oreo cookies, cut in half for decoration
for the oreo truffles:
Place Oreos in a ziploc bag and crush them with your hands or a rolling pin to fine crumbs. Add cream cheese and mix until well blended. Roll 24 balls of Oreo truffles, they should be about 1" wide. Place on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and store in the freezer while you prepare the cupcake batter (about 10-20 minutes).
for the yellow cake:
Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners and preheat the oven. Prepare cake batter according to the package directions. Spoon a little bit of the batter in each cupcake liner, then add in your Oreo truffles. Cover with remaining batter and bake according to the cake mix package's instructions. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
for the oreo buttercream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and continue beating. Reduce the mixer's speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Once incorporated, add the milk and increase the speed to medium. Beat for another 1-2 minutes until smooth. Turn off the mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream and crushed Oreos with a rubber spatula.
Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fit with a large star tip, and pipe cooled cupcakes with a swirl of buttercream. Decorate with a halved Oreo and store in the fridge until ready to serve. If you're not serving them right away, keep the cupcakes at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.
It’s been way too long since I’ve made a new popcorn creation, and after I saw the idea of “bunny bait” floating around online, I knew it would make the perfect treat to put together for Easter week. Anytime schools are closed our office is extremely busy, and I figured my staff could use some extra fuel to power through the next few days of April break. Plus, I always love how quickly these popcorn treats come together, but how ridiculously delicious and cute the end result turns out. Some adorable bunny and chick props don’t hurt the cuteness factor either!
This is my first time adding pretzel sticks to a white chocolate popcorn creation, and I loved the addition. The extra crunch and saltiness goes perfectly with the sweetness of all the white chocolate. I used both regular and white chocolate pastel M&M’s to add some color, and obviously even more chocolate to the mix too. Pastel sprinkles and a drizzle of pink chocolate melts help make this Bunny Bait particularly decked out for Easter and ready for any springtime party.
Anytime I make one of these popcorn treats (funfetti popcorn, cookies and cream popcorn, strawberry shortcake popcorn), it’s always a miracle any popcorn remains once I’m done baking, styling, and shooting them. It is just so freakin’ addicting, I usually can’t keep my hands off! Good thing this recipe makes such a large batch, you can snack as you make it AND have plenty to share with your family, friends, and of course, the Easter Bunny too. Happy Spring/Easter/Passover/FinallyNotWinter everyone!!
1/3 cup popcorn kernels*
3 tbsp coconut oil (or canola oil)
2 cups white candy melts
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
1 small bag milk chocolate M&M's, pastel colored
1 small bag white chocolate M&M's, pastel colored
3/4 cup pink candy melts
*If you don't want to use kernels, pop 2 bags of microwave popcorn instead
Place the oil in a medium-large pot with a lid and pour in the popcorn kernels. Turn on the heat to medium-high and allow the oil and kernels to heat. When the popcorn starts popping, start to gently shake the pan back and forth. Try to keep the lid slightly off to allow some of the steam to release. Once the popping slows down, remove the pot from heat and transfer popcorn to a large bowl.
Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place the white candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well between each interval, until completely smooth. Pour the white chocolate over the popcorn in a large bowl and use clean hands or a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate around so that it is evenly distributed on the popcorn. Add the pretzels and M&M's and keep stirring until all mixed in.
Spread the coated popcorn onto the prepared cookie sheet so that it is almost in a single layer. Melt the pink candy melts the same way the white ones were melted, and drizzle over the popcorn mixture. Add sprinkles while melted candy is still warm and then allow candy coating to dry completely (you can also put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to speed up the process). Once dry, use your fingers to break up the single layer into bite-sized pieces if necessary. Store popcorn in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature.
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