Last weekend kicked off the 2018 wedding season for Ryan and I – we have a lot of close friends getting married this year so it’s sure to be a fun summer! Along with all these weddings comes a number of bachelor and bachelorette parties for us too. It seems like over the past few years bachelorette parties have evolved to be much more than just a weekend out in NYC that I had 5 years ago. For my friend Pamela’s bachelorette party in Vegas last month, we had a packed itinerary for the weekend, coordinated outfits, several hashtags, and even an overall theme for the weekend: unicorns! Pamela is one of my best friends from dental school and even though her bachelorette was across the country, I knew I wanted to bring something sweet to celebrate. So these ADORABLE unicorn Oreos made their journey with me from Connecticut to Nevada with only a few horn causalities along the way.
These just may be one of my favorite creations EVER. I couldn’t believe how well they turned out, they were almost too pretty to eat. This was the first time I’ve used gold highlighter dust before and I was so impressed with the sparkle and pigmentation of the gold – it was so pretty!! I also knew this would be a sturdy treat that would travel well compared to something like cupcakes or cake pops, and I just used bubble wrap to gently support the horns for the plane ride. These treats combine everything I love about baking – creativity, artistry, and something really, really cute and delicious that can be enjoyed by my friends!
To make these, I used a candy mold and the white Wilton candy melts that have little pastel sprinkles mixed in for some extra sparkle. I followed this Youtube video on making the horns (although I used toothpicks instead of a larger dowel since these were mini) and painted them as well as the inner ears with gold highlighter dust. I whipped up some royal icing in several colors and just piped them on in various floral shapes. Royal icing is great in this case because it dries hard so I didn’t have to worry about the flowers getting squished in transit. I drew on the eyes with an edible marker and voila – unicorn chocolate-covered Oreos! I could have tried to figure out how to make these a bit more risqué for a bachelorette party, but I was enamored with how cute they were, so I decided to just keep them PG (I’ll save my phallic-shaped baking endeavors for another time).
With that being said, these would be totally adorable for a kid’s birthday party and even though they look very technical, you can totally make these! The flowers could be made from store-bought colored fondant instead of royal icing if you wanted to keep things simple (they sell little cutters and fondant isn’t too different than play-doh). Just give yourself a few days to spread out the steps because the horns/ears and flowers all need quite a bit of time to set completely. I am loving the unicorn trend that’s been going on and can’t wait to make these again some day!
To cover the Oreos in chocolate, melt half of the candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals at half power, stirring in between each interval, until full melted. Fill up the candy molds halfway with melted chocolate, then place an Oreo in each well. Cover the Oreos with more melted chocolate and use an offset spatula or knife to scrape off the excess chocolate. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes for chocolate to set completely, then pop out the Oreos and repeat again. You’ll need to save some of the candy melts to attach the horns and ears after everything is set and dry.
For the unicorn horns take pieces of fondant and roll out long snake shapes. I set up a block of Styrofoam nearby to put my finished horns in to get them set for painting. Twist the snakes of fondant around a toothpick in the shape of a unicorn horn (I found this Youtube video helpful) and stick into the styrofoam. For the ears, I rolled out the fondant and cut out triangle shapes and then used my fingers to shape them a bit so they were slightly curved. In a small bowl, add a splash of vodka and some of the gold highlighter dust to make the gold “paint”. Use a small paintbrush to paint the horns completely and the inner parts of the unicorn ears. Allow them to dry overnight.
Melt a bit more of the white candy melts to attach the horns and ears to the chocolate-covered Oreos. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. Don’t be frugal with the amount of white chocolate you use to secure the horn – you want to make sure it’s on there good and you can cover any excess with flowers!
Mix up the royal icing according to the recipe’s instructions and divide into 3 piping bags with small star tips. Add rosettes and swirls of royal icing in the shape of random flowers to make a flower crown along the horn and ears. The royal icing will need to set overnight before packaging or serving. I waited until the royal icing was set before drawing on the eyes so I didn’t accidentally squish any of the flowers with my hand. The Oreos can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for quite a bit, I made mine about a week in advance and they were great!
When there’s a special occasion, I always want to bake (duhh) for the people I love. But I don’t like baking just anything if I’m giving something as a present or celebrating something special – I want the baked good to feel a bit elevated, maybe even package nicely for a beautiful presentation. Kind of like how I feel so strongly about people getting a cake or cupcakes on their birthday; there’s something about a plate of birthday cookies just doesn’t seem celebratory! That’s why I’m a strong believer in cookie cakes or even better – cookie stack cakes – when it comes to birthdays. In my mind biscotti also falls into this category of a baked good that is appropriate for a special occasion. It makes a great gift because you can package them up together so nicely, and since they’re not overly common, they certainly feel special.
Maybe it’s because biscotti is Italian and has European flair to it, but it’s always been a cookie to me that seems inherently chic. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet like many American desserts, and since it’s usually served with coffee, I think it can even be appropriate for breakfast. The almonds in this recipe add some heartiness that almost make you think they’re healthy! Now that the weather is finally warming up, I could totally see myself sitting on our deck dipping biscotti in some coffee and waiting for the trees to bloom. But then again there’s snow in the forecast next week, so I might be out there awhile…
The first time I made this biscotti was for Mother’s Day for my Mom who’s a huge Almond Joy fan. She loves any combination of nuts, coconut, and dark chocolate so I knew this recipe would make for a perfect gift. We enjoyed them together with some coffee and then I wrapped the rest in pairs in cellophane bags with festive ribbons that made for a really cute gift. If there’s an Almond Joy lover in your life that you want to impress with a more “elevated” cookie, you should give these a try! Or if you’re more of a Nutella/hazelnut lover, you could always try my Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti from a few years ago :)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Spread almonds and coconut on one sheet (keep the other one set aside) and toast for 10 minutes, stirring twice during that time (keep on eye on everything to make sure the coconut doesn't burn!). Remove toasted almonds and coconut from the oven and turn the oven up to 350 degrees. Rinse/wipe off the one baking sheet so you can use it again for the biscotti.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the toasted almonds and coconut, as well as the mini chocolate chips and gently mix together.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together. Pour into the flour/butter mixture and gently mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until everything is just barely moistened. Divide the dough into two and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Squeeze the roll into a roll about 8-9 inches long and transfer to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Gently flatten the rolls until they are about 2" wide. Make sure to leave 4" of space between the two rolls. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top and sides of each biscotti slab with egg wash.
Bake in batches (or together) for 25-26 minutes, or until the top and sides of the biscotti slabs are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, but do not turn off the heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Once the slabs are cool enough to handle, cut each into 1 inch thick slices. Set slices cut sides upright, ¼ inch apart, on the baking sheets. Return to the oven to continue baking for 9 minutes. Turn biscotti over and bake other side for 9 minutes. The cookies will be slightly soft in the centers with harder edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before dipping in chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Dip one side of each biscotti cookie in the melted chocolate and immediately sprinkle with remaining toasted almond and coconut crumbs if desired. Place the dipped biscotti back onto the baking sheets and allow chocolate to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature, about 30-45 minutes.
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.