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Brownie Easter Eggs…*
…an eggcellent treat  

After posting my Ice Cream Sundae Brownies, I had several people asking me for one! Since they were so delicious and quite easy to make, I decided to make another batch to share with everyone on Easter. I used an egg-shaped cookie cutter to shape them and the leftover Vanilla Buttercream Frosting to decorate them. Let’s just say, they disappeared within minutes…not including the few I snuck for myself J
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The Ingredients…*
Vanilla Buttercream
(Recipe by Savory Sweet Life)
(Makes 2.5 cups)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (but not melted!)
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream 

Ice Cream Sundae Brownies
(Recipe by Picky Palate)
1 box Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Heaping 1/2 cup of your favorite Ice Cream (I used Breyers Neapolitan)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup hot fudge topping, chilled
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The Instructions…*
For the Vanilla Buttercream
(Recipe by Savory Sweet Life)
(1) Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed
(2) Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter
(3) Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes
(*) If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar; If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time

Ice Cream Sundae Brownies
(Recipe by Picky Palate)
(1) Preheat oven to 350° F
(2) In a large bowl mix the brownie mix, 2 eggs and oil until combined. (I did NOT add the water)
(3) Scoop in ice cream, chocolate chips and hot fudge; mix until combined
(4) Pour into a foil lined 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been GENEROUSLY sprayed with cooking spray
(5) Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center
(6) Let cool completely; remove foil from baking dish, shape into eggs, frost as desired, and enjoy! :)
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Lemon Coconut Cupcakes…*
…a festive treat for Easter  

For the Ellis family gathering this Easter, I volunteered to bring dessert. No surprise there! I came across many bakers and bloggers who used coconut to make little nests on top of their cookies, cupcakes and soufflés. I thought the toasted coconut was the perfect pairing with a sweet lemony vanilla cupcake. I topped each cake with Savory Sweet’s Classic Vanilla Buttercream and a few Speckled Eggs for decoration. They came out beautifully and everyone was pleasantly surprised by the kick of vanilla in the cupcakes and of course, by the smooth, rich buttercream. This frosting was to-die-for. I will definitely be using the recipe again for spreading on cakes, cupcakes, and/or for decorating. Enjoy and Happy Easter y’all! :)
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The Ingredients…*
Vanilla Buttercream
(Recipe by Savory Sweet Life)
(Makes 2.5 cups)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (but not melted!)
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Lemon Cupcakes
1 box of yellow cake mix
Eggs, oil and water according to directions
1 small box of vanilla instant pudding mix
Shredded coconut
Chocolate Speckled Eggs
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The Instructions…*
For the Vanilla Buttercream
(Recipe by Savory Sweet Life)
(1) Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed
(2) Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter
(3) Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes
(*) If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar; If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time

For the Lemon Cupcakes
(1) Preheat oven to 350°F
(2) Mix ingredients according to box; blend in dry pudding mix until moistened
(3) Divide batter among 24 cupcake liners and bake according to box instructions
(4) Allow to completely cool before frosting
(5) Fill pastry bag (or large Ziploc bag) with Vanilla Buttercream and frost as desired
(6) Sprinkle coconut in the center of each frosted cupcake and top with 3 speckled eggs
(7) Enjoy right away or store in refrigerator for later :) Happy Easter!
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Mexican Wedding Cake…*
…a dessert to symbolize true love

For the last Spanish class of the semester, Señora Frazier requested that we spend at least 30 minutes outside of class engaged in an activity reflecting the Spanish culture. I of course, decided to spend my time baking. I chose to make Mexican Wedding Cake, a dessert that symbolizes love. These cakes are served at most wedding celebrations, along with a variety of nutty fruitcakes. Just like most relationships, this dessert encompasses ingredients that are opposite in flavor and personality. The spice of the cinnamon and the sweetness of the sugar are what make this dessert a delectable choice. Easy to make and even easier to devour, these bite-sized cakes are fun, flavorful, and packed with love. I hope you enjoy :) Adios!               
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The Ingredients…*
(Recipe by: Bon Appétit)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely ground
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
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The Instructions…*
(1) Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy; Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended
(2) Beat in flour, then pecans and divide dough in half; form each half into ball
(3) Wrap separately in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes
(4) Preheat oven to 350°F
(5) Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon in pie dish to blend; Set cinnamon sugar aside
(6) Working with half of chilled dough, roll dough by 2 teaspoonful’s between palms into balls; Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and arrange balls on heavy large baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart
(7) Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes
(8) Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet, then gently toss warm cookies in cinnamon sugar for the second time to coat completely; Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely
(9) Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough. (Cookies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature; reserve remaining cinnamon sugar.)
(10) Sift remaining cinnamon sugar over cookies and serve :)
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Chocolate Chip Streusel Bread…*
…the sweetest way to start your day

Yesterday marked the end of classes for me at GVSU. Although I still have to get through a couple finals next week before I can technically ‘graduate,’ I’m still delighted to say I will never again have to sit through a boring lecture. Thank the Lord! This morning, I jumped out of bed with excitement that I had the day to myself. To celebrate, I wanted to indulge in something tasty—something a little more exciting than my usual PB laden English muffin. I took a quick peek at my ‘to-bake’ list and immediately decided on Sprinkled with Flour’s Chocolate Chip Streusel Bread. It’s safe to say I’ve never worked so hard for my breakfast before, but it was well worth it.After 35 minutes of prep time and another 60 of bake time, I was drooling by the time the loaf was done. As I cut the bread into thick, hearty slices, the smell of cinnamon and toasted pecans filled the air. The streusel topping was crisp and crunchy, but inside, the bread was soft and warm. I think the best part about this bread was the gooey chocolate chips in every bite, similar to those found in a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie. Mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmm. Next time, I think I will make this recipe into streusel-topped muffins so I’m not tempted to eat the whole loaf. Then again, that probably wouldn’t stop me. Oh well, Happy (early) Graduation to me! :)
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The Ingredients…*
(Recipe by: Sprinkled with Flour)
For the Loaf
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 milk buttermilk
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

For the Streusel Topping
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
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The Instructions…*
(1) Preheat oven to 350°F
(2) Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan; Set aside
(3) For the streusel topping, combine the brown sugar and 3 tbsp. of flour in a small bowl; Using a fork or your fingers, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; Stir in the 1/3 cup of chopped nuts; Set aside
(4) For the loaf, beat the butter using an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds and beat in sugar until combined; add the buttermilk and baking powder and beat until combined

(6) Add the eggs and vanilla, and then, add the flour, cinnamon and salt and beat until combined
(7) Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts
(8) Spoon the batter into the greased pan, and spread evenly; sprinkle the Streusel topping over the batter
(9) Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean

(10)  Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then carefully remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack
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Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies…*
…moist, chewy & loaded with chocolate chips & raisins

A trip home to my parent’s house reminds me of two things: fresh baked cookies and vanilla scented candles. I was happy to find a loaf of my mother’s homemade banana bread sitting on the counter when I stopped home last weekend. It was her way of showing how much she missed me (…or her way of keeping me from raiding the cupboards). Either way, I was appreciative and wanted to return the favor by making some of her favorite cookies: Oatmeal Raisin. I couldn’t help but throw in some chocolate chips too, for extra goodness. I knew she wouldn’t mind! In the end, they turned out perfectly with a crisp edge, and a moist, chewy center packed with raisins, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. However, the trick to getting the thick, chewy texture is to chill the dough before you bake it. I find that in general, cookies are always thicker when the dough is cold before baking; plus, it only takes a couple extra minutes of baking time! This recipe, adapted from Deborah’s Culinary Confections, is great to experiment with, according to your tastes. It’s very easy to alter with some nuts, white chocolate chips, cranberries, or whatever's handy! :)
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The Ingredients…*
(Recipe by Deborah’s Culinary Confections)
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts (optional) *I omitted these
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The Instructions. . .*
(1) Preheat oven to 375° F
(2) In a large bowl beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla with a hand held mixer until well blended

(3) In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
(4) Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stirring until just combined
(5) Fold in rolled oats, raisin and walnuts (if desired).

(6) Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet
(7) Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned; cool 2 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely; Enjoy :)
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Ice Cream Sundae Brownies…*
…hot fudge, ice cream, & chocolate chip stuffed brownies

Yes I know…another brownie post. I do realize how many batches of these things I’ve been making lately, but I can’t help it…especially when Ms. Picky Palatethrows this in my face. What was I supposed to do? Just stare at it and drool over my computer screen? Of course not! I had to get messy and make the darn things myself!Although, it wasn’t a priority on my “to-bake” list until out of nowhere, my sister (aka miss “saltaholic), announced that she wanted a brownie… “a warm, gooey brownie.”It was the first time in my life I have ever heard her say such a thing. Immediately following, I had a massive craving for chocolate. Weird how that works. It just happened to be the perfect time and place to make these Ice Cream Sundae Brownies. Well, maybe not the best timing, considering it was 8:30 at night; but nevertheless, we hopped in the car and drove to the store to pick up a few ingredients. Ponytails, sweats, glasses and all, we were on a mission and didn’t care what anyone thought of us. Jessie even joked that we would have been the perfect candidates for TLC’s ‘What Not to Wear.’ True story. After 20 minutes spent deciding on what flavor of ice cream to buy, and another hour spent prepping and baking the brownies, we were more than ready to indulge. Let me just say that neither of us were disappointed one bit. The creamy chocolatey brownies were quite possibly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. They were thick, chewy, fudgy, and moist, surrounded with a perfectly crisp edge. Slice ‘em quick, serve ‘em warm, and top ‘em with a cold scoop of ice cream for the most satisfying treat :) 
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The Ingredients…*
(Recipe by Picky Palate)
1 box Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Heaping 1/2 cup of your favorite Ice Cream (I used Breyer’s Neapolitan)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup hot fudge topping (chilled)
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The Instructions…*
(1) Preheat oven to 350° F
(2) In a large bowl mix the brownie mix, 2 eggs and oil until combined. (I did NOT add the water)
(3) Scoop in ice cream, chocolate chips and hot fudge; mix until combined
(4) Pour into a foil lined 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been GENEROUSLY sprayed with cooking spray
(5) Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center
(6) Let cool completely; remove foil from baking dish, cut into squares and serve! :)
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‘Loves me, Loves me not’ Cupcakes. . .*
…a fun and delicious way to ring in the spring! 
 
Happy spring! Finally, the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming in West Michigan. It’s a beautiful thing. Everything about this time of year is refreshing and energizing. It’s the time of year when school takes a backseat to my social life and my desperate need to be outdoors. To celebrate the start of a beautiful season, my girlfriends and I decided to throw a little dinner party get together. I, of course, volunteered to bring the dessert. I wanted to make something light and flavorful, bright and colorful. Inspired by the warm weather and bright green grass, I wanted to make a cupcake that characterized the elements of spring. After attempting to make Martha Stewart’s Lollipop Cupcakes, I was discouraged and frustrated. My lollipops were too heavy and my leaves looked more like petals. My intelligent and creative sister saved the day when she suggested I make 3D flowers on the cupcake, using the ‘leaves’ as the petals and the lollipop as the center. Genius! I begged her to join me in decorating, and together, we formed an assembly line to speed up the process. Even though the kitchen was littered in sprinkles and buttercream, the cupcakes turned out perfectly! Although after I finished decorating them, I couldn’t help but think of the famous French game in which one repeats, “He loves me. He loves me not,” with every pluck of a petal off a beautiful flower.  As I was eating my cupcake, I removed the petals, one by one, tasting their sugary sweetness, and said the phrases in my head. The results may have been disappointing, but my tummy sure was satisfied. Nevertheless, it was fun and delicious way to ring in the spring! I hope you enjoy these! :)
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The Ingredients…*
[I decided to stick to premade mix and frosting so I could focus on the decorations!]
1 box of yellow cake mix
Eggs, Oil & Water as directed on box
1 can of buttercream frosting (or make your own!)
Assorted colored sprinkles
Colorful Fruit Slices (like these)
Lollipops
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The Instructions…*
(1)
Preheat oven to 350° F

(2) Mix cupcakes as according to box and bake as instructed
(3) Let completely cool and frost as desired
(4) Dunk frosted cupcakes into small dishes of sprinkles until frosting is completely covered
(5) Cut the sticks off of the lollipops and place on center of cupcake (I used a dab of royal icing to hold suckers in place)
(6) Cut fruit slices into thin triangular pieces and dip one of the sticky sides into colored sprinkles until the petal is coated; then arrange petals around lollipop on cupcake, sprinkle side up
(7) Now, it’s time to eat them! Store leftovers in fridge to avoid melting lollipops
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Peanut Butter Brownie Truffles…*
…Big Taste, Little Bites  

After what feels like years spent writing research papers and working on group projects,
it sure feels nice to be back in the kitchen. With only one week left of classes, I’m getting anxious, stressed, excited, nervous, and a little sad. My life is about to change dramatically. I must say goodbye to college, classes, homework, Grand Rapids, some of my best friends, and many precious memories. I will be embracing a new chapter of my life as a Food and Beverage Manager at the JW Marriott in Chicago. There are days when I wake up and all I can think about is getting to Chicago and starting my new job. Most of the time, however, I begin to shy away from the idea of leaving my comfort zone and starting anew. I’m sure I will love everything about this new upcoming life experience, but for now, I think I will just bake away my anxieties. To start, I made Peanut Butter Brownie Truffles in an effort to recreate Picky Palate’s Chocolate PB Covered Brownies. These mini brownie bites are dunked in a chocolate and peanut buttery blend and chilled to form a rich, decadent truffle. Just another way to use brownie mix as a base for a quick & delicious sweet treat! 
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The Ingredients…*
(Recipe adapted from Picky Palate)
1 brownie mix (I used Pillsbury Brownie Minis)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
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The Instructions…*
(1) Preheat oven to 350° F
(2) Prepare brownie mix according to package directions
(3) Bake until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center but still slightly undercooked
(4) Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
(5) If using regular brownie mix, scoop brownies with a medium cookie scoop, roll tightly into a ball and place onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. Continue rolling until brownies are gone. ***If you are using Brownie Minis, simply pop them out of the pan. No rolling necessary.  
(6) Freeze brownies until very firm, a couple hours or overnight. No worries if your brownie balls aren’t perfect, once frozen reshape them. They are easier to handle when chilled.
(7) Place chocolate chips over a double broiler (or heat in microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth) to melt, and then stir in peanut butter until creamy smooth.
(8) Dip each chilled brownie ball into chocolate and place onto wax paper to dry. Enjoy room temperature or chilled :)
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I even drizzled them with warm peanut butter for extra goodness :)

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I think they taste best when they’re slightly warm and gooey. Go ahead and pop each truffle in the microwave for a few seconds before indulging! I promise you won’t be disappointed
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These were absolutely disgusting. I clearly didn't like them one bit............

 
 
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S’mores Stuffed Brownies…*
…everything you love about S’mores—stuffed inside a brownie!   

Hershey’s Chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers pair up with warm, thick brownies for the perfect campfire-inspired treat. These Smore’s Stuffed Brownies, compliments of Picky Palate, are rich in flavor and in texture. As you bite into the triple-topped chocolatey square of goodness, you are awakened with a crunchy graham cracker, emerged in melted Hershey’s, and topped with a gooey marshmallow enclosed in a perfectly toasted shell. I went ahead and topped my brownie with a scoop of cold, creamy vanilla ice cream and let me tell you, I do not regret it oneeee bit.  Let’s just say, these treats will leave you wanting nothing but s’more.
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The Ingredients…*
(Recipe by Picky Palate)
1 box of your favorite brownie mix
4 1/2 full Graham Crackers
3 1/2 Full size Hershey’s Bars
16 large marshmallows
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The Instructions…*
(1) Preheat oven to 350° F
(2) Prepare brownie mix according to package directions
(3) Line foil into an 8×8 inch (I used 9x13) baking pan and spray generously with cooking spray
(4) Pour half the brownie batter into lined pan
(5) Layer graham crackers over brownies following Hershey Bars and marshmallows
(6) Pour remaining brownie batter over marshmallows
(7) Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes mostly clean from center; Remove from oven and let cool completely. 
(8) Carefully remove foil and brownies from pan; Peel any foil from away from edges and cut into squares. Best when served warm with a large scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream! Or go all out and grab a pint of S’mores ice cream—yes please!
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Want S'more treats? Try these cookies!

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little shortcake...*