Funfetti Cake

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“You should try and make homemade funfetti cake!” “OK!” This is verbatim how the conversation with my good friend MaryKate and I went down. Didn’t have to ask me twice!

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MaryKate and I had this conversation about a month ago now, but it wasn’t until this past weekend where I had a chance to write out a recipe and get to baking. Last Saturday it rained all day, morning to night. My absolute very favorite time to bake is early on Saturday mornings. Despite going to bed at 2am the night before, I woke up at 7am (I’m a psycho, I’m aware). I made breakfast, made tea, watched an episode of The Pioneer Woman in bed and then got to baking on my perfect little rainy Saturday morning.

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Only good things happen on weekend mornings. And this cake was a result of that. The funfetti came out extremely delicious and indulgent. It’s slightly more dense than the light and fluffy from a box mix, but I prefer that. Slather on some homemade buttercream frosting and you have yourself a fun little cake.

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Funfetti Cake with Buttercream Frosting
yields 9x13 cake

Cake Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla imitation
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil  
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (like these, not these), some reserved for decorating

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla
3 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13 cake pan, spray with cooking spray and coat with flour, set aside.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about one minute on high. Scrape the sides and beat for a few more seconds. Add in egg whites. Combine wet ingredients (milk and extracts) in a liquid measuring cup. With your mixer on low, alternate wet and dry until fully combined. Add in your sprinkles and mix on low. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Once cake has cooled, time to make the frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all frosting ingredients until smooth and desired consistency.

Flip your cake out of it’s pan, top down, and on to a serving tray. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake in big swoops and sprinkle with extra sprinkles!

Cake stays good in the fridge for up to a week!

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Annie

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Perfect CCCs

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Celiacs and lactose rejoice! Perfect CCC’s free of dairy and gluten are here and just as perfect. I quote my father when I say, (my very non-lactose and non-gluten free father) “These gluten-free and dairy-free cookies are the (insert bomb emoji here).”

Coconut oil replaces the butter and dairy-free chocolate chips are used in replacement of the original stuff. I use gluten-free flour for a 1:1 swap for all purpose and they come out great! Just make sure to chop your chocolate up so you get specs of chocolate throughout, and you must sprinkle with flaky Maldon salt to get the Perfect CCC signature touch!

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Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Perfect CCCss
yields 30 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2  cup melted coconut oil (measures 1/2 cup as a liquid, not solidified)
1/2 cup olive oil (use a basic, not fancy olive oil)
3¼ cups gluten-free flour (i use this brand)
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
12 ounces, Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips, roughly chopped (key step)
Maldon salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl mix both sugars. *You can use light or dark brown sugar. I like a dark cookie so I prefer dark brown sugar, but I switch off depending on what I have on hand. Pour the melted coconut oil and olive oil into the bowl with the sugars and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Stir in the vanilla.

In two batches, add the dry ingredients into the butter sugar mixture. I use wooden spoon to incorporate. Once the dough has almost come together, but still a little floury, add the dairy free chocolate chips.
*I roughly chopped my chocolate chips, so I could get more chocolate in each bite. I also love those little shavings of chocolate sprinkled through the dough! 

Form 2-3 tablespoon size balls. I used a standard size cookie scoop, but overload the scoop getting a larger ball of dough. Place them on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Do not overcrowd the pans. I get 8 balls of dough on a pan, at most. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with flaky Maldon salt and any extra chocolate bits leftover from chopping.

Bake for 9 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through. Bake until just barely golden around the edges, the key is to not over bake these! Shy on the underdone side.

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Annie

And if you want all the butter and gluten, look no further.

Thin Mint Brownies

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I teased these brownies on my Instagram a few weeks back, but I was saving them to share until St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know if the fact that the Thin Mint box is green or that when you think of mint you associate the color green, but when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day themed treats, several mint chocolate recipes come up.

A mint chocolate St. Patrick’s themed recipe I remember from growing up is when my sisters and I used to make little ice cream sandwiches from a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream between two Thin Mints. You would then wrap them individually in foil and freeze. The snack idea came from a March issue of the American Girl magazine, maybe circa 2000? Did anyone else get the American Girl magazine? Does anyone else associate mint chocolate with St. Patrick’s Day?

These brownies are insanely fudgey, but that’s how I like them. If you can’t do the mint chocolate thing, try my Perfect Fudge Brownies by themself!

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Thin Mint Brownies:
yields 9 brownies

Ingredients:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 sleeve of Thin Mints, roughly chopped (16 cookies)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until fully melted. Stirring between each 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the bottom to keep from burning. In a separate bowl, use a whisk to beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. With a wooden spoon, stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Fold the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the mix.

Pour half of the batter into your prepared pan. Evenly distribute 1/2 of the chopped Thin Mints over the top. Repeat with the other half of the batter. I use a butter knife to help spread the batter over the cookie layer. Finish by distributing the rest of the chopped cookies over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Support your co-workers daughter or your neighborhood Girl Scout and pick up a box of thin mints this week! Grab some Samoas while you’re at it for a batch of my Samoa Popcorn.

Annie

Bites of My Life

This week I was reminded of how much can change in a year, or really more of how different things can be at one point in time, just a year apart. Thank you Timehop for always reminding me of these moments. This week last year, the restaurant group I work for was opening our biggest undertaking to date. I was working around the clock, I hadn't seen my friends in weeks, I was pale from not seeing the sun, there was no time for blogging, reading, watching TV, seeing movies, but I was still loving every minute of it. And have never been apart of something more rewarding. If you are in town this weekend, help us celebrate!

This week, this year, things are relatively slow work wise (a nice break from the hustle that was april-may-june), I'm loving all the time I'm getting with friends and family and yes I'm tanner than I've ever been in my life (LOL). I have time to bake (cue campfire cookies), binge on TV (currently: Southern Charm), saw a movie for the first time in forever (got the invite to an early screening for Crazy Rich Asians: it's so good!!!) and reading. Yes, reading. I finished my 6th book of the year this weekend. 

It's nice to have the change from last summer. This summer has been really "summer-filled" if that makes sense. Lot's of time to enjoy the things you can only really do in the summer. This weekend was spent at the lake with my fam. It was a relaxing, fun and the perfect summer weekend.

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-#NationalPinaColadaDay celebrated a bit more healthy in the form of a protein shake, but it still took me back to Waikiki Beach!
-Princess Elsa at your service! Hilarious but cutest way to start my Tuesday after being asked to dress up as Elsa from Frozen to surprise a bunch of 4-year-old girls while they enjoyed "Princess Camp."
-Trader Joe's Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala doctored up with some peas for color and greens. What is your favorite TJ's frozen meal?
-Got to put my flavor input on this weekends featured drink at The Jones. Included my current favorite things: blackberry, ginger, lemon, gin and tonic.
-I just really love this picture, that is all.
-Campfire Cookies! I mean JK's Campfire Cookies, renamed by my brother-in-law. Get the recipe here for these s'more/Perfect CCC hybrid cookies.
-#LakeBaby
-My favorite breakfast casserole courtesy of one of my besties family recipes! Perfect lake breakfast or breakfast for a crowd.
-Chips in your sandwich or you're doing it wrong.
-Book #6 finished! The goal is 12 in 12 months. 
-Waterloooooooo!!! Who else has tried the new sparkling water craze? I bought the black cherry flavor and I'm loving it. 
-Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto made for the best veggie filled dinner after the all-carb diet at the lake.

Annie

Campfire Cookies

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I'm heading to the lake with my family later today and I was tasked with bringing the "treats." Do I go with the classic Perfect CCC's? I could. Do I take the easy way out and just buy s'more ingredients? No, because it's 100+ in Oklahoma right now and the last thing I want to do is stand around a fire. 

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So instead, I will combine the two. As if my Perfect CCC's and a s'more had a baby, I give you Campfire Cookies. The ultimate summer lake trip treat.

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They are everything you love in a Perfect CCC (hello flaky Maldon Salt) mixed with graham crackers, marshmallows, and a Hershey's chocolate bar. I can think of nothing better right now. I will also take this moment to profess my love affair with Graham Crackers. The most underrated cookie/cracker. They are the perfect after dinner snack. Shmear on a little Cookie Butter or almond butter and you are golden. Graham Crackers I love you. Campfire Cookies, I love you too!

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Campfire Cookies
yields 32-36 cookies

Ingredients:
1  cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed*
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1 Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, chopped
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 sleeve Graham Crackers (9 crackers total)
Maldon Salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

Divide your graham crackers into stacks of 4 and 5. Take the 5 graham crackers and place in a large ziplock bag. Using a rolling pin crush the crackers into fine crumbs. This mixture will be added to the dry ingredients, so you want them to be very fine. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Then, take the 4 graham crackers and break them up into small pieces. Small enough to be mixed into the dough, but still in chunks. *see photo above for reference.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, fine graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl mix both sugars. *You can use light or dark brown sugar. I like a dark cookie so I prefer dark brown sugar, but I switch off depending on what I have on hand. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugars and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Stir in the vanilla.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture. I found a wooden spoon to be the easiest for this job. Once the dough has almost come together, add the chocolate chips, marshmallows, graham cracker chunks and 3/4 of the chopped Hershey's bar.
Reserve a few marshmallows, graham cracker chunks and 1/4 of the chopped Hershey bar for topping the balls of cookie dough.

Form 2-3 tablespoon size balls. I used a standard size cookie scoop, but overload the scoop getting a larger ball of dough. Place them on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Do not overcrowd the pans. I got 10 balls of dough on a pan. Take your reserved chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows and top each ball of dough with a little of each. Then sprinkle the top of each cookie with flaky Maldon salt. 

Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through. Bake until just slightly golden. 

Don't fear, the marshmallows will ooze out and go all over the pan.  For a prettier cookie, take the cookies while they are still warm and using either you fingers or a knife, pull off and trim away the oozy marshmallow.You are simply just cleaning up your cookies. 

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Annie