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

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. Pour in 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

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

Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars

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These lemon bars are the brain child of craving lemon bars the second spring hit, being gifted a huge bag of Brandless Oats & Honey Granola while trying to avoid eating granola (due to my lack of self-control when it comes to this crack snack), and the response to an Instagram poll where lemon bars won in a landslide.

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These lemon bars are vegan. No, I don't follow a vegan diet, I tried and gained what felt like 5 lbs. in 5 days due to eating pasta and carbs in replacement for protein and dairy. However, I've found that cooking and baking while trying to modify for various diets is a challenge and a fun experiment. It also doesn't hurt to watch your intake of added sugar, animal products and excess dairy. Due to the granola, these bars are not gluten-free, but the are vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, and free of processed sugar. 

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Quick plug for Brandless before we move on. This recipe is not sponsored by Brandless, but I have to brag on them. The granola, the parchment paper and the knife (yes the knife) that I used in parts of this recipe are all from Brandless. It's my new obsession. They are a fair-trade, non-GMO, mostly organic, no added sugar food and household item company where everything is $3. And for each purchase made on Brandless, a meal is donated to Feeding America. 

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Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars
yields 16 bars

Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews* soaked
1 cup coconut cream (the hardened portion at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk)
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup agave
2 cups plain granola, I used Brandless Oats & Honey, but any kind of honey, almond, or vanilla flavor will work. 
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1-2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
Place your cashews in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let soak for 1 hour. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper, letting the edges hang over the sides and set aside. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a blender or food processor, pulse the granola until it is the texture of fine crumbs. In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil and granola crumbs.  Press mixture into prepared pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, make sure crust is pressed firmly into pan. Bake for 10 minutes until edges are slightly golden. 

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a high powdered blender, add soaked cashews, coconut cream, juice and zest of lemons and agave. Blend together until smooth and creamy. Taste and make sure flavor is where you want it. I added a bit more lemon zest after tasting. You want the lemon flavor to be bright and it to be slightly sweet.

Spread filling mixture over the baked crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until the edges are firm and the center slightly jiggly (LOL jiggly). Let rest for 10 minutes. Chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge or overnight. 

Using the parchment paper to assist you, pull the lemon bars out of the pan. Cut evenly into 16 squares. Lightly sift powdered sugar over the top. Fine served at room temperature, but store in the fridge for optimal freshness!

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Annie

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Double Cashew Brownies

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Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Double Cashew Brownies, say that five times fast. I got a little crazy with these guys, and well, it totally worked. And they are like, kinda healthy, cause #glutenfree #dairyfree #fitfam #absaremadeinthekitchen.

No flour means they are seriously fudgey. And the double cashew comes from swirling my favorite cashew butter through the batter and then topping them with my favorite bulk bin item, dark chocolate covered cashews. Now let's just cut to the chase.

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Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Double Cashew Brownies
yields 1, 8x8 pan of brownies

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, divided
4 Tbsps. Georgia Grinders cashew butter, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate covered cashews, chopped (from the bulk bins)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a 8x8" baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk cornstarch and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until no lumps remain. Heat chocolate, 3 Tbsp. coconut oil, and 1 Tbsp. cashew butter in a small saucepan over low, stirring, until melted and smooth.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light, smooth, about 3–4 minutes. Beat in salt and vanilla to combine. Then pour in melted chocolate mixture, and beat to combine. Scrape sides as needed. Beat in cornstarch mixture, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is thick and holds its shape, about 30 seconds.

Melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil and remaining 3 Tbsp. cashew butter in a small microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Scrape batter into your prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Working quickly becasue the coconut oil in this recipe can start to re-harden, drop melted cashew butter mixture in 5 spots and swirl into top of batter with a skewer or toothpick. Sprinkle chopped dark chocolate cashews over the top.

Bake brownies for 21-24 minutes until tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist spots. Being careful not to insert tester into the melted chocolate covered cashew, but into the actual brownie. For an accurate read.

Store in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

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Annie

White Chocolate & Cranberry Christmas Cookies

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December 1st means Christmas is officially acceptable to be celebrated in all entities! Which means bring on the Christmas cookies, hot chocolate and Christmas movies on every night. 

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The idea for these cookies popped in my head last week and I immediately started doing research to craft the recipe. I love the signature cranberry and white chocolate combo and it's v festive. The dough base is similar to chocolate chip cookies but I added lots of cinnamon and nutmeg to give them a seasonal spice! 

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Cranberry & White Chocolate Christmas Cookies
yields 2 dozen

Ingredients: 
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dried cranberries (reserving a little)
4 oz or 1 cup white chocolate bar, chopped (reserving a little)

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

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla until combined, scraping the sides as needed. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. 

Stir in the dried cranberries and white chocolate. Make sure and reserve a little bit of the cranberries and white chocolate. I'll explain why. Form golf ball size balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Don't over crowd the pan. I got 8 on each sheet. 

Now for the reserved cranberries and chocolate. The key to a pretty cookie is topping them with a few of the ingredients inside the cookie. I chopped up the cranberries and topped each ball of dough with a few pieces of each. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just lightly browned. 

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I'm headed to Dallas later today for the OU vs. TCU Big XII championship game. These are name Christmas cookies, but there crimson and creme esthetic are making them a perfect game day treat too!

Boomer Sooner & Merry Christmas!  

Annie