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Watermelon Cupcakes

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Watermelon Cupcakes

What could be a better picnic treat than these sweet watermelon cupcakes~ covered in “ants” and filled with chocolate chip seeds???

Watermelon Cupcakes

These are so fun to make- and watching people’s surprise at that filling is fun too! My favorite comment? “Oh my, this tastes like WATERMELON!”  Um…yes. It does. *smile*

This recipe uses a cake pop maker. I hesitantly purchased one a few years back to make a polka dot cake, and I thought I’d end up selling it on a garage sale after that one use. NOT SO!!! I love it! So many possibilities! I just made fun little pancake balls the other day for breakfast- not to mention all the yummy recipes we have done here with it! Get a cake pop maker!! (or, if you must, make your pink centers in mini muffin tins. Just know that you are missing out on some serious fun!)

I also used fondant on the top of these cupcakes. I know that for many of you, this step is a tedious one and I say frost these cupcakes however you like! Green frosting, pink frosting with sprinkles of mini chips….whatever! Just don’t miss out on that fun center!

Watermelon Cupcakes

Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed white cake mix (with water, oil and eggs to make according to box)
  • One small packet of watermelon Kool-Aid drink mix
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla
  • Green, Pink, and Black  Food Color Gels
  • One box of Wilton fondant in white (or make your own, using my recipe)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake mix according to package
  • Remove one cup of batter and place in a separate bowl.
  • Add 1/2 a packet of Watermelon Kool-Aid powder (use more or less to taste)
  • Add pink color gel to intensify the color to desired shade
  • Mix in mini chocolate chips.
  • Bake in cakepop maker (or use a small mini-muffin tin), making 24 cake pops (or mini-muffins)

Watermelon Cupcakes CentersWatermelon Cupcakes Centers

  • Add green color gel to remaining batter, mixing well.
  • Spoon a little green batter into a cupcake liner, placed in a cupcake tin.
  • Place pink cake pop on top.
  • Spoon green batter over the top, covering the cake pop. Use less, rather than more batter here- if you use too much it will bake over the edges.
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 15-18 minutes.
  • Cool completely.
  • Make frosting by placing butters, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beating on high for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  • Color frosting green, if desired, and set aside.
  • IF you use fondant, color a batch with green color gel (leave out a little bit to make ants if desired), cut into circles that fit the top of your cupcakes using a round cookie cutter. Keep circles covered to prevent drying.
  • Working one cupcake at a time, spread frosting and then gently lay fondant on top of frosting and press edges down inside of cupcake liner.
  • Use dark green color gel with a little water (think watercolor paints) to paint on watermelon stripes.
  • Color remaining fondant black and roll into 3 small balls to stick together as an ant on each cupcake. use a toothpick or small brush to paint little ant legs under each ant.

Watermelon CupcakesWatermelon Cupcakes

***If you have used fondant before, this should all be easy, but if this is your 1st time and you are wondering what I mean by things like “color fondant”, see my tutorial on making and using fondant here. You’ll make your ants like the caterpillars shown in the tutorial.***

Watermelon Cupcakes7My thoughts… These are really fun little cupcakes. I’m not a huge fan of watermelon flavor, but only the center is flavored and for me it was the perfect little surprise “pop” of flavor. You could certainly add Kool-Aid to your frosting too- it will just end up being a little pink, rather than green.

Watermelon Cupcakes

Nothing says SUMMER like watermelon~ enjoy these little cupcakes at YOUR next summer celebration!! ~r

Other ways to use that cake pop machine you just got ;) (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Polka Dot Cake!!!Gender reveal cupcakes5Patriotic Polka Dot Cake!!!!Green Bay Packer Cupcakes!

Cupcakes for Puppies!!!

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Pupcakes

These delicious little peanut butter cupcakes are a yummy treat for puppies and people!

(Just don’t sprinkle the people-ones with dog treats!)

Pupcakes

So, I have this dog named Casper.

He was an answer to prayer 6 years ago and he has been making me smile and cheering my heart ever since. His 6th birthday is coming up in June and I wanted to celebrate with a dessert made just for him. I took my peanut butter cookie recipe (which is delightfully simple, using pup-friendly ingredients) and scooped it into mini-muffin tins to bake. They bake up into adorable little bite-size treats. I topped the puppy ones with whipped cream and puppy treats. Then I added a little chocolate on top of the “human” variety.

Peanut butter cookie cupcakes

Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24-30 mini cupcakes)

  • 1c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1c. sugar
  • 1 egg

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Mix peanut butter, sugar and eggs together in a mixing bowl.
  • Use a medium size cookie scoop to scoop dough into mini cupcake liners placed in a mini cupcake tin.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Cool completely.
  • Serve plain, or top with a little whipped cream and dog treats (for dogs)
  • I like a little chocolate with my peanut butter (for humans ONLY though- chocolate makes puppies sick!)
  • Enjoy! (and help your pup with that paper wrapper!)

Pupcakes7

Pupcakes1

Just like that, his “pupcake” is gone! (he needed a little help with the paper wrapper…)

Then we played with the extra whipped cream a little bit…just for fun.

Pupcakes6Pupcakes5

Love him!!!!!

My thoughts: Easy, fun and yummy for both you and your furry friends. Casper and I shared these with both human and puppy friends and they were a hit! There are only 3 basic ingredients in these, but you’ll want to make sure that neither dog nor human have allergies to them before serving!  ~Enjoy!!!

Casper and his white-dog cupcakes

Don’t miss Casper’s other recipe feature here: “Cupcakes for Casper”

Chocolate Crossword Cookies

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Crossword Cookies1

These delicious chocolate cut-out cookies are the perfect way to spell out your love to Mom on Mother’s Day!

Goodness, I love these cut-out cookies. They are one of my very favorite chocolate cookies and they roll out and cut beautifully! I’ve used them often with various projects here on Easybaked.

This Mother’s Day is different. It is my very 1st Mother’s Day without a Mom. For those of you who follow me here at Easybaked, you know that we lost mom very suddenly last Christmas season to cancer. Almost every day feels strange without her here, but I guess Mother’s Day seems even more strange.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I would have a recipe this year here in celebration of Moms- and I said, “Yes!”

Moms are such a wonderful gift, and if you have one this weekend– give her a big hug and really enjoy having her in your life. I have no regrets about my time with my mom- we made so many wonderful memories together and I love thinking about all the times we spent talking and laughing in my 44 years.

This idea is for her. She was positively addicted to crossword puzzles, and I know that these cookies would have made her smile.

Crossword Cookies4

My icing skills are not something to be terribly proud of…man, I cannot draw a straight line!!!!

Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 30, 1 1/2” square cookies)

  • 1 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Wilton’s candy melts (to mold or write letters with)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Add butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa together in  large mixing bowl.
  • Blend on medium speed with a mixer until smooth.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until smooth (use clean hands at the end, to knead into a soft ball of dough)
  • Roll out cookie dough on floured counter, using a floured rolling pin.
  • Cut into 1 1/2″ squares and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  
  • Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm.
  • Gently slide parchment paper off of cookie sheet and onto a flat surface. 
  • Before frosting, make letters by using a candy letter mold in 1″ letters. Pipe melted Wilton’s Candy Melts into the letters you need and allow them to harden completely before tapping to remove. You can also just “write” letters on the frosted cookies using melted chocolate or even use pens designed to write in edible ink.
  • Frost using Royal Icing.  Click here for my printable royal icing recipe and instructions for use.
  • As soon as you frost, lay letters in place before the frosting hardens (if you are “writing” directly on the cookie you will wait until the frosting is very hard 1st).
  • Decorate extra cookies with fun sprinkles.

Crossword Cookies

My thoughts: These are yummy little cut-outs! If you don’t want to go with a crossword theme, you can cut these into any shape and decorate them just for your mom!

Crossword Cookies

I will leave you with a (very!) old picture of my mom and I together. I’m so thankful for all the years between this picture and now.

photo

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Looking for that perfect gift for moms and grandmas? Get them my cookbook- specially designed to use with kids and grandkids, teaching them both kitchen skills and about God’s love for them! Fun!!!

Life is Sweet Baking DevotionalLife Is Sweet: 12 Baking Devotions for Kids

Almost-Fried Ice Cream Cups!

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Fried Ice cream

Crispy baked cinnamon shells make a delicious little bowl for a scoop of ice cream. It’s all the flavor of fried ice cream without the frying part!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! I love celebrating all things Mexico. I spent many years of my life taking teams down to a tiny town in Sinoloa to partner with a church there in reaching out to their community. I remember those trips, the dear people we met, and the unbelievably delicious food they made, often. Makes me smile!

We never actually had fried ice cream there, but it seems a staple in all American Mexican restaurants. I’ve made these little cinnamon cups before, in my Cinnamon Cheesecake Cups recipe, and I love the re-purposing of wonton wraps as crispy sweet cups for desserts!

Fried Ice cream1

Here’s how we made these yummy desserts: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 wonton wraps
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups finely crushed frosted flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Toppings as desired

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • In a small bowl, combine crushed corn flakes and cinnamon.
  • Lightly spray the front and back of a wonton wrap and place into corn flake/ cinnamon mixture to coat both sides.
  • Place into a whoopie pie pan (you can use a muffin tin instead, but cups will hold a little less ice cream).
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 8 minutes (until crispy and golden brown)

Fried Ice CreamFried Ice Cream

  • Remove from oven and cool completely.
  • Place a scoop of ice cream into each cooled “bowl” , sprinkle with remaining corn flake and cinnamon mixture, add toppings as desired and….ENJOY!!!!!
    Fried Ice Cream3My thoughts : These are truly delicious. I kept my leftover “bowls” in a zip-top bags for several days without losing that “crunch”, so these are even good to make a little ahead and just pull out with ice cream to serve later. YUM!!!  I hope you get a chance to try them! Enjoy!!! ~r

Fried Ice cream2

 

Other fun recipes for Cinco de Mayo: (just click on a photo to see the recipe)

Mexican Chocolate MilkTres Leches Cake with caramel and fruitCreamy Mango Pops!Dulce de Leche caramel sauce form a can

Bajadera Torte (a recipe from Croatia)

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Bajadera Torte

Layers of cookies, almonds, and chocolate make this dessert recipe from the country of Croatia a beautiful, and totally unique treat!

There are so many of you who check in here on Easybaked every week for my latest dessert creation, and I feel like we have become friends, you and I. I follow many of your blogs and I’ve heard about your celebrations and sadnesses.

Blog friendships are a strange thing though. Most of you only know me as a baker. With a cute little white dog. That is a part of who I am, but it is really just a tiny little sliver of my life here on planet earth.

  • Did you know that about 2 years ago I lost my job in Genetics? I’d worked in medicine for 23 years and budget cuts did us in.
  • Did you know that instead of staying in medicine I spent 8 months in Rough Rock Arizona, working as a missionary with a little Navajo church?
  • Did you know that last fall I began raising support to be a full-time missionary with Josiah Venture- reaching out to young people in Eastern and Central Europe with God’s love for them?

Some of you who have faithfully followed Easybaked over the years know bits and pieces about these parts of my life, but the rest of you probably didn’t know those things. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the mission organization I am working with by sharing a recipe from one of the countries we are in: Croatia!

Bajadera Torte

Aren’t those just so much fun? I can tell you, they are absolutely delicious too- very buttery and flakey.

These are a no-bake dessert and I think they are a perfect recipe for kids to help with! I read about 20 recipes for these online and there are a ton of different ways to make these (and lots of opinions about which version is the most authentic!) I will tell you that these are NOT authentic because rather than using “tea biscuits” or “butter cookies” I used good ol’ Nilla Wafers! You can certainly try the recipe with a more European-type cookie base, but I wanted to be practical, and every American family can get their hands on a box of Nilla Wafers!

Here is how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

TORTE:

  • 3 cups of vanilla wafers (or another plain tea-biscuit sort of cookie)
  • 1 1/2 cups of blanched, peeled almonds (I found these in produce at my grocery)
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

GLAZE:

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil.
  • Place vanilla wafers and almonds into the bowl of a food processor or food chopper and pulse until both are finely ground.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add sugar, 6 Tablespoons of butter and water and microwave on high in one minute increments (stirring in between) until butter is melted and sugar is mostly dissolved (mine took about 4 minutes)
  • Pour cookie and nut mixture into bowl with hot sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Divide out about 1/3 of the dough into a separate bowl.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir into 1/3 of the dough.
  • Press half of the “plain” dough into the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
  • Press all of the “chocolate” dough on top.
  • Press remaining “plain” dough on top of the chocolate layer.
  • Make glaze by melting 1 cup of chocolate chips with 6 Tablespoon of butter in the microwave.
  • Stir well and pour over top.
  • Refrigerate until glaze hardens, cut into pieces and enjoy!!!

Bajadera Torte

My thoughts: These are absolutely delicious. If you want your version to be a little less sweet, use bittersweet or dark chocolate instead. Let’s hear it for Croatia, and a perfectly wonderful dessert!

Croatia is just one of 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe that Josiah Venture is working in. Josiah Venture began just over 20 years ago, and now they have over 300 missionaries in 14 countries. Over half of those missionaries are nationals, because one of Josiah Venture’s firmly held beliefs is that our job is to partner with churches in each country and equip nationals to lead and serve in their own country. The focus is reaching out to young people with the good news that God loves them.

This is done in practical ways that provide for other needs in these countries. Most of these countries have excellent educational systems, but they lack extracurricular activities, like music and sports. Josiah Venture partners with a local church and the school to provide training in those things and to offer, at the same time, information about who God is and how to know Him. This has been, and continues to be, an incredibly effective way to encourage positive activities along with a relationship with God in this young generation.

In 2010 and 2011, I took the college ministry I led over to serve at a Josiah Venture camp in Slovakia, and I just loved meeting the young people who are becoming a positive influence in the lives of others in their country. It was incredible.

When I was preparing to leave the Navajo Nation last fall, I was invited to join Josiah Venture full-time as the coordinator of a program that offers internships to college-age students. We invite young people to spend 3 to 6 months overseas, partnered with one of our missionaries, to see if they might be interested in full-time work with youth overseas.

Amazing Race Josiah Venture

A picture of last year’s interns during training.

 

I’ve been raising the support I need to begin this position full-time, and I’ve been learning the systems in place for getting these interns prepared to serve overseas. We have just over 90 interns this year, and we are hoping to increase our capacity to invite more!

It’s a really exciting and new part of my life, and I’m really SO thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible movement of God both here- in the lives of these college students- and overseas.

I know that you are here for a recipe~ but maybe today you are here for more- to learn about what God is doing in another part of the world. There are several ways you can connect with Josiah Venture and with the intern ministry I am helping to lead.

1. The Josiah Venture Website is a wealth of information about each country, each ministry and each missionary.

2. My personal blog began out on the Navajo reservation and has been all about my journey from there to here.

3. My newsletter  sends you updates on what God is doing with my little part of Josiah Venture. It is published monthly.

4. Josiah Venture on Vimeo has incredible videos of what God is doing in the lives of these students.

Hey~thanks for letting me tell you a little about something that really matters to me. Not that desserts don’t matter…but these other things matter for eternity.

Now, settle in with a piece of this beautiful torte and read a little about what God is doing in Croatia, and in all the other countries of Eastern and Central Europe!   Enjoy!! ~r

Bajadera Torte

 

I usually leave you with links to my favorite recipes here- but today, here are a few memorable moments from the past year: Preparing to leave for Arizona…Lessons from real-life shepherds…Learning about JV…and a Christmas we will never forget.

az-441sheep-squareNavajo392067_10151247110872513_1568830611_n-2

 

 

Maple Hedgehog Cupcakes!

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Hedgehog Cupcakes

Hedgehogs are the MOST adorable things, and these yummy maple cupcakes capture all the cuteness in edible form!

Seems like hedgehogs are all the rage these days. I’ve seen slippers and t-shirts and recently found the MOST adorable hedgehog salt and pepper shakers at Target.

I love them. I think they fall into the category: “so ugly they are cute”, in the animal kingdom…along with the walrus and basset hound…

In any case, I decided that the cupcake world needed a cute (and EASY) version of these, and here they are!

Hedgehog4

Now, the dilemma of every blogger of desserts is this: who do I give these to, so that I don’t eat them all and gain 500 pounds?

I had an obvious answer for these little hedgehogs: Warner Press!

You see, about a year ago at this time I was getting ready for the publication of my first cookbook, and I was partnered with an absolutely WONDERFUL publisher~ Warner Press. Through the process, many of the people I worked with became dear friends. One of those friends HATES hedgehogs. In fact, it is a long-standing office joke that Regina despises the cute little rodents. Obviously, she needed Hedgehog cupcakes~ so I went for a visit!

Warner Press

We had a fun day of cupcakes and catching up- and I promised them I would tell you all about the (adorable!) boxed set of Hedgehog cards that Regina reluctantly approved for publication. She was so convinced that they would be an epic fail, that she agreed to a wager: If the hedgehog cards make it into the top 10 selling items at Warner Press she would take them all out for dinner…and they are close…!

Hedgehog Cards!

I love them, and thought I’d give you all a chance to purchase some (and maybe put them into the top ten best selling items?!?!) They would be a cute gift for Mother’s Day! Click here to see the rest of the fun hedgie pictures and to order.

The cupcakes are as easy as can be! Here’s how we put them together: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 boxed cake mix (plus water oil and eggs to make according to package)
  • 1 tub of pre-made vanilla frosting
  • 2 teaspoons of maple flavoring
  • 1 cup of chocolate jimmies
  • 1/2 cup of Wilton’s Candy Melts in dark chocolate (or you can use mini chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup of Wilton’s Candy melts in pink.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake mix according to package and bake as cupcakes for recommended time and temp. Cool completely.
  • Place frosting into a small bowl and heat for just 15-20 seconds in the microwave until soft. Add maple flavoring and stir until combined.
  • Dip tops of cooled cupcakes into frosting and pull into a slight “point” on one end of the cupcake for a little nose (see photo)
  • Immediately (over a plate) pour and pat jimmies into place, opposite the “point”, leaving a small circular section empty for face. Finish all cupcakes this way ( if you use mini chips for eyes you should place them now, before the frosting hardens)

Hedgehog cupcakes 10Hedgehog cupcake11

  • Melt candy melts in the microwave in a small bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • Place each color in a small zip-top bag and seal.
  • Clip a small corner off and squeeze out drops of chocolate for the eyes and pink candy melts for the nose- right on the end of the “point” left by the frosting.
  • Allow cupcakes to harden up.
  • Enjoy!!!!

Hedgehog cupcakes

My thoughts: Cute and easy! Plus that maple frosting is YUM-MY! You certainly could use your own favorite cupcake recipe for these too- I just used a cake mix for simplicity. Such a fun recipe for kids too! Gotta love those hedgehogs– right, Regina?!?  Enjoy!! ~r

Hedgehog2

Other unique cupcakes from Easybaked: (click a photo to see the recipe)

Apple cupcakes filled with seedsPancake Cupcakes!!!!Root Beer Float Cupcakes!!!!Bomb Pop Cupcakes!!!

Mud Pie!

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Mud Pie!

A layer of dense cake, topped with fudge, chocolate mousse and whipped cream. Yum.

Life is mud right now. At least if you live in the midwest and regularly walk a dog. My pup’s little white paws and belly are just caked in mud after every trip down our walking trail. There’s one kind of mud I don’t mind though- the edible kind!

Have you ever tried Mississippi Mud pie? I feel like there’s not an “official” recipe for this pie- sometimes pudding, sometimes marshmallow…I just put several things I love into an Oreo crust and called it mud. And it is delicious. I really think you’ll like it!

Mud Pie

Here’s how we did it: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One pre-made Oreo crumb crust

Cake layer:

  • 1/2 bag of Nestle dark chocolate chips (this ends up being just a little less than 1 cup)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons of powdered sugar

Fudge layer:

  • remaining 1/2 bag of Nestle dark chocolate chips (this ends up being just a little less than 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream

Chocolate Mousse Layer:

  • 1 Packet of Dream Whip
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

White whipped topping:

  • 1 packet of Dream Whip
  • 1/2 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Cake Layer:

  • Unwrap Oreo crust and preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl combine eggs, cream, vanilla and powdered sugar.
  • Add cream mixture to chocolate and blend well.  Pour into crust and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until center is set. Cool completely.

Fudge Layer:

  • Melt remaining chocolate chips and cream together in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Pour all but about 1/8 cup over cooled cake and allow this layer to firm up (I placed it in the refrigerator while I made the remaining 2 layers).
  • Pour remaining 1/8 cup into a small zip-top bag to use later for drizzle.

Chocolate Mousse Layer:

  • Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and beat on high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Spoon on top of fudge layer and spread to edges.

Whipped topping:

  • Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and beat on high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Spoon on top and spread to edges.
  • Take your small bag with 1/8 cup chocolate fudge filling (The one you set aside earlier), clip corner of bag and drizzle over the top. (I added a little shaved chocolate too)
  • Enjoy!

Mud Pie!

My thoughts: This is really as good as it looks…dense fudge bottom topped with the creamiest chocolate toppings. I usually eat that one bite I take off for a picture and give every bit of the rest away. But I ate the whole piece. Bad day for the diet, but a wonderful day to really savor this rich chocolate dessert. This is on my list of “must-make-again” recipes! I hope you get a chance to try it and enjoy it as much as I did!!!! Enjoy! ~r

Mud Pie!!!

Is chocolate the only way to do dessert in your house? Here are some other incredible chocolate treats from Easybaked~ just click on the photo to see the recipe!

Chocolate Mousse CakeTriple Chocolate Cheesecake 2Brownie Oreo Cookie CupGerman Chocolate Pie

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