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Rocky Road Cookies!

rocky-road-cookies

Rich fudge cookies covered in a pile of marshmallows, chocolate and almonds.

A perfect rocky road combination!

Confession: I’m not a fan of ice cream. I mean, it’s ok- but it isn’t like my favorite dessert. The rocky road combination of marshmallows, chocolate and almonds began in ice cream- back in the early 1900’s. It was actually the very 1st creative ice cream flavor- prior to its invention there was only vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Stop and imagine that for a minute. The world with no mint-chip ice cream…

So they invented this crazy new flavor, and then the Great Depression hit- and people didn’t have much money to buy ice cream. In a feat of marketing genius, it was given the name “Rocky Road” to relate to what people were going through and boost sales. It must have worked, because this flavor of ice cream has stood the test of time and is still filling the freezers of America.

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Since ice cream isn’t my favorite dessert, I like to take these flavors and create other things with them instead! I made Rocky Road cupcakes a couple of years ago on Easybaked, and they are still one of my favorite recipes. Yum.

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These are easy to make, and a perfectly rich, but not too sweet treat for any holiday or celebration. Or just for Mondays. Mondays always need good cookies.

Here is how we made them (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24, 4-inch round cookies)

Cookie: 

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Toppings:

  • 1 bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 1 bag of Wiltons candy melts in dark cocoa
  • 1/4 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in white
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

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.  
  • Cut into large circles (you want to have room for all those toppings!) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  
  • Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm.
  • Slide parchment paper off cookie sheet with cookies on top. Allow them to cool on counter.
  • Melt dark cocoa candy melts in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • Spoon about a tablespoon of chocolate on the top of a cookie and spread to edges.
  • Immediately (before chocolate hardens) add marshmallows, almonds and chocolate chips. They all don’t have to touch the melted chocolate, and some can be loose on top.
  • Finish all cookies in the same manner.
  • Melt white candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • Place candy melts into a small zip-top bag, clip a corner and drizzle white chocolate over the top of each cookie as shown.
  • Allow everything to harden up.
  • Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days (the marshmallows get a little chewy past that point). Make sure to layer parchment paper between the layers of cookies when storing them.
  • Enjoy!

rocky-road-cookies

My thoughts: There is just something unbelievably good about marshmallows on a cookie. The chewy sweetness of those, the crunchy nuts, the soft chocolate cookie… I LOVE these! Sometimes the love of a dessert is as much about the textures as it is about the flavors- and this cookie wins in both categories!!!! I hope you get a chance to try these! Enjoy! ~r

Other favorites for the cookie jar: (click on a photo to see the recipe):

Gingerbread Cookies!German Chocolate CookieChocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesChocolate Espresso Cookies!!!

 

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Love Bug Oreo Pops!

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Show a little love this Valentine’s Day with these Oreo Love Bugs!

Easy to make ahead and wrap up as gifts!

I just have to keep making Oreo Pops… there are so many possibilities and all of them are yummy and cute! I’ve pretty much failed at cake pops, but these? My favorite!

I made Lady Bugs Oreo Pops a couple of years ago, and when I was visiting Florida last month I was subjected to everyone’s horror stories about some awful little bug called a Love Bug. I guess people hate them down south, but when I heard “Love Bug” I immediately pictured these. Sweet little pink bugs with hearts and sprinkles!

love-bug-oreo-pops

Aren’t they fun? Cuteness overload….! These really aren’t hard to put together- especially if you’ve made Oreo Pops in the past. (If you haven’t ever made them, click here for a tutorial).

Here’s how we created these little love bugs! (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 25-30 Oreo Pops)

  • 1 package of Oreo Double Stuff cookies
  • 1/2 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in white
  • 1 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in bright pink
  • 1/2 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in black
  • Heart-shaped sprinkles (I used these), pink/red jimmies or sugars
  • Candy eyes

DIRECTIONS: 

(If you want to simplify these- don’t add a stick. Just dip the Oreos using a fork, and skip the following steps for inserting a stick!)

  • Gently twist apart all Oreos.
  • Melt white candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Dip one end of a lollipop stick into the white chocolate, spread a little on the top of the white Oreo filling and then press the stick flat into the center of the filling.
  • Place top of Oreo on, and set on a cookie sheet. When all Oreos have sticks inserted, pop these in the freezer for 15-20 minutes (until they are nice and firmly set).
  • Melt pink candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Have parchment paper spread on your countertop and have your sprinkles ready. 
  • Dip an Oreo into the pink melts, spooning melts over top and sides. Tap on edge of bowl to get rid of excess and slide bottom of Oreo along edge of bowl to remove drips.
  • Place on parchment paper and while melts are still soft, sprinkle with hearts and sugar or jimmies, leaving these OFF the top 1/3 of the cookie. Allow these to harden.

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  • Melt black candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Spoon black melts over the top 1/4 of the cookie and then tap to remove excess and slide bottom across bowl edge to remove drips.
  • Set on parchment paper and place two eyes on top.
  • Once all heads and faces are done, spoon remaining black melts into a small zip-top bag. Clip a corner, and pipe a center line down the middle of the cookie as pictured. 
  • Allow Oreo pops to harden. Bag them up individually or store them in an air-tight container. 
  • Enjoy!!

love-bug-oreo-pops

My thoughts: One of the main reasons I love Oreo Pops is that you can make them ahead for events. I’m baking quite a few things for an orientation next week and these are DONE. Wrapped in cute bags, tied with cute ribbons and ready to go. Cross one thing off my list! I also made some of my personal favorite Valentine’s treats: Frog Prince Oreos. If you need hearts for the 14th, you have these Love Bugs. If you’ve kissed one too many Frogs this year… well. These other Oreos are for you:)

Frog Oreos!!

Happy Valentine’s Day !!!!

love-bug-oreo-pops

Other Valentine treats here on Easybaked (click on a photo to see the recipe):

Raspberry Truffle TartRaspberry Confetti KissesChocolate covered strawberry Cake roll!!Red velvet cookies with cream cheese icing!!

Blooming Marshmallows for Cocoa! Make your own!

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blooming marshmallows! DIYHave you seen the latest food fad? A friend sent me this video and I couldn’t stop smiling! Genius!!! These fun little marshmallows, when set into hot chocolate, bloom and reveal fun sprinkles at the center. These are the creation of chef Dominique Ansel (creator of the Cronut, for all you foodies out there) and he serves them up in Tokyo and New York.

So what’s a girl from Indiana to do? Obviously figure out a way to make them herself! And just in time for Valentine’s Day!

It seemed like rule-breaking to use from-scratch marshmallows for this (we are called Easybaked for a reason, you know!). So I melted marshmallows and spread them out to cut. I got REALLY good at this because I made about a billion batches of these before I got them to work well.

DIY Blooming Marshmallows

I learned a few things.

  1. Get the off-brand of marshmallows, they all melt the same.
  2. That marshmallow has to be spread pretty thin (I will tell you how to accomplish this..)
  3. That cocoa has to be as hot as lava to melt away the chocolate cup these sit in.
  4. Use tongs to place the bloom into the hot chocolate so you don’t splash yourself with the lava.

I’m not kidding you- this recipe was a labor of love. But now I can tell you how to do these in SUCH an easy way- and you can surprise your family with these fun treats!

Blooming Marshmallows DIY

Here is how we made these: (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES: (makes about 10 blooms)

  • 1 bag of regular sized marshmallows
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 bag of white Wilton’s candy melts (I used pink on some of these so you could see them better).
  • Jimmies or candies to fill the center of the flower
  • Hot (HOT!) chocolate
  • A flower shaped cookie cutter
  • Mini paper nut cups

DIRECTIONS:

  • Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a sheet cake pan
  • In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch.
  • Place about 1/2 of this mixture into a sugar shaker or sifter (I love my Pampered Chef one!) and coat entire pan with mixture.
  • Liberally butter the inside of a large mixing bowl
  • Place marshmallows in bowl and melt in microwave for 30 seconds, stir and melt again for 30 seconds- until completely smooth.

melting MarshmallowsMelting marshmallows

  • Pour marshmallow mixture down the center of the pan and sprinkle top with sugar/starch mixture.
  • Coat your hands liberally in the powdered sugar/corn starch mixture and gently press the melted marshmallows flat across the pan. If you hit a sticky spot, sprinkle it with the sugar/starch.
  • Try to get the marshmallow layer as even as possible across the pan. You will have a few holes and maybe not get it all to the edge, but remember that you will be cutting flowers out of this- so you can work around bad spots.

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  • Allow this to harden for 30 minutes.
  • Coat cookie cutter in sugar/starch mixture and carefully cut out a flower. Coat cut edges in powder and set aside while the rest are cut.

Cookie cutter marshmallow Cookie cutter marshmallow

  • Have some sprinkles or Sixlets candy ready to place into the center of the flowers- but don’t place them yet.
  • Melt Candy Melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted and smooth.
  • Spoon melts into paper cup and spread up sides. Tip cup to drain out excess.
  • Brush excess powder off a flower, add sprinkles/candy to center and pull all petals up to the center, leaving the bottom center open.
  • Place bottom center of flower into candy-coated cup (before it hardens). Allow this to harden with the flower inside.

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  • Once this has hardened completely , use a scissors to clip the top edge of the cup, and peel the paper away.

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  • Make a cup of HOT hot chocolate. I found that using milk rather than water resulted in the best “openings” of the flowers.
  • Use tongs to carefully set the unopened flower into the cocoa and let it bloom!

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blooming-marshmallow

  • I stored my extra marshmallow flowers in an air-tight container and they still bloomed a few days later- but slowly. I think that the more fresh they are, the better they bloom.

Click on the photo below to see my (terribly shot!) video of a not-so perfect bloom. It illustrates the biggest problem I had with this project- getting the flower to bloom without allowing hot chocolate to seep into the center. I’d say about 50% of my flowers had some leakage of chocolate- and, if you watch the “professional” ones, you see this happens to them too.

I think that the key things to reduce this are:

  1. Use HOT chocolate made from milk instead of water.
  2. Marshmallows that aren’t too thick, and that aren’t still sticky on the edges (remember to cover those cut edges with powder early on!)
  3. Placing them into those chocolate cups as evenly as possible. If one side weighs more than the other, the cup will tip when placed in the cocoa, allowing some cocoa into the center.

I have to say though- that even when the centers filled a little with cocoa, people LOVED these! They wanted to drink more than one cup of cocoa to see it bloom again. So-not perfect, but really, really fun.

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My thoughts: I feel like I’ve made progress toward figuring out a good DIY method for these. AND I’m pretty excited about how easy it is to take store-bought marshmallows and turn them into ANY shape! There are always unexpected things I learn when I experiment. I hope you get a chance to try these- and even improve on them! If any of you come up with a way to keep the cocoa out of the center on MOST of them, let me know! I feel like we could improve on 50%… 🙂 Enjoy! ~r

We love marshmallows here- because money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you marshmallows, and that’s nearly the same thing!!  Try a few more marshmallow-y recipes: (click on photo to see recipe)

Mallow Cupsfrozen s'more cupsMarshmallow Turtle Pops!Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies!!!

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Mug Topper Cookies!

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Mug Topper Cookies

These adorable little cookies hang on the edge of a cup of coffee, cocoa or milk. Handy for dipping, and a perfect Valentine’s Day treat!

Aren’t these fun? When I have a few minutes of spare time, I like to wander around online looking for fun new kitchen and baking tools. I saw these cookie cutters and had to click on the photo to read more, because they didn’t make sense to me. They had several cute little shapes- but each one had a wedge cut out on one side. WHY?? I quickly discovered that the little wedge makes them not just cookie cutters- but mug-hanging cookie cutters! I happen to love dunking cookies in my coffee- so I knew I had to try them!

Valentine Mug hanging cookie

Does a cookie get more fun than that? I think not.

I was already making two different sorts of cut-out cookies for an event, so I set aside a little dough from each batch to make these. Here are the two recipes I used:

  1. Chocolate Espresso Cut-out cookies (recipe here)
  2. Buttery Cut-out cookies (recipe here)

Chocolate Espresso Cookies!!!  Butter Cut-out cookies

I kneaded some red and pink jimmies into the buttery cut-out dough before I rolled it out to cut it.

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You can use either of my recipes, or use your own- but you must choose a recipe that doesn’t puff up and get bigger in the oven. I have a fabulous gingerbread cookie recipe that would never work with these. If the dough changes shape as it bakes, that little wedge will not be big enough to slide onto the edge of a mug.

I also baked these on parchment paper, so I could slide them all off the cookie sheet and onto a counter to cool, without having to use a spatula to pick them up.

  1. Because they are tiny little cookies to handle.
  2. Because the wedge makes them more fragile until they cool and harden up.

Those are my “helpful hints”. They really are easy to make and so fun!

So a Valentine idea?

  1. Make some of my Spiced Mocha Mix (recipe here).
  2. Spoon 3-4 teaspoons into a cello bag.
  3. Place a cookie into a second cello bag.
  4. Print these tags (open link here).
  5. Staple tag over the tops of the two bags.
  6. Give away as a fun Valentine gift! (instructions for making mocha are on back of tag)

Valentine gift idea

I hope you get a chance to try this little cookie cutter idea out! If you were careful, I suspect you could even use a knife to cut a little wedge out of a plain old heart cookie too…? More time consuming, but then you don’t need to purchase a new cookie cutter. Enjoy!!  ~r

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Other Valentine’s treats here on Easybaked (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Berry Bomb CupcakesRaspberry Fudge Layer Cake1White Chocolate Strawberry Cookies!!Old fashioned Red velvet cake

 

 

 

Maple Snowflake Candy!

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maple-snowflake-candy

These adorable maple candy snowflakes are made with only one ingredient- maple syrup! Such a delicious and easy-to-make winter treat!

Every winter for most of my life, my mom would tell us about making maple snow candy. It involved pouring hot maple syrup into snow, and it would harden into delicious candy bits. She said they made it at school when she was little, and she loved it.

I’ve never made it- and the thought of pouring anything edible into snow from my backyard? I don’t think so. 🙂 I was thinking about the candy and saw cute snowflake silicone molds online and decided I would try my hand at maple candy. It is a well-known technique, probably made for many years in some families, but a new technique for me- and I learned some things about how to make them well! 🙂

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Here is how we made them: (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES:

  • 1 cup of pure maple syrup (grade A)- I used Wal-Mart brand because it was the least expensive 🙂 Worked great!
  • A few drops of vegetable oil- if desired to prevent boiling over
  • Silicone molds (the ones I got are discontinued- which is so sad!!!  I just got them about 2 weeks ago!) Here is a link to very similar sized ones (2 inch diameter).
  • A candy thermometer

DIRECTIONS:

  • Prepare molds by setting them on a small cookie sheet (to keep them flat). One cup of syrup will make about 8, 2 inch diameter and 1/3 inch deep candies.
  • Pour syrup into a medium saucepan. Clip a thermometer on the side with tip in syrup.
  • Add a few drops of oil on the top to keep it from foaming up when it heats. 
  • Heat to soft-ball stage(about 240F degrees on the candy thermometer), stirring slightly to prevent scalding .
  • Remove from heat, remove thermometer, and do not stir for 5 minutes. 

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  • After 5 minutes, start to stir the mixture. It will (fairly quickly) start to form little bubbles and change color. It will feel like you are scraping sugar off the bottom of the pan. At this point, quickly spoon into molds and then tap the entire cookie sheet on the counter to flatten out the candy in the molds.

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Now. I experimented with this a little. I placed my 1st batch in the freezer to harden for about 15 minutes and they had a sugary film on them when I took them out. I left my second batch in the freezer while I went out for dinner (several hours) and they came out beautifully. I repeated this with 3 more batches and it worked perfectly every time. If you are going to make a lot of these, get a couple of molds to save time! 

Here’s a photo of the second batch (several hours in freezer) vs the 1st batch (15 minutes in freezer) 

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  • Just pop these out of the molds and keep them in a sealed container for up to several weeks. 
  • Enjoy!!

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My thoughts: These are particularly good with a cup of coffee… the sweet and the sugar… yum! I put these on my Christmas cookie trays for friends and they LOVED them. My gluten-free friends were particularly excited about them 🙂

Since the syrup is so expensive, I just did one-cup batches for the 1st two sets- so I could experiment without ruining a whole 2 cups of syrup. My remaining batches, I boiled 2 cups at once and used 2 sheets of molds. You have to pour very quickly when you use 2 cups- so that it doesn’t thicken up before you get it into the mold. Other than that, it worked great and was actually a VERY easy and fun treat! Hope you get a chance to try them! ~r

Other snowy day desserts here on Easybaked: (click a photo to see the recipe)

Snowman Oreo PopsCoconut Cupcakes!!!Caramel Ritz CookiesBerry Bomb Cupcakes4

Winter Garden Cupcakes

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Winter Garden Cupcakes

Blue velvet cupcakes topped with icy white buttercream and pastel shimmery flowers. Who says you can’t have a little summer in the middle of January? 

It was my birthday last week, and I treated myself to the COOLEST kitchen gadget ever- or so I thought. Have you seen the piping tips for frosting that make whole flowers? I saw this video and I was in AWE of these! I’ve never taken cake decorating classes, or ever really attempted frosting flowers, so these little tips seemed perfect for me! I got a set of 12 on Amazon and I couldn’t wait to try them! My goal? A variety of white buttercream flowers dusted in edible pastel powders- like ice-covered flowers- on each cupcake.

The tips didn’t work. I tried a variety of frosting types and consistencies. I tried using the pastry bags included, I tried using a zip-top bag. Argh! Failure!

If the frosting was whipped (my typical buttercream- light and fluffy) it did not keep it’s shape when piped. If the frosting was a nice firm buttercream it simply didn’t pipe out of the tip at all- and squeezing harder either forced a hole in the bag or forced the tip and connecter to separate from the bag.

So, I had the cupcakes and decided to just go with what I had. Topped these with my very favorite buttercream and used a little fondant for the flowers 🙂 I think they are perfect!

winter-garden cupcake

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

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24 cupcakes)

  • One blue velvet boxed cake mix- plus water, oil and eggs to make according to package. I used Duncan Hines to get this fun wintery blue color- and it was delicious!!!
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter (softened)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla
  • A little white food coloring (if desired) to whiten the frosting even further
  • White fondant- I used a bit of Wilton’s boxed fondant, but you can make a little too- recipe here.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake mix according to box and bake in 24 cupcake liners. Cool.
  • Place butters, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until light and whipped (this takes 3-5 minutes, and it will whiten up considerably as you beat it. If you want it whiter, add a bit of white food coloring.
  • Place into a large zip-top bag fitted with a piping tip and pipe swirls on top of each cooled cupcake.
  • To make flower decorations, roll fondant out and cut into leaf and flower shapes using small cookie cutters or fondant cutters.
  • Dust leaves with edible green dust and flowers with edible pastel dust. I use a brand called “Sterling Pearl” and it comes in a wide range of colors, and is available on Amazon or many cake supply stores.

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  • Place decorations on cupcakes and ENJOY!!

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My thoughts: I think that when your “dream” idea dies, that there isn’t really any second option that can replace it. That said- I got SO many compliments on these cupcakes. Everyone loved them. The blue velvet cake mix is really great- if you haven’t tried this one yet, it really is worth it- really great flavor!  Anyone want a set of 12 piping tips? 🙂 I hope you enjoy these wintery treats!  ~r

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We have loads of unique cupcakes here on Easybaked- like these! (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Rocky Road Cupcakes!!!!Banana Split CupcakesMalted Milkshake CupcakesPina Colada Cupcakes!

A New Year’s Collection of Top Recipes on Easybaked!!

new-years-collection

Happy New Year, friends! One of my favorite parts of marking the end of one year and the beginning of the next is looking back at all the things that made the previous year wonderful! One of the really fun things to look at is my statistics for this blog. A LOT of you visited us here this year!  Thank you!!!  I am always fascinated by which recipes really took off and became HUGE hits- and I’m always a tiny bit disappointed by the ones that I thought were AMAZING, that didn’t really catch anyone’s attention.

I have lots of fun recipes lined up to share with you in January, but this week- as we welcome 2017- here are the top picks from 2016.

Just click on a photo to see the recipe- and enjoy!!! ~r

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Strawberry Lemonade layer cake

Viewed 203,655 times in one month alone! The cupcake version of these is really popular too.

Classic Cheesecake with Sour Cream topping

Seriously, that cheesecake is maybe the best recipe on this blog. You have GOT to try it!!!! 🙂

Oreo pops

When this was 1st posted, there were NO other Oreo Pops on the internet- so I like to think that the Oreo Pop craze started here! We certainly have had fun creating all sorts of them for every holiday!

Bailey's Cupcakes

This recipe was from a failed audition for The Great American Baking Show, and a new friend!

Turtle Bundt

This is the most recent big hit on Easybaked- and it is really easy to make!

So, those were the top 5 in all-time views this year… but what were my favorites from 2016? These three!

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This is the star of 2016. It is SO yummy and got rave reviews every time I made it. A massive layer of cookie dough in the middle of a cake? Does it get any better than that???

Marshmallow Stuffed Oreos

2016 was also my year to turn those healthy little Oreo Thins into amazing stuffed Oreos! These marshmallow ones… oh my! We also stuffed Oreos with Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin Pie and Cookie Butter!

Cookie Monster Oreos!

These win my personal “cutest” recipe award for 2016! I loved making them and making cute little stickers to seal the bags I gifted them in too! So fun!

I’ve been asked many times what my all-time favorite recipe on Easybaked is. I’ve got SO many favorites- but if I had to pick one, it would be my Caramel Fudge Brownies. I love them because they are my mom’s famous mint brownies with my favorite caramel added in place of the mint- and they are just the BEST chocolate fix ever.

Caramel Fudge Brownies!!

I hope you have enjoyed this round-up of recipes!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

 

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