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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. 

maple-candymaple-candy

  • 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.

maple-candymaple-candy

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) 

maple-snowflake-candy

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

maple-snowflake-candy

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!!!!!!

 

Strawberry Cream Confetti Cups!

strawberry-cream-confetti-cups

Nothing says “Happy New Year” like confetti!!!  These cakes, baked in cups, have confetti in every fun bite!

Confession: I am a confetti addict. I LOVE it. I don’t mind vacuuming it up for months after New Year’s Eve- at all! A few years ago we piled as much confetti as we could on my ceiling fan blades and at midnight we turned on the fan. Ah— SO much fun!!!!  You should totally try it. As a side note… on Cinco de May0 we also piled little candies on the fan and turned it on. We called it a “FAÑATA” ! 🙂 It hurt a little…but the memories!!!

Someday I want to be in Times Square on NYE…mainly for the confetti, but this year I will celebrate at my dad’s, and I have serious doubts about the level of confetti at our party…but he reads my blog, so maybe he will be inspired by my ideas! (*hint *hint dad…!)

Whether your party includes real confetti or not, these cups of cake will add some edible confetti to the celebration! Plus the strawberry and cream flavors… oh my.

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

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12-16 cups of cake, or 24 cupcakes)

  • One boxed strawberry cake mix (plus water, oil and eggs to make according to package)
  • 2 cups (seriously- or more…) confetti sprinkles
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla
  • A little white food coloring to brighten up the frosting (if desired!)
  • 12-16 (8 oz.) party cups. I got mine at Target in the dollar section, but there are all sorts on Amazon- like these. (or make these as cupcakes with polka dot cupcake liners!!)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and place cups on cookie sheets (preferably the sort with edges, to prevent sliding!)
  • Make cake according to package.
  • Mix in a cup of confetti sprinkles, and spoon batter into cups, filling them about 1/2 full.
  • Bake according to package directions for cupcakes- but add a little extra time since they are bigger, and test with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, they are done!

*Note: I was a little uncomfortable baking in these paper cups- so I kept a constant eye on them. I’m not sure if they can burn- I suppose it depends on the cup- and I read about people who made cupcakes in Starbucks coffee cups and just did it with no problems. Please be careful though- and use your good judgement about baking in paper cups. If you have any hesitation, use cute cupcake liners instead! 😉

  • Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely.
  • Make frosting by combining butters, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat on high until very light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Add white coloring if desired.
  • Scoop frosting on top of each little cake and then press the frosting into a bowl filled with confetti sprinkles to coat the top completely.

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confetti-cups

My thoughts: These are a delicious and pretty way to say “Happy New Year!!!” I hope you love them as much as I do!!!

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Other fun New Year’s treats to make for your party! (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Confetti cookies!Ball Drop CupcakesPink Champagne Cupcakes1Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Sparkling Glass Christmas Cookies!

Stained glass Christmas Cookie

Buttery cut-out tree cookies with sparkling candy-glass ornaments! Not only beautiful Christmas treats- but delicious ones!

These fun candy-filled cookies are not an original idea- just an idea I’ve seen around for years and always wanted to try. These turned out great. You need a cut-out recipe that holds it’s shape and size well- otherwise when the cookie bakes, those little holes will expand shut and you won’t have any room to put candy. You also need a cookie that tastes AWESOME without icing. I think these accomplished both goals!!! These were just delicious 🙂

stained glass cookies

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

 INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24 cookies- depending on the size cutter you use)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Green food coloring
  • 1 large bag of Jolly Rancher candies
  • Star sprinkles (if desired- plus a tiny bit of melted chocolate to attach them)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Unwrap candy and divide into colors.
  • Use a hammer on a solid surface (one that can’t be damaged by a hammer) to crush the candy. Crush it very finely- mine was a little big still, and it made it harder to spoon into the openings. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Add eggs, vanilla and butter flavoring and mix well.
  • Add all dry ingredients and mix until able to knead into a firm ball of dough (add additional flour if necessary).
  • Add green food coloring and knead with hands until dough reaches desired shade. 
  • Roll out on a floured counter with a flour coated rolling pin to desired thickness (I made them fairly thick)
  • Cut into Christmas tree shapes
  • Place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
  • Use a straw to poke “ornament” holes. I used a small straw and a jumbo one to give different sizes. 
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and use a small spoon (I used a tiny little appetizer spoon) to spoon candy colors into each hole.

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  • Bake at 350F degrees for an additional 4-5 minutes until candy is entirely melted. Check after 2-3 minutes and add a little candy if needed, as the pieces melt and settle. 
  • Remove cookies from oven and slide the parchment papers off the cookie sheet onto a counter to cool. 
  • Use a bit of melted chocolate to attach a star on top (if desired).
  • Enjoy!

sparkling-christmas-tree-cookies

My thoughts: These were fun to make and they are just so cute and yummy! A few changes I will make the next time: I’d use bigger straws. The larger size was fine, but the mini size holes were hard to fill. I would also crush the candy to a sugar consistency. I had a few bigger pieces that made it harder to fill those tiny holes. I loved the flavor of those buttery cookies with the sweet fruity candy bits- I will definitely make these again!  Enjoy! ~r

Other fun treats for Christmas: (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Opera Cream CandyPeppermint Hot Chocolate CupcakesChocolate Bon-bonsHot Chocolate Pops!

Oreo Ornament Pops!

Oreo Ornament Pops

Celebrate the Christmas season with these fun ornament pops.

Made with Oreos, mini peanut butter cups and sprinkles, they are sure to make everyone in your family smile!

Goodness. I love cute Christmas cookies. These were SO fun to make, and decorating them is a blast. I pulled out all of those Christmas sprinkles and just went crazy. I highly recommend these for a fun project with your kids!!

The dilemma for making an edible ornament is always that little cap. I solved the problem by painting mini peanut butter cups with a little bit of edible gold dusting powder (the same stuff I used on my shortbread cookies last week). I love how they turned out! Happy shiny tops for these!

Oreo Ornament Pops!

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

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24-28 pops)

  • One package of Oreo Double Stuff cookies.
  • 2 bags of Wilton’s Candy Melts. As you can see, I used pink and aqua, plus I had a little green and red extra from other projects. You can use as many colors as you want- but you will need at least 2 full bags to cover the Oreos. 
  • One bag (8 oz) of Reese Peanut Butter Cup Minis- in white chocolate
  • Edible gold dusting powder (I used this brand)
  • Fun Christmas sprinkles and jimmies

DIRECTIONS:

Make gold “caps” for ornaments first.

  • Spoon a little of the gold powder into a small bowl or plate, and add a bit of water until it is the consistency of a thick paint. 
  • Use a food-grade brush to paint the gold on the bottom and sides of 24-28 peanut butter cups. Paint them all and then go back and give them a second coat to smooth out the parts that didn’t stick the 1st time.
  • Set aside to dry.

Prepare Oreo Pops (there is a tutorial for these, if you have never done them, here)

  • Twist apart all of your Oreos.
  • Melt a small amount of Candy Melts (<1/4 cup) in the microwave in 3o second increments, stirring between until smooth.
  • Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melts, and press into white filling of Oreo. Place other half of cookie back on top and press together.
  • Place Oreo and stick on a cookie sheet. Repeat this process with remaining Oreos, and then freeze all Oreos until firm (10-15 minutes).
  • Melt remaining Candy Melts using method from above.
  • Once Oreos are chilled, hold with stick and dip into Candy Melts until completely coated.
  • Tap on side of bowl to get excess off, and drag across lip of bowl to scrape excess off back of cookie.

Ornament OreosOreo Ornaments

  • Set on parchment paper  and immediately set a gold “cap” on the top edge to harden there as the candy melts solidify.
  • If you want to add sprinkles, do so before the Candy Melts get hard (stripes in other colors can be added later)

Oreo Ornamentoreo-ornament-pop

  • Allow Oreo Pop to harden completely
  • Decorate with other colors of Candy Melts, as desired. To make the stripes, I placed melted candy in a small zip top bag, clipped a corner and piped lines onto the Oreos. 
  • Once everything has completely hardened, place into individual cello bags, or into an air-tight bag or container. These will stay good for weeks when sealed up. 
  • Enjoy!

oreo-ornament-pops

My thoughts: Well, by now you know how much I love my Oreo Pops! These were fun to make and a little peanut butter on top of that Oreo? Yes, please! 🙂 These make great little gifts and stocking stuffers! Enjoy! ~r

oreo-ornament-pops

Don’t stop with just ornaments! We have two other fun Christmas Oreo Pops! (click on the photo to see the recipe)

Reindeer Oreo Pops!!!Snowman Oreo Pops

Shortbread Christmas Cookies

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These pretty shortbread cookies are delicious all on their own- but topped with a piece of gold-dusted chocolate? Then they are perfect. 

I’d never made shortbread before. Crazy, I know. The inspiration was those AMAZING Starbucks snowmen cookies. You know.. the ones that are soooo cute and topped in chocolate rather than icing?

snowman

I was telling a friend about my love for those little Starbucks cookies and she said, “I know! Shortbread cookies are the best!” and I thought to myself…. “Shortbread? What exactly is a shortbread cookie?” So I investigated and tried a few recipes and FELL IN LOVE with these cookies!!!  Buttery and flakey happiness with every bite!

Shortbread cutout cookies

I wanted to add chocolate on top, and found these ADORABLE silicone molds by Silikomart. (and then I got sucked into the world of Silikomart and all the beautiful things they make that are mostly available only in Italy….) I found these on Amazon though. I dusted them with a little bit of edible gold dust to give them an especially elegant feel.

So. Much. Christmas. Fun.

Here’s the recipe: (printable version here)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24-30 cookies)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • About 16 oz of dark chocolate wafers. You can use Wiltons candy melts, but for these cookies I used Ghirardelli Melting Wafers. They cost more- but they are SO good!
  • Edible gold dusting powder (I used this brand)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and using a mixer, beat until light and fluffy (think buttercream frosting…!)
  • Add vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • Add flour and baking powder to butter/sugar mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated well (don’t over-beat this).
  • Use clean hands to form this mixture into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is chilling, make chocolate toppers.

  • Melt chocolate wafers in the microwave in 30 second increments, mixing in between until melted and smooth.
  • Spoon into a large zip-top bag and seal it well.
  • Place mold on a cookie sheet to keep it flat and easy to move.
  • Carefully pipe chocolate into molds, filling them up to the top and then tap entire cookie sheet on counter to remove bubbles.
  • Freeze for 5-8 minutes until they can be peeled out of the molds. Repeat until you have about 24-30 toppers.
  • Squeeze extra chocolate back into a small bowl and set aside.

Chocolate molds for Christmas

Set toppers aside, and cut/bake cookies.

  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a floured countertop. Cut into rectangles. I used this cookie cutter set and I needed 2 different sizes because the molds are different in size. Place on a cookie sheet that has parchment paper laid on top. 
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  • Slide parchment paper (with cookies on top) off baking sheet and onto a clean counter. Cool completely.

Assemble cookies.

  • Re-heat the extra chocolate you set aside from earlier, using instructions given earlier for melting.
  • Use a knife to spread melted chocolate onto the back of a chocolate topper, and gently place it on top of a cooled cookie. (I used gloves to handle the chocolate so I wouldn’t leave fingerprints on it!)
  • Allow topper to harden- sticking it firmly to the top of the cookie.
  • Use a food-grade brush to gently brush gold dusting powder over each chocolate piece. You can skip this step– but the wow factor increases A LOT with this touch of gold glitter!!!
  • Enjoy!!!!

Starbucks cookie recipe

My thoughts: These are SO (soooooooooooo!) yummy! I keep kicking myself for never making shortbread before this! These are a fragile cut-out cookie. The chocolate on top adds much-needed stability, but be gentle with them before that chocolate is added. They are fragile because they are a light, flaky, buttery piece of heaven- but they are fragile nonetheless. I made these in early November- working ahead for Christmas blogging- but I am definitely making these as one of my Christmas cookies this year- this is a do-not-miss recipe!  Hope you and your family enjoy them as much as I did!!!  ~r

Shortbread cutout cookies with chocolate on top.

Need Christmas cookie ideas?? We have SO many here!  Here’s a few to get you started: (click on photo to see recipe)

Decorated bonbonsSnowman Oreo PopsCaramel Ritz CookiesChristmas Card Cookies

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