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Maple Pecan Cupcakes

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These rich, dense chocolate cupcakes are topped with a light whipped maple pecan frosting that is out-of-this-world delicious! 

I know. Maple pecan things are a dessert for the fall- not early summer! I just couldn’t resist. Maple and pecan are two of my favorite flavors together! I thought about saving this post for November and I couldn’t make myself wait to share it with you because it is just that good! These are delicious. So if you can’t bring yourself to make them, pin the recipe for later- but pin it. You will want this one someday!!! Promise.

Here is how we made these (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24 cupcakes)

  • One boxed chocolate cake mix plus oil and eggs to make according to box
  • Milk- enough to replace the water required by boxed mix.
  • 1 (3.9 oz.) box of chocolate pudding (instant)
  • 3 cups chopped pecans (divided)
  • 24 pecan halves
  • 2 sticks salted butter (softened)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of maple extract or flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • Mix 1 and 1/2 cups of chopped pecans with dry cake mix.
  • Add eggs and oil according to package, and add milk instead of water- in the same amount as listed on package.
  • Add box of instant chocolate pudding.
  • Beat on high for 2 minutes until smooth.
  • Scoop evenly between 24 cupcake liners placed in muffin tins and bake according to package- until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • Gently remove from tins and allow cupcakes to cool on countertop.
  • Make frosting by placing butters, powdered sugar and maple flavoring in a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat on high until light and very fluffy (2 to 3 minutes).
  • Fold in one cup of chopped pecans (this leaves 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top!)
  • Use a cookie scoop to place a dome of frosting on each cooled cupcake. Press a pecan half on top and sprinkle with a bit of chopped pecans. 

  • Store in a loosely sealed container for up to 3 or 4 days. Refrigerate to keep a day or two longer.
  • Enjoy!

My thoughts: You are going to love these! If you want to simplify, just make the boxed cake mix as-is plus nuts. The milk and pudding make the cupcakes more dense, rich and moist- but you could skip adding these extra ingredients to save time. It’s that frosting… even my friends who aren’t big frosting lovers were licking this stuff off the top of these cupcakes. Yum. Hope you get a chance to try them- now- this fall- whenever!! 🙂 Enjoy! ~r

Other maple and/or pecan recipes to try! (click on a photo to see instructions)

 

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Elderflower Lemonade (bezinka limonáda)

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Elderflower syrup and mint add a refreshing twist to this fresh-squeezed lemonade!

Last spring I was in the Czech Republic at the headquarters of the mission organization I work for, Josiah Venture. We were waiting for over 140 college interns to arrive and we all went out for dinner at this adorable little restaurant. The menu was entirely in Czech and someone ordered me a lemonade and when I got it and took my first drink I LOVED (loved.loved.loved) it! It took me awhile to figure out what it was I loved so much, and the secret ingredient was: Elderflower syrup! This is commonly made in central Europe to add to beverages and desserts- but I’d never heard of it or tasted it before.

Since I don’t have Elderflower growing in Indiana, I went to my trusty Amazon and discovered that Monin makes this syrup- and it is delicious (find it here)I spent the winter adding it to hot green tea (amazing!) and now that it is spring I gave the lemonade a try- and nailed it! Seriously….you have got to try this! It’s indescribably good.

Here is how we put it together (EASY!!!!!!) Printable recipe here.

INGREDIENTS: (to make one liter, or about 34 ounces): 

  • 2 medium lemons
  • 8-10 mint leaves, slightly crushed (give them a squeeze before you add them!)
  • 3 to 4 slices of lime, halved.
  • 2/3 to 1 cup of Elderflower syrup
  • Club soda and ice

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Juice lemons and add juice to 1 liter carafe (note: in my photos I used a half-liter size, which is fun to drink right out of with a long straw!)
  • Place mint leaves, lime slices, and syrup in carafe.
  • Fill with ice to about 2/3 full.
  • Add club soda until filled- stir well and serve in individual glasses.

My thoughts: Well, in case you didn’t catch this earlier in the post: I LOVE THIS BEVERAGE!!!!! If you like your lemonade sweet add a little more syrup. If you like it tart, add less. Add some different fruits if you like- I think some sweet raspberries might be good crushed into this too. Yum. You really need to try this!!!  🙂 ~r

I enjoyed mine on my back porch- right out of the 1/2 liter carafe 🙂 

One of my favorite parts of travel is discovering new international recipes to try. Here are a few from the past: (click on a photo to see the recipe!)

Spring Flower Oreo Pops!

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Make a bouquet of Oreo flowers for mom this Mother’s Day!

This is the third Oreo Pop recipe I’ve used these cute little sunflower seeds in this spring- and it might be my favorite! The fun bright colors just make you smile. Tie them up in little cello bags with pretty ribbon and they make the perfect Mother’s Day treat next weekend!

You’re smiling aren’t you? Just guessing… 🙂 I absolutely LOVE these- and the color combinations are only limited to the colors you can find in the sunflower seeds. Mine are a combination of Trader Joe’s and JoAnn’s Fabric ones. You can get them online- or maybe even at your grocery! Different companies make different colors. The JoAnn ones gave me those pretty teal blue and shiny purple ones. I just used little pearl sprinkles for the centers.

Here’s how we made these fun little pops:

(If you have never made Oreo Pops before, check out our tutorial here.)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24-30 Oreo pops)

  • One box of Double Stuff Oreos
  • 1/4 cup of Wilton’s Candy Melts in white.
  • Wilton’s Candy Melts in a variety of colors (you’ll need at least 2 bags of them)
  • Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
  • Edible pearl sprinkles in a variety of colors

DIRECTIONS:

  • Gently twist apart all Oreos.
  • Melt white candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Dip 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 one color of Candy Melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Gently dip Oreo in Candy Melts, using a spoon to cover all sides. Tap stick against side of bowl to drain excess. Set on parchment paper.
  • While Candy Melts are still soft, set a pearl sprinkle at the center and then gently place sunflower seeds around the pearl in the shape of a flower (as pictured). Allow Candy Melts to harden completely.
  • Repeat with other colors of Candy Melts.
  • Store in a sealed container for 2-3 weeks. You can also tie them individually in small cello bags and store for the same timeframe. (These are a perfect treat to mail to mom or grandma!!!!)
  • Enjoy!

My thoughts: I will never pick a bouquet of flowers without thinking of my mom 🙂 She never had a summer day where there wasn’t a huge bouquet of fresh-cut flowers from her garden sitting in the center of the kitchen table. This is her third Mother’s Day in heaven, but I know these would have made her smile if she was here.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you, and miss you!

We have lots of fun recipe ideas for Mother’s Day! Click a photo to see the recipe:

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!!! Click on the following link to find out more about it: Life Is Sweet: 12 Baking Devotions for Kids.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

 

Maracas Oreo Pops!

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these adorable maracas made with Oreos and candy sunflower seeds!

I love Mexico! I’ve been there on vacation, and I’ve been there many times to work alongside the people of a little town called Siete Ejidos in Sinaloa. I love the food, the beautiful people, the music, and the bright, fun colors that are everywhere! Seriously- why is it unacceptable to paint a house bright blue and orange in the States? (or at least in my neighborhood…)

These were such fun cookies to make because you can just go crazy with color and make any design you want! Use sprinkles or candy…I used chocolate covered sunflower seeds on mine, and I love how they turned out! They have that “bead” look you often see on maracas and other art in Mexico.

Here’s how we made these (printable recipe here)

(If you have never made Oreo Pops before, check out our tutorial here.)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24-30 Oreo pops)

  • One box of Double Stuff Oreos
  • 1/4 cup of Wilton’s Candy Melts in white.
  • Wilton’s Candy Melts in a variety of colors (you’ll need at least 3 bags of them)
  • One box of Dots Candy

DIRECTIONS:

  • Gently twist apart all Oreos.
  • Melt white candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Press a lollipop stick through a Dots candy until about 1 inch of the stick is out of the other side (see photo below).
  • Dip 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 one color of Candy Melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted and smooth.
  • Gently spoon color over bottom 1/4 of Oreo (see photos below).  I gently turned the stick so I could spoon color on the back too- then tap stick against side of bowl to drain excess. Set on parchment paper and allow this to harden up.
  • Melt second color of Candy Melts as above. Spoon color over the rest of the Oreo, tap stick against bowl to drain away excess, place on parchment paper, and gently place sunflower seeds in flower pattern in the center (or add sprinkles…or drizzle chocolate…). Allow this to harden.
  • Melt third color of Candy Melts and spoon over top 1/4. Tap stick against bowl to drain excess and set on parchment paper to harden.
  • Allow candy melts to harden completely, and then pipe line/dots on in any color (I used black).
  • ENJOY!

My thoughts: These are a delicious little way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Once they are hardened up, you can tie them into little individual cello bags and they will keep for weeks. I love make-ahead treats! 

Are you a recent arrival to the incredible fun of Oreo Pops?? They are one of our favorite things to make here on Easybaked- and we have them for every possible occasion! Here are a few to try: (click on photo to see recipe)

Or are you looking for great recipes for Cinco de Mayo?? We have those too! We love to celebrate this holiday here!!

White Wedding Cupcakes (a white mix cake-over!)

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These wedding cupcakes are made with a mix- but a “made-over” mix. They are the most dense, moist and delicious cupcakes ever- you’d never guess they aren’t 100% made from scratch!

Have you ever heard of a “cake-over”? It’s when a cake mix has a make-over into a recipe that tastes completely made from scratch. I’ve tried lots of these, and I actually love them- but I’d never found one for plain white cake that I liked. I was invited to bake wedding cupcakes for my friend Shanell this summer and I decided I’d better figure out a fix before then!

Here’s my secret: white chocolate pudding. I use this flavor all the time in other recipes, and it is AMAZING. I also have used pudding mix in cake-overs before, and this pudding is WHITE- so it doesn’t change the color of your cake!

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Shanell’s colors are teal and purple, so I practiced my decorating on these. Aren’t they fun??

Here is how we made these dense, delicious cupcakes: (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed white cake mix (I like Duncan Hines mixes the best- personal preference!)
  • One (3.3 oz) package of Jell-O brand white chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 sticks (one cup) of salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (one cup) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla flavoring
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • Food coloring gels, and sprinkles as desired.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Combine cake mix, pudding, milk, oil, and egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat on high for 2 minutes. 
  • Evenly divide into 24 cupcake liners placed in tins and bake for about 18-20 minutes at 350F degrees.
  • Cool completely.
  • Make frosting by combining butters, vanilla and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat on high until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes)
  • Add coloring if desired (if you want pure white frosting you’ll need to add white food coloring to off-set the yellow tinge given by the butter), and mix well. 
  • Place a decorating tip in the corner of a large zip-top bag, fill with frosting, seal well, and pipe frosting on top of each cupcake. 
  • I used these cupcake toppers (aren’t they SO cute?!?) and these sprinkles.
  • Enjoy!!!

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My thoughts: These taste like a made-from-scratch recipe. A really good one! BUT they are so much easier to make! 🙂 I’m really excited to make these in large quantities this summer!!! Maybe I will add some pictures from the wedding once I am back! For now, enjoy the cake-over 😉 ~r

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We have piles of favorites in the cupcake category here…! Hard to share just a few- but here are some other recipes you might enjoy: (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Root Beer Float Cupcakes!!!!Coconut Cupcakes!!Brownie Oreo Cookie CupDark Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Gingerbread Easter Eggs

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Delicious gingerbread cookies drizzled with colored chocolate- who says you can only have these cookies at Christmas?!?

I love gingerbread. Goodness, it is probably my favorite cookie at Christmas. My go-to recipe is my grandma’s, and it is already shared on Easybaked (here)- but it is TOTALLY worth sharing again! I made these last week for a friend who requested gingerbread cookies, and I couldn’t resist decorating them up for Easter. They were so cute that I thought I’d share them with you! Once Easter has passed, cut these into flowers or butterflies for spring! So. Fun!

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

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 36 medium egg-shaped cookies)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • Wilton’s candy melts in a variety of colors (just maybe 1/4 cup of each color)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  • Cream together butter and sugar.
  • Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.
  • Blend in sifted dry ingredients.
  • Chill 2-3 hours (this is optional- I have found that the dough rolls out pretty well right away)
  • Roll 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick on a floured counter or board and cut into egg shapes.
  • Place on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  • Check often- take out when cookies have risen slightly. Slide parchment paper off cookie sheet onto counter with cookies on top. Cool.
  • Melt Candy Melts in individual bowls in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted and smooth. 
  • Spoon each color into a small zip-top bag and seal. 
  • Clip a tiny corner off, and pipe back and forth over each cookie, adding as many fun colored stripes as you wish!
  • Enjoy!

My thoughts: I love these cookies all year round. There is something fun about having the scent of gingerbread in the house during spring. New tradition I think!!!  😉 I hope you get a chance to try these! ~r

Other spring recipe ideas: (click on a photo to see the recipe)

 

 

Carrot Patch Cupcakes

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Delicious strawberry “carrots” buried in Oreo buttercream frosting- a perfect cupcake for Easter!

I saw these adorable strawberry carrots online the other day, and imagined them buried in the top of cupcakes for Easter. Ah- soooo fun! Plus a strawberry and chocolate combo is always a winner in my book! These are easy, fun and a perfect way to add carrots to your cupcakes- without actually using carrots 🙂

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

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs to make according to package)
  • One package of Oreo Thins, crushed into crumbs
  • 2 sticks (one cup) of salted butter at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (one cup) of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 cup of cocoa powder
  • 24 small strawberries
  • 1 package of Wilton’s Candy Melts in orange

DIRECTIONS:

  • Wash and thoroughly dry 24 strawberries.
  • Make carrots by melting Candy Melts in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted and smooth.
  • Lay parchment paper or wax paper on countertop.
  • Grasping a strawberry by its stem and leaves, dip it into candy melts, spooning melts as close to stem as possible.
  • Set covered strawberry on paper to harden.
  • Once all berries are covered, spoon remaining melts into a zip-top bag and seal. Clip a corner and drizzle lines over the top.

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  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Prepare cake mix as directed and divide evenly into 24 cupcake liners in tins.
  • Bake according to package and cool completely.
  • Make frosting by adding butters, powdered sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and beating on high until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). 
  • Add cocoa powder to frosting and beat on high until well- combined.
  • Use a cookie scoop, or ice cream scoop to place a scoop of frosting on top of each cupcake. 
  • Press this into a bowl of Oreo crumbs, turning the cupcake to make sure all edges are covered.

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  • Press a strawberry “carrot” into the center of each cupcake and spoon a few remaining Oreo crumbs over the bottom of the carrot, to cover it further.

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  • ENJOY!!!!  

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My thoughts: These are delicious little cupcakes! I really love this chocolate buttercream recipe- plus they are so cute! Note that chocolate covered strawberries only stay fresh for a couple of days before they start to get a little soggy/sticky. These last a little longer because they still have their stems attached- but don’t make these cupcakes WAY in advance. I hope you get a chance to try these!!!  Enjoy! ~r

Other Easter treats you might like (click on a photo to see the recipe):

Chocolate Easter Eggs with Peanut Butter FillingEasy Easter cut out cookiesEaster Cheesecake CupsJelly Bean Cookies!!!!

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