Please, sir, have s’more


Ever feel like you want the campfire experience … without having to, you know, build a campfire?

A friend recently found this take on s’mores bars — a family-friendly bar dessert that is simple to pull together, cuts cleanly, and pleases a crowd. Made similarly to Rice Krispie Treats, these are a sticky winner perfect for summertime get-togethers (socially-distant, of course … #2020).

I added rainbow sprinkles while mixing in the Golden Grahams. No one really needs a reason for sprinkles, but let’s get serious: this has been a very stressful six months. I need any touch of whimsy I can find.


S’mores Bars

3 tbsp butter, plus more for pan
1 (12-oz.) package mini marshmallows
7 cups Golden Grahams cereal
3 Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces

Grease a 9″-x-13″ pan with butter. Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a large pot/dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add all but 1 cup of mini marshmallows, then stir until melted and smooth.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in Golden Grahams, making sure the cereal is evenly coated. Press into pan and top with chocolate pieces and remaining cup of mini marshmallows.

Heat broiler and bake until marshmallows are toasted, about 2 minutes.

Allow to set at least 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Recipe from Delish


Dark chocolate cupcakes for two

Dark chocolate cupcakes

My love of desserts? Well-documented. Before I started Weight Watchers, the idea of forgoing chocolate was so upsetting I couldn’t even consider it. I was laboring under the delusion that I’d have to “give up” all the things I loved, which . . . wasn’t true.

But this isn’t about my eating habits, friends. This is about cupcakes.

Having moist, delicious baked goods around is a blessing and curse. When I bake, I typically end up with the standard 24 cupcakes that beckon me from every corner of our apartment. After Spence and I have our treat for the day, we’re pretty disciplined about packaging up whatever remains to take to our respective workplaces.

We’re really popular around there.

But sometimes? Sometimes you want to bake — like yesterday, with a heavy snow falling and the roads destroyed — without the surplus goodies. You want your cake for an afternoon snack, but you absolutely can’t have 22 extras eyeballing you from the dining room.

When I stumbled across The Baker Chick’s recipe for fudgy dark chocolate cupcakes for two, I was eager to give them a whirl. While I’ll admit this recipe is a bit of work for two cakes, it solved my dilemma of wanting to bake without enough food to feed an army.

One for Spence, one for me.

These are moist, decadent, incredibly chocolatey and perfectly paired with milk. Though far from low-calorie, they were a great way for me to get that craving out of my system . . . and with nothing left to tempt me now, I feel better about having made (and enjoyed) that single dessert.

I’m pretty popular around our house now, too.


Dark chocolate cupcakes for two

Recipe from The Baker Chick

3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chocolate chips (optional)

For frosting:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, very soft
1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder
4-5 tablespoons of powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
2. Make a small well in the middle of the bowl and add the water, oil and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth.
3. Evenly distribute the batter between two liners and sprinkle with chocolate chips if using. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

For the frosting:
In another small bowl, use a spatula to spread the butter around making sure it’s super soft and pliable. Add the cocoa powder and stir into the soft butter. Using the spatula or spoon, add the powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is creamy and thick. Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.

Quick, easy chocolate fudge cookies

Sometimes you want a cookie without all the fuss.

Searching for something quick and easy to bake last weekend, I stumbled upon this recipe for chocolate fudge cookies. They’re made using a box cake mix, of all things (gasp!), but they turned out absolutely delicious — and can be customized in all sorts of ways.

Had I had a bag of those addictive mint chocolate chips on hand, I would have happily tossed them in — but this recipe is pretty great as-is! I just added a little vanilla extract to the batter because vanilla makes everything better; it’s science.

If you want a quick treat using items likely already in your pantry, I present you with . . .

Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Adapted from

• 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or mint, or any other kind)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease or line cookie sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, eggs and oil until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields approximately 24-30 cookies.

I’m linking up with Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking feature, a great way to check out new blogs and fabulous recipes. Be sure to stop by for more mouth-watering posts beginning Saturday.

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes: get ‘drunk’ on delicious dessert

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day (or a little early, but hey — I’m proactive), I present to you the most praised cupcakes I’ve ever made. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I can promise these are winners — and I’m feeling quite smug after getting endless compliments on these babies at work this week.

They’re Dark Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting, friends, and they’re just as rich, decadent and lush as you would imagine. Fascinated by Ireland since our visit there last spring, my interest was piqued when I first caught a glimpse of this recipe — though I’m really more of a Smithwick’s girl. Regardless, these treats are outstanding — and yes, you can taste both the Guinness and Bailey’s . . . but you won’t get sloppy afterward. At least, no one in the office did.

This recipe originally came from Sasha, the culinary mastermind over at Global Table Adventure. Her recipe is for one awesome cake, but I’m a cupcake fiend. So I present to you this rendition in all its stouty glory. Don’t skimp on the icing, either; it’ll have you licking the bowl.

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
with a Bailey’s buttercream

1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

For the Bailey’s buttercream:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 tbsp Bailey’s, as needed

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk together with Guinness, vanilla extract and cocoa. Remove from heat.

While Guinness mixture is cooling, add cupcake liners to pan. Whisk together dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking soda). Pour Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, then whisk in the 2 eggs. When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour evenly into cupcake liners.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

As cupcakes cool, make the buttercream by whipping together the softened butter and sugar, then adding in just enough Bailey’s to get it loose and fluffy. (About 3 tablespoons.)

When cupcakes are done, cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields approximately 18 cupcakes.

New: printable recipe is here!

A mint chocolate cupcake recipe that’s too simple to resist

Though I’m not usually much of a “mint” fan, sometimes you just get a craving. On a random Saturday, apropos of nothing, I thought, “I want to make mint chocolate chip cupcakes.”

This “recipe” is just total cheating on my part, I’ll admit that now. I had a box of devil’s food cake mix hanging out in the pantry and thought, What would happen if I just added some mint extract to this?

So I did. I prepared the cupcakes according to the package directions (vegetable oil, eggs, water — all the usual stuff) and then added a teaspoon of mint extract to the batter before baking.

That’s it.

I’m sort of embarrassed to even be posting about this, it’s so simple.

The frosting was where I got a little more creative, using my go-to recipe for the homemade sweet stuff — the same one from my famed key lime cupcakes, as a matter of fact! But key lime and mint aren’t exactly a winning combination, so I replaced the juice with mint extract again.

The result? Pure goodness — but not overwhelmingly so. And the sweet, cream cheese-based frosting was a wonderful kicker to balance out the dense, heavy chocolate of the cake. Here’s the frosting recipe, because that makes me feel slightly better sharing my “recipe” with you! And you can add as little or as much green food coloring as you like, of course. I’m a green fan and don’t mind eating strangely-hued foods, but you might feel differently about that. And it’s quite all right.

We’re all cupcake lovers — and friends — here.

Homemade mint frosting

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon mint extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Green food coloring, if desired

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in mint extract, three drops of green food coloring and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Frost cupcakes as desired. Store frosted cupcakes and any leftover frosting in refrigerator.

Puckering up for Hershey Kiss Cookies

In addition to being a year I began earnestly writing my own newspaper column, tearing my way through books and falling in love, something momentous happened: I finally earned an invite to my family’s annual cookie exchange.

It’s a ladies-only affair and features the baked goods of my mom, grandmother, aunts and family friends. Until this year, I’d been relegated to the dessert equivalent of the kids’ table: the oldest grandchild on my mom’s side, still a kid. And, you know — that’s okay. But when my grandma finally extended a formal invite to the exchange and let me pick a name for our family’s Secret Santa, another adults-only activity, I was stoked.

But that led to some pressure, of course. My Maw Maw, a master baker, recently sent me a hefty stack of recipes — and I’ve enjoyed looking through them all. And in addition to my obsession with several food and recipe sites, my friend Sandy frequently shares her trial-and-error recipes with me. (And I’m totally not complaining.) I was still waiting to find The One, though — that cookie that made me salivate just skimming the ingredients. Plus, it couldn’t be too tough to make.

After reading a guest post over at Book Journey, I fell in love with Kim’s family recipe (and tradition!) of Hershey Kiss Cookies. Since I’m still a little skittish about baking and cooking, the simplicity of the directions (and minimal ingredients) appealed to me. And I’m happy to report back that, according to friends and coworkers, they were a success!

Your basic ingredients here are flour, chocolate and Hershey Kisses. I’ll say this: I expected that, once in the oven, they would spread . . . much like other cookies do. But when baking, those babies stayed firmly in their original shape. So when you place them on a cookie sheet, make sure each little ball is as pretty as you’d like it to be when serving! After the first (ugly) batch, I learned that lesson the hard way. Also, I used way more than a teaspoon of dough to surround each Kiss . . . I was worried they would scorch if the chocolate was uncovered. I think there’s something to that. Plus, with my oven, each tray took about 17 minutes until finished. Just keep your eye on these little guys and pull them when the bottoms are brown.

Simple, delicious and very, very chocolatey, these are great treats to snack on while slurping some milk! And who knows — maybe they’ll be Santa’s new favorite variety. Give them a whirl.

Hershey Kiss Cookies

Recipe from Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness

1 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels
14 oz bag Hershey’s kisses

Cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add vanilla. Add mini morsels. Stir in flour. Take approximately 1 tsp of dough and wrap around 1 kiss. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Grab a glass of milk and one delicious hot chocolate cupcake

So Thanksgiving was a big success. We ate, we baked — and we were merry. The fridge now overfloweth with leftovers the likes of which I’ve never seen, and if I may be so bold? I’d say it isn’t because the food wasn’t tasty. The sheer quantity of delicious eats overwhelmed all of us, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating stuffed ham for the next week. (It’s very tasty on white bread with mustard.)

Among the many desserts prepared for Thanksgiving — including Grandma’s coconut pie; cranberry and apple cheesecake from Alex, Spencer’s mom; and a pumpkin crumb pie I’ll tell y’all about later — were these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Betty Crocker, my No. 1 girl. I thought they would be a fun addition to the table, and they definitely were! And among the creamy pumpkin treats, the chocolate stood out especially well.

Cute and tasty, these hot chocolate cupcakes call for a devil’s food cake base with a sweet marshmallow-and-vanilla frosting piped on to mimic the look of marshmallows — just like a mug of hot chocolate. A halved pretzel creates the “handle” for the cake and definitely finishes the look!

I followed the recipe closely, but I made a few additions — like a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter, per another user’s suggestion, plus a pinch of cinnamon on top of the marshmallow frosting (along with the chocolate powder). In hindsight, I should have been way more generous with the marshmallow topping — though thick and delicious, the cupcakes were very dense. They needed that sweet frosting to mellow out the weight of the cake. I dig the stars I piped on, but next time? I won’t skimp on the frosting. And I’ll throw caution to the wind and add more chocolate powder and cinnamon.

Also, this recipe calls for roughly half a box of devil’s food cake mix — and yields approximately 12 cupcakes. I made the first dozen according to directions, then just went ahead and made a second batch with the remaining cake mix. I had about 20 cupcakes when all was said and done — perfect!

If you’re hankering for a chocolate treat but don’t want a hot beverage, these may cure what ails you. Just be sure to have a cold glass of milk to wash them all down — you’ll need it.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe from

1 3/4 cups Betty Crocker SuperMoist devil’s food cake mix (from 18.25-oz box)
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup Betty Crocker Whipped vanilla frosting (from 12-oz container)
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
6 miniature pretzel twists, broken in half

1. Heat oven to 350°F for shiny metal pan (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and egg with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

3. Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. In small bowl, mix frosting and marshmallow creme. Spoon into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut 3/8-inch tip off 1 corner of bag. (Or spoon mixture onto cupcakes instead of piping.)