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    Browned Butter S’mores Skillet Cookie

    This S’mores skillet cookie has extra toasty flavor thanks to a magic ingredient – browned butter. Serve slices of this cookie warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate summer treat!

    What goes better together than a campfire and s’mores? A cast iron skillet and this giant Browned Butter S’mores Cookie! The cookie dough bakes crisp on the edges and remains gooey in the center. It tastes extra-toasty with the addition of nutty browned butter.

    The magic ingredient.
    Browned butter is made by cooking unsalted butter until the milk solids turn golden. This yields a deep, rich, nutty flavor in baked goods. Use a light colored pan to best gauge the color of the butter as you’re cooking it. It’s much harder to determine doneness in a dark nonstick pan.

    After the browned butter cools a little, it’s cookie time! Mix up the sugars, browned butter and eggs. You won’t even need an electric mixer for this. I used a whisk.

    Add the dry ingredients, which includes some graham cracker crumbs for authentic s’mores flavor. Stir together until thick dough forms. Swap the whisk for a rubber spatula when it gets too thick to whisk.

    Fold in some semisweet chocolate chips. At this point it looks like regular chocolate chip cookie dough, but the graham crumbs give it a different personality!

    Skillet love.
    I’m always making a case for the Lodge 10.25″ skillet. It’s just a good pan at a decent price. Nobody’s paying me to say that. You can usually find it for less than $20 everywhere (such as here and here). It’s the perfect tool to use for this skillet cookie – and any skillet cookie, really!
    Spread the marshmallow cream over half of the cookie dough in the pan. Portion the remaining dough on top of the marshmallow with a cookie scoop, or use two spoons to place the dough.

    Pat the dough down into the pan using greased hands (or damp hands, dip in water then press – no sticking!). Don’t worry about covering all of the marshmallow cream. We want some of that to be exposed because it gets brown and toasty in the oven.

    This cookie stays soft in the middle and has crisp edges. It may look slightly underdone in the center when you take it out of the oven, but the marshmallow cream keeps everything ooey-gooey. Let it cool for a few minutes because nobody wants a burn from sticky marshmallow cream.

    This treat is so perfect treat for summer. There’s no way the vanilla ice cream is optional here. It gets melty on slices of warm cookie, and creates the most wonderful creamy foil for such a rich dessert. A sprinkle of flake sea salt never hurt anything, either.
    This blog post is sponsored by Go Bold With Butter!

    Browned Butter S’mores Skillet Cookie

    Heather Baird

    This S’mores skillet cookie has extra toasty flavor thanks to a magic ingredient – browned butter. Browned butter is made by cooking unsalted butter until the milk solids turn brown. This yields a deep, rich, nutty flavor. Serve slices of this cookie warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate summer treat!

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    Prep Time 15 minsCook Time 30 minsTotal Time 45 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 10

    Equipment10.25 inch cast iron skillet
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 3/4 cup unsalted butter1 cup brown sugar packed1/2 cup granulated sugar2 eggs2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs1 teaspoon cornstarch1/2 teaspoon salt1 cup chocolate chips1 cup marshmallow cream3 graham cracker sheets3 oz. bar chocolateVanilla ice cream for serving
    Instructions Preheat the oven to 350° F.Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a light-colored metal saucepan so you can easily see the color of the butter change. Cook until the butter foams and steams. Swirl the pan occasionally as the foam subsides and watch closely as the butter turns golden brown and the milk solids drop to the bottom of the pan. Pour the browned butter and butter solids into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not solidified.Use a pastry brush to coat a 10-inch cast iron pan with a little of the browned butter. Set aside.In a large mixing bowl, combine the browned butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated.Add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, cornstarch and salt. Mix well until thick dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.Press half of the cookie dough in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with dollops of marshmallow cream. Place remaining cookie dough on top of the marshmallow cream using a spoon or an ice cream scoop. Allow some of the marshmallow cream to remain exposed. Smooth down the dough with a greased rubber spatula or by pressing it down with damp hands (dip hands in water, then press).Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the cookie is well set and golden brown. (The center of the cookie will be gooey, and the edges crisp). Immediately garnish the top of the cookie with graham crackers and squares of the bar chocolate.Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
    NotesWhile browning the butter you’ll notice that it goes through several stages of bubbling. First it gets medium-sized soapy-looking bubbles with milk solids clinging to them. Then bubbles will get smaller as the butter cooks until it almost turns into a foam. Usually, just after the foaming part the butter will begin to brown. Watch the pan carefully while swirling it so you can best see what color the butter is turning. When it’s deep golden, pour it into a bowl to cool.
    The center of this cookie stays gooey, so testing for doneness with a toothpick is out. The cookie is done when the edges are puffed and the top is golden. If you need extra insurance, stick an instant read thermometer in the center. A reading of 160F or higher is safe, as eggs are cooked at 160F. 
    If the marshmallow cream doesn’t get as brown as you’d like in the oven, stick it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Or use a chef’s torch to toast it.

    Keyword browned butter, dipped graham crackers, graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow cream, semisweet chocolate chips

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    Cereal Milk Pudding Shooters

    These fun Cereal Milk Pudding Shooters can be made with your favorite sweet breakfast cereal. This version uses Froot Loops, which makes a colorful party food that’s kid-friendly, too!

    Sometimes I forget how good scratch-made pudding is. Whenever I make it I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. This pudding is extra good, because it comes with a hit of childhood nostalgia. We have Milk Bar to thank for introducing the world to cereal milk as an ingredient. The thing is, we’ve all likely made this as kids sitting in front of the TV, eating sugary cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons. Who knew we’d be using it to make desserts?

    Selecting a cereal.
    Start this recipe with the biggest bowl of cereal, ever! Five cups of milk to four cups of cereal. I must admit, stirring this together was super satisfying. I was tempted to take a big bite.
    Froot Loops (with marshmallow shapes) is my sweet cereal of choice, but you could use Fruity Pebbles, Cap’n Crunch, or even less sweet Cornflakes. You might remember my previous recipe made with cereal milk – Toasted Corn Flakes Cupcakes with Cereal Milk Pipettes. Still love those!

    Cover the enormous bowl of cereal and refrigerate it. Let the mixture steep for at least an hour. Longer is better to coax out as much cereal flavor as possible. Aim for 2-3 hours.

    Next, strain out the cereal. The loops will soak up some of the milk, so you’ll have less than you began with. You should end up with about 4 1/2 cups of cereal milk.

    Divide the cereal milk. 4 cups will be heated in a saucepan, and 1/2 cup will go in a bowl with cornstarch and egg yolks to make a slurry. Add this little bowl of ingredients to the saucepan to thicken the pudding as it cooks.

    After the mixture was all whisked together and thickened, something was obviously missing. The thick, pale yellow pudding didn’t really resemble the colorful Froot Loops cereal milk I’d had as a kid. A drop of red food color will make it look more authentic. This is optional.

    Cool the pudding before dividing it between shot glasses. I used a piping bag with a tiny hole cut in the end to portion it into the glasses, but you could also just spoon it in.

    Party perfect.
    Add some whipped cream and crushed cereal on top, and you’ve got instant party food! This recipe will make about 20 shooters served in these 2.4 oz. dessert shot glasses. However, you can also divvy the pudding up in larger servings to serve 6-8 people.

    How fun would these be for a kid’s party? They’re so creamy and they’re a good summer refresher when chilled. They can be made a couple of days ahead, so if it’s hot where you live right now, wait until night time when it’s cooler to make them. It takes about 15 minutes on the stove top. Enjoy!

    Cereal Milk Pudding Shooters

    Heather Baird

    This recipe can be endlessly varied with your favorite cereal. This version uses Froot Loops, which makes a fun and colorful party food. Kid-friendly, too! These take about 4 hours to chill completely, and can be made 2 days ahead.

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    Prep Time 10 minsCook Time 15 minsTotal Time 25 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 20 dessert shooters

    Equipment20-24 shot glasses, 2.4 oz. eachPiping baglarge closed star piping tip
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cereal milk pudding5 cups whole milk4 cups fruity breakfast cereal such as Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles1 cup sugar1/3 cup cornstarch5 large egg yolks1/2 teaspoon sea salt1 drop liquid red food color optionalWhipped cream and topping2/3 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons granulated sugar1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract1/4 cup loosely crushed fruity cereal such as Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles
    Instructions Cereal milk puddingCombine the milk and cereal in a large bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture steep for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Strain out the cereal. You should be left with about 4 1/2 cups of cereal milk. Discard the cereal.Pour 1/2 cup of the cereal milk in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch egg yolks and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the bowl. Whisk to combine.Add 4 cups of the cereal milk to a saucepan and set over medium heat until steaming but not boiling.Add 1/3 cup of the hot cereal milk from the saucepan to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once mixed, add the egg mixture back to the saucepan of milk in a pencil-thin stream, whisking constantly as you pour.Cook over medium heat, whisking continually, until the mixture thickens up to the consistency of pudding, about 7 minutes. Stir in food color, if using. Transfer to a bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature until barely warm. Portion into approximately 20-24 shot glasses, 2.4 oz. each. Alternatively divide between 6-8 ramekins or dessert cups.Whipped cream and toppingsBeat the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the granulated sugar while beating. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form.Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe whipped cream on top of each pudding shot. Garnish each with crushed fruity cereal.Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    NotesLighten this recipe by using low fat milk or almond milk.
    I’ve found that allowing the cereal to steep for 2 hours in the milk will impart more flavor.
     
     

    Keyword cereal milk, froot loops, heavy cream, whole milk

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    Cheerwine Chocolate Cupcakes

    Chocolate cupcakes get a boost of cherry flavor from Cheerwine, a unique southern soft drink. A tall swirl of cherry-Cheerwine buttercream gives these cakes a grand finish.

    My recent cake baking has been inspired by fizzy beverages. I’m not sure why. Maybe because summer makes me crave my favorite chilled drinks. Cheerwine is one of those favorites that has a cult following. It was born in North Carolina in 1917, is nonalcoholic despite its name, and tastes like a cross between Cherry Coke and Dr. Pepper. It was once little-known outside its region, however, thanks to the internet (and a NY Times article) today it’s more widely available.
    It’s a regular fixture at barbeque joints in North Carolina, but I like it with just about anything. However, I may nominate these cupcakes for dessert at our next family barbeque.

    First, you’ll start with a good amount of butter, white and brown sugars, and a generous addition of cocoa powder in a saucepan. My favorite chocolate cakes usually start out this way.

    Next, add in a whole cup of Cheerwine. All of this goes on the stovetop over medium heat. Whisk it all together until the butter and sugars are melted. The mixture doesn’t have to be super hot or boiling for this to happen. Just heat it long enough for the ingredients to marry.

    Then, let the chocolate mixture cool in the pan. When it’s just barely warm, whisk in an egg.

    Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together. You don’t even need an electric mixer for this, really. Hand-mixing is best for most small yield cake batters because it prevents incorporating too much air or over-mixing. As a result you’ll have less tunnels (air holes) in the baked cakes.

    The baked cupcakes are slightly domed and crackled on top. Just perfect, if you ask me!

    The buttercream formula is a simple confectioners’ sugar and butter mixture with the additions of Cheerwine, maraschino cherry juice, and a few drops of black cherry flavoring. The latter is available for purchase online (right here). You can make these cupcakes without the flavoring, but without it the cherry flavor is subtle.
    White nonpareils are the unsung heroes of the sprinkle world. I adore them on any baked good I want to make look bubbly or fizzy (these NYE treats come to mind). I think they work really well on these little cakes.

    The only thing left to say is – YUM! The soda gives the cakes subtle black cherry flavor. Nothing here is too bossy or overpowering, but I will offer one suggestion. For those averse to tall frosting on cupcakes, halve the buttercream recipe.

    Cheerwine Chocolate Cupcakes

    Heather Baird

    These soft chocolate cupcakes are infused with delicious dark cherry Cheerwine soft drink. Use a 1/4 cup measure to accurately fill the cupcakes, and use a small rubber spatula to effectively scrape out the batter from the measuring cup into the liner (you should get an even dozen this way). If you’re not a fan of a tall serving of buttercream, halve the frosting recipe.

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    Prep Time 15 minsCook Time 20 minsTotal Time 35 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    EquipmentClosed star piping tip, such as Ateco #855Piping bag
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cupcakes1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces1/2 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar1 cup Cheerwine soft drink1 egg1 cup all-purpose flour1/2 tsp. plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon saltCheerwine buttercream and garnish1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature4 cups confectioners’ sugar3 tablespoons Cheerwine soft drink1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice5-7 drops black cherry flavoring oil or 1/2 teaspoon cherry extract1/8 teaspoon liquid red food color optional2 tablespoons white nonpareils12 maraschino cherries with stems
    Instructions CupcakesPreheat the oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with baking papers.To a small saucepan, add the cocoa powder, butter, and sugars. Pour in the soft drink. Place over medium heat and whisk until the butter is melted, the sugar is dissolved, and the ingredients are well mixed, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool until barely warm. Whisk in the egg.In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. Gently stir the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture.Use a 1/4 cup measure to pour batter into the cupcake papers. Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes or until cakes spring back when pressed in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.ButtercreamIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until crumbly. Dribble in the Cheerwine soft drink one tablespoon at a time while beating at medium speed. Add the cherry juice and cherry flavor. Whip on high speed until light and fluffy. If mixture is too thick to spread, beat in additional Cheerwine one tablespoon at a time. The froting should be pale pink after whipping. Beat in food color if desired.Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe a generous double swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake, sprinkling with white nonpareils after each cupcake is piped. Garnish each cake with a single maraschino cherry.Serve as the perfect ending to a southern dinner, especially a barbeque dinner. However, these need no special occasion.
    NotesThe chocolate cupcake recipe was adapted from Baked! New Frontiers in Baking (2008, Stewart, Tabori & Chang).
    Increase the frosting’s cherry flavor to taste by adding more drops of flavoring oil or more cherry extract.

    Keyword american buttercream, Cheerwine, maraschino cherries, unsweet cocoa powder

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    Pull-Apart Scones with Grilled Nectarines

    Grilled nectarines with pull-apart scones. These no-fuss pull-apart scones have a golden, tender crumb thanks to the unparalleled richness of Kerrygold Unsalted Butter. The perfect balance of crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, these scones might just become your new go-to quick bread. Want to take them to the next level? Fire […] LEGGI TUTTO

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    Cold Strawberry Soufflé

    Cold Strawberry Soufflé gets its lift and airy texture from beaten egg whites and whipped cream. Make it ahead for a chilly summer treat or an elegant dinner party dessert.

    If the word soufflé brings up some hesitancy, it’s no wonder. Hot soufflés in French fashion have only a handful of ingredients, but they must be handled just so. Immediately after baking they’re whisked to the table for the best presentation of their height. Cold soufflés are a different story. Unlike hot soufflés they can be made well ahead of time and kept chilled until ready to serve. I find them enjoyable to make, and a simple foil collar gives them stately height, just like a hot soufflé.

    Make the base.
    Begin with two pints of strawberries. These can be fresh or frozen. I used frozen berries (thawed). Puree them and measure out 1 1/4 cups of puree. I had about 3 tablespoons of leftover puree and used it as an ice cream topping.

    Next, in a saucepan you’ll bloom gelatin in a little of the puree. Place the saucepan over heat just long enough to melt the gelatin, then combine it with the rest of the puree.

    After the gelatin/puree mixture cools, you’ll whip it in a standing mixer. It will gain loads of volume, and look like a big weird pile of pink marshmallow. This is the base of the soufflé.

    Lighten the base.
    Immediately after the strawberry base is whipped, fold it into the whipped cream. Do this with gentle folding motions. As a result it will retain volume. At this stage I added 2 drops of liquid red food color, just to increase the pink intensity (recommend!). Finally, fold in the egg whites, just as gently as before.

    To make a cold soufflé look like a hot soufflé which rises above the top of its dish, add a foil collar. It should extend a couple of inches over the top of the dish, and it will support the soufflé mixture during setting. Use tape or rubber bands to secure the collars around the ramekins. Pipe the mixture into the collared ramekins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
    I made this recipe into individual servings, but you can also make it into one big soufflé (or even molded into a pan, like this one!). Same collar technique applies, but use a 1 quart soufflé dish.

    For the neatest collar removal, freeze the desserts and unmold them while they are still frozen. As a result, you’ll have smooth edges that won’t ding easily if you accidentally stick your thumb into it (I learned the hard way!). Thaw them in the refrigerator before digging in.

    This dessert is a pink cloud! Sweet and gossamer light, it refreshes and won’t weigh you down. It’s a wonderful, classic dessert to learn, and good any time of year (but especially on a hot day).

    Cold Strawberry Soufflé

    Heather Baird

    This recipe yields about 4 servings if divided between collared 6 oz. ramekins. This is a generous serving size, and even though this dessert is light it is deceptively rich. Consider using collared 4 oz. ramekins for more servings. Or, collar a 1 to 1.25 quart soufflé dish for one large dessert that can be portioned onto dessert plates. This recipe was adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, circa 1980.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 5 minsTotal Time 25 mins

    Course DessertCuisine French

    Servings 4

    Equipment4 ramekins, 6 oz. each, or 1 quart souffle dishaluminum foil
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 2 cups heavy whipping cream1 1/4 cups strawberry puree from about 2 pints of berries2 envelopes powdered unflavored gelatin .25 oz. each2 drops liquid red food color6 egg whites from pasteurized eggs1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt1/2 cup granulated sugar4 fresh whole strawberries1/2 cup whipped cream for piping optional
    Instructions Prepare four 6 oz. ramekins with foil collars, or a 1-quart dish. (See notes for instructions.)In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate.In a saucepan, stir the gelatin with 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree. Mixture will thicken and set. Place over medium heat and stir until gelatin melts and dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining puree. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the gelatin and strawberry puree mixture on high speed until the mixture gains volume and lightens. Immediately fold the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream mixture. Do this gently to retain volume and lightness.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to soft peaks with an electric mixer. Gradually add in the sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold into the strawberry whipped cream mixture. Do this gently to retain the volume and lightness.Spoon or pipe the soufflé mixture into the prepared dishes and smooth the tops using an offset spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Remove collars while the desserts are still frozen. Thaw them in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.Before serving, garnish with sliced fresh berries. Pipe stars of whipped cream around the top edge of the soufflés, if using.
    NotesHow to make a foil collar: Cut a piece of 12-inch-wide foil to fit around a 1 quart soufflé dish or cut four pieces to fit around four 6 oz. ramekins and overlap about 2 inches. For one large soufflé, fold the foil in half lengthwise, for ramekins fold into thirds. Carefully wrap around the outside of the dish so that the collar stands about 3 inches above the rim. Secure with rubber bands or with short pieces of cellophane tape.
    For the optional piped whipped cream, beat 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat to stiff peaks. Place in a piping bag fitted with a small open star tip. Pipe whipped cream around the top edge(s) of the soufflé.

    Keyword egg whites, heavy cream, powdered gelatin, strawberry puree

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    Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

    Celebrate Independence Day with this colorful Red, White, and Blue Firecracker Cake. It’s patriotic inside and out!

    Summer is in full swing, and July Fourth is just around the corner. I’m always looking for new ways to make the holiday special. This year I dreamed up a fun way to decorate a cake for the occasion. It’s so festive and extremely simple using candy from the grocery store. Anyone can do it!

    Batter up!
    This cake is patriotic inside and out! Start by whipping up the cake batter. It’s a tangy and thick with buttermilk and Greek yogurt, and it’s pale enough to take food color well. For the colorful interior, three shades of food color does the trick! Use red, sky blue, and navy blue or royal blue gel food colors. I’ve been using Chefmaster gel food colors for a few years now, and this is a good starter set if you’re looking to try it out. Tint three bowls of batter with the food color and leave one plain.

    After the colorful cake batters are baked into 6″ cake layers and cooled, stack them and coat with good old fashioned American buttercream. (Was there any other choice for this cake?). I almost left the frosting white, but at the last minute I decided on pale sky blue. I l love this color with the red firecracker decors.

    Piping fun!
    The rope of multicolor frosting on top is a fun and really eye-catching element. The most labor intensive part of this process is tinting the frosting with food color. The rest is easy!
    First, divide and tint the frosting red, sky blue, and royal blue. Transfer each to a piping bag. Place some untinted frosting in a fourth piping bag. Next, lay a sheet of plastic wrap out on a work surface. Pipe a fat line of royal blue frosting on the center of the plastic, about 8 inches long. Pipe the light blue color frosting right next to the royal blue frosting. Follow with the white frosting, the red frosting, and another line of white. After the piping is done, fold the plastic over the frosting to roll it together.

    Next, squeeze out a some of the icing in a circular motion on a piece of scrap parchment. This will give you some practice piping the rope, and sometimes it takes a few passes for all of the colors to extrude together.Now you’re ready to pipe on the cake!

    Sprinkle now, not later.
    Immediately after piping the fat rope of frosting, add sprinkles. Have them ready to hand because this buttercream crusts in just a few minutes. If you wait too long the sprinkles will bounce right off! I used a combination of white confetti, white nonpareils and gold dragees.

    The firecrackers are TOO EASY to make. Just get yourself some SweeTarts Ropes in Cherry Punch flavor and black licorice laces. Trim the ropes down to about 2-inches and insert a small length of licorice into the cream center. I used a toothpick to remove a little of the cream filling to make room for the licorice. That’s pretty much it for assembly!

    By the time all of the firecrackers are assembled, the buttercream frosting on the cake will be well set. Use a little leftover buttercream to attach the firecrackers to the cake. I used a toothpick to apply a little to the backs of each candy.

    Because this cake requires quite a few of the firecracker decors, enlist some help! Kids can help put them together.

    This was a fun little bake, and it’s 6-inch size makes it small yet tall. A slice is a tower of color!

    This cake recipe was new to me. I found it in a community cookbook and decided to give it a spin. It has the tightest crumb and yet it is moist with all that yogurt in the batter. It’s tangy and relies on pure vanilla extract for its bakery-made flavor. I think it would be the perfect consistency to hold chunks of fresh fruit throughout, so I may try a summer peach version with it next!

    Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

    Heather Baird

    This is the perfect party cake for a July Fourth party or cookout. The frosting recipe provides the large quantity needed to fill, frost, and make the rope border for the cake. You will have a little frosting leftover. Use it to attach the firecrackers to the outside of the cake. SweeTarts Ropes candies were used for the firecrackers can be found at most US grocery stores. You could also use strawberry licorice ropes or Twizzlers.

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    Prep Time 40 minsCook Time 40 minsTotal Time 1 hr 20 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 8

    Equipment6 inch cake pans, 4Kitchen scissorskitchen dedicated tweezers
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cakes4 1/2 cups cake flour1 tablespoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature2 cups granulated sugar4 eggs1 egg white1 cup Greek yogurt1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract1 1/4 cups buttermilkRed sky blue, and royal blue (or navy blue) gel food colorAmerican buttercream and decors2 cups unsalted butter softened2 lb. confectioners’ sugarMilk or cream to thin1 tablespoon pure vanilla extractRed sky blue, and royal blue (or navy blue) gel food color2 tablespoons white confetti sprinkles2 tablespoons white nonpareils1 tablespoon gold drageesFirecrackers3 SweeTarts Ropes in Cherry flavor1 licorice lace about 12 inches long1 tablespoon white confetti star sprinkles
    Instructions CakesPreheat the oven to 350F. Coat four 6-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the egg white and beat again. Add yogurt and vanilla extract.Add the flour and buttermilk alternately; begin and end with flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold together by hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.Divide the batter evenly into four bowls (slightly more than 2 cups per bowl). Leave one bowl untinted. Mix red food color into one of the bowls; begin with 1/2 teaspoon and increase amount until the desired vibrant red hue is achieved. Tint another bowl with the sky blue food color, and the last bowl with the royal blue food color. Mix well until no streaks of white remain. Transfer batters to the prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes, or until cakes are completely set and a toothpick tester comes out clean.Remove cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Trim domes from the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife to level.ButtercreamIn the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment, beat butter until creamy. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until combined. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed. Add milk or cream a little at a time until mixture whips and is of spreading consistency. Add the vanilla extract and beat again. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.Remove about 2/3 cup of white frosting to a piping bag.Place 1/3 cup in each of three bowls. Cover remaining frosting in the bowl with a damp towel to prevent drying.Tint one bowl with red food color, one with sky blue, and one with royal blue. Transfer each to their own piping bags. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and pipe a line of royal blue frosting 8-inches long. Pipe a light blue line alongside it, followed by a white line, and red line, and another white line of frosting, all touching each other. Roll the frostings up together in the plastic and twist the ends. Snip one end. Place the snipped end into a piping bag fitted with Ateco #824 open star tip. Set aside.Tint the remaining frosting with a small amount of sky blue food color and beat until a light blue color is achieved.AssemblyPlace the royal blue cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with a thin layer of buttercream. Stack the light blue layer on top; cover with a thin layer of buttercream. Continue with the with the white layer and frosting. Top with the red cake layer. Crumb coat the outside of the cake and refrigerate until set, 15 minutes. Coat the cake with a final layer of sky-blue buttercream. Use a bench scraper or cake smoother to smooth the edges of the cake. Refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes.Use the reserved bag of multicolor frosting to pipe a fat rope of buttercream along the top edge of the cake. Immediately add white confetti, white nonpareils, and gold dragees while the buttercream is still tacky. Reserve any leftover frosting.FirecrackersCut SweeTart Ropes int 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Snip the licorice lace into small pieces using a kitchen-dedicated pair of scissors. Use a toothpick to make holes in the cream centers of the rope pieces. Insert a piece of licorice lace into the holes to make a firecracker ‘wick’.Using a toothpick place small dots of buttercream on the backs of each firecracker and attach to the outside of the cake. Repeat with star confetti sprinkles. Use a pair of kitchen dedicated tweezers to apply them to the outside of the cake. Refrigerate cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.
    NotesThe cake’s texture improves after a night in the refrigerator. Consider making the layers a day ahead. After they cool, wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
    If you can’t find SweeTarts cherry ropes, try using red licorice ropes or Twizzlers.

    Keyword buttermilk, cake flour, candy ropes, greek yogurt, licorice laces

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    Italian Cream Cake

    Italian Cream Cake is a classic! Three soft cake layers are loaded with pecans and coconut. Rich cream cheese frosting is the true hallmark of this cake.

    This is my family’s recipe for Italian Cream Cake. Years ago my mom gave me a book of hand-written family recipes. It’s something I treasure, and it’s extremely useful, too! This recipe comes from those pages. You probably know by now that I love a good homestyle cake. This one is a classic, known and loved by many. I made it for our Father’s Day luncheon last Sunday because it’s my father-in-law’s favorite cake.

    My mom included tips, tricks, and stories with each recipe in the book. Here is what was written alongside the cake entry.
    “Our family discovered this recipe in the 1970’s. We loved it. My recipe card has spots all over it where I made it so much. I once made it for a co-worker. He paid me $20 for it. I thought that was outrageous.”-mom
    Haha! Who else thinks $20 sounds like a steal? You can almost spend that on a bag of good pecans.

    The batter comes together quickly, even though there’s the task of dividing the eggs and whipping the whites separately. It’s an extra step but so worth it. The cream cheese frosting in this recipe is probably my favorite of all time. It’s so easy, so smooth, and pipes well. It tastes great and performs – what more can you ask for?

    Let’s just take a moment to look at that interior. The cake layers stay moist because the smooth cream cheese frosting seals all that moisture in.

    The rolled wafer cookies on top were my addition. They’re optional, but they make a quick and easy final flourish – and they’re tasty, too!

    Italian Cream Cake

    Heather Baird

    Italian Cream Cake’s beginnings are murky, but it is said to originate from an Italian baker that moved to the southern US. This is our family recipe, passed down to me from my mom. It’s a delicious classic cake that everyone should try at least once. (I’m certain you’ll be hooked!)Make sure the cake layers are completely cool before frosting them. Cream cheese frosting is soft and easily meltable.

    .wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 25 minsTotal Time 45 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American, Italian

    Servings 10

    Equipment8 inch cake pans, 3
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cake layers1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature1/2 cup vegetable oil2 cups granulated sugar5 eggs yolks and whites divided2 cups flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 cup buttermilk1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup sweetened flake coconut1 cup chopped pecansCream cheese frosting and décors16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature7 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 boxes, 1 lb. each2 teaspoons vanilla extract1/3 cup ground pecans8 pecan halves8 striped rolled wafer cookie I used Pirouettes
    Instructions Cake layersPreheat oven to 350F. Generously coat three 8-inch cake pans with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour pans).In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, oil, and sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, beat well after each addition.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Beat the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk; begin and end with the flour. Add vanilla, coconut, and pecans.In a separate bowl, beat together egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.Cream cheese frostingCream together the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar in two additions. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again until combined. Cover frosting with a damp towel to keep it from drying out while you work.Remove about 1 cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Set aside.AssemblyPlace a cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a thin layer of frosting; stack another layer and frost. Top with the third cake layer. Apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the outside of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Smooth top and sides using a cake smoother or bench scraper. Immediately press the ground pecans onto the lower edges of the cake.Pipe eight large swirls of frosting on the top edge of the cake using the reserved piping bag of frosting. Immediately sprinkle swirls with leftover ground pecans. Place a pecan half between each swirl. Top each mound with a rolled wafer cookie.Refrigerate cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Keyword chopped pecans, cream cheese frosting, sweetened flake coconut

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    Cinnamon-Vanilla Sugar Pretzels

    A sweet twist on a classic, these vanilla bean seed-speckled soft pretzels are coated in a crunchy sugar blend punctuated with the aromatic flavors of cinnamon and Heilala Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. ¾ cup (150 grams) plus 3 teaspoons (12 grams) granulated sugar, divided 1⁄4 cup (55 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (14 grams) firmly packed […] LEGGI TUTTO