Cupcake Pie Bars: Improv Challenge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh my gahhh…

This dessert takes the cake- and the pie, and the bars.  Given that I have combined 3 types of desserts (bars, pie filling custard, and cupcakes), scientifically this dessert must be 3 time superior than all other normal desserts.

For this month’s Improv Challenge, we were given the task to make a dish with cake a frosting.  While I am perfectly happy with any cake or cupcake combo, I decided to try something a little bit different with these triple threat dessert.

First you have a graham cracker pie crust packed into bar form.  Good  Then you have a chess-pie butter filling.  Wonderful.  Then you pour the pie filling over cupcakes on top of your crust.  Magical.

All together, these three factors combine together to form a wonderful, sweet dessert.  All aboard the cupcake pie bar train.  First stop: sugar coma.

A fair warning: these babies are sweet.  I have a pretty high sweet tolerance, and my sugar craving was fully satisfied after one small bar (versus my typical 3-5).  The first time I made these, I (stupidly) forgot to add the eggs, which made them ultra sweet, but I have adapted the recipe a little bit to take out some of the sugar toothache-factor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

CUPCAKE PIE BARS
Adapted from The Domestic Rebel

INGREDIENTS

For the Brown Sugar Crust:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the Cupcake Filling
18 mini cupcakes, sliced in half
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and grease.

In a food processor combine flour, salt, and brown sugar.  Pulse until combined.  Sprinkle cold butter cubes on top.  Pulse until pea sized crumbs form.  Press evenly into prepared baking pan.  Place sliced cupcakes in single layer on top.

In a large bowl combine butter, eggs, sugar, vinegar, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Pour over top of cupcakes.  Top with sprinkles, if desired.  Bake for 30-37 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into bars.  Store in refrigerator.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting the challenge!  Make sure the check out what everyone else made!

Cherry Bomb Donut Holes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Was this really only a 4 day work week?

I am exhausted.  The second week curse.  When school starts up the first week is sometimes way to ease into our work, and you still feel invigorated at the end. You may even feel really productive and ready to take on lots of work.

Then the dreaded second week comes and you start counting down the weeks until Thanksgiving.  And then you get irritated by the fact that Thanksgiving is occurring later than usual this year.

Things are stressful but good this semester.  I am finally getting in the swing of starting to see clients, and teaching is going better.  At the end of the first week I was ready to stop (prepping is a huge time suck), but this week I was kind of reminded why I love the subject of psychology so much.  I kind of got into a groove of how to give a lecture.  But I still cannot get students to laugh at my jokes- I just look to a sea of blank faces.  Their blank faces in turn make me act goofier, which leads to more blank faces.

Next week I plan to help them make a brain out of playdoh (playdough?), which apparently is an activity students love.  Give a college student playdoh, and they’ll love class.  So many colors of playdoh, so many parts of the brain!  I will let you know how that goes given that my knowledge about the brain construction ain’t super extensive.

But that’s next week.  It is now the weekend- hallelujah! So what should one do when they are feeling a little stressed by work?  Deep fry something.  It all began with my Chorizo Chimichangas and has now proceeded to donut holes.

I made these donut holes last weekend, but I definitely feel like they would be an appropriate way to celebrate surviving the second week of this semester.  They are absolutely amazing.  I was inspired by Gourdough’s, a food truck in Austin whose specialty is donuts.  I ate there a year ago, but those donuts have stayed with me. An important, formative memory in my life.

Donut holes are great because a) they are bite sized, so you can eat more, b) better outside crispiness to inside ratio, c)  you can load them up with lots of topping.  This particular toppings for this recipe are like cherry pie and cake all in one.  You get a sweet Greek yogurt sauce (because we are trying to be healthy right?), cherry filling, and cake batter AKA crack all on top of sweet donut holes. Yummm.

A helpful hint:  If you make them the donut holes a little larger, you get cooked donut outer layer and an inside molten cake batter layer inside.  Heaven is risking salmonella.

This donut holes are worth of a Meg Ryan faked orgasm.  Yes. Yes!  YES!

CHERRY BOMB DONUT HOLES
From Cinnamon Freud
Inspired by Gourdough’s

INGREDIENTS

For the Donut Holes:
1 1/3-1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
Vegetable oil, for frying

For the Toppings:
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup cherries in syrup
1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
3-4 tablespoons cake mix

DIRECTIONS

For the Toppings:

Mix together Greek yogurt, sugar, and milk in a small bowl.  Start with 1 tablespoon of milk and add more to adjust your preferred thinness.  Chill until ready to use.

Place cherries (with syrup) in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and mix in cornstarch mixture.  Cook until thickened, about 1-3 minutes.  Keep warm.

For the Donut Holes:

Fill a pot or pan with approximately 2 inches of oil.  Heat to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.  Beat in egg, milk, and melted butter.  Stir together until just combined.  Take approximately 1-2 heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into a small ball.

Working a few donut holes at a time, fry in oil, about 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Top donut holes with sweet yogurt sauce and cherry syrup.  Sprinkle bake batter mix on top.

Serves 1-2

Cake Batter Waffles

Eat your heart out easy bake oven.

I am slowly adjusting to my new home, but I am still missing home and my family a little bit.  Even more so (I jest), I am also missing our family waffle iron.  Waffles are a great option for breakfast or for breakfast for dinner.  And what is even better than waffles?  Waffles that taste like cake.

I whipped  up a batch of these bad boys before I left home.  One whiff of this batter cooking up, and you will be transported back to your childhood days when you would cook mini-cakes with a light bulb.  If you ever are overcome by the feeling of wanting to return to the easy days of childhood, make a batch of these waffles.  With some cake mix and soda, you get some instant happiness.

And waffles that taste like cake for breakfast is a great way to get back in the groove for all you students returning back to your classes and books.

CAKE BATTER WAFFLES
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS

1 box cake mix
3 tablespoons canola oil
14-16 ounces cream soda
Sprinkles, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your waffle iron.  In a large bowl whisk cake batter, canola oil, and 14 ounces cream soda together.  Fold in sprinkles if desired.  Add more cream soda to adjust consistency.  Pour batter into waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Serve with additional sprinkles, maple syrup, and whipped cream.

Makes approximately 10 4-inch square waffles.