Category Archives: Candy

Malted Milk Blondies

Malted Milk Blondies

Due to time constraints, I had to slice into these Malted Milk Blondies before they had cooled completely, so they lack the clean edges I usually go for. But perfect aesthetics aside, look at these warm, malty brown sugar blondies full of chopped malted milk balls. Aren’t they magnificent?

Malted Milk Blondies

If you’re as completely over-the-moon about malted anything as I am, these are basically flawless. In addition to the softness and chew of a great blondie, they have a depth of flavor that can only come from a hefty scoop of malted milk powder. My favorite bites are the ones that have little bits of malted milk ball candy in them! Malt on malt on malt—if you know, you know.

Malted Milk Blondies

Besides being absolutely delicious, making Malted Milk Blondies is easy as can be! The batter comes together in minutes and bakes in half an hour. When it comes out of the oven, I like to dot the top of the blondies with more chopped malted milk balls for even more malt flavor (and some cuteness).

Oh yes, malt lovers. These are for you. They’re for us.

Malted Milk Blondies
Malted Milk Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup malted milk powder
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
~1 1/4 cups roughly chopped malted milk balls candy (like Whoppers), divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside.

Make the blondie base. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and malted milk powder. Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in 1 cup of roughly chopped malted milk balls.

Transfer the blondie batter into the prepared pan and smooth to throw edges. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Mint Chip Buttercream Bars

Mint Chip​ Buttercream Bars

It seems impossible, but we’ve reached the last recipe of the year.

With three days to go until Christmas, I wanted this one to be easy enough that you could add it to your menu at the last second, but not so in-your-face Christmasy that you couldn’t make it for New Year’s Eve or any other time. These Mint Chip Buttercream Bars certainly fit that bill. With just ten minutes of actual baking, a flavor that’s universally beloved, and a high yield, they’re exactly the sort of recipe you want to have in your back pocket during the holidays.

Mint Chip​ Buttercream Bars

Oh, they look fancy with their three layer presentation, but they’re dead easy. The thick Oreo crust is the only thing that requires baking; the creamy mint chip buttercream and chocolate topping are simply whipped up and layered on.

Mint Chip​ Buttercream Bars

You can make these all in one go or do them in steps, making the crust one day and applying the other layers a day or two later. Once assembled, put them in the fridge for a couple of hours for optimal sliceability, and that’s it!

Mint Chip​ Buttercream Bars

I like to cut these really small, because they pack a wallop. With layers of crumbly Oreo crust, chocolate chip studded mint buttercream and glossy chocolate, they’ve got texture and flavor all over the place. I only need a bite or two to be satisfied—that doesn’t stop me from going back for more though!

Mint Chip​ Buttercream Bars

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! I am taking Christmas Eve off, but will be back next week with some end of year wrap up stuff.

Mint Chip Buttercream Bars
makes 2-2.5 dozen depending how small you cut them

Oreo Crust:
24 Oreos
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Mint Chip Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extrac
1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
2-3 drops green food coloring (I used gel)
6 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Chocolate Topping:
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan with butter. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes to set. Let cool completely. At this point, the pan and crust may be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored for a day at room temperature.

Make the mint chip buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in confectioner's sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached. Add 1-2 drops gel food coloring (or a few drops of liquid) and use your electric mixer to beat until combined. Adjust color as necessary. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Spread mint chip buttercream over the crust, smoothing into an even layer. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.


Make the chocolate topping. Combine chopped chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, just until melted. Drop chocolate over filling one spoonful at a time. Use a small offset icing knife (or a silicone spatula) to carefully spread it over a section of the filling. Continue dropping and spreading chocolate until it’s all used. Freeze until chocolate has hardened, about 15 minutes.

Use parchment overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully peel off and discard parchment. Use a lightly-greased sharp chef’s knife to slice bars (mine are 1x1 1/2-inch). pieces).

Bars may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (check the date on your heavy cream). Layer them with parchment if they are to be stacked.

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Look away, candy corn haters! This recipe isn’t for you!

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Nope, these White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies are for me, a person with questionable taste in television and Halloween candy. Are you also a person with these interests? Hi, hello, let’s be friends. Would you like a cookie?

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

These are so simple to make. The base is a drop sugar cookie dough that I’ve used on here several times that bakes up chewy and perfect every time. But let’s be real, these cookies are all about the mix-ins. The white chocolate chips stay intact, but the candy corn melts into festive little puddles that retain their chew but are devoid of chalkiness. They’re so good!

Before you start mixing up dough, you should know a couple of things:

  • You need to roll your dough into balls before you chill it. Is this the opposite of literally every cookie recipe I’ve ever posted? Yep. But it’s necessary if you want to keep your candy corn intact, which I very much do, not only for the bigger pockets of melted candy but also because…
  • Any candy corn that’s on the bottom of the dough balls will burn after several minutes of contact with the pan. This means you want to make sure that the bottoms of all your dough balls are just dough (and maybe some white chocolate). The cookies will spread as they bake, causing some candy corn to inevitably meet the pan, but it won’t burn and become a big lacy mess. If any of the candy corn on the edges starts to spread, you can gently reshape the cookies with a glass or spoon after baking. Resist the urge to do this with your fingers though, as few things hurt like a molten sugar burn.
White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Other than those very doable adjustments to a traditional drop cookie routine, these cookies are business as usual (but make it spooky season). Make them for yourself or your fellow candy corn devotees, and have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies
White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping
1 cup candy corn + more for topping

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in white chocolate chips, followed by candy corn.

Line a pan (or a couple of plates that will fit in your refrigerator) with parchment. Scoop dough into 2 tablespoons and roll into balls. Make sure there are no bits of exposed candy corn on the bottoms of any dough balls. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until puffy. Decorate with more white chocolate chips and candy corn, if desired. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep extremely well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesHow cute are these Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes?! They’re a miniature version of the towering surprise-inside Easter Egg Hunt Cake I made a few years back, and truth be told, I think I love them even more than the original. Layer cakes are great and all, but it’s pretty hard to resist cupcakes topped with Easter candy and filled with sprinkles!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes start with the same vanilla sour cream cupcake base I used for my Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes last month. Here it’s baked up plain, but that’s the only thing that’s plain about these little cakes. It goes without saying that this recipe is pretty extra.Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesBefore frosting, each cupcake is filled with sprinkles for a surprise effect. To achieve this, a cone-shaped piece of cake is cut out of the top of each cupcake, leaving behind just enough room for a teaspoon of sprinkles. Then the little conical toppers are trimmed into disks so that they fit right back on top of the cupcakes, concealing the surprise inside. Once the cupcakes are frosted, the cut-outs won’t be visible, making it all the more fun when your family and friends bite in and sprinkles come running out!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt CupcakesLike the layer cake that inspired them, these cupcakes are frosted with green-tinted vanilla buttercream and decorated with little Easter scenes made of green coconut “grass,” egg-shaped candies and Peeps bunnies.

Pro-tip: slice off the rounded bottom edges of your Peeps bunnies and slick the exposed marshmallow with frosting so that they sit nicely on your cupcakes. You don’t want to spend all of Easter propping up marshmallow bunnies, you know?!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesI can’t get over how festive these are! I say this about at least one recipe a year, but these might be the cutest things I’ve ever made. And maybe soon they’ll be the cutest things you’ve ever made.Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
a few drops of green food coloring
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For assembly:
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
a few drops of green food coloring
Peeps bunnies (optional)
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies) or seasonal sprinkles
Easter egg candies (I used M&Ms)

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Fill liners 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla, food coloring & heavy cream until combined. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together coconut and food coloring until combined. If using Peeps bunnies, trim off 1/2-inch of their curved bases so that they are flat.

Fill cupcakes. Working with one cupcake at a time, use a small paring knife to carve out a 1-inch deep hole in the top. The removed piece should be conical; slice off the narrow/pointed end so that you have a little disk of cake. Fill the hole in the cupcake with ~1 teaspoon of sprinkles, then place the disk of cake on top to cover them. Repeat process until all cupcakes have been filled.

Frost and decorate cupcakes. Use an offset icing spatula to frost filled cupcakes, leaving the tops relatively flat. Sprinkle on green coconut (or gently dip cupcakes into a bowl of coconut), then decorate with egg candies and Peeps bunnies. I find it easiest to get the Peeps bunnies to stick by dipping their trimmed flat bottom edges in frosting before adhering to the frosted cupcakes.

Serve. Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five. Peeps bunnies will get stale over time.

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes

White Almond Petit Fours

White Almond Petit FoursI’ve made petit fours for a couple of Easters over the last few years, and I think I might finally be getting the hang of them. These tiny, poured fondant-glazed cakes are a childhood favorite of mine, but past attempts to make them have driven me to dark places. When I tested the carrot cake version I had to take a day off of work to recover! It’s taken me two years to give petit fours another go, and while I expected some agony, these White Almond beauties were surprisingly fun and simple to make.

Don’t get me wrong—these are still a labor of love, but they weren’t backbreaking, day-ruining work this time, and I think I know why. I took my time, y’all. I didn’t rush a thing. Every step in this process was done when I had the time and energy. While you can certainly make these over the course of a single day, the batch pictured was assembled over four days with lots of down time. It was leisurely and practically luxurious as far as petit fours go.White Almond Petit FoursLet me lay it out for you. On Monday, I made the cake—a sprinkle-free, rectangular version of this white bundt recipe—and then refrigerated it. Tuesday is my long day every week, so nothing happened petit four-wise.

On Wednesday, I trimmed the cake, painted on an almond simple syrup, and adhered a thin sheet of marzipan to the top. Then I popped the whole thing back into the fridge.White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit FoursThe next day (Thursday), I trimmed the edges and cut the cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Since marzipan is moldable, I scored my squares before slicing—it made the whole process super simple.

Next up, I made the poured fondant coating, which is really just melting a whole bunch of things together. Usually coating is my least favorite part of this process, but these weren’t much trouble. I think using cold, dense-crumbed bundt cake was the secret to my success here—it held together so well that I was able to coat these squares by dipping instead of fiddling with squeeze bottles.White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit FoursMy process went something like this. I stuck a fork in the bottom of a petit four and dipped it in the warm fondant, quickly moving the bowl around to cover the sides. Then I used another fork to help ease the petit four onto a rack to set before moving onto the next.* I had a few casualties, but the solution was to slightly reheat the fondant and keep going. Make no mistake, this was still a tedious process, but it’s nothing compared to the squeeze bottle nightmares of petit fours past! Are there a few crumbs on these little cakes? Sure! But perfection is the enemy of joy here. Also, toasted almond flowers are quite handy for hiding flaws. Aren’t they pretty? I’m obsessed.

*Here’s a video from another baker whose process is similar to my own.White Almond Petit FoursAs far as flavor goes, White Almond Petit Fours are sweet almond through and through! If you love marzipan, these are for you. The cake is dense and moist, the marzipan somehow both melts and remains distinct, and the fondant is almost too much…but it’s also not enough. I always need a second petit four.White Almond Petit FoursThe petit fours of my childhood were super-sweet so I love the intensity here, but if you need some sharpness to cut through all the almond, you could soak the cake in a lemon syrup, or torte and fill it with a layer of raspberry jam or lemon curd. For me though, it’s all about that moist sweet almond cake, especially when enjoyed cold from the fridge at midnight on Easter Day. Or any day, really. I’m not picky.White Almond Petit Fours

White Almond Petit Fours
makes about 35 1 1/2-inch petit fours

Cake:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

Syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Marzipan:
12 ounces prepared marzipan (not almond paste)

Poured Fondant:
2/3 cup hot tap water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces white chocolate chips
2 pounds (7 1/2 cups) confectioners sugar

Garnish:
sliced almonds
~3 tablespoons poured fondant

This recipe is long and requires many steps and chills. Please read through carefully before beginning.

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and line with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg whites, vanilla, almond extract, sour cream and milk in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Use a thin, flexible knife to release cake, and then remove to a rack. Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove cake from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim the top so that it’s even and the crumb is exposed. Discard (eat!) the scraps.

Make the syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Paint syrup all over the top of the cake. It will seem like too much, but it’s not.

Roll out the marzipan. Dust a surface and rolling pin with flour or confectioner’s sugar. Use your hands to form marzipan into a rectangle shape and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll marzipan into an 8×12-inch rectangle, lifting and turning it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to your surface.

Lay marzipan over the top of the cake so that the crumb is no longer exposed. Use rolling pin to roll over it lightly a few times to adhere. Wrap assembled cake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 2 hours or up to a day.

Remove cake from the refrigerator to a large cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Freeze for 30 minutes while you prepare the poured fondant.

On a surface, place a cooling rack over a sheet of parchment.

Make poured fondant. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together hot water, light corn syrup, and vanilla.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl. When water simmers, place bowl back over the water. Whisk until melted. Alternate adding confectioners sugar and liquid ingredients, whisking constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes (it works best around 100F).

Working quickly, stab a fork into the bottom of on petit four. Gently lower it into the fondant and manipulate the bowl so that the sides get some coverage. Use another fork or an offset icing spatula to remove the petit four off the fork and onto the prepared cooling rack. Re-warm fondant as needed by placing it back over the double boiler for a few minutes. Here is a video for clarity.

This process may also be done by filling a squeeze bottle with fondant and using it to cover the the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. This may be done with a spoon as well, although a squeeze bottle is simpler.

Let poured fondant set for about an hour. Reserve any excess fondant for decorating.

To decorate, toast almonds in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool completely. When petit fours have set, warm excess fondant slightly and load into a piping bag. Snip off a small corner and dot about a dime-size blob on top off one petit four, then immediately arrange five almond slices as a flower. Continue with remaining petit fours. Let set for another 20 minutes before serving.

Petit course may be served at room temperature or cold. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit Fours