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Salted Pretzel Almond Bark

Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | RevamperateFor the days your sweet tooth needs some satisfaction but your mind keeps talking you out of it, you can still find a way to compromise. With this incredibly easy salted pretzel almond chocolate bark, you not only get a nice combination of sweet and salty but can snack without feeling super guilty. This sweet and salty bark makes a nice gift or just a good midnight snack.Pretzel Almond Bark | RevamperateTo make a small batch (about 10 pieces), you’ll need:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 handful of small pretzels
  • 1 handful of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)

First, lay out a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on defrost mode for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted. Pour the chocolate onto the wax paper and use the back of a spoon to spread it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick, if not a little bit thicker.

Take a handful of pretzels and use your hands to crunch them into smaller pieces. Spread over the chocolate and gently press the pieces down. Do the same with the almond slices, pushing down slightly to press them into the chocolate. Place the salt in your hands and evenly sprinkle it around the chocolate. It adds a little extra salt if you want it. Otherwise, the pretzels also give it a saltiness.Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | RevamperateLet the chocolate sit for a while, or put the sheet in the fridge to speed up the hardening of the chocolate. When it’s hard enough, use your hands to break it into pieces.

That’s all there is to it. Pretty easy, right? Package it up for a cute holiday gift or snack on it yourself. Enjoy!

Autumn Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

DSC_1017 DSC_0991Autumn in Southern California isn’t really autumn at all, but the weather gets a little cooler and the leaves begin to fall. Unfortunately, they don’t change colors, but it still feels like autumn to us locals. Most of all, I feel the seasons change when I can finally bake without feeling guilty for heating up the house. With that, here are some autumn-themed sugar cookies to brighten up your day!

To make 18-24 cookies, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 egg

I use this royal icing recipe from Wilton because it’s proven the best for me. You’ll need meringue powder for the recipe. You can also make royal icing with egg whites or other ingredients, but I’ve found that meringue powder makes the icing easiest to work with and hardens quickly. This recipe is for piping the edges – you’ll want to add water for flooding. DSC_0937First, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and slowly add to the wet mixture. It will become very thick and difficult to mix. If that happens, pull the dough onto a piece of wax paper and continue to massage with your hands until the flour is completely mixed.

Spread a little bit of flour onto a rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick if not thicker. Personally, I like my cookies soft, so I try to keep them thicker. Use cookie cutters (like these autumn cookie cutters that I used) to cut shapes out of the dough and move to a foil covered cookie sheet. Continue until all of the dough is cut. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, checking them often so they don’t overcook. Remove when they begin the brown on the edges and cool on a cooling rack.DSC_0961 DSC_0935In the meantime, mix your royal frosting. Separate into multiple bowls and mix in your desired food coloring with a spoon. Individually scoop a little of each color into its own piping bag and pipe around the edges of your design. Once done, add a little water, one teaspoon at a time, to the royal icing until it drips easily off of a spoon. Carefully use the spoon (or a squeeze bottle) to flood the area within your piping boundaries. It’s easiest to do this a little at a time because flooding too much icing too quickly can overflow your borders. Set the cookies on the cooling rack to harden before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few days and still taste like freshly baked sugar cookies!

If you don’t feel like fussing with icing, they also taste great on their own – soft and sweet. I’m looking forward to making lots of themed cookies over the next few months. Enjoy!

 

Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake to Celebrate 100 Posts

Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateI’m happy to be celebrating a big milestone today! This marks my 100th post on Revamperate, so it’s only appropriate that I celebrate with a cake. A very special one.

In a way, Revamperate is my baby, so I’m very proud to have made it so far with this blog. This milestone comes at a very good time for me because I’m currently stuck working from home due to a pretty bad fall that has left me with consistent lower back pain. My clumsiness really got the best of me this time, and it’s tough to not be able to do what I love – bake and craft (and move in general).

While I maintain a full-time job as a marketing coordinator, I treat Revamperate like my second job. When I come home at night, I spend hours working on projects or planning what to do next. My weekends are occupied with work for the blog, but I love every minute of it. So, here’s to 100 more posts! Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope to continue to share my projects with you.

Without further ado, here’s the cake, as promised. I’m not going to lie to you; this sprinkle cake is WORK. As you probably could have guessed, sprinkles are kind of tough to work with. I used special cake pans to make a thinner but slightly taller cake, which means I only needed one box of cake mix. For a larger cake, you will definitely need more mix.Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateTo make the ombre part of the cake, all you’ll need is a box of vanilla cake mix (or more) and its mixing ingredients, gel food coloring, rainbow nonpareils sprinkles, and these Wilton cake pans,* which will allow you to easily make five small layers.

First, mix the cake and separate the batter in five small bowls. Drop in a very small amount of gel coloring into one bowl. When I say small, I mean a freckle of color. It goes a long way! Continue to add a little more color for each bowl, mixing well with a spoon. You should be able to see a clear difference in color between each bowl, but you should also note that the color will change slightly after it’s been baked.

If you do use the smaller pans, bake for about 20-24 minutes, checking often and removing when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool on a cooling rack and begin making the frosting.

You can see my recipe for vanilla buttercream here. I wanted to add a little frosting so there was more for the sprinkles to stick to, so I added another half of this recipe to create the appropriate amount.

If needed, cut the tops off of the cakes and layer them with frosting in between, starting with the darkest layer on the bottom (or vie versa if you prefer). Leave a crumb layer on the cake and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Set aside about 1/2 cup of frosting to use as decoration on the top of the cake, and use the rest to frost the rest of the cake. Let sit in the fridge for just a few minutes. Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateNow, there are a couple different ways you can sprinkle a cake. One way is to pour the sprinkles into a deep baking sheet, only frost the sides of the cake, place cardboard circles on the top and bottom of the cake, and carefully roll the chilled cake in the sprinkles until it is entirely covered. Then you frost the top and continue covering with sprinkles.

I’m clumsy, as you know, so I didn’t want to do it that way. Instead, I put the cake inside of a deep pan and used my hands to press handfuls of sprinkles onto the sides of the cake. Is this the harder way? Probably. But it defeats the risk of ruining the sides of the cake with the rolling technique. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what works best for you. This way just happened to work best for me, but it does take some time. One way to make it a little easier is to make the palm of your hands sticky with a little frosting so that the sprinkles stick to hands before transferring to the cake. It sounds weird, but it totally works. Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateOnce done with the sprinkles, add color to the frosting you set aside and move it to a piping bag or tool. Pipe small tufts of frosting around the rim of the top of the cake, and your cake is ready to be cut!

It can be quite a bit of work, but sprinkle cakes are really fun for parties and birthdays, and the ombre cake makes for a fun surprise when cut. Go ahead, cut it. It’s pretty awesome! Now, excuse me while I do my little happy dance for making it this far in my blogging journey. Thanks again for reading. Enjoy!

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Pretzel Shortbread Bars

Pretzel Shortbread Bars | Revamperate Pretzel Shortbread Bars | Revamperate It’s been a rough week for me, but that doesn’t completely stop me from baking (even if it probably should). I have a pretty bad sinus infection keeping me down, so I’ve been watching a lot of Friends and scrolling through a lot of Pins in between planning out recipes and trying to cuddle with my cat. Oliver pretty excited to have someone to play with during the week, so he’s more interested in playing than sleeping. Now, onto the shortbread!

If you’re a regular reader, you probably know I bake a lot of sweets. There’s usually lots of sugar and chocolate involved. Sometimes it’s nice to change it up a little bit by adding some salt into the mix. The right combination of sweet and salty can be just what you need sometimes, and these incredibly easy pretzel shortbread bars are the perfect compromise.

Do you have any idea how easy it is to make shortbread? I don’t know why I always thought it was so intimidating. It’s literally three key ingredients. Not even any eggs. So easy.

Here’s what you need to make about 20 bars:

  • 30-40 pretzels
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, beat together the butter, vanilla and sugar until creamy. Slowly add in the flour and continue to beat until well combined. It’ll be pretty tough at this point.

Grind up about 15 pretzels in a food processor until very fine, and beat into the dough. If it’s too thick mix in with a large spoon or your hands.

Move the dough to a sheet of wax paper and kneed with your hands. Remember, your hands can do things your mixer just can’t! Place a piece of wax paper inside of a 13X9 inch (or similar) pan and push the dough into the pan, moving it into the corners and flattening the top. It should be about 1/2 inch thick.Pretzel Shortbread Bars | Revamperate Pretzel Shortbread Bars | Revamperate Grind up additional pretzels in the food processor just enough to break them into small pieces and lightly press them into the top of the dough. Bake on 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the edges are slightly brown and the middle is a little tough. Cool on a rack for about 30 minutes, remove from the pan by lifting the wax paper, and cut the shortbread into pieces with a sharp knife.

These are the perfect quick snack for sweet and salty lovers! Beware; they are quite crumbly, so be prepared to clean up some crumbs. It’s so worth it, I promise. Enjoy!

Espresso Frosting on Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

Espresso Frosting | Revamperate Espresso Frosting | Revamperate Despite never really liking coffee, it has become part of my daily routine. When I get up in the morning, I turn on the coffee maker, and Andrew and I sit together at our breakfast bar every morning drinking our coffee with different flavored creamers and preparing for the day. But let me tell you – I would so much rather start my day off with cupcake. An espresso cupcake to be exact.

Using my recent recipe for chocolate coffee cake, which I last paired with a caramel glaze, I made these espresso topped cupcakes that are made with real ground espresso powder, which is actually quite tough to find, so your best bet is to order it online ahead of time. With just a little added powder, this topping becomes delicious espresso frosting that pairs well with just about any cake, but my first choice is chocolate with some added coffee.

For this frosting, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder

First, beat together the softened butter and powdered sugar, adding a little at a time until it is completely mixed. In a very small bowl, combine the vanilla and espresso powder and stir until the powder has blended into the vanilla (it won’t completely dissolve). Then add this mixture to the whipped butter and sugar, and continue to mix until it has evenly dispersed throughout the frosting. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of water.  Espresso Frosting | Revamperate Espresso Frosting | RevamperateThen pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes and serve. They are wonderful with a cup of coffee (hot or iced) or milk. Enjoy!

Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

Chocolate Coffee Cake with Caramel Glaze | Revamperate Chocolate Coffee Cake with Caramel Glaze | Revamperate I’ve never really thought of myself as a great baker, but recently I’ve found food to be the most inspiring thing around me. Although my blog is about so much more than recipes, you can see that I’ve picked up my baking game lately. I also never had a knack for homemade cakes – I’m all about boxed cake mix, but I’ve definitely hit a turning point in my baking. With this chocolate coffee bundt cake with carmel glaze, topped with butterscotch candy, I learned that I truly can make cake that beats up your average boxed cake mix. That’s not to say it’s not tough to make a good cake, but this cake is chocolate, coffee and caramel heaven.

For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 baking cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Butterscotch candy, chopped (optional, for topping)

For the caramel glaze:

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cream together the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, coffee and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and continue to beat until completely mixed. Pour into a greased cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. Slowly add the brown sugar and milk, and turn up the heat to medium-to-high until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly with a spatula. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let the mixture sit for several minutes before adding the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Continue to stir until the powdered sugar has completely dissolved. If it’s too thick, add milk one teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Let the cake cool on a cooling rack until you can remove it from the pan. Bundt cakes can be difficult to remove cleanly, but there are some tips here. Otherwise, you can certainly try this recipe with other pans. As you can see above, I also made several cupcakes out of this batch because I use a smaller than average bundt pan. Chocolate Coffee Cake with Caramel Glaze | Revamperate Chocolate Coffee Cake with Caramel Glaze | RevamperateWhen the frosting reaches a glaze consistency, drizzle it over the cake and sprinkle butterscotch candy on the top. For best results, serve warm and with a side of coffee or milk. I made this for Andrew’s coworkers, and it was quite a hit. Despite not having a lot of experience with from-scratch cakes, this chocolate coffee cake came out perfectly moist and rich, just the way it should be. Enjoy!

Cookie Butter Frosting

DSC_1007 DSC_1008I’m so excited to share this recipe for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I’m excited because I finally got a KitchenAid standing mixer! It’s absolutely gorgeous and this frosting is the first recipe I’ve used my new toy to make. My old hand mixer completely fried making cookies a couple days ago, so I knew it was time to make the big investment and buy myself an early Christmas present. I’m looking forward to sharing tons of new recipes on the blog with it. Now, to the cupcakes!

I hope you are all aware of the phenomenon of cookie butter. If you’re not, you might want to get down to Trader Joe’s and pick up a jar because it really is the best thing since sliced bread. Cookie butter is exactly what it sounds like – ground up cookies in butter form, like peanut butter but with cookies. Yeah, that’s about it.

But it’s amazing, and while it goes really good with just a spoon and a good TV show, it also goes really well with cupcakes. This cookie butter frosting recipe is as good as it sounds and would pair well with most cupcakes, but my favorite combination is a simple chocolate devils food cake. This recipe makes enough for about 18 cupcakes, depending on how generously you pipe your frosting.

Your ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of cookie butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon milk (optional)

Beat together the softened butter and cookie butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and then slowly add the powdered sugar. Once completely mixed, add in the milk for an extra creamy texture and you’re ready to begin piping.DSC_1024 DSC_1105Pipe the frosting on your cupcakes and prepare to amaze everyone with the phenomenon of cookie butter. So easy, right? Enjoy!

Homemade Butterfingers Bars

Homemade Butterfingers Bars Homemade Butterfingers BarsYou know what’s great about Halloween (besides costumes and decorations)? Candy! Especially when it’s half off after Halloween.

Fun fact about me – I absolutely love candy corn, something that most people don’t usually like. As I was looking up things to make with candy corn (because there’s such a limited window that you can find the stuff), I came across something a little surprising. Did you know you can make butterfingers with candy corn?! Immediately I knew I had to try it.

The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is with only three ingredients.

To make about 12 mini bars, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (8 oz) of candy corn
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips

On the stove, melt the peanut butter and candy corn together on low or medium-to-low heat. Stir continuously as the candy corn begins to soften and melt. I found it easier to put the peanut butter in first because the candy corn gets so sticky against the pot when melting.

When the mixture is completely melted and stirred together, it should have a thick consistency. Remove from heat. Lightly spray a square or rectangular pan with cooking spray, and use a spatula to spread the mixture into the pan. Press down and into the corners of the pan until it is flat and about ½ inch thick (much like you would with rice krispie treats). If it is not enough to fill your pan, simply use the spatula to make the end as straight as possible.

Let it sit until it is completely cool, and use a sharp knife to cut small bars out of the pan. I made mine about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.Homemade Butterfingers BarsMelt the chocolate chips on defrost mode for about 40 seconds, then stir, and repeat in 10-20 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted. If needed, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the chocolate to thin it out a little. Use a fork to dip the butterfingers centers in chocolate and set on a piece of parchment paper to harden.Homemade Butterfingers Bars Homemade Butterfingers Bars Homemade Butterfingers BarsJust like that you have delicious bite sized butterfingers! Not only are they so simple to make, they actually do taste like the real thing, and I bet you never thought candy corn would be the secret ingredient in butterfingers. You’ll never buy a butterfingers from the store again. Enjoy!

Mini Banana Bread Loaves

DSC_1032 DSC_1007One of my favorite things my mom used to make when I was a kid was banana bread. She always made it so soft, and I could have eaten the entire loaf in one sitting if she’d have let me. I figured it was about time I finally perfect my own recipe, so here it is in miniature form.

I bought these cute little miniature loaf pans a while back, and I’ve been waiting for the right recipe for them. This banana bread turned out to be the perfect fit, so this recipe makes two miniature loafs, but you could easily double it if you wanted to or use a larger pan!

Your ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, very ripe
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of lemon juice (optional)

Mash up the bananas and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the egg, bananas, lemon juice and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and continue to mix until everything is well-combined.

Spray each pan with cooking spray, and pour the batter between the two. Bake on 350 degrees for 32-36 minutes until the edges begin to brown, and use a toothpick to check if the bread has cooked through. Let cool on a cooling rack until you can remove the loafs from the pans.DSC_1014 DSC_1028My favorite thing about banana bread is the middle – the part that is least cooked and always moist and soft. There is nothing worse that hard or dry banana bread, and with this recipe, you shouldn’t have that problem. Now, get baking and enjoy! This bread is delicious with a little bit of Nutella on top!

Mummy Rice Krispie Treats

DSC_1077 DSC_1042Halloween is almost here, and when it comes down to the last minute, it’s nice to have a couple easy-to-make treats ready for parties or other get-togethers. These white chocolate mummy rice krispie treats won’t take up too much of your time and they’ll be a huge hit with anyone you offer them to because, honestly, everyone loves rice krispie treats!

Your ingredients (makes about 12 treats):

  • 5 cups of rice krispie cereal (I used a generic brand)
  • 1 bag (10 oz) of mini marshmallows
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • Black candy melts (only need a couple pieces)
  • Piping bag with small tip

First, melt your butter on low heat and slowly add marshmallows as you continue to stir. I like using mini marshmallows because I think they’re easier to melt and work with. Once you’ve melted together the entire bag, pour over the rice krispie cereal in a separate bowl and mix with your hands or a spatula. I like my rice krispie treats gooey and extra marshmallow-y. If you prefer a different ratio, mix in another cup of cereal.DSC_1098When well mixed and still warm, press the mixture firmly into a pan, pressing into the sides. They should be about an inch thick. Let them cool and use a sharp knife to cut them into rectangles (and maybe eat one or two as you go). Set the treats out onto a piece of parchment paper to decorate them.

Melt the bag of white chocolate chips in a bowl on defrost mode for 30 seconds, stir and continue to melt in 15 second intervals until completely melted. Move the chocolate into a piping bag with a small tip (you can also use a squeeze bottle but I find them to be unreliable). With your piping bag, dispense the chocolate across the rice krispie treats in no particular pattern (I went diagonally one way and then the other to cross the chocolate), leaving just a little uncovered portion at the top where I would put eyes for the mummy.

DSC_1094 DSC_1085Let the chocolate harden, which it will pretty quickly, and microwave several pieces of black candy melts in a small bowl using the same melting method. With a toothpick, create eyes on each treat by dipping into the candy and sticking into the cereal a couple times until the eyes are defined (probably easier that I make it sound). With that, your mummies are complete once all of the chocolate has dried.