Colorful brownie pop bouquet

colorful brownie pops bouquetMy niece just celebrated her 21st birthday and I wanted to give her a little homemade treat along with her gift, so I made her this festive bouquet of brownie pops.

This fun bouquet is a little different because the whole thing is edible except for the container and sticks. And I was able to make it for around $20, much less than it would have cost from a bakery.

How to make a brownie pop bouquet

This is what I bought/gathered together for the project:

  • Brownie mix
  • Ingredients for chocolate buttercream frosting (butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla)
  • White chocolate candy melts
  • Assorted candy sprinkles
  • Paper straws (they were colorful and solid, and cheaper than cake pop sticks)
  • Large 42 oz bag of M&Ms (instead of styrofoam) for the bouquet part
  • Large recycled glass jar to hold the M&Ms
  • Ribbon for decoration
  • Cardboard, paint, glitter and bamboo skewer for “21” decorative pick

And here’s what I did.

I made fudge brownies from the brownie mix. I prefer coconut oil over vegetable oil, but you can use what you like.

ingredients for fudge brownies

Fudge brownie ingredients

Then I made my own chocolate buttercream frosting using very little liquid so that the brownie pops would hold together really well.

Ingredients for chocolate buttercream frosting

Ingredients for chocolate buttercream frosting

Chocolate buttercream frosting recipe
2 sticks butter
1 lb powdered sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
Milk to slightly thin out frosting

I don’t like store bought frosting and this is easy to make. You just cream the butter with the sugar, then add the other ingredients a little at a time until you get the right consistency.

Stiff chocolate buttercream frosting for brownie pops

Stiff chocolate buttercream frosting to mix with brownies

I mushed up the brownies leaving the hard outside edges behind. I used my mini chopper but I could have just used my hands. The end result was a very sticky and gooey ball of chocolate goodness.

I added the frosting to the mixture, one part frosting to two parts brownie dough, again using the mini chopper to blend them together. (This is when I wish I had a food processor!)

To form the pops I took a large spoonful of dough and rolled it around in my hands until it was nice and smooth and roundish.

The goal was to make them all the size of a golf ball. There was enough dough to make 20 pops but I only used 12 for the bouquet.

The pops were placed on a tray lined with wax paper and stuck it in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.

Brownie pops before sticks added

Brownie pops before sticks are added

When the pops came out of the refrigerator, I made holes in them using one of the paper straws. I tried to make the holes about ¾ of the way through. At this point chilled pops were very solid.

Brownie pops with holes for the sticks

Brownie pops with holes for the sticks

I melted the white chocolate candy melts in a teeny tiny crock pot. They could also be microwaved or heated in a double boiler. The crock pot got very hot after a while and I had to keep turning it off and then back on to regulate the temperature.

Candy melts in mini crock pot

Candy melts in mini crock pot

I dipped one end of the paper straw into the melted chocolate and pushed it into a brownie pop. 

Putting frosting "glue" on the end of a paper straw

Putting frosting “glue” on the end of a paper straw

I left the pops on the tray until all the sticks were inserted. I put them back in the refrigerator again for just a few minutes for the candy to set up.

"Gluing" sticks into brownie pops

“Gluing” sticks into brownie pops

Before decorating I made this stand from a clean cardboard box to hold the pops while they were drying. I taped the box together then punched holes in it for the sticks.

Makeshift brownie pops stand

Makeshift brownie pops stand

Then came the best part—decorating!

Before I dipped each one, I did a little reshaping with my fingers. They had gotten a little flat on top plus they weren’t exactly round to begin with.

I rolled each pop around in the melted chocolate until it was completely covered. Then I twirled and tapped to remove excess chocolate before sprinkling the top with assorted cake sprinkles.

Swirling brownie pops in melted chocolate

Swirling brownie pops in melted chocolate

This is kind of tricky and after a while you get the feel for it. If you don’t remove enough excess coating, it will slide off when you put it in the holder, along with the sprinkles. If you wait too long and try to remove too much, the coating hardens and the sprinkles won’t stick to it.

Here’s a tip for adding the sprinkles. Put a little dish underneath the brownie pop to catch the sprinkles that fall off and also to keep them from rolling all over your counter.

Assorted colorful brownie pops

Assorted colorful brownie pops

I noticed that as these were drying, some of them developed cracks. All I did was smear a little melted chocolate over them with a spoon and topped with more sprinkles.

Finally it was time to arrange these babies in a bouquet. I filled the jar with M&Ms. Fortunately there were some leftover for the chef!

Edible base for brownie pops

Edible base for brownie pops

Then I just stuck 12 of them in, inserted the “21” pick and tied a ribbon around the jar.

"21" decorative pick for brownie bouquet

“21” decorative pick for brownie bouquet

If you want to know how I made the pick, please ask me in the comments.

And here is the finished colorful brownie pop bouquet. I recommend keeping it refrigerated.

Brownie pop bouquet for 21st birthday

Brownie pop bouquet for 21st birthday

So cute and delicious. I had a couple leftover for myself. I liked biting through the hard candy shell into the smooth and creamy center. Mmmm…tasted like chocolate truffles.

And my niece loved her bouquet, I think even more than the actual gift!

Butterscotch pots de creme in 5 minutes

butterscotch pots de creme

Faster than you can say “instant pudding,” you can make butterscotch pots de creme from scratch, without a double boiler! It’s insanely easy to do and it only involves a blender and a microwave.

This is a variation of a recipe by the Pioneer Woman for chocolate pots de creme. Oddly enough, her recipe does not use any milk or cream, which I guess makes it “faux pots,” or something like that.

Anyway, I found her recipe when I was searching for a quick yet impressive dessert for a dinner party. It calls for chocolate chips, but I only had butterscotch chips so I used those with some half and half.

Check it out.

Ingredients to make butterscotch pots de creme

butterscotch pots de creme ingredients

Quick butterscotch pots de creme recipe

  • butterscotch chips, 12 oz
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of half and half, scalding hot
  • whipped cream, lightly sweetened
  • vanilla cookie (optional) for garnish

Put the butterscotch chips in a blender. Add the eggs, salt and vanilla. It’s very important that the eggs are room temperature. Mix the butterscotch chips and eggs together until they are well blended. Heat the half and half in a microwave until scalding hot (about two minutes). Remove the cap from the blender lid. With the blender running, pour the half and half slowly into the blender. Blend thoroughly, about two minutes. Pour immediately into demitasse cups or dessert dishes. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and vanilla cookie if desired.

Step 1: Put butterscotch chips in a blender

butterscotch chips in blender

Step 2: Put eggs, vanilla and salt in with the butterscotch chips and blend

Make sure the eggs are room temperature

eggs and butterscotch in blender for pots de creme

The eggs will cook with the addition of the hot half and half. You need to pour it in slowly so the eggs don’t scramble.

Step 2: Add the scalding hot half and half

Pour slowly through the lid while the blender is running

pouring cream in blender for butterscotch pots de creme

Step 3: Pour into dessert cups

Leave room for whipped cream!

butterscotch pots de creme without garnish

Put in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Step 4: Garnish with whipped cream and a vanilla cookie

butterscotch pots de creme

This is a very sweet dessert, so when I made the whipped cream for the topping, I only used a smidgen of sugar (1T per cup of cream) and added a pinch of salt.

When chilled, the pots de creme do not set up thick like pudding. The texture is thin, truly like a little pot of cream!

Super easy caramel apple dump cake

apple dump cake

If an apple cobbler and a dutch apple pie got together, they might taste something like this Caramel Apple Dump Cake.

I love experimenting with dump cake because it’s so quick and easy to make and it always turns out great. If you don’t have time to make an apple pie or apple cobbler, you can prepare an apple dump cake in no time at all. You might even decide you like it better!

So follow along with me as I show you how to make a Caramel Apple Dump Cake.

Why dump cake is an easy dessert recipe

For those who don’t know, dump cakes are so named because you just dump the ingredients in layers into a pan. You don’t need a bowl or a mixer, just the one pan that you are going to bake in. That’s it! One baking pan, five ingredients, 50 minutes in the oven and you have a scrumptious dessert suitable for any occasion.

What you need to make caramel apple dump cake

caramel apple dump cake ingredients

Pictured here are all the ingredients you need to make a Caramel Apple Dump Cake. Crushed pineapple, spice cake mix, butter, chopped pecans and caramel apple pie filling. Note: I didn’t have crushed pineapple so I whizzed up the slices in food chopper.

You also need a 9″ x 13″ baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Caramel apple dump cake recipe

  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 21 oz can Caramel Apple Pie Filling
  • 1 box of spice cake
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 stick of butter cut into thin slices

Layer the crushed pineapple in the pan. Cover the pineapple with the caramel apple pie filling. Spread the dry cake mix over the top of the pie filling. Spread the chopped pecans over the cake mix. Cover the cake mix with thin slices of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 48 to 53 minutes. Bake until the crust is brown, but not too dark.

Step 1: Spread the crushed pineapple over the bottom of the pan

Be sure to spray the pan with cooking spray first

crushed pineapple layer for apple dump cake

 

Step 2: Spread the caramel apple pie filling over the pineapple

apple pie filling layer in apple dump cake

 

Step 3: Layer the dry cake mix over the top of the apple pie filling

cake mix layer of apple dump cake

Step 4: Add a layer of chopped pecans over the dry cake mix

pecan layer of apple dump cake

Step 5: Spread thin slices of butter over the top of the pecans

butter slices on top of apple dump cake

The finished caramel apple dump cake

After baking for about 50 minutes

serving of caramel apple dump cake

How’s this for an easy dessert? I recommend serving the Caramel Apple Dump Cake while it’s still warm. It can be served by itself or made extra special by adding a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream.

Want a bite?

closeup of caramel apple dump cake

Fresh out of the oven, this Caramel Apple Dump Cake will delight your taste buds. The caramel apple filling has just a hint of cinnamon and brown sugar. The pineapple blends in so nicely with the apples and adds a subtle tanginess. All the juices have bubbled up and the butter has melted down through the cake mix to form a soft crust/topping with the chopped pecans for texture.

Enjoy!

Cake help: Chocolate brownie disaster

Help! How can I fix these sunken brownies?

sunken brownies

Sunken brownies

So here I was, baking chocolate brownies for Christmas gifts. They looked great and smelled great when I took them out of the oven. A few minutes later, my brownies sank in the middle.

This wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d made them for me. I’d just eat the evidence and no one would be the wiser. But I had a party to go to and no time to make anything else. I had to make these brownies look good fast using what I already had on hand.

Find out how I fixed this brownie disaster.

Help for uneven cakes and brownies

sunken browniesI used a brownie mix and followed the instructions for fudge brownies. They’re meant to be gooey in the middle, kind of like a flourless chocolate cake. In my experience it’s pretty normal for the center to be lower than the sides.

A lot of times you can trim the top of a cake or brownies to even them out, then top them off with a thick layer of frosting. But my brownies were too sunken in the middle to even out that way. The center was about an inch lower than the sides.

So I decided to turn them into “filled” brownies.

My quick solution for sunken brownies

Make a filling for the center

fixed sunken browniesI decided the best way to salvage my brownies was to fill the center. All I had on hand were ingredients to make buttercream frosting and M&M candies for decoration. So I made a filling from a mixture of brownie crumbs and chocolate frosting.

I trimmed around the edges of the brownies and made crumbs from the trimmings. Then I mixed the crumbs with about an equal amount of homemade chocolate frosting which is similar to making cake pops. Sounds a little funny but it tastes good.

I spread the filling in the center, sealed the cut edges with a crumb coat, then frosted and decorated. See my step by step photos below.

Trim off the brownie edges

trim edges off brownies

Take a knife and slice off the edges of the brownies.

Brownies after edges trimmed off

trimmed brownies

After the edges are trimmed off, it’s more even but there’s still a depression in the center.

A bowl of brownie trimmings

bowl of brownie trimmings

These are trimmings from five pans of brownies.

Make crumbs from the brownie trimmings

brownie crumbs

My mini chopper turns brownie trimmings into crumbs super fast.

Add brownie crumbs to homemade chocolate buttercream frosting (recipe below)

add brownie crumbs to frosting

Make about an equal amount of frosting to the amount of crumbs you have.

Basic buttercream frosting recipe

Cream one stick of butter. Add one pound of powdered sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and a few tablespoons of milk or water to thin the frosting.

For chocolate buttercream frosting, mix in powdered cocoa along with the powdered sugar. I don’t measure this; I just go by how it looks, but I think you need ½ to ¾ cup of cocoa powder.

The finished brownie crumb filling

brownie crumb filling

Here’s what the filling looks like after mixing the brownie crumbs with the frosting. It’s very thick and will do a beautiful job of filling in the sunken brownies. It might look a little strange but, trust me, it tastes really good!

Fill the center of the brownies and add a “crumb coat” to the cut edges

cake help brownie10

I just made a glaze with powdered sugar and water to spread over the cut edges of the brownies. This helps seal in the crumbs before adding the frosting. I probably would have skipped this step if I was going to be using chocolate frosting. But since I wanted to do white, any chocolate crumbs would really show.

Add edible glitter to frosted brownies

edible glitter on frosted brownies

I frosted the brownies with white frosting and sprinkled with edible glitter.

Frosted and decorated brownies. Disaster averted!

frosted and decorated filled brownies

White frosting, a little edible clear glitter and some M&Ms are the finishing touches to these rescued brownies.

Brownies topped with a pretty bow. A simple gift of brownies looks special with a pretty bow on top.

wrapped brownies

These brownies are now ready for the party!

More ideas to disguise sunken cakes and brownies. Turn them into a decadent dessert!

My brownies were so sunken in they almost looked like tart shells, and that gave me an idea. Why not add some no-bake fillings and make something really special. So here are some ideas to get you started. I’m sure you can think of more:

  1. Black forest brownies. Spread a can of prepared cherry pie filling on top of the brownies, top with whipped cream or Cool Whip, garnish with chocolate sprinkles
  2. Boston cream brownies. Make vanilla pudding and spread on top of brownies. After the pudding sets up, melt 2 oz of chocolate chips and drizzle over the top.
  3. Chocolate chip cream cheese brownies. Mix 8 oz cream cheese, 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla together. Pour over brownies and cover the top with chocolate chips.
  4. Chocolate and peanut butter fudge brownies. Mix one at a time: 1 lb powdered sugar, ½ cup peanut butter, 6T butter, 1/4 tsp salt, 4 tsp milk and 1T vanilla. Spread over the top and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  5. Triple chocolate brownies. Make chocolate pudding and cover the brownies with it. Let the pudding set up and sprinkle chocolate chips all over.

Some brownies don’t need rescuing. These recipes are supposed to be foolproof.

You can’t beat the convenience of a boxed brownie mix and most people think the flavor is just as good as homemade. But if you’re ready to ditch the mix and make brownies from scratch, here are some really decadent brownie recipes.