Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

My favorite part of fall has to be the multiple visits to local pumpkin patches.

There’s something so nostalgic about hopping into a straw-seated tractor bed, running through a corn maze, and picking out a variety of pumpkins to carve. So naturally, when I found out I’d be spending a day at work at the pumpkin patch with little ones, I knew immediately what I needed to make.

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These Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies are easy to make and fun to eat. They are great for outdoor fun and are mildly spiced to be kid-friendly.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies
Ingredients
– 1 box spice cake mix
– 15 oz pumpkin purée
– 1/2 cup oil
– 1 container Cool Whip
– 1 small box vanilla or cheesecake pudding mix

Directions
1. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin, and oil and stir until combined.
2. Scoop out a tablespoon of batter and place on a parchment lined baking pan. Continue until all batter is used.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool.
4. In a bowl, combine Cool Whip and pudding mix until thoroughly combined.
5. Flip over half of the cakes and scoop on a tablespoon of cool whip frosting. Sandwich with another cake to make a Whoopie pie.

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Soft, moist, and full of creamy “frosting”, these Whoopie Pies were a big hit with the kiddos and are sure to be an even bigger hit with all pumpkin-spice obsessed consumers!

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If you love pumpkin-everything or Whoopie pies, “like” this post and post your pictures in the comments below!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

October is here, y’all! This was my favorite time of the year in Ohio. Crunchy leaves on the ground, a cool breeze in the air, boots with jeans; how could you not love Fall!

In Cali, it’s a bit different, but feeling nostalgic, I’m dedicating all of my October posts to pumpkin goodies!

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This weeks dessert is smooth and chocolately with a hint of creamy pumpkin pie. Take these to the office this week and really kick off Autumn with a bang!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
Ingredients
– 1 8×8 brownie mix, prepared and baked
– 1 block cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 3/4 cup heavy cream
– 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
1. Place cooked and cooled 8×8 brownie into a foiled 8×8 baking pan
2. In a mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, pumpkin purée, sugar, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread pumpkin mixture over brownie evenly. Place in fridge.
4. In a large heatproof bowl, heat heavy cream in microwave 1-2 minutes or until bubbly. Pour in chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth.
5. Pour chocolate ganache over pumpkin mixture in pan. Refrigerate 2-4 hours or overnight.
6. Using a knife dipped in hot water, slice brownies into 16 pieces. Dip and clean knife after each cut.

These brownies are super easy and even more decadent. Embrace fall, y’all; it’s filled with sweet treats!

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What are your favorite pumpkin desserts? Share your comments and photos below and be sure to “like” this post if you’re excited for more Fall confections

Individual Baked Alaskas

Ever have one of those days where you decide to throw a small dinner party, cook up something that slow roasts in the oven, and needs an equally fancy dessert?

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This is my life today.

Plus Braised beef, black pepper+cheddar biscuits, roasted potatoes and carrots.

And writing a blog post. Hold your applause, please 😉

I have been making Baked Alaska since I found the recipe in a magazine when I was in high school. It’s one of those desserts that can be really complicated if you let it, but as y’all have noticed, that doesn’t roll here at The Dessert Project. So sub out the sponge cake and preserves for a bag mix brownie and your fave ice cream, and you’re on your way to fancy fare.

Here’s how it’s done.

Individual Baked Alaskas
Ingredients
– 1 bag brownie mix, prepared per package directions
– 1 half gallon of your favorite ice cream; I used Mint Choc. Chip
– 3 egg whites
– pinch of cream of tartar
– 1/2 cup sugar

Directions
1. Line ramekins with foil, and fill with two heaping tablespoons of prepared brownie mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely, then remove from ramekin and discard foil.

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2. Re-foil ramekin and fill 2/3 full with ice cream, pressing to mold to the shape of the ramekin. Top with brownies. Freeze for at least 2 hours or until ready to cover in meringue.

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3. To make meringue, place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in he bowl of an electric mixer and whip for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add in sugar by the tablespoon, allowing each addition to fully incorporate. Once all sugar is added, whip until stiff peaks form and meringue is glossy and bright white, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove ice cream/brownie stacks from ramekins and remove foil, setting brownie-side down.

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5. Spread meringue in a thick layer around each Baked Alaska, leaving peaks and valleys. Using a small Creme brûlée torch, carefully toast whole meringue layer, being sure to leave a golden brown crust.
6. Serve immediately or place back in freezer until ready to serve. Let defrost for 5 minutes to ensure no broken teeth courtesy of dozen brownie layer!

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What do y’all think? Fairly easy for such an elegant dessert, right?!

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“Like” this post if you’re a Baked Alaska first-timer, and Baked Alaska veterans, leave me a comment or photo of your fave one below!

Black Bottom PB Cheesecakes

Ever find yourself scrolling through Pinterest when something on the Food&Drink board catches your eye? The kind of photo that stops you dead in your tracks and your mouth begins to water just a little bit?

Yep, me too; All. the. time.
(Hey Dessert Project, meet your maker, Pinterest!)

This week, I found an amazing looking PB cheesecake brownie here and wanted to keep the same flavor profile, but transform them into something that used items currently in my pantry. Win, win right?!

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This recipe has a few more ingredients than the typical Dessert Project recipes, but it’s still a snap to put together!

Black Bottom PB Cheesecakes
Ingredients
– 1 pkg. Oreo cookies, crushed fine
– 1/2 stick butter, melted
– 2 pkg.cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup creamy Peanut Butter
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 eggs
– Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
– Chocolate chips, melted for drizzling

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Line a muffin tin with FOIL liners. This is extremely important. Paper liners will not hold up to the cheesecake filling!
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine crushed Oreos with melted butter and mix well.
4. Spoon a Tablespoon of the Oreo mixture into each muffin cup and press firmly to compact. I like to use the bottom of a shot glass for this.
5. In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric (hand or stand) mixer to beat together cream cheese and peanut butter until well incorporated and fluffy. Beat in sugar and vanilla until combined. Blend in eggs, and give a good mix on medium speed for one full minute to ensure fully combined.
6. Spoon cheesecake mixture evenly into the muffin cups, leaving about a half inch of space at the top.
7. Bake cheesecakes for 20-30 minutes or until set.
8. Let cheesecakes cool for one hour in the fridge, then top with chopped peanut butter cups and drizzle with melted chocolate.

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How delicious do these little babies look y’all?!

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Totally stop-and-drool worthy.

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This recipe can easily be made into a full-sized cheesecake, just press the crust into a springform pan and up your baking time to about 40 minutes!

If you love peanut butter, cheesecake, Oreos, or all three together, “like” this post and be sure to post your recreations on the comment feed below or with the Instagram hashtag #thedessertproject

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Pops

Nothing says “sweet” like a Chocolate Covered Strawberry.

They’re a reminder of early summer and fond memories of U-Pick farms and time with loved ones, for me.

With the temperature cooling off in the East, while shooting up to record highs in the West, I thought the perfect dessert for both occasions would be a play on one of summer’s most popular treats.

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These cake pops are light, fruity, and decadent with their dark chocolate coating. Try them out this week for a reminder of the best days of summer.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Pops
Ingredients
– 1 box strawberry cake mix, prepped per box directions, baked, and cooled
– 1 can white frosting
– Dark chocolate candy melts
– Red candy melts, for decorating

Directions
1. Crumble cooled cake and mix with 1/2 can of frosting. If too dry, keep adding frosting a scoop at a time until a playdough-like consistency is achieved.
2. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Dip the end of a lollipop stick in a bit of melted chocolate and place into cake balls. Continue for all cake pops.
4. Freeze tray of cake pops for 30 minutes while melting dark chocolate candy melts.
5. Submerge cake pops into melted chocolate, then place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue for all and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
6. Melt red candy melts and drizzle over cake pops. Refrigerate for 10 more minutes or until all chocolate is set.

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If you like strawberry-picking and chocolate covered strawberries “like” this post and share your photos on Instagram or in the comments with #thedessertproject

Homemade “Tim Tams”

I am in love with Tim Tams, y’all.

Now, I haven’t had a real one yet, but I have watched my fair share of Tim Tam Slam videos on YouTube to know that these would probably change my life for the better.

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That sounds a bit crazy. Oh well; judge me. I’m totally ok with it. Y’all who have been blessed with trying one are sure to understand.

So for those of you who don’t know what Tim Tams are, they are an Australian cookie that is made of up two malted shortbread-like cookies filled with chocolate malt whipped frosting, then completely enrobed in melted chocolate.

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Heavenly right?!

So, after stumbling upon the videos and finding homemade recipes for them online here and here and here, I decided to make my best-guess version for playgroup this week.

Kiddos + Chocolate Malt-flavored cookies = Happier Kiddos

Here we go.

Homemade “Tim Tams”
Ingredients
– 1 box Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
– 1 pint heavy whipping cream
– 5 Tablespoons Malted Milk Powder
– 2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
– 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (optional)

Directions
1. Lay out shortbread cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet, emblem side up.
2. Pour whipping cream into a large micro-wave safe measuring cup and heat for 1-2 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
3. Add 3 Tablespoons Malted Milk Powder into hot cream and stir until dissolved.
4. Pour 1 bag chocolate chips into hot malted cream and let sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth to complete ganache.
5. Place melted chocolate ganache, as well as a metal mixer bowl and whisk attachment I to the fridge for 1 hour or until chocolate is thick like frosting.
6. Pour ganache into chilled mixer bowl and whip using chilled whisk attachment in a stand mixer for 2-3 minutes or until ultra thick and can hold a stiff peak.
7. Spoon or pipe a dollop of whipped ganache onto one cookie and sandwich using another cookie emblem side down (you want both smooth sides of the cookie to be face OUT). Continue until all cookies are sandwiched.

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8. Chill cookies in freezer while making chocolate glaze.
9. In a deep microwave safe container, melt remaining bag of chocolate chips.
10. Stir in remaining 2 Tablespoons malted milk powder until smooth. If necessary, add in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to get a thinner consistency. You want only a light coating of chocolate.
11. Submerge sandwich cookies in chocolate glaze and tap off excess, then set on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
12. Chill cookies until serving. Serve with black coffee for an extra treat and dip each bite in the hot drink before devouring.

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If any of you have tried one of these delicious cookies for real, please leave me a comment, and if you’ve found them in the US anywhere, LET ME KNOW!!!! I will love you forever. Seriously.

If you love Tim Tams, or even just the idea of them like me, “like” this post or leave me a comment and/or picture on Instagram with #thedessertproject

Caramel Crisp Brownies

Y’all, you know that I have to give credit where credit is due and boy does Donna Hay know what she’s doing!

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I saw this recipe on Pinterest and immediately knew I had to replicate the Australian best-seller’s recipe The Dessert Project way. If you love to make treats from scratch, though, please check out the original recipe here, it’s truly divine!

Caramel Crisp Brownies
Ingredients
– 1 8×8 brownie mix, prepared per directions
– 1 bag caramel bits
– 2 cups crisp rice cereal
– 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chip
– 1 cup heavy cream

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare and bake brownie mix per package directions, but be sure to line your baking pan with parchment paper with overlapping panels. This is necessary to getting the sticky bars out when finished!

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3. Once brownies are done baking, set off to the side to cool and melt you your caramel per package directions.
4. Stir in crisp rice cereal until fully coated, then pour caramel crisp mixture over brownie and smooth into an even layer.
5. Heat heavy cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until hot and small bubbles form.
6. Pour chocolate chips into a mixing bowl and top with hot cream. Let sit one minute, then stir until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
7. Pour molten chocolate onto caramel layer, then place the whole pan into the refrigerator to set. This should take at least 1 hour, but can be left over night to develop flavors.
8. Once set and ready to serve, lift Caramel Crisp Brownies out of the pan by the parchment “flaps”. Carefully peel off all parchment.
9. Using a sharp knife dipped into hot water, slice brownies into squares. I chose to cut into 16 squares, but you can go larger or smaller depending on your crowd.

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These brownies are sure to please everyone at your next event or just knock the socks off your loved ones as a delicious surprise!

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If you love caramel and chocolate combinations, “like” this post and don’t forget to make them at home and send me a comment with how they turned out; or better yet, snap a pic and post it on Instagram with #thedessertproject caption!