Zombie Brain Brownies

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Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Happy Halloween, everyone! This is my favorite holiday and always like making some creepy treats for it too. This year I came up with Zombie Brain Brownies. They’re made from candy melts, brownie, and strawberry sauce mixed with fresh squeezed orange juice and triple sec. If you are looking for a non-alcoholic version, just omit the triple sec and add more orange juice.

Zombie Brain Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberry topping
  • 2 tbs. triple sec*
  • 1 tb. of fresh orange juice
  • 1 batch of brownies (from a boxed mix or your own recipe)
  • 2-12oz. packages of candy melts in Vibrant Green
  • Red decorating gel
  • Optional
  • Red food coloring
  • Also needed
  • Brain shaped candy molds

Instructions

  1. Make a batch of brownies from scratch or boxed mix and let cool. Once cool, cut the crispy edges off the sides of the brownie (eat or discard).
  2. Using the directions on the package, melt the candy melts and line the brain molds with a layer about 1/8" thick. I use the back of a spoon to achieve this. Don't fill in the entire brain cavity with candy melts, because we need to leave room for the strawberry sauce and brownie.
  3. Once the brain molds are all covered with candy melts, chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes to set it up.
  4. While the brain molds are in the freezer, prepare your strawberry sauce by combining the strawberry topping, triple sec, and orange juice. If you want the sauce to be a brighter red color, add a few drops of red food coloring.
  5. Take the brain molds out of the freezer once the candy melts have set, and spoon a teaspoon of the strawberry sauce in each brain.
  6. Pull a small piece of brownie off and mash it into the brain on top of the sauce, making sure to not squish the sauce out.
  7. Re-melt candy melts if needed, and seal the brownie and sauce into the brain by covering the top with the candy. Make sure it meets with the sides of the candy melts you put in the brain earlier, or you'll have holes that the sauce could seep out of.
  8. Put the molds back in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the candy melts.
  9. Once the brains are set, pop them out carefully.
  10. Before serving them, slather the tops of the brains with the red decorating gel to make the brains look gooey and gross.

Notes

*If you want non-alcoholic treats, leave out the triple sec and add more orange juice.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2015/10/zombie-brain-brownies/

Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

If you want, you can slather some red gel over the top to make them bloody or leave it off for a more clean version. You could even get some green decorating gel and put it in the place of the blood for a more gooey oozing effect.

Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

When you open them up some of the strawberry sauce could drip out so make sure to have some napkins around!

Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

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Halloween Oreo Truffles

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Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Welcome to October! With the holidays coming up, I thought I’d share some Oreo Truffles with you because they make great treats for all the parties you’ll inevitably be invited to during the holiday season.

If you’ve never had Oreo Truffles before, you really need to try them. They are simple to make and only include three ingredients: Oreos (or similar cookies), cream cheese, and chocolate. I’m amazed I’ve never made a blog post about them before now, to tell you the truth.

There’s something about the mixture of the cookies and the cream cheese that really makes these special. They are decadent and rich. The added chocolate coating only makes them better.

Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

I saw these Halloween themed Joe Joe’s cookies at Trader Joe’s and thought the box was cool looking so I decided to try them. They were not very good. The chocolate cookies were fine but the filling was bland. It tasted like nothing, and definitely not vanilla. Should I just throw the box of cookies away? Continue eating the cookies and hating life? No! Just make them into Oreo Truffles! Even the blandness of the cookies could be fixed with a little cream cheese and chocolate. Once the cookies are combined with the other ingredients, they didn’t taste that much different than the truffles made with real Oreos. So if you ever end up with a crappy box of Oreo knock-offs, you know what to do!

Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Halloween Oreo Truffles

Ingredients

  • Package of Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 8 oz. block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 8-14 oz. of semi-sweet baking chocolate or chocolate candy melts
  • Optional toppings:
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sprinkles
  • Sugar confetti
  • Crushed Oreos

Instructions

  1. Put the cookies whole in a large food processor* and crush until the cookies are a fine crumb. If you want to use crushed cookies for topping set some aside at this point.
  2. Put the softened cream cheese into a large bowl and pour the cookie crumbs on top.
  3. With your hands, combine the cookies and cream cheese until completely incorporated. It's a messy job, but at least you get to lick your fingers clean when you're done!
  4. Chill the mixture for 15-20 mins. to thicken it up.
  5. Then roll it into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper covered jelly roll pan. Chill again for 30 mins.
  6. Melt the semi-sweet baking chocolate in the microwave on 30 sec. intervals, decreasing the time to 15 sec. intervals when the chocolate gets close to melted. You don't want to over heat your chocolate or it'll be ruined.
  7. When the balls are chilled, place each ball, one at a time, in the melted chocolate making sure it's covered completely.
  8. With two forks, pick up the truffle out of the chocolate and place back on the wax paper. While the chocolate is still melted sprinkle the top with your toppings of choice.

Notes

*If you don't have a food processor, split the cookies apart, scrape the filling into a large bowl with the cream cheese and place the cookies in a large ziplock bag. I remove the filling ahead of crushing, because I find the cookies difficult to crush finely when the filling is included.

Crush the cookies finely in the ziplock bag with a mallet or something similar and then place them into the large bowl with the filling.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2015/10/halloween-oreo-truffles/

These little truffles are great for the holidays and an easy, quick treat when you need to make something last minute.

Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

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4th of July Brownie Bites

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4th of July Brownies | shaneskillercupcakes.com

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, so I whipped up these easy brownies as a last minute treat for a BBQ I’m attending. I used a delicious brownie mix I only recently started using. Most brownie mixes that I’ve used taste like brownie mixes. They taste good but not quite as decadent as homemade brownies.

A few weeks ago I tried Trader Joe’s Brownie Truffle Baking Mix with Dutch Cocoa and Chocolate Chips for the first time and was impressed at how rich and delicious it was. It’s also nice that it already has chocolate chips included in it! To make these brownies you can use whatever mix or recipe you want, but I’d suggest trying the Trader Joe’s mix. It’s a good thing to have around when you need a dessert fast and don’t want to rummage through the kitchen collecting all the ingredients.

traderjoesbrownies

Make your brownies and let them cool completely. Cut them into small squares and drizzle melted frosting on the top. If you want them to be festive, sprinkle a few jimmies on each.

4th of July Brownies | shaneskillercupcakes.com

That’s it! They are easy to make and don’t require a lot of artistic skill, yet they look pretty and patriotic.

4th of July Brownies | shaneskillercupcakes.com

4th of July Brownie Bites

Yield: 36 bites

Serving Size: One brownie bite

Ingredients

  • A batch of brownies, cooled completely
  • 1/3 of a can of white frosting
  • Red, white and blue sprinkles
  • Optional:
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Nuts

Instructions

  1. Make your brownies from a mix or recipe and let cool completely. Add extra items (nuts, chocolate chips, marshmallows, etc) to the brownies if you wish.
  2. Cut the brownies into one inch squares.
  3. Put a cooling rack on top of a wax paper-covered cookie pan and place the brownie bites onto the rack.
  4. Melt the frosting in a bowl for 10-30 seconds until the consistency is liquid but still thick.
  5. Drizzle the frosting in a zig zag pattern over each brownie bite.
  6. While the frosting is still wet, sprinkle with your red, white, and blue jimmies.
  7. Chill brownies in the fridge for about 10 minutes to set the frosting.
  8. Serve at room temperature.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2015/07/4th-of-july-brownie-bites/

I added marshmallows to my brownies, but they turned brownish yellow while baking and kind of messed up my red, white, and blue color scheme. They taste great though!

4th of July Brownies | shaneskillercupcakes.com

What are you doing for the 4th of July? Are you making anything special?

 

****I was not sponsored or paid by Trader Joe’s to recommend their product. I just really like it!****

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Spicy Jalapeño Martini #carnivalcocktail

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Spicy Jalapeño Martini

In the spirit of the circus/carnival party I had recently, I decided to include a themed cocktail for the festivities. I was eating some nachos with cheese sauce piled high with pickled jalapeños at my party when it hit me that I didn’t come across jalapeño cocktails all that often. Probably the most common kind is a jalapeño margarita but outside of that, I’d never really heard of one. I’m sure they are out there, but I decided to see what I could some up with.

I started with a standard dirty martini recipe and replaced the olive jar juice and olives with jalapeño juice and slices of jalapeños. It turned out really good! If you like a little spice and the flavor of pickled jalapeños, you’d probably love this drink.

Spicy Jalapeño Martini

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. pickled jalapeño juice from jar
  • 1-5 drops hot sauce (I used habanero hot sauce)
  • 2-3 slices pickled jalapeño

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients, except the sliced jalapeños, in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake hard about 4-5 times and strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with several jalapeño slices.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2015/06/spicy-jalapeno-martini-carnivalcocktail/

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The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Just in Time for the Finale! #review #giveaway

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a Mad Men fan for years. As difficult of a time as the 1960s (and now ’70s) were, Mad Men has always made this decade seem so sexy and cool. I’ve had a long time love affair with mid-century decor and watching Mad Men is like TV porn for me.  The costumes are so specific and structured, the sets are so stylistic and unique, and although the food of the ’60s isn’t featured on the show as much (outside of alcohol, so, so much alcohol), the food of the ’60s was also very interesting.

When I find a cookbook from this era, I get really excited. The colorful, yet desaturated photography of the time made the food look almost plastic, and in some cases unappetizing, but I still feel a sort of whimsy when I see the recipes from so long ago.

One book that captures both the recipes of the time and the show Mad Men is The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. This book delves into the food and drink that appears on the show. Featuring recipes from some of the restaurants and bars mentioned on Mad Men, and cookbooks of the time, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook gives us a nice sample of of the cocktails, entrees, and desserts of the ’60s. Many of the recipes are paired with a show reference, history of the dish, or a suggestion for a character from the show. This is a cookbook that informs you of the past while teaching you the recipes. I love that!

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While there is a lovely section of full-color pictures from some select recipes, this cookbook is more focused on print information than photographs of the final products. What that means is the book is packed with more than 70 recipes that represent mid-century eating and drinking and the stories that go with them. Speaking of drinking, over 25 of those recipes are cocktails alone, which isn’t a surprise when you consider alcohol is one of the most consistently prevalent things on Mad Men.

One of the recipes I tried from the cookbook was the Manhattan. I love Old Fashioned cocktails, just as Don Draper does, but since I’ve had those before, I decided to try the Manhattan. It’s a similar cocktail, using whiskey and bitters, but with less ingredients and not nearly as sweet.

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 Manhattan

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Pour whiskey, vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

**recipe reprinted with permission


This version of the cocktail is from the Oak Bar on Central Park South in New York where Don and Roger Sterling stop for an after-work drink in season 1 episode 7.  One thing that makes this cookbook unique, especially for a Mad Men fan, is that it points you to the episode that the drink or dish appeared, or could have appeared, in the show.

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