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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Stars, Flags, and Firecrackers! It’s a 4th of July Dessert Round Up

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titleimage_2Fourth of July is this week and if you’re in the United States, you probably have a party or BBQ to attend. Still not sure what you’re going to bring to your potluck? Check out these deliciously patriotic sweets I’ve selected from around the Internet.

STARS

1. Red, White, and Blue Fudge Stars from Hungry Happenings

These layered stars, made from white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and food coloring, give a bright pop to any party table.

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2.  Red Velvet Brownie Star Stacks from I Should Be Mopping the Floor

If brownies are more your style, try these stacked red velvet brownie stars with cool whip and blue berries.

red velvet brownies from cake mix

 

3. Red, White, and Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars from Brown Eyed Baker

I love these because they remind me of the jello desserts of the 1960s.

stained-glass-jello-singlestar

 

STRIPES

4. Red, White, and Blue Raspberry Candy Bars from Cherry Tea Cakes

These candy bars are a great surprise for your friends! From the outside they look normal, but one bite reveals the red, white, and blue stripes inside. I always love surprise inside treats.

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5. Jello Pudding Pops from Number 2 Pencil

If you have access to a freezer, these pudding pops are great for a hot summer day.

Jello-Pudding-Pops

 

6. Triple Berry Frozen Smoothies from In Katrina’s Kitchen

Made from a combination of yogurt, fruit, and honey, these delicious smoothies are a perfect cool down on 4th of July.

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FLAGS

7. 4th of July Flag Cake from Secret Life of a Chef’s Wife

Here’s another version of the surprise inside treat. This cake is baked with several colored layers and combined to form a flag when cut into. Can you imagine what your friends will say when they see the inside?

Fourth_of_July_Cake-2

 

FIRECRACKERS

8. Firecracker Sugar Cookies from Mom Dot

To the unfamiliar, these look like your everyday sugar cookies with candy sugar and sprinkles on top. What they don’t know is these will pop and crackle in your mouth when you eat them! How you ask? The secret ingredient is Pop Rocks!

popcookie

 

9. Twizzler Firecracker Cupcakes from Tastes Of Lizzy T

To keep with the firecracker theme, here are some cute cupcakes that look like little firecrackers exploding.

Twizzler-Firecracker-Cupcakes-are-so-fun-for-a-July-4th-party

 

If you aren’t planning a red, white, and blue dish for your party but still want it to look festive, decorate it with flag picks!  To make your own, download my free American flag pick printable by clicking on the picture below:

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Have a fun and safe Independence Day!

 

***All photos were used with permission
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Hamburger Cupcakes with Pound Cake Fries

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IMG_3521Happy Independence Day everyone! Instead of a red, white, and blue dessert today, I decided to make burger cupcakes and cake fries because they are perfect for a summer BBQ.

I was inspired by several sources including Bakerella’s adorable Hamburger cupcakes and the pound cake french fries from the book What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I also used some of the book’s ideas from its submarine sandwich cupcakes. There are so many great ways to decorate hamburger cupcakes that the possibilities are almost endless.

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To get started here’s what you’re going to need for the cupcakes:

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  • Brownie mix or brownies from scratch (baked in a 13″ x 9″ pan)
  • Yellow cake mix or cake from scratch
  • Ingredients for mixes (oil, water, eggs, etc)*
  • Corn Flakes
  • Can of frosting or frosting from scratch
  • Red and yellow icing dye (gel coloring works best)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green candy melts (maybe some yellow candy melts if you don’t like the shade of green)
  • Starbursts (we’ll need the orange ones)

*Note: I used Bakerella’s suggestion of substituting 1 cup buttermilk for the water in the cake mix. It made the cake very moist and almost sponge like. I’d recommend this substitution.

Bake the brownies first and let them cool. Once cool, use a 2″ circle cutter and cut out the patties.

While the brownies cool, make and bake the cupcakes in liners. If you cook them without liners the sides of the cupcakes will look too dark for the “buns.”

As the cupcakes are cooking as per the recipe or box mix’s instructions, start to make the ingredients for the burgers. Warm the orange Starbursts in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds and then, on a piece of wax paper,  smash two together and roll it out.

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Then cut it into a square:

IMG_3483Now you have your cheese slices!

For the lettuce, melt some green candy melts (adding some yellow candy melts if you want to soften the shade of green) and pour some corn flakes into the melted candy. If the candy isn’t thin enough, try thinning it with some oil. Stir the cereal around lightly, coating the them, and then pull out the individual pieces to set up. It’s good to put these on a piece of wax paper and then stick them in the fridge.

IMG_3484Once the cupcakes are done baking and cooling, cut the top and the bottoms off and set aside. The middle part will not be used for these. Save them for another dessert (mix any left over frosting into them for cake pops!) or throw them away.

IMG_3479Mix up your yellow (mustard) and red (ketchup) frostings and put them in piping bags or ziplock bags with the corner cut off.

IMG_3486Layer the hamburgers however you want. I layered in this order (from bottom-up): bun bottom, frosting, lettuce, frosting, brownie patty, frosting, cheese, frosting, bun top.

On the top of the bun brush a little water on top and then sprinkle some sesame seeds.

For the poundcake fries, I used a frozen Sara Lee poundcake. Not sure if this would work as well with a homemade loaf but you could try. Pull the cake out of the freezer and let defrost for a little bit. It’s best if it’s still a little cold or frozen when you cut it because the ridges from the crinkle cutter will be more pronounced.

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Using a crinkle cutter or knife (used to cut vegetables and potatoes), cut the cake into 1/2″ slices and cut off the brown edges. Then cut those slices into the fry sticks. Place them on a baking sheet and heat them in a preheated broiler on high for no longer than 30 seconds or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on these as they will brown quickly and burn easily.

Put some left over frosting ketchup in a dish or condiment container and serve with the cake fries for dipping!

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That’s it! These are fairly labor intensive but so easy to put together. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

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4th of July Flag Cupcake Picks {Free Printable}

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I’m working on some cute cupcakes this week for 4th of July and thought I’d share with you the cupcake picks I’ve made to go on top of them. I created an American Flag toothpick printable for you so you can make your own flag picks for your 4th of July cupcakes.

If you can find the round toothpicks that have one flat end with grooves, those are the best for this project. The toothpicks I used are Dynamic brand round toothpicks in natural color. If you can’t picture the type of tooth picks I’m talking about refer to the image below:

IMG_3449Download the free printable here.

flagspdf

First download the printable at the above link then follow the “recipe” instructions below:

4th of July Flag Cupcake Picks How-to

Ingredients

  • Toothpicks
  • Color printer with paper
  • Scissors
  • Multi-purpose glue (white glue)

Instructions

  1. Print out the flag printable I've provided.
  2. Cut out each of the 24 flags.
  3. On the back of one of the flags, put a little glue in the center and stick the toothpick on it. If you want, you can leave a little of the stick hanging out of the top.
  4. Then put glue on the back of one half of the flag and press it together around the toothpick.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/06/4th-of-july-flag-cupcake-picks-free-printable/

Have a fantastic 4th of July! I’ll be posting my 4th of July cupcakes sometime this week so keep an eye out for those.

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Fourth of July Watermelon Cupcakes

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This Fourth of July dessert is not red, white, and blue. Gasp! It’s not that I’m not patriotic, but there are so many red, white, and blue desserts going around at this time of year, I wanted to make something a little different and more summer themed for the party I’m going to. I got a little inspiration from here and there, but the recipe and design is from Bird on a Cake. I adapted her watermelon cake into a cupcake sized treat and decorated the tops a little different. I also chose to modify the frosting by nixing the cream cheese and opting to go for a buttercream instead. I used this recipe for the frosting but left out the vanilla and added the watermelon puree and watermelon jello from the original frosting recipe from Bird on a Cake. Start with the recipes I linked above. For decorating instructions, look below:

You’ll want to have a lot of red food dye. Gels are the best for getting that strong deep color. I picked up one of those red icing dye pots from Michaels and used a good 2/3rds of it between the batter and the frosting. Just keep adding dye until it’s the color of watermelon. I had my real watermelon cut open when I was dying the batter so I could color match it. I think the batter ended up being a better color than the frosting I put on top.

Bake the cupcakes for only 20 minutes as opposed to what it says in the cake recipe. Let them cool completely before you frost the cupcakes. The amount of frosting in the Quick Buttercream frosting recipe linked above is plenty of frosting for all of the cupcakes even though it may not look like it. I didn’t think so and ended up opening a small can of white frosting instead of making more.

Since you have to pre-color your frosting break it up like this: about half should go to the dark green color, a quarter of the frosting goes to the watermelon red color, and the last quarter can be separated into the light green and the white. Since you put butter and the pink watermelon jello in the frosting the white won’t be super white but I think that will look ok. If you prefer it to be extra white, you can open a can of white frosting.

I didn’t trust that I had originally made enough frosting and ended up with a ton of red frosting left and used the white can of frosting for the light green and the white frosting. If you have a better idea for separating the frosting for the right amount for each color, please leave me any suggestions in the comments.

For the “cut open” watermelon cupcakes, frost the center of the cupcakes with the red frosting, then pipe some of the dark green frosting around the edge with a #12 frosting tip, pushing downwards as you go to flatten the frosting out. With a #4 tip, pipe the white frosting in between the green and red frosting for the rind part of the watermelon. You may want to switch the frosting tips for this part if you’d rather have more white than green showing. Lastly, push a couple of mini chocolate chips into the top for seeds. You could also use black candy coated sunflower seeds.

The “whole watermelon” cupcakes are even easier to make. Frost the entire top of the cupcakes with the dark green and then pipe the light green in squiggly curved lines with the #4 tip. When these ones are cut open they look pretty cool. Unfortunately my mini chocolate chips fell to the bottom even though I followed Bird on a Cake’s suggestion to coat them in flour before putting them in the batter.

These cupcakes ended up being very strongly flavored of watermelon. If you try Bird on a Cake’s cream cheese frosting recipe, let me know how it tastes with the cake. I decided to use buttercream mainly because I am making some bacon-wrapped cream cheese jalapeño poppers for the same party and don’t want everything tasting like cream cheese, but I imagine the watermelon flavored cream cheese frosting is great with this cake too.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

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