Homemade Peppermint Patties

I’ve been making peppermint patties since I began baking and cooking on my own.

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

It seemed easy enough – make the filling (no bake!) and coat it in chocolate. But you see, coating a soft filling in chocolate when you’re not experienced can sometimes lead to ugly treats. And this is why I haven’t posted these delicious chocolate covered balls of love before.

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

I’m happy to report that I made peppermint patties again this year with success. They are soft and chewy on the inside with an awesome chocolate coating on the outside. Perfect for the holidays!

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Let’s get started! Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl.

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Mix everything on medium speed using a hand mixer (or your paddle attachment) until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.

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Work until the dough is stiff but still pliable.

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Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands.

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Press each ball down slowly and set the flattened disk on a flat cutting board or plate. Transfer peppermint disks to the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, temper the chocolate coating.

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Place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, making sure to stir after each time until chocolate is smooth. Stir in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer.

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Place a patty on the tines of the fork (or super duper dipping tool) and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip off the patty before setting each one on top of wax or parchment paper.

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. This can be done quicker by placing the patties in the refrigerator.

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch.

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Enjoy! They kind of look holy in this picture, don’t ya think?

Peppermint Patties // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Homemade Peppermint Patties
Recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life
Makes 32 candies

Ingredients
1 can sweetened condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening

Directions
Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff but still pliable.

Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands.

Press each ball down slowly and set the flattened disk on a flat cutting board or plate. Transfer peppermint disks to the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, temper the chocolate coating.

Place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, making sure to stir after each time until chocolate is smooth. Stir in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer.

Place a patty on the tines of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip off the patty before setting each one on top of wax or parchment paper.

Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. This can be done quicker by placing the patties in the refrigerator. The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch. Enjoy!

Fudgy Graveyard Brownies

Oh boy. This Wednesday is not only Halloween, but it’s also the first Halloween where I get to give out candy to kids in my adult life. MY FIRST TIME!

Don’t you wish you could give out hand baked treats to Trick or Treaters without it being creepy or allergenic or a potential poison? That is definitely my ideal world.

I want to see a cute little princess, and be like “Hey little Princess, want a hand made graveyard brownie?”, without her parents giving me a death stare. Not possible.

So I’ll give out Kit Kat bars and share my Halloween baked treats with my adult friends who like me, wished so badly that they had the metabolism of those little kids who will probably eat chocolate until they’re sick Wednesday night. I used to. I think I need to make some 4-year old friends.

Have a happy and fun Halloween!

Fudgy Graveyard Brownies
Recipe lightly adapted from Picky Palate
Makes 6 giant brownies

Ingredients:
1 box of your favorite Brownie Mix
6 Milano Cookies, (for grave)
3 Oreo Cookies, crushed
6 Pumpkin candy corns and 6 normal candy corns

For icing:
1 cup milk chocolate, melted
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup icing sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Bake brownies according to box instructions and let cool completely. Cut into 6 rectangles.

Mix the frosting ingredients together and then melt them either over a double burner or in the microwave. Frost brownies with icing reserving 2 Tablespoons for piping the cookies.

Cut one of the rounded bottoms off of the Milano cookie, and pipe RIP onto it with the chocolate icing. Press a Milano cookie into the back of each brownie.

Crush your Oreos and sprinkle a tiny bit in the center of each cookie for the “dirt”. Top with a candy corn pumpkin and candy corn. Serve!

Happy Hallowe’en!

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

This Easter treat was destined to be in my kitchen.

I freaking LOVE Cadbury Creme Eggs. So, when I saw this idea on My Baking Addiction’s blog a while ago I bookmarked it right away. I mean, Cadbury Creme Egg cupcakes?? Yes, please.

These chocolate cupcakes are stuffed with a gooey mini Cadbury Creme Egg, and topped with the best buttercream my face has ever tasted. Jamie, I love you and your genius ideas.

My Easter plans this year are pretty basic. I’m staying home with the boy and the two of us are going to have an Easter dinner for two – with an Easter egg hunt in the mix as well. We act like we’re 8 sometimes. Perhaps that explains my obsession with sweets? Whatev’s, I’m a sugar addict and proud of it!

To make these cupcakes, first mix up the batter of your favorite chocolate boxed cake mix (enough for 24 cupcakes). I used Betty Crocker’s chocolate fudge.

Scoop batter into paper liner ⅔ of the way full.

Place one frozen Mini Cadbury Creme Egg into the middle of each cupcake. Use a spatula to spread the batter over the egg.

Bake according to the recipe you are using. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

While your cupcakes are cooking, make your buttercream. Again, I used My Baking Addiction’s recipe. Remove about 1 cup of buttercream from the mixing bowl and dye it yellow.

Assemble your piping bag fitted with a large tip and pipe a large circle around the perimeter of the cupcake.

Fill in the center of the circle with the yellow buttercream.

Top with a Mini Cadbury Cream Egg.

Enjoy! And have a happy Easter!

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes
Recipe Taken from My Baking Addiction
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
24 paper cupcake liners
Batter for 24 cupcakes. I used Betty Crocker’s chocolate fudge box mix. You can also use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.
48 Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs (24 frozen).
1 batch of buttercream frosting
yellow dye
Large Round piping tip or snip the end off of a piping bag.

Directions:
1. Scoop batter into paper liner ⅔ of the way full. Place one frozen Mini Cadbury Creme Egg into the middle of each cupcake. Use a spatula to spread the batter over the egg.

2. Bake according to the recipe you are using. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

3. While your cupcakes are cooking, make your buttercream. Again, I used My Baking Addiction’s recipe.

4. Remove about 1 cup of buttercream from the mixing bowl and dye it yellow.

5. Assemble your piping bag fitted with a large tip and pipe a large circle around the perimeter of the cupcake.

6. Fill in the center of the circle with the yellow buttercream and top with a Mini Cadbury Cream Egg.

Note: Freezing the 12 eggs keeps them from completely vanishing inside the baked cake.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

All of the Valentine’s Day posts popping up around the blogosphere are making me super excited. Heart shaped cookies, heart cupcakes, heart shaped s’mores galore! The internet needs a little more pink in it’s mix, don’t ya think?

Here is my contribution – deliciously sweet and creamy red velvet whoopie pies. These babies have a soft outer cookie with a cream cheese filling that will melt your heart.

I ended up making these this past weekend at my boyfriends parents house. We went to visit their new most adorable puppy ever puppy and while I was there I thought I’d get some Valentine’s baking in. These turned out great. Enjoy!

To begin, preheat your oven to 375˚ F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat.

Blend in the food coloring. I used a full bottle almost.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide.

Bake 6-9 minutes or until the tops are set but not hard, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.

I like a lot of frosting…

Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. Awwwww…now these are just pretty.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
For the cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring

For the frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide. Bake 6-8 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Nanaimo Bars

Christmas is this weekend! Whoa.

Have I told you that I work in a shopping mall? Well, I do. While I’m going to school I work in a bookstore so that I can pay for college, but it’s more than that. I really like the people I work with, I like talking to customers about books AND I get a mad discount. So things are usually good.

As you know it is currently the holiday season, so this is the time of year where going to work is not so fun. Customers can be angry, rude, and plain and simply crazy! If we don’t have a book they are looking for many of them freak out. Here is some stuff I hear on a daily basis:

Customer: “Five cents for a bag? I donate to enough charities and don’t need to donate to yours”.
My thoughts: I don’t care.

Customer: “Why the hell are you selling books at the Canadian price when the American dollar is at par”?
My thoughts: I don’t make the prices, the publishers do.

Customer: “I’m looking for a book. It’s blue”.
My thoughts: ?

Customer: “I ordered that book a week ago and now it won’t make it for Christmas? I need it NOW”.
My thoughts: Stop last minute shopping.

There are nice customers too. There always are, and of course they usually out number the crazy ones. But it’s the crazy ones that I remember because they’re so ridiculous! People just need to relax. Sit down, have a coffee, and breathe. When I’m stressed I like to run. And when I’m not running I like to bake. It’s a vicious cycle.

I love these nanaimo bars. I was never really into the whole nanaimo thing until I went to my boyfriend’s Grandma’s house back in October and she served these. I fell in love and added them to my Christmas baking list as soon as I got home. The center is more of a buttercream, but still has that custard texture. The crust is buttery and soft and will blow your mind! I hope you enjoy these. I did. My thighs not so much.

Let’s start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa. I did mine in a pot, but a microwave or a double broiler would be great too!

Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs! Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts.

Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour. I hate waiting.

Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.

Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Namaimo Bars
Makes enough for an 8×8-inch pan
Recipe adapted from Baked Bree

Ingredients
Crust:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Middle Layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons custard powder

Chocolate layer:
3 ounces (1/3 cup) chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1 stick) butter

Instructions
Crust:
Start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa. I did mine in a pot, but a microwave or a double broiler would be great too!

Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs!

Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts. Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour.

Buttercream Layer:
Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

Chocolate Topping:
Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.

Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I love when things go right. You know? Like when you do well on that test you studied so hard for? Or even better – you change your hair colour and get a happy surprise when you look in the mirror. I love that. Seriously. Sometimes I want to take my hair stylist out for a fancy dinner and shower her in gifts.

These cookies went right into my mouth. Not only are they totally cute, but they crackled perfectly while baking AND had the chewiest, fudgiest, center! A total success and a new favorite cookie of mine.

So, add these to your holiday baking list! Because you like it when things go right too. I can feel it.

Let’s begin, shall we? In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil.

Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir it into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours. Waiting is stupid…but necessary.

Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms (you can use a cookie scoop to portion the dough, a tablespoon or a rounded teaspoon depending on what size you like).

Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Ok, now that’s just pretty…

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool. Enjoy everyone!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
Recipe adapted from 17 and Baking
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms (you can use a cookie scoop to portion the dough, a tablespoon or a rounded teaspoon depending on what size you like).

Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Good Old Fashioned Rice Krispie Squares

When someone says “ooey-gooey” I think of two things. (1) A warm, half-baked brownie (oh my there’s drool everywhere..) and (2) melted marshmallow goodness. Marshmallows are underrated. Sometimes I feel like the food blog community gets too caught up with making daring recipes, that they forget about the simple stuff. Like Mom’s good old rice krispie squares that you used to sell at bakesales, or eat warm right from the pot. So mom, this blog’s for you and your yummy, simple, mouth-watering rice krispie squares. Thanks.

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter
1 pkg (250g) mini marshmellows
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups rice krispies

Directions:
1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.


2. Stir in vanilla. Stir in rice krispies cereal until well coated.
3. Using lightly buttered spatula, press into buttered 13 x 9″ pan.
4. Allow mixture to cool. Cut into bars. Best if served same day

As I said – simple, and delicious. Love you mom.

Sexy Red Velvet

Whoaaaa cupcakes! Cupcake fever is NOT over yet. You’d think it would be considering the Olympic Cupcakes I just decorated the crap out of. But no. Nothing says “I love you” like a moist, tasty, red velvet cupcake. Decorated to a tee I might add.

Cupcakes are great because they’re a way to express how you feel about a subject simply by decorating it out. By looking at my designs you can see some of the fun colours, and sayings that remind me of Valentines day.

I must say that I haven’t always been a fan of Valentines day. Of course I liked the seasonal chocolates that came out, but “single Katrina” found this day kind of depressing. Eventually though, I started spending this lovey-dovey day with my girlfriends, and found it rather enjoyable. So whether you’re hitched, dating, or single, mix up some yummy Valentines day treats and share them with your loved ones. Heck, make the treats together!! It’s a blast and will surely be a day to remember. It doesn’t have to be the actual 14th either. I celebrated my Valentines day on the 11th, because the 14th is going to be too busy. But it’s not the DAY that matters, it’s the person/people you spend the day with that do :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes
This Red Velvet cupcake recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker, and yields 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red gel food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Directions:
1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets colour.

3. Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

4. Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

5. Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

6. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting with buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cream

Directions:
1. Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
3. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
4. Use lots of food colouring to tint your frosting the colour of your choice!

Spooky Mocha Minicakes

I can’t explain how much I love holiday baking. Decorating brings out this weird side of me that I can either a) share with those I bake for, or b) eat all of the weirdness and destroy the evidence. I prefer option “b” as I am a chocolate, and icing addict! Let’s get started shall we?

Cupcake Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 cup strong coffee, cooled

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, (about 4 minutes).
Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute each. Beat in vanilla.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, and then add sour cream. Beat together.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cooled strong coffee to the batter. Add in a slow steady stream to prevent splashing. The batter will become fairly thin and smooth.

Pour mix into cupcake papers and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool to room temperature on wire racks.

FINALLY: Add icing. I just used bought chocolate and vanilla (lazy, I know).

Decorating the cupcakes should be the fun part. You can buy a variety or colours and cute toppers at any bulk food store. Most importantly though….eat the icing while baking.

My personal choices for “toppers” are mini oreo cookies, red licorice strings, black spinkles, and LOTS of colours! Mmmmm.