Killer Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie topped Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

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Happy Spring! Let’s celebrate with some decadent cupcakes 😉

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AND beautiful flowers!! After days of dreary weather, the sun is finally out and it’s warming up! I can’t possibly express with words how happy this makes me.

salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

But I can show you some well lit pictures of cookies because THE SUN IS OUT! (When you live in a basement and there’s rarely any natural light, it’s important to yell about the sun).

I made these cupcakes for a very special person celebrating his birthday this week. Every time I see him he slyly mentions cupcakes and I figured his birthday was the best time to surprise him with some!

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Drooling!

The cake is moist and the flavor is bonkers amazing. Everything took me less than 2 hours to do. Totally easy and worth the work!

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These cupcakes are a compilation of a few recipes that I already have on this site! First is the best chocolate cake ever!!! second is the cream cheese frosting from my pumpkin cupcake recipe and third are the salted caramel chocolate chip cookies!

I’ve used all of these recipes time and time again and they have yet to fail me. I promise you will not be disappointed 🙂

RECIPE: (makes a little over 1 dozen cupcakes and 18 cookies)

CAKE:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup very hot coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with liners
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Stir egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla into dry mix until combined.
  4. Slowly stir in hot coffee until combined.
  5. Scoop batter to fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way.
  6. Bake in oven for 15-20 min or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 min. in pans. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

COOKIES:

  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup + 2tbs packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 9 unwrapped caramel candies (cut into pieces)
  • flaked sea salt for sprinkling
  • mini pretzels
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer with a fitted paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat in until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl when necessary.
  3. Add in flour and baking soda and beat until combined.
  4. Mix in chocolate chips.
  5. Measure out tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough and set aside.
  6. Place caramel pieces on top of tablespoon sized balls of dough. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for exactly 9 min. rotating halfway through.
  7. Once out of the oven, press pretzel onto top of cookies immediately.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 4 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese (room temp.)
  • 5 tbs of unsalted butter (room temp.)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbs milk (if needed)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until whipped. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. Add a little bit of milk if necessary.
  2. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, decorate, and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Three things you need to know about me: I live to drink beer with my pizza, I can’t wait to get my hands on a delicious loaf of sourdough, and my mornings are always made better with a warm batch of cinnamon buns.

It’s no secret that I love food and beverages made with yeast…especially the four B’s: Beer, bread, bagels, and BUNS– cinnamon buns to be exact.

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Since it’s fall and pumpkin season, I just had to be basic and make my cinnamon buns pumpkin-y.

These pumpkin cinnamon buns are everything!!!! Warm and gooey centers with a spicy, sweet filling and delicious cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

The recipe is so basic too. One of my favorite cinnamon bun recipes to date. I can promise that you will not be disappointed that you made them.

RECIPE: makes about 9 buns

The dough:

  • 1/2 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2- 3 cups all purpose flour

Filling:

  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Frosting:

  • 4 Tbs. cream cheese, room temp.
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl of a standing mixer, combine warm milk, yeast, sugar, and oil. Let sit for about 10 min. or until your yeast foams vigorously.
  2.  Stir in pumpkin, spices, and 1/2 cup of flour until combined. With dough hook, turn mixer to low speed and add 1/2 cup flour at a time until dough is sticky but manageable.
  3. Place dough on lightly floured surface and lightly knead into a ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for about 1 hour or until it almost doubles in size.
  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. With your fingers, spread butter evenly over dough. Mix brown sugar and spices together and sprinkle evenly over buttered dough.
  6. Starting on the shorter side, tightly roll the dough into a long log. Using a serrated knife, cut 2 inch sections. Place into a buttered 9X9 baking dish or 9 in. pie plate. If making that day, cover with a towel and let rise for 45min-1 hour. If making the next day, cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you put the buns in the fridge, take out to let rise at least 30-40 min. before putting them in oven. Bake for 15-20 min. or until golden brown.
  8. While buns are baking, cream butter and cream cheese together with a mixer or fork. Mix into confectioner’s sugar until well combined.
  9. When the buns are done, frost them almost immediately and enjoy!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

Summer Self-Care Checklist

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since my last post. It was a very busy end of season for the dance company and I desperately needed to take some time for self-care. I also made a huge decision in my personal life and ended a three-year relationship with someone I love and care about very much. To say I needed some time to myself is an understatement.

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As some of you know, I work as a nanny, I’m the box office assistant at the Egg, and my main job is as a performer, teacher, and arts-in-ed coordinator for the dance company. My life is insane at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love being busy and I’m grateful to get a chance to do what I love every day.

It is the off-season for the dance company right now, which means I have five glorious weeks off to rest my body and catch up on some sleep. I still work my other jobs, but there isn’t any preparation work involved. It’s an odd feeling to have off every night of the week and to not bring any work home with me! The summer is the only time I get a grasp on what it’s like to work a 9-5 like the majority of Americans 😉

Because of the aforementioned huge change in my life and all of the free time I have, I’ve needed to find new ways to cope and give myself all of the love and care I deserve. I’ve compiled a list of things that work for me and maybe they’ll work for you too! The list is in no particular order 🙂

  1. Buy yourself flowers and/or buy someone you love flowers. You’ll appreciate the beautiful life it adds to your home and giving them to someone else will definitely brighten their day and yours, in turn.
  2. Find a piece of clothing that makes you feel confident and beautiful and wear it when you’re feeling down. My motto is look good, feel good and it usually works!
  3. Exercise! I love going to yoga, swimming, and walking. It makes you feel good and it’s good for you!
  4. Take some selfies and/or glamour shots. I’m serious! And share them! It’s actually been proven beneficial for your mental health.
  5. Buy this bubble bath and take a good soak! My brother got it for me for my birthday and it’s AMAZING. It’s great for an aching body and mind.
  6. Eat healthy food! I love to indulge, but I feel my best when I’m putting good things into my body….like acai bowls 😉
  7. Go to bed early and get some sleep. I’ve been struggling with sleep lately, so this is a goal of mine.
  8. Set goals for yourself and work toward them! I recently reached a goal of mine that I set in 2013. It feels good to slowly work toward something, even if it seems impossible.
  9. Plant herbs, flowers, a tree, or buy a new houseplant. Perhaps take better care of the plants you already have. It’s amazing and fulfilling to watch something grow because of your care.
  10. Hang out with friends and put yourself in situations where you’ll meet new people.
  11. Find someone to talk to that you trust.
  12. Take yourself on a date! I personally enjoy taking myself to the movies and out for ice cream.
  13. Go to the beach.
  14. Spend time with your family.
  15. Listen to new music and make a playlist of songs that make you happy.
  16. Read a lot of books.
  17. Go on a hike.
  18. Try something new.
  19. Take a day trip somewhere you’ve never been before.
  20. Surround yourself with people that love you and make you laugh. The laughing part is important!
  21. Bake cookies for those people that you love!
  22. And the last one…buy handsoap that smells really good? Idk. I just love really good smelling handsoap.

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The list may not apply to you and that’s totally cool. They are just things that I’ve found to be helpful. If you have any suggestions of other things I should be doing, send them my way!

If you follow me on Instagram (@marge.bakes) I’ve been posting a ton of fashion and food content. Check it out and give me a follow if you’re not already!