duncan hines

Star Spangled Velvet Waffles for 4th of July!

So yeah, we’ve all seen those pinterest posts about moms slaving away over cutesy themed breakfasts for birthdays, holidays, breast cancer awareness, and about 80 billion other things that I simply don’t have the time to redesign my entire menu around. But seriously, I’m about to give you a mind-blowingly simple recipe that is pretty much as easy as pulling pancake mix out of the pantry, and tastes about a million times better. Patriotic Velvet Waffles. Yeah, I said it. I’m making a theme breakfast…. and it’s not one that I had to slave for hours over, either.

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Rustic Carrot Cake Cookies

I might be part rabbit. I love all things fresh veggies, especially carrots. And, well, of course carrot cake is included in that. But sometimes a carrot cake is just too… fussy for me around the Easter season. With all of the other cooking to do for Easter dinner, I just can’t imagine adding a full from-scratch cake to the list. Plus, between getting crazy full during dinner, and the Easter egg hunting going on, it’s just no fun to have to sit down at the table again for dessert.

Cue these cookies. No muss, no fuss, and no need for a plate and a fork… just simple, delicious, and packed with all of the flavor of a carrot cake.

But is it difficult you ask? Tons of crazy ingredients just like a real carrot cake? No, and no. Let me show you…

This is all you need. Yup, really. Well, I mean, you’ll need a little water, but that hardly counts, right? Other than the mix, you’ll need 1 egg, 3 egg yolks (save the whites for an omelette!), a tablespoon of butter, the Whipped cream cheese frosting, and of course, the water.

For this recipe, you’ll want to be sure you’re buying the Duncan Hines Classic Carrot cake from their Decadent line. It’s important because you want the raisins and carrots to be separate, like they come here, in a pouch of their own. If you were making the cake, you’d stir them into the batter, but we’re not making cake, are we? Start by setting the cake mix aside.

The carrots and raisins come dehydrated, so the first thing you’ll want to do is re-hydrate them. You’ll do this by pouring the pouch and 1 1/4 cup of HOT water into a bowl. Just let it sit while you prepare the rest of the cookies, and they’ll do their thing.

For the cookie part, pour your cake mix, your egg, 3 egg yolks, and the tablespoon of butter into a bowl, combining them. I’ll tell you a little secret here… these cookies are actually modified from a cake mix pie crust recipe that Chef Joe from Duncan Hines gave me! So, if you want, you can always stop here and use this as a crust for a pie… but let’s keep going. If you find that it’s a little too dry to work with, add no more than 2 Tablespoons of water to the mixture, a teaspoon at a time, until it’s moist enough to work with, but not too sticky.

Roll your dough out to pie crust thickness and cut into circles using a round cutter or a class or another round object about the right size. I used my trusty round cutter that I use for just about any round cutting I have to do in the kitchen. You’ll bake these for 7-10 minutes at 350.

When they’re removed from the oven, immediately transfer them to a wire rack to cool. You’ll want them cooled completely before you add the frosting between them.

Whoa! Check out what happened to those carrots and raisins when we weren’t looking! They’ve tripled in size, at least! But there still might be a little more water in them, and we do NOT want that water thinning out our icing!

Strain the carrots and raisins completely…

Then use a towel to pat off all of the remaining excess water.

Take your Duncan Hines cream cheese frosting and the carrots and raisins, and mix them together until well blended.

Then, pipe it onto half of your cookies. Don’t make the mistake of piping too many cookies like I did… and then having to scrape it off. Ha! You can spread it with a spoon, but I’ve found I cover it more evenly if I pipe it. Your choice.

Finish by sandwiching the frosting with another delicious cookie, then chilling for awhile in the fridge. Or, enjoy them the way my family prefers, frozen like an ice cream sandwich!

Send some home with your Easter guests as a treat, put them in pretty bags to leave on a neighbor’s porch with a sweet note telling them to have a wonderful Easter, or enjoy them all yourself. There is no wrong way to handle these cookies.

I love that they’re very rustic, like something you’d find in your grandmother’s kitchen (provided your grandmother doesn’t severely dislike raisins, like mine does!), but at the same time, they’re incredibly simple. No one will ever believe that you made them from a mix.

 

What’s your favorite Spring dessert? Tell me in the comments below!

 

How to Make Fruit Stripe Cupcakes

Remember that pack of gum that you always begged your parents to buy you, the Fruit Stripe kind with the Zebra on the package and the tongue tattoos? Even though the flavor faded within the first 30 seconds, it was the coolest gum ever. It didn’t matter if it ended up flavorless by the end, as long as you had the tongue tattoos and the Zebra to get you by.

Yeah, these cupcakes are kind of like that, except the flavor doesn’t fade at all. Packed with stripes of fruity flavor, these have all of the nostalgia of the zebra stripes, with none of the downsides. Sadly, tongue tattoos are not included.

I’m going to say right off the bat, this isn’t a recipe. You can do this with literally any cake mix you love, provided you have enough of it to divide it into two batches. However, I love using the Duncan Hines Spring Velvets because they’re pre-colored, which is no work for me, and they’re nice and rich, even before you add in the fruit flavored extracts.

To make fruit stripe cupcakes, you’ll need your ingredients for your cake (listed on the box, or as spelled out in your own personal favorite recipe; the Duncan Hines Spring Velvets take 2 eggs, some water, and half a stick of butter per cake mix included in the box), one fruit flavored extract for each color you’re using, and some fun toppings… I chose Cool Whip and these beautiful SweetWorks Pearls to add a pretty springtime touch.

One basic thing you’ll want to remember about making Fruit Stripe Cupcakes is to make sure your flavors are complimentary. You probably DON’T want to do Lemon and Root Beer extracts in one cupcake, right? Nevermind that Root Beer isn’t a fruit anyway. If it were, they’re just not compatible flavors. Consider flavors that work well together– chocolate and strawberry, lemon and raspberry, etc. I decided to go with lemon and raspberry for my cupcakes to make a raspberry lemonade flavor mix.

Make your first mix according to package directions or recipe, and, if it’s a white cake, go ahead and tint it the color of your choosing. Since I was using the Duncan Hines Spring Velvets that are already yellow and pink, I didn’t need to add any food coloring to the mix. It’s at this point that you’ll choose one of your extracts and add in about a teaspoon, to taste. I decided to make the lemon yellow, because, well… that just makes sense. Set that aside.

Repeat the process with your second cake mix, adding in your chosen flavor, about a teaspoon or to taste. I used the Raspberry flavoring in the pink mix, again, because it made sense. It was really convenient to buy the Spring Velvets mix because the colors looked perfect side-by-side and didn’t need any food coloring. Plus, who can resist that perfect texture?

Now, you’ve got two mixes with two different flavors and colors, which will create an awesome striped effect inside the cupcake and allow the flavors to swirl seamlessly. You’ll start by lining your cupcake pans with cupcake liners of choice, then grabbing a tablespoon and a teaspoon, or figure out how to eyeball it.

Start with a tablespoon of each cake mix in your cupcake liner, one on top of the other. Don’t spread it out or anything, just let it do it’s thing. It’ll stripe on it’s own. If some of your mix falls more to one side than the other, that’s okay. That’s part of the charm of these cupcakes. What I like to do is make sure that if I started one on pink, I started the next on yellow, then back to pink, to really add to their character. Which means one cupcake would be yellow-pink-yellow-pink, and the next pink-yellow-pink-yellow.

Add a teaspoon of each batter on top of the tablespoons, continuing the pattern. As you can see, when you add the next bit of batter, it starts to make the lower parts spread out, filling the liner and moving the mixes a bit to give it it’s own swirl and character. Every cupcake will be different.

Bake your cupcakes according to recipe or package directions. As you can see, every cupcake’s top looks different from the next, and each one has it’s own swirl and character lurking beneath the surface. When you bite in, you’ll get both flavors at once, but in varying intensities as you get through the cupcake, giving it a unique flavor that makes every bite better than the last, versus just putting both extracts into a mix and making a cupcake with the whole flavor throughout.

Once cooled, frost and decorate your cupcakes. I personally went with piped Cool Whip because it complimented the fruit stripe flavor without overcomplicating it or overpowering it.

Plus, it looks so deliciously inviting when swirled on top!

And who could resist adding some of the SweetWorks Pearls on top? For an easy spring display, add some Easter basket grass or shredded paper to a cupcake tree, then nestle the cupcakes into the grass. Bonus? You can use out-of-season cupcake liners and no one will notice if they’re hidden beneath the grassy display.

To be honest, these cupcakes are so delicious and inviting that my family couldn’t even wait until I was done photographing them for the blog before trying to snatch them up.

Luckily, my little guy’s thievery gave you a chance to see a cross-section of the cupcake and show you how every cupcake is unique, and each bite will contain it’s own swirl of flavors unique to that bite.

The flavor will depend on where you bite into the cupcake, and what flavors are on that section of the cupcake. Isn’t that cool?

These totally took me back to the fruit stripe days of my childhood, and made me realize that these great cupcakes could be tailored to any party colors and theme. Chocolate mint cupcakes for tea, raspberry lemonade for a summery party, root beer and vanilla for a backyard barbeque, and any color choices you like. They’re surprisingly easy to make, too.

 

What flavor would you make? Let me know in the comments below!

Spring Product Round-Up: Walmart

I mentioned earlier how much I love seeing the new products in store, and checking out the influx of new stuff that comes with every season. At Walmart, I noticed that a lot of new products are coming in, and some of them aren’t just limited edition for spring! As always, it’s near-impossible for me to bring my DSLR into the store, so I apologize, but I just took cell phone pics for this post.

I started off in the food section, searching for a few hidden gems that are brand new.

While Krave cereal isn’t exactly new, this delicious S’more variety is. It might be a little cruel that the people who bring you Special K also bring you ooey-gooey Krave cereal, but they’re actually fairly close nutritionally, so I’m excited about having an occasional treat to enjoy. For the record, these actually taste surprisingly like S’mores!

While we’re on the topic of cereal, the folks at Hershey’s are doing a great job. This year, we’ve seen some delicious brand new Hershey’s cake mixes, frosting, pudding, and more… and now we’ve got Hershey’s Cookies’n’Creme cereal! They’re killin’ me here! Cookies’n’Creme is one of my favorites!

I love when a show about cooking helps me improve my skill in the kitchen, or at least fake it when I’m hosting a dinner party. First, it was Duff Gordon from Ace of Cakes, providing amazing Fondant, tools and accessories, and even cake mixes to the masses to allow you recreate a few techniques he demonstrated on his reality show during the scenes showing the inner workings of the bakery. It was a starter lesson of sorts, bringing easier cake decorating to the masses. After that, it was Buddy Valastro from Cake Boss, who introduced his own line of cake mixes and decorating helpers.

Now, Hell’s Kitchen has joined the lineup with a dessert that seems so complicated, but is now easier than ever to reproduce. Typically, when making a creme brulee, you’d need time, and a blowtorch. With a mix like this, you don’t bake it, you don’t torch it, you just prepare the mix and serve. I love that! Plus, it comes in coffee flavor AND vanilla flavor, meaning no matter which you prefer, you’ll have a delicious dessert that looks so much more impressive and difficult than it really was.

Also in the baking aisle, I found some fun new items from Pillsbury! Have you seen their line of Happy Birthday products! They come in amazing bright colors that make mixing at matching for any theme easy, plus they come with the sprinkles already, so no need to make two separate purchases for decorating.

They also have these great Mix-and-Match Neon cake mixes. While my store was sold out of all but yellow, the colors they’re making are so much fun– greens, blues, and oranges fill out the lineup! I love the idea of picking cake mixes and frostings to mix and match for any party’s color theme.

On the topic of colored cake mixes, I have to tell you about something really exciting! See, this product is extra special to me because it’s one of the special products I got a sneak peek at while I was at Duncan Hines last fall. I’ve had to keep it a secret all this time, but it’s finally on shelves! The one thing I was sad about was that the Blue Velvets were not in stock at my Walmart yet. I did find Blue Velvet from Duncan Hines at my local supermarket, though! These fun new Velvet mixes give you more selection when choosing a color and are SO moist and delicious. I’m glad I can stop keeping the secret now that they’re in stores!

Also, remember the limited edition Holiday Velvets that Duncan Hines released at Christmas time, giving you a Red Velvet and Green Velvet in each box? Well, they’ve made a really special Spring Velvet to celebrate this season! I love the pretty pink and yellow mixes, and can’t wait to use them. This is another Duncan Hines product I had to keep my lips zipped about, and I’m so glad that it’s released– I know I picked up several boxes as soon as I saw them in stores!

I’ve been a long-time buyer of Nestle Toll House Christmas colored chocolate pieces, the ones that come with Chocolate, then Green and Red pieces. If you remember, I used them to make this delicious Christmas Bark that was SO easy just a couple of years ago! Well, now I’m thrilled that I can make the same treat for Springtime using the new Spring colored chocolate pieces! I love the bright springy colors they chose!

After I conquered the baking aisle, I decided it was time to check out the Easter products! The first one kind of blew my mind– Carrot Cake M&Ms? I am so excited about the Carrot Cake flavor, and I can’t wait to taste them!

At Valentine’s Day, I was totally obsessed with the boxes of Jack Links instead of chocolates. I mean, what better gift for a guy (or meat-loving gal) than a box of jerky instead of chocolate? And who could resist the furry Sasquatch box? So when I saw them re-releasing the product for Easter, I was excited! I love the bunny ears. This would be great for an Easter basket!

As soon as the weather gets to about 50 degrees, I tend to swap my morning coffee for iced coffee or iced sweet tea. This swap means that I go from travel mug to tumbler. I love these fun, bright colored tumblers from Peeps! Plus, they’re filled with lots of mini peeps! Too cute! One in every color seems just about right for my daily tea habit!

On my way over to the non-food side of the store, I stumbled upon two more products that looked insanely good, both from Oreo. First off, Cookie Dough Oreos? As if Oreos weren’t good enough already, they’ve now crammed it with one of my favorite things in the world– cookie dough!

If you’re more of a Golden Oreos fan, check out these yummy Marshmallow Crispy versions of the Golden Oreos… Oh. My. Gosh. I want to eat the whole package! I had to escape the food side before I blew my diet completely.

The Easter section is always so fun because you get to see the newest egg decorating products, basket stuffers, and other fun Springtime gifts. But the thing that blew my mind were these awesome plastic eggs! According to the package, they dye and decorate JUST like real eggs, but without the actual egg. This is perfect for people with egg allergies, as well as people who want to hide dyed eggs without the risk of food poisoning or anything else. Plus, kids can dye and decorate without the wait of cooking or the risk of cracking a shell. I love the idea!

Spring also means great new Garden products, and I love the garden section for that reason! I found these amazing kitchen herbs from Buzzy, and I can’t wait to buy my own set for my windowsill. It comes with the tray, the pails, the seeds and dirt, and even those super-trendy slate labels! I love the look of slate and metal, so these fit my decor seamlessly, and allow me fresh herbs to use in cooking. Buzzy totally nailed this one!

For families with little garden enthusiasts, these Crayola pots are great for creating a first flower garden! Filled with seeds and supplies to plant beautiful flowers, these allow kids to get a taste of gardening with a BRIGHT pop of color! Definitely worth collecting one of each, especially if you’re a Crayola enthusiast like I am!

 

Are you loving the new spring products in stores right now? Did you see something great at Walmart that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

I know we’re starting to get to the part of the year where everyone is saying “Pumpkin’s out! Bring on the peppermint!” However, I couldn’t resist just one more fall recipe before Thanksgiving. I kind of view Thanksgiving as that time where you transition from fall to winter. It’s like the last Hurrah for pumpkin spice lattes, caramel apple cider, and other truly fall-ish treats before they disappear and it’s all peppermint mochas and salted caramel brownies until spring.

So, think of these truffles as, like, Custer’s Last Stand, but in Pumpkin form. It’s Pumpkin’s Last Stand, and it promises to please and leave you with nothing but good pumpkin memories to get you through the sea of Winter Wonderland.

You’ll need everything pictured above, and water. I didn’t include water because I’m really hoping y’all have some on hand and I don’t have to tell you to buy it.

I’ve shared with you about this Duncan Hines mix before, but I have to share again, because, hello, it’s really awesome. See, when I went to New Jersey this year to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen, I got the opportunity to reconnect with a lot of really great people, like Chef Joe. And while we were chatting, a lot of us were throwing some ideas out there that we’d love to see. It was dinner, and we were brainstorming. And this was one idea that I shared with Chef Joe. I told him I’d love to see a Pumpkin Spice Decadent mix come from Duncan Hines, similar to their Red Velvet Decadent Mix, the Strawberry Cheesecake mix, and the amazing chocolate Decadent Mix they’ve created. Because, y’know, I’m a huge pumpkin fan.

Chef Joe kind of looked at me like “Yeah, okay. I don’t know. Seasonal products can be hard sometimes because there’s not a ton of time that seasonal products are in stores.” My hopes were a little dashed, I suppose. Then my awesome friend Jeannie suggested that Duncan Hines do seasonal products on a shipper, which is a type of cardboard display, to make sure they have more prominence in stores. It was a great idea, but again, Chef Joe was kind of “Eh, I don’t know.”

So then, the next day, we were all getting pumped up. They were about to do a big reveal of the NEW products coming from Duncan Hines! It is always such an exciting part of our trip, to see the new products that Duncan Hines is releasing. They pulled back the curtain, and… OHMYGOSH! It was a Decadent Mix… but not just any decadent mix. It was THIS decadent mix. Pumpkin! I was dying. Then, they revealed the next seasonal product and, in the words of my dear friend Jeannie, “Dontchaknow, it was on a shipper!”

Chef Joe said it was SO hard not to tell us the night before, but he just had to wait for the big reveal! It’s the key thing that tells me they really did listen to our thoughts and advice from the previous year. I definitely get how Chef Joe said it was hard to keep it a secret, though, because then *I* had to keep it a secret from all of you until it hit stores! Crazy! In fact, I still have a few secrets that my lips are sealed on.

Anyway, just like the other Duncan Hines Decadent Mixes, this cupcake mix comes with your cupcake mix (enough for twelve), frosting mix, and a pastry bag so you can fill and decorate cupcakes easily. You’ll want to set the frosting mix and pastry bag aside for now, and grab your cupcake mix.

Mix it up according to the ingredient instructions on the back of the box, but instead of putting it in a cupcake pan…

…put it in a greased 8″ round cake pan. I used my Wilton Ultragold for this one. Bake at 350 for about 28-30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool completely.

While that cools, you’ll want to mix the frosting pouch, but you’re going to just totally disregard the package directions for this one. Take 1 block of softened Philadelphia cream cheese (8 oz) and mix it with the frosting pouch using your mixer of choice until it’s well blended and creamy. Don’t add the water or butter listed on the back of the package. It’s totally not necessary, as the cream cheese is enough, and will give it that cheesecake taste.

Once your cake is cooled, shred it to bits. I can honestly tell you, making cake pops is the easiest way to save your sanity when you have a child experiencing the terrible twos. While he is throwing a temper tantrum in the background, you can just tune him out to shredding cake instead of pulling your hair out. It’s a great way to keep that bald spot you’re getting the size it is instead of letting it get bigger. (Zach really isn’t too deep into the terrible twos, luckily, but those teeth are killing us!)

From there, you’ll mix in large spoonfuls of the frosting, stirring and rolling until your shredded cake mixture is more like a thick dough that can be rolled into balls.

Roll them into balls about quarter-sized, and then chill them for at least half an hour.

There are two ways you can finish these, both involving Wilton Candy Melts. The first way to finish them is to grab the Vanilla melts (or white, or whatever your favorite vanilla-ish dipping melt is). The second way, which will really pack in the pumpkin flavor, is to use the Pumpkin Spice Candy Melts, pictured above.

They smell so good! Go ahead and melt those in the microwave or in a double boiler the way you would typically melt chocolates. For microwave, I’ve found that trying 1 minute, stirring, and then doing additional 30 second increments if needed is an easy way to melt without scorching.

It’ll look creamy. If you used vanilla instead, it’ll look just like this, but white instead of orange.

I decided to make some of each! Dip the ball into the melts, then tap off the excess and place them on waxed paper. While they’re wet, you can sprinkle on some cute fall sprinkles!

Or, you can tint leftover vanilla melts green using Wilton gel food coloring, and use the pastry bag that came with your Duncan Hines Decadent Mix to pipe little pumpkin vines and stems onto the orange balls.

So yummy. They’re like, melt-in-your-mouth yummy.

 

How do you feel about winter flavors starting before Thanksgiving? Would you prefer to wait until after for peppermint, or do you like to bring those flavors on early? Let me know in the comments below!

Triple Pumpkin Mini Tarts with Duncan Hines Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Mix

If you were keeping an eye on my Instagram and Twitter at the end of last month, you probably know that in September, I got to visit the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen for the SECOND year in a row. It was such a fantastic experience the first year around, so I knew the second year would be amazing!

After signing a very strict non-disclosure agreement, we were all allowed to do some special taste testing of the latest and greatest that is coming soon from Duncan Hines. While I can’t spill the beans on EVERYTHING just yet… I CAN show you this delicious product, which has already been hitting stores nationwide. It’s something I’ve been waiting for and excited about for SO long! Duncan Hines, as part of their Decadent Mixes line, has released a brand new Pumpkin Spice Cupcake mix, complete with cupcake mix, frosting, and a pastry bag to make filling and piping easy without you needing to buy additional supplies.

While I was in New Jersey, I dropped a little hint on Twitter about a tip that Chef Joe gave us during an exclusive baking demonstration for those of us who were there… and that is how to make a cake mix pie crust. Yup, that’s right,you can make a pie crust out of cake mix!

Well, I decided to make a little adaptation to his recipe, and have some fun experimenting with it, and I came up with something that I know will be a hit at any fall party. In fact, it’s what I’m taking for Thanksgiving dinner this year, along with my Better Than Pumpkin Pie Dessert from last year. There’s just something about a twist on a classic like pumpkin pie that makes for an extra special dessert.

Luckily, all of the ingredients are either in your kitchen, or in your local grocery store. It isn’t a too-complicated recipe which makes it perfect for a last-minute take-along.

Start by separating your eggs. This is one of the more complicated parts of the recipe because you’ll want to keep these two portions straight… for the crust, you will need 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg. For the filling, it is 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg… which means you’ll separate the first 3 eggs (putting 3 yolks in the cake bowl, 2 whites in the filling bowl, 1 full egg in each bowl, and then saving 1 egg white for another purpose, like a morning omelette or other exciting dish).

From there, it’s all easy.

Begin by preparing your crust. Reserve the frosting mix for later, so just get the cake mix out now. Pour in the cake mix, eggs (3 yolks, 1 egg, in case you forgot), and 1 Tablespoon of softened butter. (Or margarine, or shortening, but… I like butter for this particular crust, but only had margarine on hand and it worked fine). You’ll want to knead the dough while rotating the bowl. If you find that the dough is sticky, add up to 3 Tablespoons more flour, just adding a tiny bit at a time while you knead it. Because this is a cupcake mix, it contains a little bit less volume than the cake mixes; for a cake mix, the additional flour shouldn’t be necessary, but for any of the cupcake mixes, I find the extra flour helps.

Your dough will look, smell, and taste like pumpkin spice. Yummy. The best part of this Duncan Hines mix is how it already comes with the frosting, which provides a crucial part of the recipe, so it really makes the full thing so easy to make and enjoyable.

When your dough is ready, flour a surface and roll your dough out into pie-crust thickness.

Take a biscuit cutter or other 5-inch round cutter and cut your pie crust into circles, leaving for as few scraps as possible.

Just press through like you would any sort of cookie or cut-out.

Lightly grease and flour two to three mini muffin tins (depending on how much crust dough you ate, how thickly you rolled the crust, and how much flour you used in the initial dough, if any), then lightly place the circles into the tins.

Set those aside so you can prepare your filling.

For the filling, it’s just a basic pumpkin pie filling recipe. Take 1 can of your pureed pumpkin, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1 can of evaporated milk, and your eggs from above (2 whites, 1 whole).

Some people prefer to use (or are just very used to using) granulated sugar for their pumpkin pie. I’ve found that the brown sugar lends a richer flavor and more complex taste, pairing well with the cinnamon and spices. It is up to your personal opinion. You may also decide instead of using my egg mixture to use the traditional two whole eggs, but I used the 2 whites and 1 whole to use the remainder of my eggs. It is up to your personal preference about pie filling.

Start by mixing your sugar and spices in a small bowl, and your eggs in a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin and the sugar into the large egg bowl, continuing to mix. Finish by gradually stirring in your evaporated milk.

Put about 1 tablespoon of filling into each unbaked shell.

Bake your mini tarts at 350 for about 10-11 minutes. Remove, and let them cool.

As those cool, prepare your pumpkin spice frosting that came in the Duncan Hines Decadent Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Mix according to the package directions.

I mentioned above that the box mix comes with a pastry bag so you can fill your frosting straight into it without having to purchase bags separately. You can easily just fill this bag, cut the tip off,  and use it. I decided to put my Wilton 1M tip into the bag before filling to give a star-shaped frosting puff, but you can choose any large tip you like, or go tip-less!

Just do a slight squeeze until the filling is covered, pulling up slightly, and release.

They’ll look like this!

Yummy… a perfect pumpkin surprise in every bite!

Remember, you can get creative with this and use the crust recipe from Chef Joe at Duncan Hines to make any pie you like, with any Duncan Hines cake mix. Want a cherry pie with chocolate crust? Go for it! Want a set of mini pumpkin pies with a yellow crust? Do it. The sky is the limit, and you can bake any pie you’d like with the recipe above, getting extra creative and having some fun with it.

 

Tell me in the comments below, what is your favorite fall dessert? Are you a pumpkin pie traditionalist, or do you skip the pumpkin pie and go straight for another treat?

 

For a printable version of this recipe, go to the Duncan Hines website, which is brand new and has been totally revamped for #bakingseason! Don’t forget to create your own delicious Duncan Hines treats and tell Duncan Hines what #bakingseason means to you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Wrap It Up! Cilantro Lime Chicken Wraps featuring Cilantro Lime Marinade

A lot of ideas came to mind when I picked up the Key Lime Pie Frosting Creations flavor packet. I thought perhaps I could make a cake, or a special kind of pie, or more ice cream. However, with such innovative key lime flavor, I knew that I had to do something exciting and new!

So, with that delicious Key Lime Flavor Packet, I made…

CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN WRAPS! That chicken is marinaded in a delicious Cilantro Lime Marinade using the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Key Lime Pie Flavor Packet.

Yeah, that’s right. You can use frosting flavors to create innovative savory recipes, too! And, for the record, it’s actually really easy, too.

Start by cutting up 1/2 cup of cilantro, mincing it very finely, as finely as you can manage.

Okay, so maybe mine isn’t quite that fine, but just do your best. I am not a patient woman!

Once you’ve minced up that cilantro (smell it! So yummy!), add in a finely minced clove of garlic, 1/2 C Balsamic vinegar, and 2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A couple of large pinches of salt and a sprinkle of pepper will add a little more flavor.

Sprinkle in the contents of one Key Lime Pie Frosting Creations Flavor Packet. Do not add any Frosting Creations Starter Frosting– it’s a bit too sweet for this recipe, so you’re just sticking to the flavor packet on this one.

BAM! Marinade. Now, you’re welcome to stop here and just let this sit for awhile by itself (refrigerated, please!) so the flavors can meld. Use it as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. Or….

…you can see just how far this rabbit hole goes, and try out your marinade on some meat.

I chose chicken, because I feel like Cilantro, Lime, and Chicken work VERY well together.

Cut it up nice and small.

Then soak in your marinade for at least one hour… but preferably longer. The more you soak it, the more flavor you’ll get out of it!

After marinating, cook your chicken in a nonstick skillet.

Once it’s cooked, again, you could stop here and use the chicken any way you please… chicken tacos, a yummy cilantro lime chicken pizza, served over salad (hint: before marinating, reserve some extra marinade to use as a dressing). The sky is the limit!

But, if you want that fancy picture I showed you up top, again, keep going with your Cilantro Lime Marinade to make some Cilantro Lime Chicken Wraps!

Lay out the tortilla of your choice. I used a flour tortilla, but you can use any kind you’d like. I also put on some shredded lettuce and Mexicorn, then topped it with the chicken. Cheese would be another great addition, as would fresh tomatoes, but this is what I had in the fridge. I didn’t exactly plan ahead for dinner…

Wrap it up, then serve with chips and salsa or beans and rice!

And that, my friends, is how you use a Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Flavor Packet to make a marinade! Which flavor do you want to try?

For a printable version of this recipe, check out the Duncan Hines Website, here: http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/specialty-desserts/jenni-schoenberger/cilantro-lime-chicken-wraps-ft-cilantro-lime-marinade

Are you creative in the kitchen? Enter Duncan Hines’ Spring Baking Contest on their website, and you might win a trip to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen, where you’ll get to meet me and many other talented bakers this fall! Hope to see you there! What are you waiting for? Go enter!