Happiness Project#69: Candy Apple Cookie Cups!

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If you give a Mama a cookie…

It’s been one of my rough weeks. Or to be painfully accurate, a rough month. I re-injured the already deteriorating discs in my neck a few weeks ago, and have been in and out of my (hated) neck brace every day since. If you’ve ever had a severe back or neck injury involving the many discs in your spine, then you presumably know all too well how frustrating wearing a neck brace is. Not only are you virtually immobile with the range of movement in your neck but because of needing to be virtually immobile, you’re generally restricted from doing a whole slew of everyday activity. Like driving. Or being in a car. So thus being said, I’ve been on doctor’s house arrest (for lack of a better word). For nearly FOUR weeks, people. FOUR weeks. No fun.

Fortunately, even though I had to cancel numerous play dates and rely on my husband to run all of our out-of-house errands, my nearly 3 year old daughter didn’t seem to mind. Or notice that we were always inside, with only occasional romps out in the courtyard. Toddlers, my friends. They create play and adventure no matter where the are. Toddlers ROCK!

Anyhow, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the perfect pain-free opportunity to create these super cute cookie cups since well before Christmas. And this weekend was finally my chance. Because if you give a depressed and restless Mama a cookie, she’s going to throw in a whole jumble of yummy, mood altering additions. Like cool whip, caramel sauce, diced Gala apples and mini Snickers candies. Candies. Enough said.

Best of all? This bitesize treat is not only designed for all family members in mind but it’s ridiculously easy to create. Like ridiculous. Ready? GO!

Firstly, you’ll need to create the sugar cookie dough. And since I already have my own sugar cookie recipe that I always use, refer to my Messy Hearts Sugar Cookies post for the easiest cut out cookie recipe you’ll ever need. Or use your own recipe instead. Just note that your sugar cookie dough will need to be a stiffer consistency in order for the cookie cups to set up correctly.

Once you’ve created the dough and rolled it out, on a lightly floured work surface, use a 3 to 4 inch round cookie cutter to create the flat circle needed for the shaped cups.

Set your oven to 350d and lightly spray 1 mini cupcake pan (or 1 standard size cupcake pan) with butter.

Now the messy and FUN part. Take your already cut circles of dough and gently press each disc into each cupcake mold, creating a cup of dough, pressed flat in the middle of the pan, climbing up each side of the mold until the dough is just barely peeking out above the top. Think cup shape.

Slide that pan into the oven and let bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookie cups are lightly golden in color.

Set out, in the pan, until fully cooled.

Onwards to the cup fillers! You’ll need…

1/2 cup melted and slightly cooled caramel candies

8oz container of Cool Whip

1/2 part Gala Apple, cut into very small, diced pieces

1/2 bag mini Snickers candies (cut in half pieces)

With the tip of a pairing knife, gently loosen each cooled cookie cup from the pan. Place each cup within an assembly line for fillings.

With a tablespoon, dribble the caramel sauce into each cookie cup. Followed with a spoonful of cool whip. Now layer the cool whip section with 3 to 4 diced pieces of apple. Followed with another 2 to 3 spoonfuls of cool whip, filling each cookie cup all the way to (or slightly above) the top edges.

Garnish with mini snickers! Or another apple piece! Because at least the apple part is healthy, right? Ha.

*P.S. Cookie Cups are one of the most versatile desserts you’ll ever run across. Want to use a different candy combination? Try chunks of chocolate chips with mini peanut butter cups! Or how about a healthier option (beyond candy)? Add in a couple tablespoons of your favorite cold yogurt, instead of the cool whip, with a coordinating fruit garnish! The options are endless!

Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready for mass family consumption! Just don’t except these lovely little cups to last for much longer than 24 hours. I have a sneaky suspicion that they won’t even last through an hour. Toddlers, remember?

Happiness Project: #54: Birthday Candy Popcorn!

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Birthdays! HUZZAH for Birthdays! Up until I became a Mother of my beautiful 2 year old Daughter, I was always very C’est la vie about celebrating another birthday. But thanks to the love that I have with my Baby Girl, my heart has changed, in every way that matters most. Especially, when it comes to birthdays. Because, yes, mommyhood truly DOES change all.

So for my one & only Daughter’s 2nd birthday earlier this month, besides creating a Vanilla Strawberry Cake with a side of Funfetti Minnie Mouse Cupcakes, I also threw together some Candy Popcorn for all of the kiddos at her Minnie Mouse themed party. With Sprinkles. And Chocolate Chips. And maybe a little bit of white chocolate candy melts. Because movie time is always made better with popcorn AND candy, right? Right! And the best thing about this super FUN popcorn recipe? It’s quite possibly the SIMPLEST recipe that a busy parent can hope for. Which is beyond (beyond) wonderful! Believe me. I know. Oh, and did I almost forget to mention, it’s very versatile, as well? It is! Ready for some Pop-tastic (ha!) Party Food?? Look no further!

2 bags of sea salt popcorn (non-buttered!)

1 (8oz) bag of white chocolate or vanilla flavored candy melts

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup rainbow jimmies or sprinkles

*OR add in whatever small candies that you or your kiddo(s) prefer! M&M’s? Hershey’s Kisses? Butterfinger Bars (crushed up)?You name it! Hence the versatility!*

Pop the 2 bags of popcorn according to the bagged instructions. Place the popped popcorn into a large bowl and set aside.

Heat up the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl, in two to three 20 seconds intervals, strirring in between each 20 second interval, until smooth and fully melted.

Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the bowl of popcorn. Then layer with both cups of the chocolate chips and sprinkles.

While the melted chocolate is still warm, with a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and candies into the popcorn, making sure to toss the popcorn at the bottom of the bowl until fully coated.

AND serve! In all of it’s gooey, messy, joyful yumminess!

So. SO. Easy.

And perfect for every little pair of hands within your family. Or any adult child at heart ❤

“Do not regret growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.”

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