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Hugs & CookiesXOXO

11 Super-Sweet Extreme Dessert Combos

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Hugs & CookiesXOXO

One way to improve a dessert is to put another dessert inside it. We've all enjoyed ice cream cakes at one time or another, and cakes were richly improved when cooks began to add pudding mix to the recipe a few decades ago. But the culture of the internet encourages one-upmanship, and with that comes truly extreme combinations in which people put their favorite candy, cookies, cakes, and even breakfast cereal into other desserts. Get your insulin ready before you even read these recipes.

1. Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers Cupcakes are rich chocolate cupcakes with a filling of caramel and peanuts. Top with peanut butter-marshmallow frosting, a drizzle of chocolate, more peanuts, and a piece of a real Snickers bar. That will stop your mid-afternoon hunger! Recipes for the cake, filling, and frosting are at SugerHero!

2. Nutella Cream Pie with Oreo Crust

Oreo cookies, Nutella spread, and pie. Doesn't that sound heavenly? Amy Brown assures you that the pie tastes much better than the picture looks. That only shows how competitive food photography really is, since it looks delicious to me. This is a real cream pie, so you'll need heavy cream and lots of eggs. Find the recipe at The Project Princess.

3. Chocolate Mint Oreo Cookie Trifle

Donna Elick whipped up a trifle that contains both candy and cookies. Simply layer crushed mint Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding, Andes mint candy, and mint whipped cream to make a fancy and tasty dessert! The directions can be found at The Slow Roasted Italian.

4. Lucky Charms Cheesecake

Pre-sweetened breakfast cereals are used for late-night sugar cravings almost as much as they are for breakfast. So why not incorporate your favorites into a dessert? Dan baked Lucky Charms into a cheesecake for a friend's birthday. This is not a simple dessert. It begins with separating the marshmallow charms from the rest of the cereal. The oat cereal is used both for the crust and to infuse flavor into the cream for the cheesecake. The marshmallows are stirred into the cheesecake batter before baking. Learn how you can do all this at Food in My Beard.

5. Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Oreos

And here's where we stuff candy inside a cookie, then dress it up even more. Slice open your Oreo cookies, using only the side with the cream. Sandwich a peanut butter cup between two of those. Then the whole thing gets dipped in chocolate to make it a complete unit. Sprinkles on top make it festive! The instructions are at Recipeboy.

6. Churro Apple Pie Waffles

Jasmine gave us Churro Waffles in January and made a splash with the breakfast-dessert combo. Her experiments continue, resulting in Churro Apple Pie Waffles which combine the cinnamon crisp of a churro with the volume and porosity of a waffle, then adds delicious baked apples stuffed between. Yes, a scoop of ice cream on top is appropriate here. Chica Chocolatina is where you'll find the recipe. 

7. Froot Loop Donuts

Froot Loop Donuts sounds like a breakfast food, but the combination of sweetness means it fits in with other extreme desserts. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it. The donuts themselves are made from scratch, with Froot Loops as an ingredient. The complete recipe is at the YouTube page.

8. Reese's Overload Cake

Okay, you have three cake layers, two of them peanut butter flavor, and one chocolate cheesecake layer stuffed with chocolate frosting. Then the whole cake is smothered in peanut butter frosting, and garnished with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pieces of Reese's Cups on top. All those parts except for the garnishes are made from scratch. You can make your own, because the complete recipe is it Hugs & CookiesXOXO.

9. Peanut Butter Cup S’moreo Bars

The classic melted s'mores we had at Girl Scout campfires (itself an extreme dessert combination) has been updated to include many other ingredients. The recipe for Peanut Butter Cup S’moreo Bars adds Oreo cookies, peanut butter, and Reese's Cups. Talk about an extreme combination! However, you can brag about a smidgeon of restraint here because the graham crackers have been removed. Get the complete recipe at Top With Cinnamon.

10. Double Mint Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

What's better than a homemade chocolate mint cookie? A homemade chocolate mint cookie with a Peppermint Patty inside! It's just a matter of wrapping the cookie dough around the candy. The hard part is keeping the finished product from disappearing immediately. You'll find the recipe at The Kitchen Magpie.

11. Cherpumple

Most of the combination recipes here are fairly recent, but this list would not be complete without at least a mention of the granddaddy of combination desserts: Charles Phoenix's Cherpumple. Make three pies, traditionally apple, cherry, and pumpkin, and then bake each pie into a cake layer. Stack the layers, frost, and serve to unsuspecting guests. Watch a video of this creation.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go make a ham and cheese on rye for lunch. Coffee, no sugar.  

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15 Must-Watch Facts About The Ring
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DreamWorks

An urban legend about a videotape that kills its viewers seven days after they see it turns out to be true. To her increasing horror, reporter Rachel Keller (then-newcomer Naomi Watts) discovers this after her niece is one of four teenage victims, and is in a race against the clock to uncover the mystery behind the girl in the video before her and her son’s time is up.

Released 15 years ago, on October 18, 2002, The Ring began a trend of both remaking Japanese horror films in a big way, and giving you nightmares about creepy creatures crawling out of your television. Here are some facts about the film that you can feel free to pass along to anybody, guilt-free.

1. DREAMWORKS BOUGHT THE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RINGU FOR $1 MILLION.

There were conflicting stories over how executive producer Roy Lee came to see the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, Hideo Nakata's adaptation of the 1991 novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki. Lee said two different friends gave him a copy of Ringu in January 2001, which he loved and immediately gave to DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian, who agreed to purchase the rights. But Lee’s close friend Mike Macari worked at Fine Line Features, which had an American remake of Ringu in development before January 2001. Macari said he showed Lee Ringu much earlier. Macari and Lee were both listed as executive producers for The Ring.

2. THE DIRECTOR FIRST SAW RINGU ON A POOR QUALITY VHS TAPE, WHICH ADDED TO ITS CREEPINESS.

Gore Verbinski had previously directed MouseHunt. He said the first time he "watched the original Ringu was on a VHS tape that was probably seven generations down. It was really poor quality, but actually that added to the mystique, especially when I realized that this was a movie about a videotape." Naomi Watts struggled to find a VHS copy of Ringu while shooting in the south of Wales. When she finally got a hold of one she watched it on a very small TV alone in her hotel room. "I remember being pretty freaked out," Watts said. "I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it."

3. THE RING AND RINGU ARE ABOUT 50 PERCENT DIFFERENT.

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

Verbinski estimated that, for the American version, they "changed up to 50 percent of it. The basic premise is intact, the story is intact, the ghost story, the story of Samara, the child." Storylines involving the characters having ESP, a volcano, “dream logic,” and references to “brine and goblins” were taken out.

4. IT RAINED ALMOST EVERY DAY WHEN THEY FILMED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

The weather added to the “atmosphere of dread,” according to the film's production notes. Verbinski said the setting allowed them to create an “overcast mood” of dampness and isolation.

5. THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER WAS INFLUENCED BY ANDREW WYETH.

Artist Andrew Wyeth tended to use muted, somber earth tones in his work. "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones," explained production designer Tom Duffield. "It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

6. THERE WERE RINGS EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting and wallpaper patterns, the circular kitchen knobs, the doctor’s sweater design, Rachel’s apartment number, and more were purposely designed with the film's title in mind.

7. WATTS AND MARTIN HENDERSON HAD A FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL RIVALRY.

Martin Henderson and Naomi Watts star in 'The Ring' (1992)
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

The New Zealand-born Henderson played Noah, Rachel’s ex-husband. Since Watts is from Australia, Henderson said that, "Between takes, we'd joke around with each other's accents and play into the whole New Zealand-Australia rivalry."

8. THE TWO WEREN’T SURE IF THE MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE SCARY ENOUGH.

After shooting some of the scenes, and not having the benefit of seeing what they'd look like once any special effects were added, Henderson and Watts worried that the final result would not be scary enough. "There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, 'This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh,'" Henderson told the BBC." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!"

9. CHRIS COOPER WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cooper played a child murderer in two scenes which were initially meant to bookend the film. He unconvincingly claimed to Rachel that he found God in the beginning, and in the end she gave him the cursed tape. Audiences at test screenings were distracted that an actor they recognized disappears for most of the film, so he was cut out entirely.

10. THEY TRIED TO GET RID OF ALL OF THE SHADOWS.

Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli used the lack of sunlight in Washington to remove the characters’ shadows. The two wanted to keep the characters feeling as if “they’re floating a little bit, in space.”

11. THE TREE WAS NICKNAMED "LUCILLE."

The red Japanese maple tree in the cursed video was named after the famous redheaded actress Lucille Ball. The tree was fake, built out of steel tubing and plaster. The Washington wind blew it over three different times. The night they put up the tree in Los Angeles, the wind blew at 60 miles per hour and knocked Lucille over yet again. "It was very strange," said Duffield.

12. MOESKO ISLAND IS A FUNCTIONING LIGHTHOUSE.

Moesko Island Lighthouse is Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Yaquina River, a mile west of Agate Beach, Oregon. The website Rachel checks, MoeskoIslandLighthouse.com, used to actually exist as a one-page website, which gave general information on the fictional place. You can read it here.

13. A WEBSITE WAS CREATED BY DREAMWORKS TO PROMOTE THE MOVIE AND ADD TO ITS MYTHOLOGY.

Before and during the theatrical release, if you logged into AnOpenLetter.com, you could read a message in white lettering against a black background warning about what happens if you watch the cursed video (you can read it here). By November 24, 2002, it was a standard official website made for the movie, set up by DreamWorks.

14. VERBINSKI DIDN’T HAVE FUN DIRECTING THE MOVIE.

“It’s no fun making a horror film," admitted Verbinski. "You get into some darker areas of the brain and after a while everything becomes a bit depressing.”

15. DAVEIGH CHASE SCARED HERSELF.

Daveigh Chase in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

When Daveigh Chase, who played Samara, saw The Ring in theaters, she had to cover her eyes out of fear—of herself. Some people she met after the movie came out were also afraid of her.

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European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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