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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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Pop Culture
The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before being called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior in 1980 to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song, “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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20 Things You Might Not Have Known About Firefly
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© 2002 Twentieth Century Fox

As any diehard fan will be quick to tell you, Firefly's run was far, far too short. Despite its truncated run, the show still offers a wealth of fun facts and hidden Easter eggs. On the 15th anniversary of the series' premiere, we're looking back at the sci-fi series that kickstarted a Browncoat revolution.

1. A CIVIL WAR NOVEL INSPIRED THE FIREFLY UNIVERSE.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels from author Michael Shaara was Joss Whedon’s inspiration for creating Firefly. It follows Union and Confederate soldiers during four days at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Whedon modeled the series and world on the Reconstruction Era, but set in the future.

2. ORIGINALLY, THE SERENITY CREW INCLUDED JUST FIVE MEMBERS.

When Whedon first developed Firefly, he wanted Serenity to only have five crew members. However, throughout development and casting, Whedon increased the cast from five to nine.

3. REBECCA GAYHEART WAS ORIGINALLY CAST TO PLAY INARA.

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Before Morena Baccarin was cast as Inara Serra, Rebecca Gayheart landed the role—but she was fired after one day of shooting because she lacked chemistry with the rest of the cast. Baccarin was cast two days later and started shooting that day.

4. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS WAS ALMOST DR. SIMON TAM.

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Before it went to Sean Maher, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Dr. Simon Tam.

5. JOSS WHEDON WROTE THE THEME SONG.

Whedon wrote the lyrics and music for Firefly’s opening theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity.”

6. STAR WARS SPACECRAFT APPEAR IN FIREFLY.

Star Wars was a big influence on Whedon. Captain Malcolm Reynolds somewhat resembles Han Solo, while Whedon used the Millennium Falcon as inspiration to create Serenity. In fact, you can spot a few spacecraft from George Lucas's magnum opus on the show.

When Inara’s shuttle docks with Serenity in the pilot episode, an Imperial Shuttle can be found flying in the background. In the episode “Shindig,” you can see a Starlight Intruder as the crew lands on the planet Persephone.

7. HAN SOLO FROZEN IN CARBONITE POPS UP THROUGHOUT FIREFLY.

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Nathan Fillion is a big Han Solo fan, so the Firefly prop department made a 12-inch replica of Han Solo encased in Carbonite for the Canadian-born actor. You can see the prop in the background in a number of scenes.

8. ALIEN'S WEYLAND-YUTANI CORPORATION MADE AN APPEARANCE.

In Firefly’s pilot episode, the opening scene features the legendary Battle of Serenity Valley between the Browncoats and The Union of Allied Planets. Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes control of a cannon with a Weyland-Yutani logo inside of its display. Weyland-Yutani is the large conglomerate corporation in the Alien film franchise. (Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection in 1997.)

9. ZAC EFRON'S ACTING DEBUT WAS ON FIREFLY.

A 13-year-old Zac Efron made his acting debut in the episode “Safe” in 2002. He played Young Simon in a flashback.

10. CAPTAIN MALCOLM REYNOLDS'S HORSE IS A WESTERN TROPE.

At its core, Firefly is a sci-fi western—and Malcolm Reynolds rides the same horse on every planet (it's named Fred).

11. FOX AIRED FIREFLY'S EPISODES OUT OF ORDER.

Fox didn’t feel Firefly’s two-hour pilot episode was strong enough to air as its first episode. Instead, “The Train Job” was broadcast first because it featured more action and excitement. The network continued to cherry-pick episodes based on broad appeal rather than story consistency, and eventually aired the pilot as the show’s final episode.

12. THE ALLIANCE'S ORIGINS ARE AMERICAN AND CHINESE.

The full name of The Alliance is The Anglo-Sino Alliance. Whedon envisioned The Alliance as a merger of American and Chinese government and corporate superpowers. The Union of Allied Planets’ flag is a blending of the American and Chinese national flags.

13. THE SERENITY LOUNGE SERVED AS AN ACTUAL LOUNGE.

Between set-ups and shots, the cast would hang out in the lounge on the Serenity set rather than trailers or green rooms.

14. INARA SERRA'S NAME IS MESOPOTAMIAN.

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Inara Serra is named after the Mesopotamian Hittite goddess, the protector of all wild animals.

15. THE CHARACTERS SWORE (JUST NOT IN ENGLISH).

The Firefly universe is a mixture of American and Chinese culture, which made it easy for writers to get around censors by having characters swear in Chinese.

16. THE UNIFORMS ARE RECYCLED FROM STARSHIP TROOPERS.

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The uniforms for Alliance officers and soldiers were the costumes from the 1997 science fiction film Starship Troopers. The same costumes were repurposed again for the Starship Troopers sequel.

17. "SUMMER!" MEANS SOMEONE MESSED UP.

Every time a cast member flubbed one of his or her lines, they would yell Summer Glau’s name. This was a running gag among the cast after Glau forgot her lines in the episode “Objects In Space.”

18. THE SERENITY SPACESHIP WAS BUILT TO SCALE.

The interior of Serenity was built entirely to scale; rooms and sections were completely contiguous. The ship’s interior was split into two stages, one for the upper deck and one for the lower. Whedon showed off the Firefly set in one long take to open the Serenity movie.

19. "THE MESSAGE" SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHOW'S FAREWELL.

Although “The Message” was the twelfth episode, it was the last episode filmed during Firefly’s short run. Composer Greg Edmonson wrote a piece of music for a funeral scene in the episode, which served as a final farewell to the show. Sadly, it was one of three episodes (the other two were “Trash” and “Heart of Gold”) that didn’t air during Firefly’s original broadcast run on Fox.

20. FIREFLY AND SERENITY WERE SENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

American Astronaut Steven Ray Swanson is a big fan of Firefly, so when he was sent to the International Space Station for his first mission (STS-117) in 2007, he brought DVD copies of Firefly and its feature film Serenity aboard with him. The DVDs are now a permanent part of the space station’s library.

This post originally appeared in 2014.

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