It was a gift from my mom for my 20th birthday and I knew we were destined to be the best of friends. It was stylish, yet practical. Not too big, not too small. Just the right size to hold a summer’s worth of shorts and tees . . . and a souvenir or two from my travels. It was the cadillac of backpacks. And it was all mine.
And while it has definitely seen better days—it’s faded and well-worn at the seams—it remains a treasured possession. A dear old friend.
Recently my old backpack set off on a new adventure, with a brave new explorer. My trusted old friend went to camp with my seven-year old ponytail. It was her first weekend away.
I was quite excited about my daughter’s milestone adventure with her Girl Guide Brownie Troop until we started loading up my old backpack with her weekend essentials. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotion. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was setting sail on one of life’s great adventures myself? Okay, so this time it’s camp. Next time it’ll be Europe, right? Where’s the pause button?
There were definitely tears. But not from me. (Okay, I did come very close.) The tears were from a younger sister who was utterly devastated to be excluded from this grand adventure. I needed a distraction.
So I pulled out my baking pans and we set to work. Within no time, the cloud of flour in the air and cookie crumbs on the counter, floor and all over my ponytail’s little face worked their magic. The injustice of being younger was soon forgotten.
The thrill of an oreo in every cupcake was the perfect diversion.
And something to look forward to once they were baked and decorated.
Oreo cupcakes + dinner with a best friend from kindergarten = a very happy little ponytail.
As for mom? Well, she enjoyed the cupcakes too . . . but she has realized that she needs to cherish every last minute with each of her two little ponytails. Even those times when she wants to pull out her hair from all the craziness and the tantrums . . . because one day that backpack will be headed for Europe. What do you think the odds are that the girls will take me too?
Cupcake recipe from Bakerella
- 1- 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
- 1- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 22-24 Oreos
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line tray with baking cups.
- Place one whole cookie in each cup.
- Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl using a wire whisk.
- Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and milk and mix well until thoroughly combined. Add the hot water and mix until combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop transfer the batter into each baking cup so it’s about three quarters full. Makes 22- 24 cupcakes. (Yield was 23 for me)
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Oreo Buttercream Icing
(Adapted from my Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing Recipe)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3- 1/2 to 4 cups icing sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- 6 tbsp crushed cookie crumbs (approx 5- 6 oreos)
In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about a minute. Add 2½ cups icing sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and milk, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add remaining one to one-and-half cups of icing sugar and beat until incorporated. Then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Add cookie crumbs and beat on medium-high for one minute until well incorporated.
Frost the cupcakes when cool.
Decorate with mini oreo cookies (optional)