Chocolate Caramel Commotion

I have a dance party in my car every morning on the way to work.  My two year old claims that Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” is his old song because his new song is Selena Gomez’s “Need You Like a Love Song”.  I caught him singing “Moves Like Jagger” while he was building with blocks.

While this makes me happy because my taste in music is trash, my husband is not so thrilled.  He is a high school band director.  He makes my two sons listen to Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Ella Fitzgerald as they go to bed.  Don’t get me wrong, I think this is fabulous.  I just think its funny that I never catch him (my son) humming “A-Train”.

Its funny how all the things you “say” you’re going to do when you’re a parent get thrown out the window.  I said I would always make my kids listen to Raffi, Disney music, and Craig and Company.  The music I grew up listening to.  Then, I realized, this meant I had to listen to it too.  Over and over and over and over…

So, now its a compromise.  My son marches around the house to Les Miserables “Do You Hear the People Sing” one minute and air guitars to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.  He can recognize Michael Jackson and Coldplay by voice and I think its all good.

Hey, my parents made me listen to Van Morrison, The Carpenters, Harry Chapin, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Its the same thing, right?

Chocolate Caramel Commotion Bars (Yes, they do cause a commotion)

original recipe Unknown

Layer 1: Cookie Crust (Martha Stewart)

27 store-bought chocolate wafer cookies

1 Tb plus 1 1/2 tsp sugar

Table Salt

6 Tb Butter

Grease a 9-by-13 baking dish and line with parchment. Pulse wafers in a food processor until finely ground, and transfer to a bowl.  Add sugar and a pinch of table salt.  Melt 6 Tb butter, and stir into crumbs.  Press into bottom of dish.  Bake for 10 minutes. Cool.

Layer 2: Chocolate

2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 C Butter

1 14 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt chocolate and butter.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat, add condensed milk and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  Spread over cookie layer.  Let cool.

Layer 3:  Peanut Butter Nougat

1/4 C Butter

1 C Sugar

1/4  C heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 C marshmallow cream

1/4 C creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 C chopped peanuts, or walnuts

Melt butter in medium saucepan, over high heat.  Add sugar and whipping cream, bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Stir in marshmallow cream, peanut butter, and peanuts.  Spread over chocolate layer.  Let cool.

Layer 4: Caramel Layer:

1 14 oz package caramels, unwrapped   (You can buy ready to go caramel bits in the baking aisle of your grocery store.  That’s what I used, no hours of unwrapping plastic)

1/4 C whipping cream

1/2 C shredded coconut

Melt caramels and whipping cream in a small saucepan until smooth.  Spread over nougat layer.  Sprinkle with coconut.  Let cool.

Layer 5: Chocolate Butterscotch

1 C semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 C butterscotch

3/4 C creamy peanut butter

Melt and stir all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth.  Spread over caramel layer.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and peanuts/walnuts.  Let cool for at least two hours to 24 hours.

Cut into squares and serve.

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who watched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last night?  I am dying to call my sister and ask what happened!!  I am a sucker for reality shows.  Bravo totally knows what they are doing too.  Those marathons are so addictive.  Starting the next episode as soon as the last one ended should be illegal.  

These cookies are very tasty, and are invented by none other than the best Real Housewife herself, Bethenny Frankel!  The original post is here.

She says to bake them for 35 minutes, but I think that’s (in the words of my sister) crazytown station.  Mine only took 15 minutes, so definitely keep an eye on them!

The dough is also very crumbly and on the dry side. I rolled them in my hand to get them to stick, and then flattened it on the tray.

I also didn’t have oat flour, so I used rolled oats.  I pulsed them in my food processor for about 1 minute.  Maybe that’s why it only took 15 minutes…hmm…

On a completely different note, I return to work tomorrow.  I’ve had a great 10 months with my boys, and am sad to see it come to an end.  My posts will probably consists of DiGiorno Pizza and Chinese Take Out.  I apologize in advance!

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Bethenny Frankel

  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raw organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup mashed overripe banana (≈1 large banana)
 
Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°
    2. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
    3. On a non-stick cookie sheet (or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper), scoop batter with a medium sized ice cream scoop.  Space cookies evenly on baking sheet.
    4. Cook 35 minutes, rotating halfway through.  The cookies should have a slightly brown edge and come out clean when poked with a toothpick.
 

 

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

Happy November!  What happened to October?  Or September, August, and July, for that matter?

Ben informed me that he wants nothing more to do with pumpkin.  Between the soups and the scones, he thinks he’s turning orange.

So, I decided I’ll just tell him it’s squash.  He’ll never know.

They’re are many things that go perfectly together.  I’m adding butterscotch and pumpkin to my list.  After you try these, you will too.

Don’t be fooled by their shape, these cookies are very cake-like.  I know they’re not beautiful, but I won’t tell them to their face.  

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

from Joy the Baker, with only 1 small change

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil (My change: 1 stick of butter)

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup butterscotch chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended.  Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it.  Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart.  You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a  scoop.  I used a medium sized scoop.

Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time for 16 minutes.  Rotate halfway through baking and flatten with a spatula.  Continue cooking until a toothpick comes out clear.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar.  The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

 Makes about 24 cookies

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies

My husband wanted cookies, but I didn’t have enough of anything to make a specific type cookie.  So, I just made them all.  

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
1/2 chocolate chips

1/2 C white chocolate chips

1/2 C dried cranberries

1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 C walnuts

 

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add Baking soda, powder, and salt and mix. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips and anything else you want to throw in. Mix until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

 


 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stop.

Stop what you are doing right now and get in your kitchen.

I’m serious, go. If you don’t, you’re missing out on precious time. Time that would be better spent eating these cookies.


Can you see how amazing they are? I mean, look at the inside of that cookie. Oh, I am just drooling everywhere, and I already got to eat it! I can’t imagine what you’re doing right now, but let some one else clean up the puddle around you because you’ve got to get baking.

If you remember my post from Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, you’ll recall that I am a self-proclaimed cookie connoisseur. So, when I tell you these are some amazingly good cookies, you should believe me.

I wasn’t even going to bake anything, but we went to see family and I didn’t want to go empty handed. I cracked open my foodie bible (Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook) and said to myself, “Hello! It’s time.” These cookies have been calling me for quite sometime. I’m just depressed thinking about how long I waited and how many batches of cookies I’ve made when this recipe has been here all along. I’m so sorry to anyone who has eaten one of my cookies up until now. I thought they were good, but I was wrong.

These cookies are EXACTLY how they are described. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They are the perfect cookie. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Make these cookies. Seriously, do it.

Cook’s Illustrated Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 14tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1large egg
  • 1large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
  • 3/4cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

  2. 2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

  3. 3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

  4. 4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

  5. 5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Homemade Oreos, a post for Jonah

I am on a homemade kick.  We had homemade Cheez-Its, homemade Pop Tarts, and now, homemade Oreos.

Part of this stems from the Holiday Baking Exchange I mentioned in a previous post.

This week’s challenge on MyBakingAddiction and Goodlife Eats is Chocolate, sponsored by Sharffen Berger. So what better excuse to fatten up and make these bad boys than a Holiday Exchange Challenge?

I had a theory that I was going to make these and give them all to my sister’s boyfriend.  There is a tiny problem with this theory….they are all gone.  

The beginning of something beautiful.

I had to try one, of course.  Then, my husband came home, he needed to try three.  I sent some to my neighbor.  I gave one to my son.  I had to try another one, just to make sure.  Then, my husband ate two more.  So, sorry Jonah, but there are no more.  I’ll make them again, just for you.  Really.  And better!

See, I have a theory on these.  The cookie, is not Oreo like.  It’s cakey; more like those Oreo Cakesters.  I have a thought that you have to make the cookie really, really flat.  I’ll experiment more and let you know. And when I perfect them, I will put a giant bow on them and claim them in the name of Jonah Delso.  

Oh, and I’ll buy him a gallon of milk…cause he’s gonna need it.

 

Homemade Oreos

From Smitten Kitchen

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies (I only got 12…I guess mine were too big)

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar **I used 1 C, to be less sweet, like the real deal.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

***Update: I made another batch! I am in love!! Ok, so I used a much smaller amount of dough. The teaspoon that the recipe suggests is perfect, but I more than slightly flattened the dough. I flattened it like a pancake. They came out perfectly! Jonah, you are SO lucky!!

Homemade Pop-Tarts

Now that I’m older and wiser in my ripe old age of 31 (yeesh), I look back on how I used to eat and cringe.  A typical day of eating in my teenage years, would consist of the following:

Breakfast: A Pop-Tart

Lunch: Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Cookie, Medium Fry and Cheese Dip, Soda (all purchased in my High School cafeteria…obviously, this was prior to any healthy kid initiative.  No one cared if we were fat.)

Dinner: Whatever my mom made for me

Dessert: 1, 2, or 4 Tastycake Butterscotch Krimpets

Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but I’d say those were some very wise choices.  From a nutritional standpoint, I would definitely encourage my children to follow my lead.  My arteries are crying.

Anyway, although my meal selection may have improved with age, my love for Pop-Tarts remains the same.  Pop-Tarts are delicious.  That buttery crust filled with jelly-ish substance and dipped in sugary glaze, what is not to love?  

Side Note: Do Pop-Tarts ever expire?

You may remember a few weeks ago, I posted Homemade Cheez-Its.  Cheez-Its are equally delicious and  equally as cheap to buy at the store as Pop-Tarts.  But, that wouldn’t be as fun, now would it? Unfortunately, now that I’ve made homemade Pop-Tarts, I am forever changed.  The two sticks of butter surrounding the 6 C of sugar filled Jam, though extremely delicious, will never make it to my breakfast table again. 

Now, I hope I have not deterred you from trying to make these.  Because, you should.  You absolutely should.  My husband had his with ice cream.  (He is so smart.  Top of his class, and it’s ideas like that, which got him there.)  They are very good.  I truly believe they are what Mr. Kellogg intended his Pop-Tarts to taste like.  They are buttery, flavorful, and delicious.  Not the dry, flavorless, sugary gelatinous filled thing that we’ve all come to love.

They are a great dessert treat, and a fun thing to make with kids.  BUT, a breakfast they are NOT.  

Sorry Kellogg’s, but they’re not.

Oh, and BTWs…I made my own jam.  I’m that special.  

Homemade Pop-Tarts

From King Arthur Flour and Smitten Kitchen

cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Jam Filling (This is the kind that I made)
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste

To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9″ x 13″ pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries (I FORGOT THIS STEP). Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Charming tip from King Arthur: Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Strawberry Glaze:

1 tb butter, melted

1 tb milk

3/4 C confectionary sugar, more or less, depending on your desired consistency.  More will make it harden, like lemon cookies, less will stay sticky.

2 tsp of jam, heated to a syrup texture (can do in microwave)

Whisk all ingredients together and spread on pastry.  Let cool.  Eat the rest with a spoon.

 

 

 

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Yesterday, I fell in love.  He was sweet, warm, soft with a home-made, old-fashioned goodness.  And to top off his perfection, he was filled with coconut, white chocolate, AND walnuts.  Oh, this cookie was heaven.  I don’t know if I will find another that can replace him.  Fortunately, I only made six of these bad boys and have a whole tub of cookie dough perfection waiting to be savored.  

I am a profound lover of the chocolate chip cookie.  Don’t believe me?  Ask my mother-in-law.  I ate 30 of her chocolate chip cookies after my mud run on Saturday.  There is nothing more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie just out of the oven.  The smell fills your home with warm childhood memories and you find yourself standing in a pool of drool in front of your oven just waiting for that buzzer to go off, so that you can dive into their tastiness.

Growing up, I have vivid memories of opening my front door to the smell of cookies.  My mom-queen of “the diet starts Monday”-once came up with a theory that if she made everything she loved and didn’t eat it, it would prove the strength of her willpower and her diet would be successful.  This “diet” consisted of cookies, brownies, potato chips, and baked potatoes.  While it may not have been her favorite fad diet, it certainly was mine!  I was the benefactor of such deliciousness!!  

With that cookie love, I am always trying to find the “perfect” cookie.  And, while I LOVE the traditional chocolate chip cookie, this Double Chocolate Coconut Cookie is as close to perfection as I’ve ever come.  To quote my husband as he ate his way through this 3 cookies, “I am already depressed that they’ll be gone, and I still have two cookies to go”.  You must make this cookie.  And I don’t mean someday, I mean right now.  Like, stop reading this and get in your kitchen.  Why aren’t you there yet?  Oh, you need the ingredients…

 

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

From Martha Stewart Living (where else would the best cookie ever come from??)

 

1 C (2 Sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 C granulated sugar

3/4 C packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1 12 oz bag of white chocolate chip

1 3/4 C sweetened flaked coconut

1 3/4 C coarsely chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar in your electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix on medium until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.  Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.  Stir in chocolate, coconut, and walnuts.

Using a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.  Bake until set, 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheets on wire racks for  2 minutes.  Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.  They won’t last that long, trust me.