Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

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I honestly don’t need to say much about this recipe other than MAKE IT.  IMMEDIATELY.  For your own good and the good of all the people you love around you, make these cookies and share them with the world!  Yes, I love them that much.

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Once again, Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction has nailed it with these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies.  I will admit that at first I was skeptical about putting a Rolo in the middle.  Umm, there’s not much gourmet about a Rolo?  But once you put it in the middle of this super dark double chocolate cookie that is sprinkled with sea salt and it gets all melty and gooey inside…you forget it’s a Rolo and only know you can’t stop eating it!  These cookies are thick and soft and perfect.  Honestly, perfection.  Grab some milk and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softenend to room temperature
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, rom temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 c. Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or whatever dark chocolate chip you prefer)
  • 35 Rolos, unwrapped
  • Coarse Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the sugars with the mixer on medium speed and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Slowly mix in the heavy whipping cream then the bittersweet chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky. You can chill it for a few minutes at this point but I used mine immediately and had no issues with it.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Form a 3-inch ball of dough in your hands and then flatten slightly and make an indentation in the middle. Place the Rolo in the indentation and wrap the rest of the cookies around the Rolo making sure to seal well and form into a slightly flattenened ball again. Repeat with the rest of the dough and remaining Rolos. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt before putting in the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

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Eggnog Caramel Sauce

The other day I was making caramels.  Well, I thought I was making caramels.  I have this recipe for amazing, chewy caramels that I’ve made for years and decided to try and switch things up and make them EGGNOG caramels.  As the buttery, sugary mixture boiled and did its thing, I thought to myself, “Yeah…these are going to be awesome.” The scent of eggnog and caramelized sugar smelled divine and I could not wait to sink my teeth into one of these babies.

Imagine my shock the next day when I went to check on the caramels and ummm, they weren’t quite as firm as they should be.  As a matter of fact, the weren’t firm AT ALL.  Bummer.  But then I had a thought!  Eggnog Caramel Sauce?!  Heck yes!  What I thought was a disaster actually turned out to be the most wonderful, delicious thing ever!  We warmed our sauce in the microwave for about 10 seconds and drizzled it over vanilla ice cream and our taste buds were immediately transported to total nirvana.  To be honest, I rarely have mistakes that actually turn out for the better and this was totally an exception.  The flavors of caramel and eggnog in this sauce are just incredible.  Perfect for gift giving.  Or just keep it all to yourself.  Like we’re doing.  Hah.

Enjoy!

P.S. This sauce would pretty much be AMAZING over this Gingerbread Loaf Cake.  Trust me on this one.

Eggnog Caramel Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Salted Butter
  • ½ c. Dark Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. Lyle's Golden Syrup (or Light Corn Syrup)
  • 2 c. Eggnog
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Bring sugar, butter, dark corn syrup and light corn syrup to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes without stirring. Stir in eggnog, turn heat to medium and bring to boil. Cook, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and nutmeg and pour into a bowl to cool. Once cooled, pour into jars and store in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 3 cups of caramel sauce or 3, half-pint jars.

 

 

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Ok, that title is a little misleading…it is kind of a baked pie, at least the crust is baked.  But it stays in the oven for such a short amount of time it hardly counts, hence I christen this pie, no-bake!

I dreamed up this concoction when brainstorming what to make my fabulous sister-in-law Rachel (of foodierachel.com!) for her birthday.  I wanted it to be something that she would LOVE not just something that sounded good to me or a new dessert recipe I wanted to try.  So I thought of peanut butter first…and then banana, caramel and chocolate.  Yes, pretty sure all these ingredients met the “will Rachel love it?”  criteria!

I have to say this pie was AMAZING…just the right amount of peanut butter, chocolate, banana and caramel.  It is, however, very rich so one slice is more than enough!  I made a homemade salted caramel sauce from scratch which I think sent it over the top, but for the sake of simplicity I’d just buy a good-quality caramel sauce if I were you–unless you are feeling very ambitious!

It was a big hit at our family dinner and I’m already looking for an excuse to make this one again!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 c. High-Quality Caramel Sauce
  • 1½ Ripe Bananas, sliced into ½" pieces
  • 1, 8 oz. package Cream Cheese
  • 1½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 16 oz. Whipped Cream Topping
  • 6 T. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, melted
  • 2 T. Dry-Roasted Peanut Halves
Instructions
For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs and press into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack (I did pop mine in the freezer for a few minutes to speed things up).
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until completely smooth. Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in ¾ of the container of the whipped cream, until there are no white streaks left.
To Assemble
  1. Pour the caramel into the graham cracker crust and spread evenly. Place the banana slices in an even layer over the caramel. Spread the peanut butter filling evenly into the pan. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the dry-roasted peanuts. Place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to harden. Cover with foil and freeze for 4-5 hours until mixture is stiff. Slice and serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 12.

 

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Sweets for Superbowl 2012

Sometimes I make the mistake of doing, ahem, research for my blog when I’m hungry.  And it never ends well.  After looking at numerous varieties of desserts for this post, it was all I could do to not go into my kitchen, get a huge bowl of peanut butter, sprinkle it with dark chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers and call it dinner.  But I didn’t!  Instead, I had a sensible meal of garden lasagna (delicious!) and refrained from eating every bit of sugar in my house.  Just a word of caution!

Any of these desserts would be GREAT for a Superbowl party.  I tried to choose things that were fairly simply and not too labor intensive.  After all, you’ve barely recovered from Christmas baking!  I really don’t think you can go wrong with whatever recipe you choose–they’re all delicious.  And next week I’ll have football themed desserts if you’re feeling a little more crafty with your baking…football shaped sweets are just too darn cute!

Brownies

The Baked Brownie

 

King Arthur Flour Brownie

 

S’mores Brownie

 

Caramel Coconut Pecan Brownies

 

Blondies

Peanut Butter Blondies

 

Fondue

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue, Salted Caramel Pecan Fondue and Apple Cinnamon Fondue

Chocolate Orange Fondue

Mocha Fondue

 

White Chocolate Fondue

Dessert Pizza

Apple Pie Pizza

Sugar Cookie & Fruit Pizza

Banana Split Brownie Pizza

Rocky Road Cookie Pizza

Cookies

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Oatmeal Cookies

 

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Peanut Butter Potato Chip Cookies

Monster Cookies

Turtle Cookies

Mudslide Cookies

 

Snack Mixes

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Mix

Gluten-Free Popcorn, Cereal & White Chocolate Mix

Sweet & Spicy Mix

Maple Cinnamon Cereal Mix

Pumpkin Spiced Mix

 

Puppy Chow

 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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Pecan Pie Trifle

Ok, I’ve got one more last, LAST minute Thanksgiving day dessert!  It’s a Pecan Pie Trifle–layers of chunked pecan pie, whipping cream/cream cheese mixture, fudge, caramel and toasted pecans.  Doesn’t that sound like pure evil?!  Well, it is!  Very rich, delicious evil.

You can make the cream cheese mixture or go really simple and do just homemade (or even store bought…I suppose) whipped cream, which I think I might do next time to cut back on the richness of it.  And I also did a ganache and homemade salted caramel sauce which I highly suggest doing but when your short on time a store bought, high-quality hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce will work just fine!

Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Trifle
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 2, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 1, 2-lb. Frozen Pecan Pie, thawed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ c. Chocolate Fudge Sauce (or ganache)
  • ½ c. Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
Instructions
For the Whipped Cream:
  1. In a very cold mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream at high speed until it becomes thick and stiff. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Mixture
  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in ¾ of the homemade whipped cream.
To Assemble:
  1. Place ⅓ of the pie cubes in the bottom of a large trifle dish or clear, tall glass bowl. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over the pie cubes, drizzle with ⅓ of both sauces and sprinkle with pecans. Repeat two more times, leaving a couple of tablespoons of both sauces and pecans to use for decoration. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the top and drizzle with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top.

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Star Cakes: Cups of Cake

Jeremy and I recently had the chance to sample another new cupcake place in Springfield, MO called Star Cakes: Cups of Cakes that opened just this past September (one of MANY that we have now…although not quite as many as all the self-serve fro yo places…I’ll do a post on that another day).  Their store ran a special deal for buy a dozen cupcakes at half-price so we got to taste a good variety of their cupcakes the day we went.  They also had chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies so I went ahead and got a chocolate chip cookie to go with our DOZEN cupcakes.  It’s a hard job I tell ya.

Anyway, we gathered our bounty and headed home.  The chocolate chip cookie didn’t quite make it to the house…it was a really good, thick, chewy cookie and Jeremy and I both liked it alot!  As for the cupcakes, I chose nine different flavors:  Star Cake a La Mode, Fudge Star, Red Star Velvet, Chocolate PB Star, Strawberry, Hawaiian Star, Pumpkin, Carrot Cake and Milky Way.  You can check out the descriptions of each on their menu here.

Pumpkin
Milky Way
Fudge

Unfortunately, I didn’t really have a favorite out of the group and but you really can’t go wrong with pumpkin and that was probably the one I liked the most, moist and very fall-appropriate with a yummy cream cheese frosting.  The rest, to me at least, didn’t taste quite as from-scratch that I’m used to and it seemed like a lot of artificial flavors were used.  My least favorite was a toss-up between the Hawaiian Star and Strawberry…too much artificial going on for me.

Star Cakes a La Mode

Overall, I think it will be interesting to see who survives the cupcake wars going on in Springfield right now…and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of new cupcake places to come to town!  Just more research I *have* to do!  😉

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GiGi’s Cupcakes

Last Friday night Jeremy and I visited one of the two new cupcakes places (yes TWO) that opened up this week in Springfield, MO.  GiGi’s is a franchise based out of Nashville, TN and I had heard good things about them so I was pretty excited to visit.  The place is cute, simple and clean inside.  No frills.  And quite frankly they don’t need frills because the cupcakes are gorgeous!  At three dollars apiece, they are good-sized and well worth the money.  And the frosting…OMG don’t even get me started on the frosting on top of these cupcakes.  The minute we stepped inside the doors and my eyes fell upon the mountain of frosting piped on top of the cupcakes, I was mesmerized and drooling.  I’m a frosting girl all the way!

Since it was their opening night and they had been giving away free cupcakes all day to all their fans on Facebook, they were down to some basic flavors but still a good variety.   I would have LOVED to have tried the Tiramisu or Red Velvet but they were out of those so we went with Wedding Cake (my choice), Midnight Magic (Jeremy’s choice) and Chocolate Salted Caramel.

The Chocolate Salted Caramel consisted of a yummy super dark chocolate cake with caramel buttercream topped with chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of sea salt.  It was very good and I loved the salt and chocolate combination but the caramel buttercream was just a tad too sweet for both of us.  Somehow we still managed to eat most of it though…how did that happen?!

My choice, the Wedding Cake, was vanilla cake topped with vanilla buttercream.   The cake was on the denser side and not so light and fluffy and the buttercream was very thick, creamy and smooth, not greasy at all and had a wonderful vanilla flavor.  I really enjoyed it, especially the frosting.

Jeremy’s choice, the Midnight Magic, was our favorite.  It was a rich chocolate cake topped with an absolutely delicious cream cheese frosting and mini chocolate chips.  We ate the whole thing and loved every bite.

I’m really looking forward to going back and trying more cupcakes.  And I will go back!  I can’t stop thinking about the frosting…and the Tiramisu cupcake…and the Miss Princess (strawberry) cupcake…and the Red Velvet cupcake..and the frosting..and the Kentucky Bourbon Pie cupcake…and the…

P.S. Check out all GiGi’s offerings here!

P.S.S.  After linking to her page, I read her story of how she started and it is totally inspiring!  Check it out!

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Apple Recipe Roundup

It’s Monday!  Who’s excited?!  Yeah, me neither.  Thought I’d cheer you up with some delicious APPLE recipes from all over the blogosphere.  It’s that time of year….apple cake, apple cider, apple donuts, apple pie….the possibilities are endless!  And so, so delicious.

Enjoy!

Apple Rings by How To: Simplify

 

Hot Spiced Cider by Better Homes and Gardens

Apple Pie Cupcakes by Annie’s Eats

Smooth and Sweet Caramel Apple Dip by Zesty Cook

Caramel Apple Granola Cookies by Healthy Food for Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bed & Breakfast Weekend

Jeremy and I just got back from a short but sweet weekend in a little town called Ironton, Mo.  He surprised me with a belated anniversary trip to a bed and breakfast called The Parlor.  When I went online to do a little research on the activities in and around the town, I found out that the B&B used to be a funeral home and was supposedly haunted! We didn’t see any ghosts or notice anything out of the ordinary while we were there but we did have an absolutely wonderful time and enjoyed our stay IMMENSELY.  The husband and wife that own The Parlor were the nicest people and so accommodating.

There wasn’t much on our agenda (which was nice) other than going to a couple of state parks, eating some good food and relaxing.  Oh and of course enjoying some yummy desserts!  Jeremy also surprised me with a horse-drawn carriage ride Saturday night when we got back to the bed and breakfast.  It was so romantic and a great way to end the weekend.  Here are some fun pictures from our trip!

Outside of our lovely B&B, The Parlor
Flowers that were waiting for me in our room.
At Elephant Rocks state park.
Chocolate covered bacon a vendor was selling at Elephant Rock (for $3 each!!). Random...but good.
Getting cooled off at Johnson's Shut-Ins.
Dinner in Farmington, Mo.
The view from our corner booth at 12 West Bar & Grill. We were a little early (and hungry) which is why it was fairly empty.
An up-close look at those gorgeous chandeliers.
Dessert #1 at 12 West Bar & Grill: Ooey Gooey Butter Cake with Chocolate, Caramel, Sliced Bananas and Whipped Cream. Insane.
Dessert #2 at 12 West Bar & Grill: Triple Chocolate Cake with layers of Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Ganache. Even more insane.
Other than McDonald's, this was the only cafe/restaurant type place in Ironton. Every town has to have a bakery. 🙂
Outside the cafe.

 

A cinnamon roll at Aunt Mary's. It was yummy...warm, cinnamony and soft.
Cream Horn at Aunt Mary's. I had never had one and I LOVED it. Light, flaky pastry filled with the fluffiest buttercream. Really delicious.
Old Village Mercantile in Caledonia, Mo. This was one of a few antique shops we stopped at on the way home. Bonus: They had a coffee/smoothie bar, bakery and candy shop on the first floor.
The first floor of Old Village Mercantile. Lots of candy. And check out the original, beautiful ceiling.
View from the upstairs of Old Village Mercantile. LOVE that ceiling.
Barrels of old-fashioned candy at Old Village Mercantile.
Chocolate candy. Mmmmm.
LOTS of candy!
We stopped at another antique shop in Steelville, Mo and this little ice cream stand was across the street. How convenient. 😉
My choice--Mint Chocolate Chips. It was good. But I liked Jeremy's choice better. Why does that always happen?!
Jeremy's choice--Strawberry Waffle Cone. It was sooooo good!

Hope you enjoyed the peak into our weekend!  Tomorrow I’ll have a yummy end-of-summer recipe to share with you…have a great Sunday evening!

 

 

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Shopping for Sweets

Every now and then I like to wander over to Etsy and see what kind of deliciously evil treats people are coming up with in the Edibles section.  I love the creativity that goes into some of the sweet confections and it’s inspiring to see how many of these people make a living doing what they love.

These were some dark and decadent desserts that were calling my name and I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share them with you all.  Take a couple of minutes and check out these fun shops and most importantly, buy something!

Have a lovely day!

Rocky Road Cookies by cookietown

XXX Rated Dark Chocolate Bliss Brownies by cupcakesinjars

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes by thetinykitchen

Artisan Candy Bars by BeesandBeans

Mayan Dark Chocolat Caramel Bars by haveitconfections

 

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