Tag Archives: caramel

Woah. Time Flies.

My goodness how time has flown by without a post! But don’t you worry…I have been baking, and I have been taking pictures, so I do have quite a bit to share with you! In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek to…shall we say…get your mouth-watering?! Get ready, ’cause your mouth is going to water (well, I am perhaps a bit biased, having tasted all of these creations and all!).

YES! I made macarons (first time!)!

 

German Chocolate Cake...need I say more?!

 

Now force that jaw up and keep the mouth-watering to a minimum until I can get back here with the recipes and more details!

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Pumpkin Cookies with Salted Penuche (Caramel!) Frosting

I’m baaaaack (for an explanation on my absence, hop on over here!)!!! I can’t tell you how great it feels to be baking again! To be honest, I had planned to start my mini baking extravaganza tomorrow, but today saw a recipe I just had to try. So, naturally (as I’m sure many of you can relate to), I got right to whipping these up!

Penuche. Doesn’t it sound fancy! Don’t let it intimidate you though! But what exactly is a penuche? Well, it’s a type of caramel made with brown sugar and butter (and if you just saw the word “caramel” and freaked out a bit again…trust me…it’s not too tricky!). As I’ve told you many times before, and I’m sure you’ve gathered, I love salted caramel items. When I saw this frosting was a caramel flavor, I immediately realized that a sprinkling of sea salt on top would be just perfect…and what do you know? It was!

Take a look at the pictures. First up…fresh out of the oven!

Then, make some penuche!

Mmm, mmm, mmm! It’s addicting! Now, frost the cookies.

And you know these cookies would be delicious as is, but why not make them even more yummy? Add a sprinkling of sea salt!

Notes:

The Process: These were quick to whip up. The only issue one might have is with the penuche. As long as you watch the sugar and butter very carefully as to make sure it doesn’t burn, it should come out perfectly!

The Verdict: Mmmmmmmmmm. I love the traditional combo of pumpkin and cream cheese, but I’d never really had this flavor profile of pumpkin and caramel. Let me just say that this recipe will definitely be a keeper! Absolutely delicious! Madison adored them, and was puzzled as to why I didn’t make a bigger batch! Lesson to be learned: Make them, but make a lot!

Pumpkin Cookies with Salted Penuche (Caramel!) Frosting

Adapted from Daily Crave

Makes about 48 small cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Extra sea salt for sprinkling

Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease cookie sheets. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.  

In a separate bowl, cream together shortening, brown and white sugars.  Mix in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry flour mixture and combine.

Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10-14 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Frosting:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then stir for about 1 minute while it thickens. Be careful not to let it burn at any point! Cool slightly, then stir in the milk little by little, and beat until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until frosting has reached desired consistency. Spread on cookies. Sprinkle a small dash of sea salt atop each cookie. Enjoy!

*Note: You can make bars instead of the cookies. To do so, pour the batter into a 9-inch-by-13-inch greased pan and bake for around 25-35 minutes.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake

As you can tell, I’ve switched my layout! I finally did so because I was hearing it was hard to know how to comment…and that wasn’t good! So, I sincerely hope you’ll start/continue to comment! And please keep in mind that as of now, I’m not totally satisfied with the look…I’ll be revising! On to today’s post…

I told you yesterday that yesterday was my birthday! Today I’m going to share my birthday cake with you! As I said, I didn’t make it, which unfortunately means no details on the process of making it or even a recipe (but, if you google the cake, I’m sure you could find a similar recipe!). Man, this cake was gooood! It was so dense, rich, and moist. As I said yesterday, I’m not a huge fan of frosting, except for cream cheese frosting. This was a cream cheese based frosting!

I had a great birthday yesterday and this cake was the perfect way to end it! A special thanks to Madison for making the cake!

Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

I don’t know about you, but how can you not love salted caramel? I just go mmmmm thinking about it! When I spotted this recipe, I knew it was something I had to try immediately.

Yum.

Unfortunately, I only have these two pictures. Yep, you heard me right. Looking back, it was quite irresponsible of me to only capture this amount. But really, maybe not. I mean, hopefully these pictures will have convinced you already that you need to make these. Because, of course, you do!!!

The Details…

The Process: Admittedly, these are probably the most complex recipe I’ve posted yet. Even then, they’re not suuuper tricky. The cupcakes themselves are quick and easy to whip up…no butter in them means you don’t have to plan for letting butter come to room temperature (no butter??? yes, i can hear you shouting that! have no fear though, there’s plenty in the recipe still!). The caramel filling…oh my, now this is where you might have issues. I’m thinking I might have a terribly off candy thermometer, or maybe the recipe was just flawed, but the first batch was not good. It tasted burnt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough ingredients to make a whole new batch…half a batch, yes though. Paying no attention to the thermometer, my half batch came out wonderfully. Oh, it was divine! The amount was absolutely perfect too. The frosting is also quite easy to whip up. I had gotten ingredients to make a full batch, but realized that it seemed like far too much (4.5 sticks of butter!?). Half a batch was the perfect amount.

The Verdict: YUUUM! I, shocking as it may be, am not a true chocolate fan. I have grown to love it more over the years, but still am not a crazy fan. However, these…these were good. Really good. Only thing I’m not completely pleased with is how the caramel hardened up…it tastes great, but I would have liked a more ooey-gooey texture from it. Oh well. Still great! Rob devoured his in about four bites. Let’s just say he liked it. Madison quite liked them, but noted next time she would prefer a little less sea salt sprinkled on the frosting. I admit I maybe went a bit overboard, but I personally liked the more hefty sprinkling.

Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

Adapted from Bake or Break

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.

Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full. Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire racks to let cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling*

1 ¼ cups sugar

1/3 cup water

½ tablespoon light corn syrup

3/8 cup heavy cream

1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt

Use a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1/2-inch deep, from the center of each cupcake.

Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Stir occasionally until syrup is clear. Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized.  (Note: Original recipe says to use candy thermometer and cook until mixture just reaches 360°…this resulted in burned caramel for me. It could have been that my thermometer is broken though, so just use caution if you choose to follow according to temperature.)

Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Immediately, spoon 1-2 teaspoons of warm filling into each cupcake. If caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

Dark Chocolate Frosting*

¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon boiling water

1 1/8 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

3/8 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ pound semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir until cocoa has dissolved or at least a paste has been created.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture (note, this will liquefy the frosting considerably, but it should still be spreadable…if not, place in fridge).

Using a pastry bag or simply a knife, frost the cupcakes. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.

Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted, but you may store in a refrigerated airtight container.

*You may double the recipe, but the amounts shown should be plenty.

GO! Make these! It’s a great wow dessert for company, but hey, realistically, they’re going to please anyone. That means even if they’re just for you, they’re worth making!

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

As promised, here’s today’s second post! Now let me start off by saying this: Don’t let the title fool you. I did not bake some bland old cookie that nobody would ever want. Trust me on this one. Shall I show you proof?

Vanilla bean? Check. Batter made. Check. Eaten more than you should have of the dough? MAJOR check! Roll and freeze dough. Check.

Cut chilled dough. Place onto cookie sheets and bake for 8 minutes (well, honestly, 5 minutes in my convection oven). Check!

Take out of oven. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire rack. Let cool a bit more. Check, check, check, and check!

Take a bite. It’s necessary work to taste test as soon as possible!!! CHECK! (The verdict? Yummy!).

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But you know I couldn’t leave it at that!

Make a caramel sauce. Mmmm. Check.

Drizzle about 1/4 of the cookies with caramel. Check.

What about the other 3/4 of the cookies? You’ll see!

Chop chocolate. Add a dash of vegetable oil. Melt chocolate. Check!

Drizzle about another 1/4 (of original amount) of the cookies with chocolate. Check.

Not done yet!

Drizzle about another 1/4 (of original amount) of cookies with chocolate. Then drizzle with caramel. Check!

Leave rest of cookies in their wonderful simplicity! Check!

The end result? A variety of yummy cookies including chocolate drizzle, caramel drizzle, chocolate and caramel drizzle, and simply plain!

The details:

The Process: The cookies themselves are quite easy to make. Technically, you don’t have to chill the dough…you could just scoop it. But in my opinion, chilling and slicing was a nice option for this type of cookie. And you could stop after the cookies come out of the oven and enjoy them as is. Or you could be like me and experiment a bit. The caramel sauce I made for these is not the same I used here. Instead, this recipe is a little more foolproof…a bit harder to mess up (and I should mention it tastes positively delicious!). The chocolate sauce? Simple as melting some chocolate. No, seriously…it’s that simple (well, you add a  touch of vegetable oil if microwaving, but still!).

Notes on Ingredients Used: Perhaps you’re looking at the ingredient list and saying, “Vanilla bean?! Where on earth am I supposed to find one!!!?” Or, maybe it’s more like this, “Vanilla bean? Are you crazy?!! They’re so expensive!” Well, I can answer both questions! I buy my vanilla beans from a store specializing in spices. You could also find them online. Just search around! Secondly, yes, vanilla beans can be expensive. But, if you buy in bulk (like I do), you’ll save a lot of money. Really. You will. And, yes, you could just omit the vanilla bean…but that wouldn’t be any fun! The vanilla bean truly adds a great touch. For the chocolate topping, I used semi-sweet chocolate, because it’s what I happened to have on hand. I’m sure you could also use a dark or milk chocolate, and it would turn out beautifully as well. It comes down to personal taste.

The Verdict: Well, honestly, I’m the only one to have tried these so far. I promise I’ll update this post as soon as I get other opinions. I’m going to bite the bullet though and say this is a keeper recipe. It’s one you can really play around with, as I did, to customize to your liking. You can also simply enjoy the cookie without any extra toppings…they’re good like this too! And did I mention how good the dough is?! It’s super, super good! UPDATE: Rob tried the caramel drizzle cookie, and said it was very good. He loves caramel, so I’m not surprsied!

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies 
Adapted from Sugarlaws

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if scooping dough). In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and seeds from vanilla bean (note the first few pictures…scrape the “goodness”* out of the bean and then simply put that on the beaters…this way all of your “goodness” gets into the dough).

Sift together the baking powder and flour, and add to the wet ingredients. Choose one of following methods.

Scoop and bake: Shape cookies into balls and place on a greased cooking sheet, flattening slightly with your palm. Bake for 8 minutes (don’t overbake!), allow to cool in the baking sheet for 1 minute, and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chill, slice, and bake (recommended option): Form dough into logs on waxed paper, with a diameter of about 1 inch** Chill in freezer for about 1 hour, or until nicely firm. Preheat oven to 400 degress. Cut pieces about 1/2 thick. Lay on greased cooking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes (don’t overbake!), allow to cool in the baking sheet for 1 minute, and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Eat as is, or make any number of the following toppings. Feel free to add your own touch as well.

Makes about 75 small cookies.

*Don’t you love my technical terminology?!

**diameter can be whatever you want…cooking times may vary

Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Set over heat and bring to gentle simmmer for about 3-4 minutes, until slightly thickened. Drizzle over cookies using spoon. Note that this recipe can be used for topping other desserts as well.

Chocolate Drizzle

3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate of your choice)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, if microwaving (see melting choices)

Chop chocolate. Choose one of following options.

Mircrowave: Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Add vegetable oil. Melt in microwave, watching carefully to not burn chocolate at all. (Mircowave times vary, so it is best to carefully watch on your own…start with about 20-30 seconds and go from there. Remember you can always heat for a longer amount of time, but once the chocolate burns, it cannot be reversed!).

Double Boiler: Put chocolate in double boiler. Heat until melted. Do not burn chocolate.

Drizzle over cookies using spoon. Note that this recipe can also be used to top other desserts.

Note: You can make the chocolate and caramel topped cookies I also made by making both the caramel sauce and chocolate drizzle. Then, drizzle chocolate over cookies. Next, drizzle caramel over cookies. Try to do about equal amounts with possibly a bit more caramel. Again, it’s all about personal taste.

My final advice?: Yum! I’d make ’em again! If you have a picky eater, the cookies on their own are sure to please!