Tag Archives: caramel

coconut ohmygosh bars

28 Oct

This isn’t really a “new” recipe. In fact, it’s not much of a recipe rather than a last-minute bake-off to use my shredded coconut before it expires – because letting anything expire in your pantry is just so sad. But my oh my, this accidental treat is yummy yummy yummy in my tummy (and a problem for my hips!). These bars are SO sweet and decadent, yet there is something about the combination of caramel and coconut and hazelnuts that is just to die for. The caramel brittle at the bottom just has the right combination of salty crunch and sweet caramel, and the coconut layer is chewy and delicious, and of course you then come aross the bittersweet chocolate layer on top with the added crunch of the toasted nuts. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry because I have no more bars left. You can seriously substitute everything in this recipe and just use my recipe as a guideline, and create your own ohmygosh bars with whatever you have lying around in your pantry. Seriously, all you need is a yummy caramel base, and top it with whatever your heart desires. I simply used my pecan praline caramel cracker recipe and then modified it slightly. Trust me, make double the recipe, keep half for yourself and give the other half away. That way, you’ll seem like the most amazing and generous friend in the world – while eating your own stash secretly in the privacy of your own home. You can have your ohmygosh bars and eat them too ;) Seriously, I have found a new religion in these bars.

stacks and stacks of "ohmygosh, these are amazing" bars

stacks and stacks of "ohmygosh, these are amazing" bars

look at all that gooey chewy coconut filling on top of that crunchy caramel brittle, smothered in chocolate!

look at all that gooey chewy coconut filling on top of that crunchy caramel brittle, smothered in chocolate!

who am I kidding - no one eats these with a fork

who am I kidding - no one eats these with a fork

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 40 salted soda crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 can) condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

How-to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with foil, and then line the base of the foil with parchment paper, cut to fit.
  2. Line the bottom of the baking sheet with crackers, covering all parts.
  3. In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the matzo or crackers. You’ll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut and the condensed milk. You can use more of the condensed milk if you find the coconut mix to be too dry, but I found that 1/2 cup was just enough to bind the coconut together and provide the right amount of sweetness.
  5. Spread the coconut mixture evenly over your caramel-covered crackers.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, making sure that the corners of the caramel or the coconut layer doesn’t get too dark. You want it to be golden.
  7. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle your chocolate chips evenly over the coconut. Return to the oven just for 2 minutes, to soften the chocolate.
  8. Using an off-set spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer. Sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts over top, and feel free to drizzle even more chocolate on top. Since I also had sliced almonds on hand, I sprinkled those on top too. The more, the merrier =)
  9. Enjoy!

xo dessertchick

hazelnut buttercrunch toffee brittle

26 Oct

I have finally settled back into my kitchen after being away from it for over two months. Since I’ve landed back onto Canadian soil, I have made the following: marble cake, key lime pie, lemon cheesecake tart, mini pecan pie, mini carrot cakes, hazelnut shortbread, buttercrunch toffee brittle and coconut bars. Sadly, I wasn’t able to take photos of any of these delightful goodies until I made the buttercrunch toffee because the charger of my beloved SLR is currently on its way in a FedEx package from Vietnam. Yes, the idiot that I am, I forgot the chargers for both my SLR and my point&shoot in Vietnam – although it is because of very mean and bitter and unfair customs officials in Vietnam who were very very very corrupt. But that’s a story for another day.

Let me now introduce you to this super easy yet oh-so-delicious, you-can’t-eat-just-one-or-four-or-five buttercrunch toffee brittle.  I found this recipe on Joy of Baking while I was supposed to be “interning” and being a good reporter, so shhhh, don’t tell anyone, okay? I found hazelnuts on sale the day after Thanksgiving, so I decided to slightly change the recipe by substituting the almonds with the hazelnuts. The layer of toasted hazelnuts at the bottom, followed by the buttercrunch toffee, and the chocolate and hazelnut sprinkles on top…it tastes fantastic! Also, I think this makes a really good gift idea – especially since Christmas is slowly creeping up on us now. Brittle is sold in stores in very pretty cellophane and fancy ribbons for a ridiculous price, and you can make your own (many!!!!) variations at the fraction of the price. Plus, you can then awe your friends with how amazing and talented you are at making these very pretty and yummy goodies.

The brittle is pretty sinful on its own with a nice cold cup of milk, or a hot cup of coffee, but if you’re feeling like living life on the edge, eat the brittle with a homemade sundae or just a couple of scoops of your favourite ice cream. I’ve been eating ice cream like crazy as of late – mostly due to the fact of finding the CUTEST ice cream scoop on the face of the world. So really, the cow tells me to eat ice cream – and I’m not crazy, I promise! Anyhow, enough of my ramblings. Here is what you’re really waiting =)

a plate full of deliciousness

a plate full of deliciousness

crunchy brittle paired with ice cream - scooped with the coolest ice cream scoop ever

crunchy brittle paired with ice cream - scooped with the coolest ice cream scoop ever

crunchy layer of hazelnuts topped with buttercrunch toffee layer, smothered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts

crunchy layer of hazelnuts topped with buttercrunch toffee layer, smothered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts

notice the earring that the Cool Cow Scoop is wearing?

notice the earring that the Cool Cow Scoop is wearing?

okay, at this point, I was just having too much fun =)

okay, at this point, I was just having too much fun =)


Recipe

Tips (from Joy of Baking):

  • do not make the brittle on a humid day
  • use a wooden spoon to stir, since it is easier to clean than a metal spoon
  • have all your ingredients ready to go, especially the baking soda and vanilla
  • the vanilla adds flavour, while the baking soda aids in browning and allows for a lighter texture
  • store in an airtight container to prevent the brittle from softening
  • this recipe makes one pound of brittle (which is barely enough for you to enjoy AND to share with others =P)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups slivered almonds or chopped hazelnuts (or both!)
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place almonds/hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the nuts are cooled, you should now chop them. The recipe calls for a food processor, but I found that it pulverized them too fine. I found it was easier and tastier when you just gave them a rough chop with a knife.
  3. Sprinkle half of the nuts into a 8×10 inch buttered baking sheet. Set aside.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and water
  5. Have the baking soda and vanilla ready to go at this point.
  6. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, avoiding over-stirring, until the mixture reaches 285F on a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage).
  7. Immediately remove the pan from heat, and add the baking soda and vanilla all at once.
  8. Immediately pour the mixture evenly onto your baking sheet over the almonds/hazelnuts.
  9. Sprinkle the chocolate over top. The hot caramel mixture will soften and melt the chocolate. Using an off-set spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the caramel mixture.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and refrigerate until completely cooled.
  11. Once cooled, you can break or cut the brittle into your desired sizes and shapes.
  12. Mangia <3

xo dessertchick

pecan praline caramel crack(er) bars

15 Jun
I am a HUGE fan of Deb from Smitten Kitchen. I love the photography, the food, the desserts, the blog posts, the desserts and the desserts. Have I mentioned I love Smitten Kitchen? When I saw this recipe a while ago, I bookmarked it, gave it a thumbs up, added it to my favourites, emailed myself a copy and the link, and wrote it into my blackberry as a reminder. As you can see, I really really really wanted to make this. And let me tell you – this was the best decision I have ever made in my entire 21 3/4 years that I’ve been alive. Deb from Smitten Kitchen has dubbed them, tongue-in-cheek, as chocolate caramel crack(ers) because these babies truly are addicting. As in, once you try one, you won’t and can’t stop until you have finished every single crumb – or until someone has the courage to try to sneak them out from under your nose.
I didn’t have matzo crackers, so I opted for salted soda crackers, which were fantastic! I adjusted the recipe ever so slightly: I used a bag of pecans that I bought a week ago, and made praline to sprinkle on top of these crack(er) bars, as well as the toasted almonds. Hmm, I don’t know about you, but I love the taste and smell of toasted, crunchy, sugary pecans and the nutty toasted flavour of sliced almonds. Oh, and I drizzled more chocolate on top for good measure. The combination of the chocolate, nuts  and caramel crack(er) bars and you’ve got yourself a winner and a one-way-ticket to heaven. This recipe was ridiculously (and dangerously) easy. Proceed, read on, and make these crack bars, at  your own risk. =)
a whole sheet of insanity

a whole sheet of insanity

how can you go wrong with so much goodness in one bar?

how can you go wrong with so much goodness in one bar?

yumminess comes in all shapes and sizes...

yumminess comes in all shapes and sizes...

...either giant wedges of crack(ers)

...either giant wedges of crack(ers)...

...or neat little squares of crack(ers)....

...or neat little squares of crack(ers)....

...one (or two or three) will never be enough.

...one (or two or three) will never be enough.

So just resign yourself to eating the whole bowl.

So just resign yourself to eating the whole bowl.

And don't tell your friends about them.

And don't tell your friends about them.

That way, you can have your crack(er) bars AND the crumbs all to yourself.

That way, you can have your crack(er) bars AND the crumbs all to yourself.

Recipe

(adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 40 salted soda crackers
  • 1/2 cup  butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds slices
  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar

How-to:

  1. First, let’s make the pecan praline. In a pan, toast the pecans over medium heat while watching and stirring carefully. Once you can smell the pecans toasting (about 5 to 8 minutes) add in the sugar, and mix well. Stir continuously, making sure the sugar melts thoroughly and doesn’t burn. The goal is to caramelize the sugar without turning too dark and bitter. It should turn nice and brown and smell like delicious caramel. Spread onto a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate until you’re ready for it later.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with foil, and then line the base of the foil with parchment paper, cut to fit.
  3. Line the bottom of the baking sheet with crackers, covering all parts.
  4. In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the matzo or crackers. You’ll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.
  5. Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 15 minutes, watching carefully as it will bubble and the corners might darken too quickly and/or burn. You can reduce the heat if you see this happening.
  6. Take your praline out of the fridge and break into small pieces.
  7. Remove your caramel-covered crackers from the oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand five minutes, and then spread them evenly across the caramel. An offset spatula works great here. Now, sprinkle the chocolate with the praline pieces and the toasted almonds. If you want, drizzle more chocolate on top.
  8. Once completely cool (just pop it into the fridge for 20 minutes), break it into pieces and store it in a container.
  9. Test out your willpower by eating only once – and then watch your willpower fail you.

xo dessertchick

terrilyn’s picture perfect pie

30 Apr

This week, it was Terri’s turn to have her dessert request made. She chose caramel, marshmallow and chocolate (as long as it wasn’t dark chocolate). I didn’t want to make a cookie, since I’ve been making plenty of those as of late, and I didn’t want to make tarts, since Caitlin got those already. So, after much deliberation, I came to the decision that she would get a decadent, sweet-til-it-kills-you pie. This is Terri’s Picture Perfect Pie, since I had way too much fun snapping shots of it while cutting and arranging it on a plate. The pie is made with a toffee shortbread crust, filled with melted marshmallows and a gooey caramel filling, and then topped off with a thick and rich chocolate ganache layer. And then, for good measure, broken pieces of (homemade!!) toffee adorned the pie. Yum! Have a look at what Terri will be eating for the next little while!

see how the toffee shortbread crust can barely contain the caramel?

see how the toffee shortbread crust can barely contain the caramel?

ready for a slice of caramel infused heaven?

ready for a slice of caramel infused heaven?

if this is what heaven looked like, there'd be no crime

if this is what heaven looked like, there'd be no crime

getting ready for lift-off

getting ready for lift-off

between the marshmallows and the caramel oozing out...

between the marshmallows oozing out...

...and the caramel following suit...

...and the caramel following suit...

...and the thick layer of chocolate ganache - I don't know which part is my favourite...

...and the thick layer of chocolate ganache - I don't know which part is my favourite...

...good thing I don't have to choose! I'll just have the whole damn pie =)

...good thing I don't have to choose! I'll just have the whole damn pie =)

Recipe

Toffee Shortbread Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup toffee crumbs (recipe found here, and you just give it a whiz in the food processor until they look like graham cracker crumbs)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the sugar and butter until well combined.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until completely smooth.
  4. Add the flour, toffee and salt, and mix until just combined.
  5. Pat the dough into a fluted 8 or 9 inch pie pan.  Bake the crust at 15 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.

Marshmallow Layer:

  • 1  cup of mini marshmallows OR 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  1. When the pie crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle with mini marshmallows and return to the oven for 4 minutes until they melt. Using a spoon, just spread the mixture around, and set aside.
  2. If using the marshmallow fluff, there is no need to return to oven. Simply spread it onto the base after the crust has cooled, and set aside.

Caramel Filling (adapted from In The Night Kitchen):

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Stir sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat and boil until syrup is amber color, brushing down sides with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add cream, butter, vanilla and salt (mixture will bubble up).
  4. Return pan to very low heat; stir until caramel is smooth and color deepens, about 5 minutes.
  5. Refrigerate uncovered until cold but not firm, about 20 minutes.
  6. Once cooled, spoon over the marshmallow layer, and spread out smoothly. Set aside.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2  cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Melt the heavy cream and chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals.
  2. Mix until smooth and totally dissolved.
  3. Spoon over the caramel layer.
  4. Sprinkle with chunks of homemade toffee.
  5. Refigerate for at least an hour, and keep in fridge until serving it.
  6. Make sure not to wear white clothes while eating this – and remember: share!

xo dessertchick

have a caramel soaked cuppa cake

19 Mar

I have been torturing myself by looking at all the glossy, delicious pictures of the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book that Savo gave me for Christmas. Finally, I caved and decided to bake even though Tasha’s birthday isn’t until next week – which was when I had initially allowed myself to bake again.

After some foodie soul searching, I decided I wanted to make cupcakes because a) they are delicious, b) they are perfect portions, c) they can be so pretty, d) I just bought cupcake liners and e) I could give them away really easily. I wanted chocolate and caramel, that was for certain, but didn’t feel in the mood for caramel filled cupcakes. Instead, here are caramel soaked cupcakes. The only difference was that the caramel sauce wasn’t too thick so that once filled, the cupcake would just absorb all that sugary goodness and be very very moist and caramelly without being gooey. I left “gooey” to the vanilla buttermilk frosting.

I discovered that I have a ton of sprinkles, and have been adding more and more to my collection without realizing just how many different kinds I already have. I’m on a neverending search for kitchen cuteness – one of my many vices.

The recipe may seem very complicated and involve a lot of steps, but I think it took me only just over an hour to make everything, including the caramel sauce, the cupcakes, the butter cream and the baking & decorating time. Anyhow, let me present you my caramel soaked cupcakes!

sprinkles, sprinkles...

sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles everywhere! seriously, everywhere!

mini cupcake sea

sea of deliciousness

cupcakes = happiness

cupcakes = happiness

one giant & two minis

one giant & two minis

the bottom of the cake is darker because it's soaked in caramel!the bottom of the cake is darker because it’s soaked in caramel!

no sprinkles no' mo'

no sprinkles no' mo'

Recipe

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

How-to:

  1. Combine butter, cream, brown sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken.  Meanwhile, make the cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

How-to:

  1. Line muffin or mini muffin pans with liners. If you’re using pretty ones, make sure to use two liners per cup (a colourful one and a plain white one on the inside) so that the liners stay pretty and don’t become translucent after baking.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high until fluffy and light in colour. Next, on medium high, beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add in the flour mix, alternating with the buttermilk, making 2 additions of flour mix and one addition of milk. Mix util just combined, and don’t over mix or else the cupcakes will turn out tough.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling only 2/3 the way. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, depending on the oven. You want the cakes to be firm to the touch or have a cake tester come out clean in the middle.
  7. Let cool while making the vanilla butter cream frosting.

Vanilla Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp water

How-to:

  1. Beat together butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Once well combined, add vanilla and water. Continue beating until smooth.
  3. Set aside and go back to prepping the cupcakes.

Final Assembly:

  1. Take each cupcake and carve out a hole in each top, making sure to keep each cupcake with its corresponding top piece.
  2. Squeeze the caramel sauce from a bottle, or spoon the sauce into each center of the cakes, making sure to be generous because the cakes will just soak the caramel sauce right up.
  3. Replace each top to its rightful owner.
  4. Outfit pastry bag with proper nozzle (I used a huge star tip) and fill with frosting. Decorate each cupcake with frosting, and if you want something more fun, sprinkle sprinkles on top!
  5. Nosh away!

xo dessertchick

KnockOut knock-off girl scout cookie bars

24 Feb

Since my oven is still on the fritz, I decided to be as productive as ever today: hanging out with Opie & her Boy usually is one of my favourite things to do, but we don’t really get much done while lounging around. Yet, I managed to finagle them into baking cookies with mer. Correction: her Boy baked with me, while Opie was a true trooper and went on a journey to find us lots and lots of creamy caramel candies!

I found this recipe online at Baking Bites, and it made my mouth water. What could possibly top a shortbread-like crust, topped off with caramel and coconut goodness? This recipe was super easy, especially since it made bars instead of cookies, which eliminated the process of rolling and cutting out round cookies.

After some deliberation, the only change I made to the recipe was to add toasted sliced almonds because I absolutely looove toasted almonds.  Her Boy, however, decided it wasn’t caramel-y enough for him, so we added more on top – something that makes these bars very over-the-top and decadent , and should only be done for those who have a SERIOUS sweet tooth.

Mhhhmmmmm.

So without further ado, I present to our KnockOut knock-off girl scout cookie bars!

a tower of delight

a tower of delight

the cookie bar can barely contain itself with all that caramel

the cookie bar can barely contain itself with all that caramel

shortbread crust? check. coconut caramel mixture? check. toasted almonds? check. chocolate drizzle? definitely checked!

shortbread crust? check. coconut caramel mixture? check. toasted almonds? check. chocolate drizzle? definitely checked!

Recipe

Adapted from Baking Bites

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping
  5. While the crust is baking, you can now toast the coconut. You can either do that in the oven, alongside with the crust, or you can dry toast it in a pan on the stove on medium high heat.  Just make sure you are continuously stirring it while it is toasting, since they burn quite easily! Once done, remove immediately from the heat and pour coconut into a bowl.
  6. Repeat the same toasting process with the sliced almonds, and put them into a smaller separate bowl.
  7. Next, unwrap the caramel candies. Place them into a microwave safe bowl, add the milk and the salt. Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, always making sure to stir and mix the melting caramel with the milk. This will make sure that it won’t burn and that it will be velvety smooth.
  8. Pour melted caramel into the bowl with the coconut and mix well.
  9. Now, pour the caramel coconut mixture onto the crust and spread it out well. It’s very sticky, even if you’re using a spatula. I find that using a sheet of wax or parchment paper works very well. Just place it on top of the mix and use your hands to smooth it out.
  10. Next, put the chocolate into another microwave safe bowl, and melt it. Pour the mix into a ziploc bag, snip off the tip, and drizzle chocolate onto the topping. Sprinkle the almonds on top and finish off with a final drizzle of chocolate.
  11. And if you’re crazy like Opie’s Boy, drizzle more caramel on top
  12. Let everything cool down before cutting them into bars, and then prepare to enter a sugar high!

xo dessertchick

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