September 23, 2016

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I realize it's been way too long since I've posted a recipe on here, but life's been busy with back-to-school for the first time, so I guess really to-school. Anyways, I think this is a new record for me that I found this recipe in the morning and baked it in the afternoon. I needed a treat for this weekend, and this looked simple and delicious.

These bars from Brown Eyed Baker come together quickly, and I used the caramel bites I had on hand and a splash of milk because I wasn't running to the store. Simple and delicious. My only regret was sticking nearly the whole batch in the freezer, so we wouldn't eat them all before this weekend ... I think last night after the kiddos went to bed my husband and I wanted to eat about 3 ... each ...

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
 2 cups chocolate chips
10 oz. caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
Fleur de sel (or other sea salt), for sprinkling over caramel and bars

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 9-inch pan with foil, and grease. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes.

Press half the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about ½ inch around the border. (If you forget to leave this space, you'll be pulling foil that's stuck to caramel after they're baked.) Sprinkle the caramel with sea salt. Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel, and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. (I actually squished my dough into flat pieces to make the covering easier.) Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into squares, and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator if your caramel is too gooey. Makes 16 bars.

September 22, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes

So the title on these is a bit misleading since they really aren't cupcakes. They're brownies baked in cupcake wrappers, filled with a peanut butter cheesecake center and topped with peanut butter and chocolate frosting. I'm guessing you're probably OK with me misleading you in this direction.

My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me after seeing it on Facebook, and I traced it back to Gretchen's Bakery. My favorite part is that I have frosting left because that was my favorite part of this treat, but then again, I'm a sucker for frosting.

Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes
Brownie Cupcake
6 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour 
Peanut Butter Filling
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk 
Peanut Butter Frosting
Chocolate Frosting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine butter and chocolate together, and melt together, stirring often (either in microwave or on stove). In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together well. Add melted mixture, and whisk to incorporate. Stir in flour just until mixed. Portion batter into 15 prepared cupcake liners.

Make the peanut butter filling by beating the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and mix until incorporated. Add the peanut butter, and mix well. Add the egg and then the milk. Drop spoons of the mixture into each cupcake, pushing slightly so it goes into the batter.

Bake for 25 minutes or until brownies reach desired texture. Cool completely before frosting. I made a standard peanut butter buttercream frosting and used a chocolate frosting from Brown Eyed Baker. I filled a pastry bag with both to swirl my delicious frosting on top of the cupcakes. Be sure to make only a half batch of each frosting, unless you double the cupcake recipe. Makes 15 cupcakes.