Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Blondies

Most of you expected macarons when I posted that salted caramel macarons. SURPRISE! I actually didn’t use the salted caramel for the macarons. Not right away at least.

Some of you might remember my peanut butter blondies, this is kind of similar to that. For those of you wondering: blondies are brownies, just without the chocolate. Now before you go on freaking out about why I haven’t posted a single brownie recipe, just wait. It’s coming.

When I first started making the recipe I was curious to see how they manipulated the chocolate chip cookie recipe, in comparison to my quick chocolate chip cookies. As I started adding the sugar, and the eggs, and the egg yolks, I realized that the recipe was exactly the same as mine. With the addition of two tablespoons of flour.

So I proceeded, expecting my chewy chocolate chip cookies. Little did I know, the addition of the salted caramel sauce made things very interesting. The multidimensional flavors of the caramel contributes to the sweet flavors of the chocolate chip cookie dough. The salt finishes the picture. I added another small pinch of salt. Yes, I’m hooked to salty sweet flavors now.

When I made the recipe, I doubled everything and baked it in an 13 by 9 baking pan. I was kind of afraid that the cookies wouldn’t cook all the way through. They didn’t. That didn’t compromise the blondies though! The blondies, like my chocolate chip cookies need some time to set when they first come out of the oven. If you like your cookies cooked all te way through, I’d recommend not doubling the recipe and baking it in a 8 by 8 square pan.

Each person I served ended up with 1.5 inch squares. Coming from someone who’s eaten a quart of ice cream in one sitting: these blondies are extremely rich. I love them. But eating too much is bad–don’t do it. Maybe just two squares… or three if you’re having a bad day. And if you are having a bad day, serve this warm with a spoon, and a giant bowl of ice cream. I even left some space on my plate… waiting for its creamy smooth companion.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars

Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley

Ingredients

  • 2/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Recipe of Salted Caramel Sauce
  • fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam for Baking, or spray with pam and dust with flour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until just combined. Add in the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until the mixture is just under-combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spread half of the dough out in the bottom of the baking pan. Spread the caramel sauce over the cookie dough and drop the remaining dough in clumps over the caramel – the dough will bake together, so don’t worry if the dough doesn’t cover the entire pan.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the bars when tested for doneness. They may seem a little raw, they’ll continue to cook as they cool down. As soon as the bars come out of the oven, sprinkle the top with fleur de sel. Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing the bars in the foil from the pan. Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing.
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Photo Guide: Salted Caramel Sauce, Version I

I usually hate contrasting flavors. I mean seriously. Just why would you do that. I don’t mind it when basil and oregano are used to compliment tomato sauce and when horseradish is used to compliment roast beef but I can’t handle strong contrasting flavors

But of course my friends would decide to bring me salted caramel cupcakes from Sprinkles half way through freshman year. I didn’t like the sound of it. Salted. Caramel. But I didn’t want to seem weird, the girls were all raving about the thing, I couldn’t turn it down. Eager to fit in, I took a bite and I’ve been in love ever since.


Ok so maybe I didn’t fall in love with it; this isn’t a Romance Comedy with a twisted plot. But, I did have a better appreciation for sweet and salty things. I’ve been experimenting with salted coffee, salted chocolate and other salted sweets. I’m taking baby steps.



I call this a version 1 recipe because there are so many different ways of making caramel sauce, each with different results. It originated when I tried making salted caramel popcorn macarons from Annie’s Eats. The macarons didn’t necessarily end well – that was my fault. In the near future I’ll be testing other caramel sauces, I’ll report my results back soon, maybe in a cupcake?

You want to stop burning the sugar when it reaches the top right, not the bottom right.

Usually when you make candy, you need a thermometer to check the temperature. I’ve been able to reproduce consistent results without the use of a thermometer. I even messed up the recipe purposely by burning the sugar pass golden. Nothing bad happens, I ended up with a bowl of delicious caramel candy. It was a nice treat while I was baking.

don’t let it get this dark….

I personally recommend doubling this recipe if you’re making it – I have a few recipes that utilize this caramel sauce coming your way soon!

Salted Caramel Sauce I

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the sugar begins to melt and turn golden at the edges.  Continue cooking, swirling the pan to cover evenly, until the sugar turns golden amber.
  2. Standing back, carefully pour the cream down the side of the pan in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly until combined.  If there are pieces of sugar, cook on low heat until smooth. Stir in the sea salt.  Transfer the caramel to a bowl and let cool.  It will thicken as it cools.

 

Cake Batter Flavored Truffles

I love cake batter. Check that. I don’t think there exists and adjective that could describe towards how much I love cake batter. Its sweet, buttery, almost floral in its own way. If it wasn’t for the amount of sugar and calories I’d be consuming, I’d probably prepare some yellow cake mix and eat it like pudding.

Yellow cake offers a rich buttery taste that is addicting in its own artificial way. When I first came across this recipe for cake batter flavored truffles, I thought I must have been in heaven! My initial worries revolved around the similarity between this and a cake pop. But fear not, these truffles were pretty truffle like to me.

I served these as an ending to a italian dinner, as an accompaniment to my Dark Knight Rises Primeir night that I hosted. They were a hit. I hid a few of these babies away in my fridge for my amazing coworkers the next day – they loved it.

The original recipe called for rainbow sprinkles. I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted for non-perils. Don’t make the same mistake I did. The crunchy bears are normally pretty but not many people appreciated the crunch it added. These truffles are very sweet so make sure to keep them small! Or reduce some sugar if you’d like!

I personally don’t believe in chocolate coating. Its too waxy. I like to use baker’s chocolate and add shortening which smoothens out the melted chocolate. This helps the chocolate coat more evenly. When it stiffens up, I just zap it for 10 more seconds in the microwave and it smoothens out again.

I loved how the recipe was bake free, it helped keep my oven open when I used it to proof my bread dough. Aside from the easy procedure, the flavor was delicious. I’ve always been obsessed with cake batter. I think this is a good start for my cake batter frenzy… there will be more to come!

Cake Batter Flavored Truffles

Ingredients

For the truffles:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Truffle Coating:

  • 16 ounces (8 squares) white chocolate chips, alternatively
  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  • sprinkles (optional)

Directions

  1. Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.
  2. Chill balls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up. While dough balls are chilling, melt 3/4 of the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, add in shortening and stir until melted. Add in the remaining chocolate chips and stir until melted. If needed, melt for an additional 10 seconds in the microwave.
  3. Using two spoons, dip truffles into melted chocolate  Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining balls until finished.
  4. Chill cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving.

Soft, Chewy, Oatmeal cookies

Sometimes, I feel guilty for what I do. I bake, try out recipes, use my friends as guinea pigs, and force feed whats left of my food. My friends joke to my philosophy of dieting – making other people fatter, one person at a time. And so every once in a while, I make these cookies to make everyone feel better about themselves.

I start by gathering everything that I use on a daily basis, things like butter and sugar. Then I took some time to find the oatmeal. After all my ingredients, I started creaming the butter and sugar together. At that point, I started feeling better for my diet.

Jokes aside, this recipe makes an oatmeal cookie that is not only soft and chewy but irresistibly buttery with an ever so light dash of cinnamon circling your taste buds. Don’t go for a second thinking these cookies are healthy because they have oatmeal in them, the butter makes up for it!

And sorry friends, looks like my diet is still going pretty well! For those of you wondering, no raisins were involved in the production of these cookies. One of my best friends may or may not be able to win the pickiest eater in the Guinness World Records. Aside from an unusual distaste for raisins, the only way I can ever get him to eat oatmeal is in these cookies! Feel free to stir some in towards the end of the recipe if you feel inclined to do so. I loved these just the way they were!

One word of advice, drop these cookies further apart than you would imagine. As you can see, my cookies kind of stuck together…but I kind of liked the look!

Soft Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Originally from Allrecipes.com, with notes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter on medium high. Stir in the sugar in using the lowest speed possible then cream together on medium high.
  3. Add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. When everything is combined, add in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until mixed together. Add the oats and mix together.
  4. Drop 2 Tbsps of batter 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown and the cookies are still soft. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to wired rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Blondie Bars

I think I’m starting to make a habit of being unprepared. I constantly plan dinners, get togethers, outings, and never think plans through. Yesterday night I wanted to try out a mushroom lasagna recipe. About 2 hours before I started cooking, my good friend Jerry kindly reminded me that I had no dessert planned. Me. No dessert.

I was devastated. Not because I had to put a dessert together, but because I actually managed to forget dessert.

After spending a good 20 seconds making myself feel bad, I quickly scrolled through my to-make list and stumbled upon this.

The peanut butter blondie bars were simple and I happened to have everything I needed. Since I was on a time crunch, I quickly pulled together all my ingredients. I started the recipe like I do with my chocolate chip cookies, whipping the cold butter with my paddle attachment. I started worrying when the butter didn’t emulsify but  everything worked out when I added in the sugar.

The resulting batter was something similar to a chocolate chip cookie dough. As I watched the batter pour into the pan, I knew that in 30 minutes, something delicious was going to emerge from the oven. 30 minutes later, I was in heaven. Almost like a reverse Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, the moist dense blondie bar captivated the crowd. This one is definitely a keeper!

Peanut Butter Blondie Bars

Originally from The Sweet Talker
Notes: I doubled the recipe, reflected below, to bake it in a 13 by 9 pan. If you prefer to make the 9 by 9 like the original recipe, halve everything or check out the Sweet Talker!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ). Line a 13 by 9 pan with greased and floured foil.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy and incorporate peanut butter.
  3. Gradually blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix until fluffy.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the edges are golden brown. It may seem a bit soft but it’ll finish up as it cools down.
  7. Cool, and cut into squares

Lemon Scones

I never really understood the point of a scone. In many ways scones are like the sweet counterpart to biscuits or Irish soda bread. When a reader first requested scones, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I was willing to make “sweet biscuits”, especially since I was never really fond of them.

I can honestly say that these lemon scones changed everything. Scones are made by combining the fats with the dry ingredients and then bringing everything together using a liquid. The little bits of butter create flaky tender crumbs that lasts till the last bite. Imagine that with the enticing aroma of freshly grated lemon zest. This recipe produces scones that aren’t overly sweet, which made a lot of my friends happy. I wouldn’t have minded dunking these in some lemon flavored glaze.

Although I’m sure that these scones aren’t the best recipe out there, they were definitely a tasty treat. These scones have inspired me to make more scones in the future, and yes fellow readers, that means more scones to come!

Lemon Scones

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and then cut into small cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. I prefer to rub the butter in gently using my fingertips.
  5. Add buttermilk and lemon juice, and lemon zest, stirring just until mixed.
  6. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently six times. Shape into a ball.
  7. On a greased baking sheet, pat dough into a circle about 1/2 in thick and 8-1/2 in. in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut wedges in the dough, being careful not to cut all the way through. Sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Photo Guide: 30 minute chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies, start to finish, 30 minutes. It was about a year ago when I first posted the chocolate chip cookies that my friends talk about. Big, fat, chewy, chocolate chip cookies is what they’re called in Allrecipes.com. But of course, the ingredients are only a sliver of a recipe–the execution makes up the majority.

Over 4 years after my initial discovery of these cookies, I’ve come up with a method that lets me use these cookies as a “fallback” for almost any given situation. The techniques used in this photo guide might be slightly controversial in terms of what is “taught” or what is “standard baking”.  Throughout the years however, I’ve grown to learn that specifically for this recipe, everything I’ve done has worked… time after time.

Start by preheating your oven to 325 F. In bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter straight from the fridge. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low to break the butter up and then medium until it is smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and cream together. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add in the baking soda, baking powder and salt at this time too.

Here’s the second secret to speeding things up. Lower the bowl of the stand mixer and add the flour. Start the stand mixer on the lowest speed possible and slowly raise the bowl up. You’ll have to take your time doing this but using the stand mixer increases the efficiency of this process while preventing a flour cloud.

When the dough is almost mixed in but you can still see the flour, stop the mixer, lower the bowl and add in the chocolate. Repeat the process with the flour – start the stand mixer and raise the bowl slowly. You might feel a bit resistance but don’t worry its completely normal! When the chocolate chips are mixed in the flour should be perfectly mixed in as well.

Start making approximately 1/4 cup balls of dough on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

I tried fitting in 16 but they started touching, if you have smaller baking sheets I’d fit 12 on a sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 17 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. When these cookies first come out of the oven, the middle will be soft! Don’t worry because they continue to cook as they cool down – this is the secret to super soft cookies. If you let them cook until they are done while they are still in the oven, they will over cook as they cool down. Transfer to a wired wrack to cook. Store the cookies in a plastic bag with a slice of bread to keep them moist!

It’s been years that I’ve been baking and cooking. From jello mix to French Macarons, these cookies have followed me every step of the way; they are considered one of my few prized collections. If you get a chance I highly encourage you to try them out sometime!

Link to the original post with the recipe: https://boomieskitchen.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/chocolate-chip-cookies/

Pierre Hermé’s Lemon Macaron

After making what was the best lemon dessert I’ve ever had, I didn’t want to just settle with a boring old tart.  I wanted to make macarons. Remember when I was trying to find the ultimate macaron recipe? Well I can’t say that I’ve found the recipe yet, but I can say that Pierre Hermé’s recipe comes pretty close. I didn’t come across Pierre Herme’s Lemon macaron when I was first making the comparison recipe. If I had made these macarons, I think my decision-making skills would have been severely impaired.

Here’s a secret to Pierre Hermé’s macarons: the shells aren’t flavored. After years of “research”, Pierre believes that the easiest way to infuse flavor into a macaron is by letting the entire cookie age and letting the flavor take over the shell. I don’t think he’s wrong – it’s worked for me so far.

Like his other macaron recipes, this utilizes an italian merengue. In fact, other than the food coloring, these macarons are indistinguishable from the pistachio macarons (as far as the shell is concerned). The filling is essentially the lemon cream, thickened with some extra almond flour. After aging in the fridge for 24 hours, these macarons seemed to be heaven sent.

As you can see from the pictures, I used the Trader Joe’s almond flour. If you’re interested in the difference compared to the typical Bob’s Red Mill almond flour I use, check out my recent post here. My friend/co-worker Melissa (shout out!!!)  mentioned that she would have preferred not seeing the brown specks throughout the cookie. As a designer and crafter that I regard highly, I can’t say I disagree.

Pierre Herme’s Lemon Macaron

Ingredients

Macaron Shells:

  • 300g Ground almonds
  • 300g Icing sugar
  • 110g Aged egg whites
  • yellow food coloring
  •  300g Granulated sugar
  • 75g Mineral water
  • 110g Aged egg whites

Lemon Filling:

Method

Macaron Shell

Pulse the the icing sugar and ground almonds and sift twice. Stir the coloring into the first portion of the egg whites. Pour them over the mixture of icing sugar and ground almonds but do not stir.

Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C (244F). Start whisking on low when the water boils. When the syrup reaches 115C (239F), simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.

When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50C. Fold meringue into the almond-sugar mixture. Spoon the batter into a piping bag and pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment.

Rap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells.

Preheat the fan oven to 180C (356F), then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes, quickly opening and shutting the oven door twice during cooking time. After 12 minutes, remove the macarons and slide the shells on to the work surface.

Filling

Fold almond flour into the lemon cream. Pipe onto a macaron shell and place another macaron shell on top, squeezing gently.

Lemon-Lemon Lemon Cream

I love lemon curd. It’s sweet tangy and so refreshing, I always look forward to licking the spoon after making a batch. I thought it was my favorite lemon dessert, until I came across this lemon cream. This lemon cream, ladies and gentlemen, I can eat with a spoon. The light, smooth texture is what hits you first. Then the intense notes of lemon, citrus and a refreshing burst of sweet and tartness comes through. In closing, a creamy flavor mellows the overall flavor out creating a delicious dessert.

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Friendly Pumpkin Bread

Half way through fall quarter of freshman year, I met a girl named Aurora. One day, Aurora was particularly craving a pumpkin dessert. Specifically, she was dying to have an “out-of-this-world, super-moist, and unbelievably dense” pumpkin bar that her friend once brought for her. Determined to please my new friend, I googled a few recipes and decided to try something out.

Two years later, I’ve added a few adaptations from the original recipe. Some call it a pumpkin pie in bar. Others say its the best pumpkin bread they’ve ever had. Originally, the recipe was intended to be prepared in a jelly roll pan as a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting but this version makes it a lot more healthy. I used more spices than the original recipe to increase the familiar thanksgiving flavors. To be honest, cinnamon is the only “crucial” flavor but I like having a variety. If you have a pumpkin spice you’re particularly fond of, feel free to substitute that in!

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