Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pumpkin Caramel Bars

Oooooooohhh it's a rainy day!!! You know what that means! Perfect for some yummy baked goods :) Good thing we have small group tonight so I have an excuse to make these. I just want to take a minute and complain about the price of good chocolate here. I'm not talking like Hershey's or Nestle brands...yeah that chocolate is "good", but for us chocolate snobs out there, I much prefer my fancy dark chocolate, with something in it like raspberries or ginger or chili peppers. If I'm gonna indulge, it's gotta be good. Since Brazil doesn't really make any chocolate like that domestically, they import brands like Lindt. MY GOLLY!!! It's so expensive! A bar of Lindt chocolate costs about $7 USD, and this silly little box of 5 truffles costs $20 USD!! Cray cray. I'm also saddened by the price of a half gallon of ice cream ($7 USD), and a little teeny container of peanut butter ($5 USD), and whipping cream in a can ($8 USD). Brazil doesn't realize that people would be so much happier if they just had some peanut butter and chocolate every day! Pleeeeeeease lower your prices!!!

Pumpkin Caramel Bars
Recipe from I Wrestled a Cupcake Once

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips 
1 1/2 cups caramel sauce (Store bought, homemade, or you could melt caramels with some heavy cream and omit the flour, I used a pot of doce de leite)
3 tbsp flour (only if your store-bought caramel is thin)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Stir in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin until combined. Slowly incorporate the remaining ingredients into the batter. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly to ensure a smooth batter. Spread about 2/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. 
4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter.
5. Mix caramel and flour together and pour evenly over chocolate.
6. Place dollops of the remaining batter over the top of the caramel layer. Spread those dollops out to try and get a smooth layer of batter over top. (It’s fine if some of the caramel layer is peeking through.)
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (It might come out with a little caramel on it which is fine. You don’t want batter on the toothpick.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Espresso Caramel Coconut Dark Chocolate Cookies

WOWWWWWWWWW. I usually don't think it's necessary to write a whole sentence to describe a cookie, but these cookies definitely deserve a long, majestic name. I think I've found a new favorite recipe. These cookies have it all. Chewy, soft, chunky, and bursting with flavor! GAH. I cannot wait to make them again for everyone I know! Last night I made them for a dinner we were hosting at the mission house. I also made some no-churn coffee ice cream to go with them (you can find that recipe here). Mmmmmmm so heavenly. Even if you don't like coffee, I swear this dessert will change your mind immediately. 

Espresso Caramel Coconut Dark Chocolate Cookies
Recipe from Fabtastic Eats
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces espresso, cooled (or really strong coffee)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup caramels bits
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and espresso. Melt a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips over a double boiler and mix into wet ingredients. Add in the flour mixture and stir on low until almost combined. Stir in the caramels, coconut, and remaining chocolate chips. Drop by the teaspoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cool rack. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Apple Strudel Muffins filled with Doce de Leite

Though I am absolutely LOVING the warm weather down here, I do miss some things about fall. The beautiful leaves, the crisp refreshing air, the scarves, and probably most of all, the flavors. Pumpkins, pecans, salted caramel, squashes, apples, oh how I miss thee. The thing is, we do have those ingredients here, but they aren't really used in the same way. So, I decided to whip up these lil muffins yesterday to get me pumped up about fall and Thanksgiving time. It's so weird seeing people getting ready for Christmas here, because it's getting hotter here. Summer is coming! It's really messing with my brain...

Apple Strudel Muffins filled with Doce de Leite

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped apples (about 3 large)

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup doce de leite (or soft caramel)

Preheat oven to 375 F, and grease muffin pan (or fill with liners). In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, beat together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gently stir in the flour mixture. When there is still a little flour left, gently mix in apples (don't over mix the batter or it will become tough). Spoon mixture into muffin cups.

Poke a hole with your finger in the center of the batter in each cup, making sure to not go all the way to the bottom. Spoon doce de leite into the hole and cover with a little more muffin batter. 

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of muffins. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes in the pan before removing. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tropical Muffins

I can't get enough of all the wonderful fruits here in Brasil!! So much so that I end up buying more than I can eat. So, what do you do with all the left-over bananas? Make tropical muffins! And boy do they love their coconut and pineapple here, so I thought I'd throw some of that in too. These are light, but super moist. A deliciously, fruity way to start your day. I know for most of you reading this it's becoming winter, but here in the southern hemisphere I'm starting to welcome summer! So bring a little sunshine into your chilly winter days by making these muffins!

Tropical Muffins  

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 
3/4 cups sugar 
2 large eggs, room temperature 
1 teaspoon almond extract 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 cup milk 
2 medium bananas, smashed 
3/4 cup crushed pineapple 
3/4 cups coconut (divided) 
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in muffin pans. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until mixed well.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the almond, vanilla, and milk. Your batter may separate if the ingredients are not room temperature.  If so, scrape down the bowl and continue, it will smooth out during the next step.  With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Add bananas, pineapple, 1/2 cup coconut, nuts, raisins and mix until combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Gently press a pinch of the remaining coconut on the muffin tops, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.