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Posts Tagged ‘Caramel’

Are you drooling over the title of this cake alone?  I know I was when I came across it on Annie’s Eats.  I was just waiting for the perfect occasion to make such a decadent cake.

The other day my sister called and asked me to whip something up for a charity auction – the cake will be auctioned off and money given to charity – and I knew this would be perfect!  I hope it brings in a lot of … dough (**snicker, snicker** I’m such a baking dork).


INGREDIENTS
For the brownie cake:
1C. All-purpose flour
1t. Baking soda
1/4t. Salt
8T. Unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5oz. Bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Large eggs
1/2C. Light brown sugar, packed
1/4C. Sugar
3T. Light corn syrup
1/2t. Vanilla extract

For the topping:
2C. Sugar
1/2C. Water
1 1/2T. Light corn syrup
2/3C. Heavy cream
2T. Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1C. Honey roasted peanuts

DIRECTIONS
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.  Butter an 8-inch springform pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.  Place the springform pan on a baking sheet.

To make the cake, combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; whisk together and set aside.

Add the butter and chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until well blended.  Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.  Add in the melted butter and chocolate mixture, and whisk until combined.  Gently whisk in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are just incorporated.  The batter should be thick, smooth and shiny.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 15 minutes, then run a thin knife between the cake and the pan and carefully remove the sides of the springform.  The cake may have puffed up during baking, but don’t be concerned if it develops a crater in the center while cooling.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  When the cake is totally cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the parchment paper.  Turn the cake right side up onto a serving platter.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring just to combine the ingredients.  Place the pan over medium-high heat.  Heat, without stirring, until the caramel turns deep amber, 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your saucepan and the intensity of the heat (mine actually took closer to 15 minutes).

Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan, add the cream and butter.  When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps.  Stir in the peanuts and pour mixture into a heatproof bowl.

You will have more caramel than you need, but you want to get all of the peanuts onto the cake, so spoon all of the peanuts out of the hot caramel and onto the top of the cake.   Pour or spoon enough caramel to cover all the nuts, drizzling a bit over the edges of the cake for presentation.  Allow the topping to set at room temperature, about 20 minutes, before serving.  Keep the leftover caramel at room temperature and save for another use.  (I used a 10″ springform pan – well, because that’s all I have – and had just enough caramel to cover).

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This weekend my family got together to celebrate my Aunt and Uncle’s 25th wedding anniversary.  I was asked to make desserts for the party and decided that I wanted to highlight some fall flavors – mainly apple and cinnamon.

These cupcakes were very moist and the caramel frosting was the perfect topping.  Everyone loved them!

Cupcake recipe adapted from Two Frog Home.
Frosting recipe from Annie’s Eats.

INGREDIENTS
For the cupcakes
1C. Apple Pie filling, chopped lightly
2C. AP Flour
1 1/2t. Baking powder
1T. Ground cinnamon
1t. Ground nutmeg
2/3C. Unsalted butter
1C. Packed brown sugar
2 Eggs
1t. Vanilla
3/4C. Apple juice
Pinch of Kosher salt

For the frosting
16T. Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1lb. Confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2t. Vanilla extract
1/3C. Caramel sauce
Pinch of Kosher salt
2T. Heavy cream

For the caramel sauce
8T. Unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1C. Sugar
1C. Heavy cream
1/4t. Vanilla extract
Pinch of Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS
To make the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with papers or grease.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Cream butter and sugar until light.  Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla.  Alternate the flour and apple juice into the creamed mixture until well combined.  Fold in the pie filling.  Fill muffin tin wells 3/4 full and bake 18-22 minutes.  Let cool.

To make the caramel sauce
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to foam a bit.  It will look and smell like it’s on the verge of burning.  Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream.  Stir until the sauce is smooth, then mix in the vanilla and salt.  Let cool.  (This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

To make the frosting
Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed 1 minute until smooth.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla, caramel sauce and salt until incorporated.  (Note: the caramel sauce should be just warm enough that it is workable, but not warm enough to melt the butter in the frosting.)  Add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Husband Rating – 5 out of 5 – “Delicious!  Actually, thanks for reminding me that there are some leftover in the kitchen, I’m going to go have one right now!

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Samoas Bars

I love girl scout cookies…especially samoas.  There’s something about the combination of chocolate, coconut and caramel that I just love.  Unfortunately, my co-worker’s Granddaughter – my only source of said cookies – only sells them one precious time per year.  But, after finding this recipe on Beantown Baker I can fulfill my samoas craving whenever it hits.

These do take a bit of time, as each step has to cool completely before you put them together, but it’s definitely worth it!  I skipped the step at the end where you dip the bottom of the shortbread into the chocolate…mine was a little too crumbly to do that…but they’re absolutely delicious even without it.

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INGREDIENTS
Cookie Base:
1/2C. Sugar
3/4C. Butter, softened
1 Egg
1/2t. Vanilla extract
2C. All purpose flour
1/4t. Salt

Topping:
3C. Shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) – I used sweetened
12-oz Chewy caramels – I used the Kraft caramel bits
1/4t. Salt
3T. Milk
10 oz. Dark or semisweet chocolate

DIRECTIONS
First, make the crust.

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. 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 prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.

When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter.

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper – I used a spoon to spread some melted chocolate on the bottom of each bar. I then laid them chocolate side up to set the chocolate.

Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “Almost as good as the original.  The guys at work loved these too!”

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