Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumb Print Cookies

IMG_6810

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the kitchen over the past week…and it has been wonderful. Every year, I have my Christmas favorites, but I love to add new recipes to the mix as well. This year I wanted to add a salted caramel recipe. I found a great recipe from Cooking Classy and made some adaptions to make these Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies. Perhaps not the shortest name for a cookie…but I promise they are super delicious!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies

Makes: 2 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg, yolk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp buttermilk

1 1/4 cups finely chopped pretzels

15 caramels

2 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream

Coarse sea salt

3 oz chopped milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate

1 teaspoon oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high spread until slightly pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg yolk (set egg white aside in a bowl in refrigerator) and vanilla extract. Blend in buttermilk. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Shape dough into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten dough into a 6-inch disk then wrap with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes, until slightly firm.

Place finely chopped pretzels in a bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls  then working with one at a time, firmly roll dough into chopped pretzels. Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets and make a deep indentation with thumb in the center of each dough ball. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven then using the bottom of a rounded teaspoon, gently press down on existing indentation (to create more space for caramel). Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place caramels and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat mixture in microwave on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spoon caramel into indentation in cookies and sprinkle tops with a small pinch of sea salt.

Place chocolate and oil into a separate microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat mixture on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Pour into a piping bag or ziplog bag and cut tip of corner. Drizzle over cookies. Allow to set then store in an airtight container.

 

Advertisements

Classic Cheesecake

cheesecake

It is National Dessert Day! I hope you are celebrating with some amazing dessert!

I thought I would celebrate with a blog post on a timeless recipe, Cheesecake. Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and I have been making variations of this recipe since I was in high school, however this is the first time I went with the classic base. I will say I have no regrets about that decision what-so-ever.

Classic Cheesecake

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened.

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl. Press into a springform pan and set aside. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until whipped, slowly stir in sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour over prepared crust. Cover pan with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes until set. Cool at room temperature then refrigerate overnight.

A few tips: You can choose to leave the foil step out, but it helps the cheesecake from getting too brown.

I prefer to cool my cheesecake in the oven for a bit with the door open, this allows the cheesecake to come up to room temperature and helps prevents cracking.

I also think cheesecake is best the second day, after the flavors have had time to sit and chill…but let’s be honest, I’ll be happy to eat it any time.

Enjoy!

New Seasons & Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

It has been almost eight months since I last posted.

Eight months.

So much life has happened in the past few seasons. Spring and summer were filled with so many hard things. So many big things. But just as the weather turned a little cooler…this new season has brought some really good things. New things for my little family of three; and I couldn’t be more grateful for fall.

Last Friday Ean, Nora and I went and picked apples at an orchard near by. It didn’t take long to fill up the five gallon bucket, but the kids had a blast, and loved being tall enough to reach the apples. Nora requested to make apple pie at least six times, and I can’t wait to make one with her in the next few days. The first recipe we made with our freshly picked apples was apple crisp, so I thought I would get back to blogging. It is incredibly easy to make and has all of the flavors of fall.

Apple Crisp

7 cups sliced apples

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

For the Topping:

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, chilled

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Core, peel & slice apples. In a large bowl, mix together apples, sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt and spread into an 13×9 pan. In a medium bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Layer on top of apples. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes or until top starts to brown and apples are tender. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!

apples nor

A couple photos from our apple pickin’ adventure. I can not believe how big Miss Nora is!

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars

Red Velvet Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to make red velvet treats…if you feel like you need a reason. I’m happy to eat red velvet 365 days a year. These Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars are a great variation on the flavor!

Red Velvet Bars:
1 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
2 T red food coloring (I like to use a little less and I love Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion from Lorann Professional Kitchen. It will change your life.)
3 1/2 C flour
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter, softened
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9×13 inch pan ready. Line the pan aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray so that the bars easily lift out and are easy to cut.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup butter softened and sugar until light and creamy. About 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and food coloring until combined.

Add the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Press into the bottom of the 9×13 inch pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting, Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together until smooth. Frost the top of the bars and enjoy! You can use sanding sugar or a few cookie crumbs to garnish.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Hello Friends. It has been way too long.

The last few months of 2014 were crazy. There were lots of yummy treats (I used appoximatley 10 pounds of butter in one month) and baked at least a dozen batches of Chocolate Chip Cookies from September to December. Friends and family assure me they never grow tired of these cookies, so I thought I would kick off 2015 with this classic recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 4 dozen

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 – 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix flour, soda and salt together and set aside. Combine shortening, sugars and vanilla; beat until creamy. Add beaten eggs and flour mixture, alternating between the two. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. If you have time, chill the dough for an hour in the refrigerator, this will help the cookies from becoming too flat. You can skip this step and the cookies will still be wonderful! Roll into balls (I like to use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop) and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not overbake. It is actually best to underbake your cookies, then let them continue baking on the cookie sheet as they cool. This will make your cookies soft and perfect! All ovens are different, so it may take a couple of test batches to get the perfect cookie! Once they have set on the cookie shoot for 5-8 minutes, place on a cooling rack.

Nora loves these cookies so much, she came over to ‘help me’ photograph them. Can you believe how big she is? She quickly ate a cookie and drank the milk, I’m just glad I was able to get a few shots in before she offered her assistance.

Happy Baking in 2015 Friends!

Nora Cookies 2

Ean’s Fifth Birthday Camp Out

IMG_3323 IMG_3353 IMG_3358 IMG_3374 IMG_3396 IMG_3428 IMG_3330IMG_3438 IMG_3457 IMG_3474

Ean turned five in September (He is a cheeseball…see above photo). He is growing up so fast! We celebrated with his cousins and a couple friends with a Boys Camp Out in the backyard. Most of the items for his party we had on hand…or my mom did. I love the green percolator, it was a wedding gift for my parents and it was the perfect touch. The boys had hot dogs, gummy worms, s’mores, campfire cake & hot cocoa…and a lot of fun. I am sure our neighbors loved it!