Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

 

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

Russ saw me making these bars the other day, grinned and said, “I LOVE baking season!”. Lol. He certainly does. Him, the boys, and I admit to a fondness for it myself. It’s funny; the rest of the year, I’m not as big on making cookies. I’m more of a quick bread, yeast bread sort of baker The whole plopping cookie dough down, or cutting, shaping, etc, drives me nuts. I shamefully confess that my attention span is that of a four year old in many ways and standing or sitting still to get something repetitive done isn’t a favored pastime. But at Christmas I’m all about the cookies.

The standing long enough to shape or roll though is exactly why I love bar cookies 😀 I get the dough in a pan, top with whatever if that is part of it, bake, cut, eat. What could be easier, right? These are delicious. Not really the type you’d put on a cookie tray though, so don’t use them for that. These are the ones you put out with the rest of the desserts. They are large, hearty bars, meant to be eaten with a fork.

Kind of still on topic, do you have your tree up yet? This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had a real tree. I grew up with fakes ones, used them my whole life, but Russ decided this year that he wanted a  real one. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think I had this vague expectation that the house would suddenly smell all Christmasy and piney. But *sobs* it doesn’t. It’s like having a fake tree in the house, but we have to keep it watered. It IS prettier than the fake tree we had, though. That one had seen better days and I’m pretty sure the mice had attacked it when it was stored in the garage.

Back to the cookies *as she rushes from one topic to the next like a crazed caffeine fueled toddler*, these are fantastic and as I said, perfect for the holiday dessert mix. The crust and topping are similar to a cakey sugar cookie, filled with a sweet and tangy mixture of berry pie filling and chocolate chips. Sugar cookie, fruit, chocolate. Do I even NEED to say more? Seriously; make these. They are wonderful, plus the fact that they use canned pie filling pushes them into the easy category as well, which is always a plus, especially this time of year. *I adapted this from a recipe on the BHG site*

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup shortening, room temp
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 21 ounce cans of your favorite pie filling- I used cherry and strawberry (you won’t use all of the second can)
  • 1 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract mixed with
  • 2 teaspoons half and half or milk (you may need a touch more cream to get the consistency glaze you like; start with this)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, on low speed, beat together the butter and shortening. Add in the sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of the almond extract and beat well.
  3. Still using the mixer on low *unless you enjoy being covered with flying flour*, carefully beat in 2 cups of the flour. Get a heavy wooden spoon and use that to mix in that last cup of flour.
  4. Scoop out and set aside 1 1/2 cups of the dough. Press the rest into the bottom of a 15×10 inch baking pan. I find the easiest way to do this with sticky dough is to dump it all in the pan, then lightly flour my fingers to press the dough in, repeating the flouring as needed.
  5. Bake the dough at 350 for 12 minutes. it will be just starting to turn a pale brown at the edges.
  6. While it bakes, stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract into the pie filling.
  7. After taking the crust out, carefully spread with desired amount of pie filling. I used about 1 1/2 cans. One can isn’t enough; two is a bit too much. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, then dollop spoonfuls of the remaining cookie dough evenly over the fruit filling.
  8. Continue baking at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.
  9. Let cool for an hour, then glaze. The glaze is easy peasy. Just whisk together the glaze ingredients, adding more milk if you want it thinner and drizzle desired amount over the pan of bars. When totally cool, slice into squares.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

 

Save

My favorite Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies & A Hamilton Beach Giveaway!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

It’s time for me to get to enjoy being a Hamilton Beach Ambassador one more time! I always love when I get the chance to share my thoughts on one of their products with you, and I especially love getting to give away whatever that product is to one of you! So, what do we have to talk about today? The most recent thing the lovely people at Hamilton Beach sent to me is their Easy Reach 4 Slice Toaster Oven .

4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door

4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door

This toaster oven is so darn cute! Yes, I just called a toaster oven cute. But really, it is.31334 Other women will understand it, while men will just shake their heads and assume I’m insane; rather like my husband does when I say that those teeny tiny mini sized bottles of ketchup are cute. Inside, this oven is only a wee bit smaller seeming than the typical toaster oven. What makes it seems tinier is it’s lack of bulk. You have a glass door on the front that rolls up rather than opens downward. This has a pro and a con. It makes it easier to get into the oven without worrying about the door getting in your way as you pull things out. BUT… and this is again something most women will “get”; it also means that you can’t set any sort of knick knacks or decorations on top of this oven. On my old one, I kept the cup that held all the keys, my ceramic cow named Herman (don’t ask) and a knick knack that once belonged to my mother in law. With this one, I can’t do that due to the roll top door.
But it makes up for it in other ways. The Hamilton Beach 4 Slice goes from 200 degrees all the way up to 450 degrees. Beyond toasting, you have the already mentioned bake function, plus a broil one. I can see THAT one working great for melting the cheese on top of something or crisping up a food; making burgers.

Did I mention that the door was removable? Can we say “easy cleanup”?! Unlike ones where you end up with a door so splattered and icky that you can’t see through it, with this one, after each use, just take the door off, wash it up, dry it and put it back on. No mess! 31334-04 This comes with a removable rack that can be used in two different positions and a crumb tray that isn’t attached inside, so you can pull it out easily and clean it off.
My old toaster oven? I was afraid to actually COOK anything in it. I used it for toast and frozen pizzas and that was about it. But I knew if I was going to be able to accurately review this for you, I needed to branch out a little. I thought about homemade pizza, then realized that was still hedging my bets; pizza is pizza when it comes to baking. So I finally decided to make one of my family’s favorite cookies; my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies. This cookie isn’t cheap to make generally, so I was counting on this oven to do it correctly and not end up burning the tops or the bottoms like other ones have done. So I took a deep breath and dived in.
IT WORKED!! The cookies came out looking just like they should, though they seemed to finish baking about a minute and a half quicker. Obviously, you can’t fit a full sized tray of cookies in there, but the oven comes with a tray and that tray fits four cookies just fine. If made smaller, you could fit six, but I like generously sized cookies 😀 My sons got a hold of the cookies (I only got ONE cookie! Darn kids!) before I got a photo (I had only made a half batch) so the photo I am using here is my old one, but trust me, there was no difference in the cookies.
As for the cookies themselves, if you haven’t tried these before, now’s your chance! These cookies are awesome, if I do say so myself, hehe. They are ooey gooey, with a slight nutty flavor from the browned butter, but no actual pesky nuts. They have that wonderful soft middle with the crispy edge. You could make a half batch like I did and have enough for the here and now, or make the full batch of dough, freeze half in cookie sized balls, then bake in the toaster oven anytime you get a craving. You can bake straight from frozen; just add a couple of minutes time on.

                         Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned to a golden brown color & cooled
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag Heath Bar toffee chips (or 4 Heath bars, crushed)

 

  1. To brown the butter, in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Let cook,stirring frequently, until it turns a golden brown color. This can take anywhere from five to ten minutes. It will sputter, spit and foam a lot at first then that will stop. Do NOT walk away from this as it can go from yellowish butter to burnt garbage very quickly.
  2. Pour the browned butter into a large bowl, leaving behind all the solid bits at the bottom of the pot (though if you get some in there it’s no big deal. Don’t worry about it.). Let cool.
  3. When cool, pour both kinds of sugar into the bowl with the butter. Beat until well mixed.
  4. Add in the egg and egg yolk, then pour in the vanilla and the cream. Beat on low speed until well mixed.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and at slow speed (unless you want to be covered in flying flour), mix until you have a cohesive cookie dough.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips and the toffee bits.
  8. Now you can chill for about an hour if you want. The original recipe says to but I didn’t bother and they were fine.
  9. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If you don’t have a silicone mat, please go buy one. They aren’t cheap but oh my, they’re worth it. Trust me on this. The first time you use it, you’ll totally understand. Spray the cookie sheet with baking spray.
  10. Scoop the cookies up and place about 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 until golden brown on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do NOT over bake or they will lose that delicious softness and gooeyness (yes, that is now a word). They should be firm on top if you press one lightly but not hard.
  12. Let cool for a minute on the sheet then transfer over to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Now for the fun part; the giveaway! Enter below for your chance (chances) to win one of these Hamilton Beach 4 Slice Toaster Ovens for yourself!

Click here to view this promotion.

Disclosure-The lovely people at Hamilton Beach provided me with a 4 Slice Easy Reach Toaster Oven With Roll Top Door to review, but all opinions are 100% my own and completely honest.

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

The first graders in Joshies school have their Easter egg hunt tomorrow. He wants me to come be one of the volunteer moms who hides eggs and acts all gleeful to be in a crowd of moms I don’t know. *Sobs* The child is young. He hasn’t yet learned that his mother is a total introvert, with social anxiety issues to boot. While I COULD go do this, and use it as a handy excuse to have a drink later, I think I prefer to go to the Easter egg hunt, cheer him on from the back of the mass of people and then quietly slink off to wait for school to end and Spring break to start. Though Spring break brings with it its own reasons to have a bottle of booze handy.

I already have his first Spring break snackie all ready with these blondies (Did ya see that smooth segue there? Huh, huh, huh?). Generally speaking, I prefer chocolaty brownie type bars, but every once in a while I get a wild hair and want to play with something else.  One of my favorite brownie recipes are these caramel pecan brownies. They are so easy and what you get from that easiness is an outstanding brownie; chewy, chocolaty and gooey. In other words, right up my alley. But the idea had been flitting around in my head to see what else I could do with the basic recipe. I know some people like their chocolate a little more muted and these should please those people immensely. But you know what? The rest of you will love them too. I know I do. These are simple as can be since they use cake mix (yes, cake mix. Quit rolling your eyes; they’ll stick that way.) and bagged caramels. I’ve learned in my many years of life (many, many years) that things don’t always have to be fancy to be delicious. These turned out really well. They are almost candylike in their texture; chewy, but not hard to chew, gooey, with just enough chocolate in them. Plus, the toasted coconut and pecans add a nice crunch and flavor to them. Cut these in fairly small bars. They are pretty rich.

You know the drill… 🙂

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk (you can sub half and half it you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup toasted coconut (350 oven, single layer in a baking dish for about ten minutes; stir once during toasting)
  • 21 ounces (give or take) caramel candy (I used Kraft; it takes about a bag and a half), unwrapped (I assume you know to unwrap them, but I have to be careful here 😛 )
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk or half and half (yes, this is supposed to be in here twice)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13×9 baking pan with foil; lightly grease the foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, melted butter and extracts. Use a spoon to mix just until combined. It’s ok if there are still some lumps in the batter.
  3. Use your hands (lightly grease or flour them; it helps) to spread/press about half the batter into the prepared pan. It may take a touch more than half; that’s fine. Bake at 350 for five minutes.
  4. While it’s baking, in a medium bowl, combine the caramels and the 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Then continue to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each one, until the caramels are melted. It’s again ok if there are small lumps and it’s not perfectly smooth. You just want a more or less smooth caramel mixture, but a few lumps won’t hurt.
  5. Pour half the caramel sauce on top of the partially baked crust. be careful spreading it since the crust isn’t cooked all the way and will tear if you’re not gentle. Top this with the toasted coconut, pecans and half the chocolate chips. Then pour the rest of the caramel sauce over the top.
  6. Mix the other half of the chocolate chips with the remaining batter, then spoon dollops of the batter over the top of the caramel. it’s not going to cover it all; that’s cool. Just try to evenly space the dollops over the top.
  7. Put the pan bake in the 350 oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top it browned and the caramel is bubbly.
  8. Let cool in the pan at LEAST a couple of hours (overnight in a cool place is best), then use the foil to lift the blondies out onto a cutting board. If they start to sag in the middle, they aren’t cool enough yet.. Peel off the foil, then cut the blondies into serving size pieces.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

 

Chocolaty Orange Mocha Snack Cake

Chocolaty Orange Mocha Snack Cake 2

Chocolaty Orange Mocha Snack Cake

Russ, my husband, has a thing for the combo of chocolate and orange. I have to admit that it’s a favorite of mine also. But then again, I’m an equal opportunity fruit/chocolate fan. Blend it with raspberry, cherry, apricots, whatever and I’ll be there banging on your door, plate in hand.

Every year at Christmas time, I get Russ one of those chocolate oranges. You know the kind; wrapped in foil, you’re supposed to strike it against a hard surface to separate the segments, etc, etc. I SAY I get it for Russ and it HAS become a tradition. But the truth is that while he loves the flavor combo, he isn’t much on candy. He prefers it in that flavor of Milano cookie (me too!) So what happens to his chocolate orange over time? Yep; you guessed it. *sheepish look* Well, I can’t just let it go to waste, now can I?! It’s rather like how every year when my brother, sister and I were kids, we would get our mom a big heart shaped box of Fanny May chocolates for Valentines Day, using her money of course. Of course, by the time our poor mother, suffering from some late night chocolate craving, got to the box that she stored in the fridge, she would usually find two or three pieces of the worst flavors left in there, surrounded by a plethora of wrappers. And those three would usually have their bottoms bitten off by yours truly.

Oops.

So, in honor of my husbands favorite flavor (honest; I haven’t eaten any yet *coughcough*), I made a loaf cake that mingles the two, but with the added bonus (totally thought of myself and my favorite coffee drink here) of making the chocolate part mocha flavored. I tried marbling it for looks, but for some odd reason, I’ve never had a lot of luck with marbling (bad butter knife skills? 😛 ) so it looks more layers, but I rather like it that way.

This isn’t in your face with either flavor; the chocolaty mocha part has a subtle flavor with a touch of orange itself from the orange oil I added and the orange part is also subtle. If you want more in your face from the flavors, add about an extra 1/2 teaspoon of orange oil to the orange part and you could probably get away with adding about 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips and a touch more coffee powder to the chocolate part.  This is a nice simple, old fashioned loaf cake, perfect for an after school snack for the kiddos if they like a more sophisticated flavor, perfect with your morning cup of coffee or for a light dessert.

You know the drill… 🙂

By the way, I really adore all of you! <3

Chocolaty Orange Mocha Snack Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (can sub a nice thick Greek yogurt if it makes you happy)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (or the amount that you can get from one medium orange)
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange oil, divided (you can sub orange extract, but the oil is infinitely better)
  • 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder ( baked goods such as this are a good reason to keep a small jar of instant coffee around- it lasts forever)
  • Glaze and garnish-
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • orange zest or strips
  • chocolate shavings (I used a bitter sweet bar with almonds because it was all I had, but I actually liked the way the shaved almonds added a bit of texture and crunch to the top)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and either grease and flour a 9 inch loaf pan or spray well with one of the flour/oil combo baking sprays. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. After the last egg is added, continue beating at medium speed for a minute or two.
  3.  Add in the flour mixture and just barely mix it in. Add in the sour cream. This is a thick batter, so no, you didn’t do anything wrong.
  4. Move half of the batter to another medium bowl. To that half, add in 1/2 teaspoon of the orange oil and the orange zest. Mix just until combined.
  5. To the remaining batter, add the melted chocolate, the last 1/4 teaspoon of orange oil and the coffee powder. Mix just until combined.
  6. Spoon half of the orange batter into the prepared loaf pan. Spoon half of the chocolate batter on top of that. Repeat those layers once. Use a butter knife to dig down in there and swirl the batter together, then smooth the top. Hopefully, your mad swirling skills are better than mine 😀 Smooth the top of the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cover the top loosely with foil if it starts to get too brown at the edges before it is fully baked.
  8. Let cool in the pan set on a rack set over a rimmed baking pan for about ten minutes, then carefully invert it out onto your hand, then back onto the rack to finish cooling.
  9. During the ten minutes it is in the pan, make your glaze which is easy peasy. Just combine the 1/3 cup orange juice and 2 tablespoons sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for about a minute; just long enough to dissolve the sugar.
  10. Brush the glaze over the hot cake.
  11. When the cake is completely cool, garnish with shaved chocolate and orange zest.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Chocolaty Orange Mocha Snack Cake

Chocolaty Orange Mocha Snack Cake

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream 1

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream



I want Autumn! I want Autumn! I want Autumn!! *Falls on the floor in a raging temper tantrum, kicking and screaming*

Sorry. I’m fine now. But I really am about done with Summer. I’m tired of trying to keep up with the weeds in the yard. Ok, I got tired of it a few weeks ago and my flower area now looks like a mini forest. I’m pretty sure there are fairies and elves hiding down in there, having nightly parties with my now lost in the weeds ceramic froggie. I heard him ribbiting for help a few days ago, but I was afraid to venture in and look for him. Russ would have had to send in the national guard to find ME.

What does any of this have to do with brownie cupcakes? Not a thing. I just felt like whining and making all of you have to listen. It works for my six year old; why not for me, too?

These are quite tasty. They are yet one more incarnation of the brown butter brownies I first made back in early 2013 (please forgive the completely atrocious photo in that post!) and have used in various ways since then. They really are some of the best brownies around. They are very chocolatey (which I was skeptical of with just cocoa, but they are), rich, with a mild nutty back flavor from the brown butter. In THIS incarnation, they are made into little cupcakes and then covered with a creamy, tangy orange buttercream that perfectly complements the brownie. So simple to make these, yet they are good enough for more than just the kids school lunches. Though they are great for that, too.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

  • Brownie Cupcakes-
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened powder (NOT drink mix)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange oil or orange extract (don’t use more here. The frosting is the orangey part. The little bit in here is just to tie it all together.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 large eggs, cold from the fridge
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • Orange Vanilla Buttercream-
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 2/12 cups powdered sugar
  1. Position oven rack in the bottom third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  2. Place foil cupcake liners (you can use the paper ones, but the foil comes off the brownies so much easier) into the cups of a muffin tin. I got ten brownie cupcakes from this.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter isn’t foaming anymore and there are browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir often and keep an eye on this. It can go from lovely browned butter to a smelly burned mess in no time flat.
  4. Remove from the heat and immediately add in the cocoa, sugar, water, vanilla, orange oil and salt. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Let cool five minutes. Add the cold eggs to the hot mixture, one at a time, beating well (by hand) after each addition. When the mixture is thick and glossy, add in the flour. Beat for 60 or so strokes.
  6.  Divide the batter evenly between the lined cupcake wells. Use about 1/4 cup for each. Bake at 325 until they a skewer inserted in the middle of one comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it; no loose batter and not completely clean, either. This will take from 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 3 minutes, then gently take each cupcake out and let it finish cooling on a rack.
  7. As they cool, make your buttercream, which is easy peasy. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time (I always start by hand so that I and my whole house don’t end up covered in the powdery sugar). Beat until fluffy, smooth and creamy. You want a nice thick pipeable/spreadable frosting. After adding two cups of the sugar, beat well at high speed for about a full five minutes. If it’s a bit too thick, just drizzle in a touch more orange juice; a bit too thin, just add that last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
  8. Spread or pipe onto the cooled brownies and garnish as desired (I grated more zest over the tops)

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

 

 

 

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies 1

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies



I am an avid reader of magazines that involve cooking. Be it straight out cooking mags like Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food Network and Food & Wine, or others like Family Circle and Womans Day, I am subscribed to them all. I search until I find them for wonderful prices like $5.99 a year (honest Injun… you can get some great deals on magazines if you look around; and not just the “womens” mags either!!) and then and only then will I get them. Then, when I’m done with them, which includes tearing out recipes I want to try, they go to the residents at the long term care facility my husband works at. The residents there never lack for magazines to look at, I’ll tell you that much!

Sadly though, even when I tear out recipes from the ones like Woman Day or Family Circle, I never have a whole lot of success with the recipes themselves. I’m not sure if it is a lack of proper testing at the test kitchens or what, but there ALWAYS seems to be an issue or two that needs fixed. I got this recipe from Womans Day and it was, unfortunately, no exception. I lost the paper version, so had to look it up online and found it on their site, but the recipe itself was so fraught with errors in direction and ingredients that I had to pick through it and work with it. I’m an experienced cook, so it turned out delicious, but I shudder to think what would have happened with a novice cook. The pan size was wrong, the sugar measurements were off, etc etc.

BUT!!! Like I said, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday when it comes to cooking (yet another saying about which I ask, “wth does that even mean!?”), so I fixed the “boo-boos”. Once done, this is a delicious cheesecake bar. It uses up some of the last of the season fresh blackberries quite nicely. You have a VERY rich brownie base layered with a creamy cheesecake filling and finally that part is swirled with fresh blackberries. So your mouth gets a nice mix of “ooo, chocolate. No, creamy. No, berries!” to keep you guessing.

So, you know the drill. Get to cooking!

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies

  • Brownie base-
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cheesecake filling-
  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces blackberries, mashed (one small container)
  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to overhand the edges of the pan. You’ll use that as a handle later to lift the brownies out of the pan. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small pot, over low heat, melt together the butter and 1 1/4 cups of the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when melted and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the 3/4 cup flour, the cocoa powder and the salt. In a large bowl, on low speed with a hand held mixer,  combine the sugars and the 3 eggs. beat JUST until combined. Stir in the flour mixture and the last 1/2 cup of semi sweet chips. Gently fold the chocolate/butter mixture into this. Set aside to make the cheesecake batter.
  4. Wash your beaters and in a large bowl, on low speed, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. beat just until smooth and creamy. Add in the 2 eggs and the vanilla extract; beat just until combined.
  5. Scoop about half the brownie batter (about 1 1/2 cups) of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth. Top that with half of the cheesecake batter, then the last half of the brownie batter. Carefully pour the other half of the cheesecake batter on top and gently smooth it out.
  6. Put dollops of the smashed blackberries on top of the cheesecake batter and use a butter knife to swirl it through the batter, being careful not to reach down into the brownie part (though the world won’t end if you do)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees just until the top is set, about an hour. The edges will be set, but the center should still have the tiniest bit of a jiggle to it. It will finish setting up as it cools.
  8. Let cool in the pan for an hour, then refrigerate for at least two hours to overnight to finish firming up.
  9. Use the foil “handles” to lift the brownies out onto a cutting board and then use a large serrated knife to cut into bars, dipped in hot water and wiped dry in between each cut.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake & A Hamilton Beach Giveaway

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake



Hey everybody! It’s time for a creamy Summer recipe and a Hamilton Beach giveaway. I still so love being one of their ambassadors. Their products are wonderful and this one is no exception.  Before I give you the recipe and details on the giveaway, let me tell you why you want this blender. 😀

BlenderRaise your hand if you’ve ever had a blender that came with a cheap, “look at this funny and it’ll break” plastic jar! *Raises my hand and waggles it around wildly*. Not with this bad boy. This jar is SOLID. It’s a nice thick, heavy glass jar with a good heft to it. If you can manage to break this jar, you should probably not be trusted with kitchen appliances or sharp objects, hehe.

Also, have you ever been making something in the blender and it gets stuck down by the bottom? Then you have to turn it off and shove a spoon or butter knife down by the blades and try to unclog it. That won’t happen here for two reason. The first is that this has a 700 watt motor and it makes the liquids move! The “wave action” continually forces the mixture down towards the blades so it doesn’t get clogged. This recipe used some thick ice cream and not a whole lot of liquid, but the blender had no problems breaking it down. The second is that if things DO get stuck, they give you what they call a “stir spoon”, a thick plastic spoon that works wonders for stirring things up down by the bottom of the blender.

Another plus to the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender is the pour spout. This one seals up when the blender is in use and gently pulls open when you’re ready to pour and you don’t end up with a puddle on the counter as you have with some blenders that are hard to pour from due to an overly large pouring area.

The ONLY issue I have with the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender is the lid. It fits so well that it can be difficult for hands like mine, that are arthritic, to pull off. Even if I opened the pour spout to let air in, it was still a struggle to get the lid off. BUT… that said, for those of you with no joint pain, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Now, on to what I know you want; the recipe for a creamy, delicious Chocolate Covered Raspberry Shake and a chance to win one of these fantastic blenders.

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake

  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate milk (GOOD stuff here, not some cheap watery store brand)
  • 2 dry pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • chocolate syrup and whipped cream for garnish
  1. Dump your raspberries in a large bowl and smash them down to pulp. The easiest way I’ve found is simply to take a flat bottomed glass and smush them. No getting out a food processor and it takes just seconds.
  2. Then, push them through a fine mesh strainer (I use the same flat bottomed glass to push them through) into a large measuring cup. You should end up with about 3/4 of a cup of puree. It’s ok if it’s a bit less or more.
  3. Dissolve the coffee granules in the chocolate milk. Pour the milk into the blender, then add the ice cream and 1/2 cup of the berry puree. If you want a thinner shake or just want to make it go farther, add a bit more chocolate milk. Just make sure to add some more raspberry puree also, so you don’t overpower the raspberry flavor with the chocolate.
  4. Use the milkshake setting on the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender to blend it all up until it’s smooth and creamy.
  5. Get two 8 to 12 ounce glasses out. Tilt the glasses sideways and drizzle the chocolate syrup in a circle over the inside of the glass. It will drizzle down and make a pretty design on the inside of the glass. Divide the shake mixture between the two glasses and top with whipped cream, some of the extra raspberry puree and some chocolate syrup. Enjoy!!

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Hamilton Beach provided me with a Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender for review  and will send one to one winner of my giveaway, 18 years or older, in the United States. I received no other compensation for this and all opinions are my own.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars (Recipe Redo)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars



I am constantly amazed at how bad my photography skills were a few years ago. I’m no prize now, but at least I don’t cringe (most of the time) when I see my pictures. And I am constantly amazed that I make some things and then do the whole blogger thing of not making the it again because if I do that, I can’t use it in the blog. Totally silly of those of us who blog because in doing that, as we miss out on eating the most delicious things more than once. I haven’t made these bars since the first time I did in 2011. I have no idea why I have never made them again because, dang, these are awesome! It all comes down to, I think, what I said about how when you’re a blogger, you tend to not make the same things twice because if you do, it’s no longer blog fodder :-p

I made these a bit differently than the first time. I added more flavor to the crust, a bit to the filling and I used less chocolate chips on top, because, my God, what was I thinking last time with the amount of chips on there?! It’s a chocolate filling, for pete’s sake. it doesn’t needed a covering of chocolate thick enough to put a herd of elephants into a diabetic coma. So I cut it down. Now only one or two elephants are in danger of that coma.

These are fantastic pot luck or church supper fare; rich enough to be decadent yet not time consuming in the least. But once you try a bite, suddenly, you’ll forget to take the plate with you where ever you need to go. Instead, you’ll be that person hiding in the closet from your kids so that you can eat these in peace. Wait. I’m not the only one who does that, am I?

The crust for these are wonderfully crumbly to the bite, but not when you cut it. Then you have a layer of tangy sweetened berries, covered with a creamy chocolate filling, then crumbs on top. What’s not to love? Berries, chocolate, creamy and crumbs. 😀

You know the drill…

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars

  • CRUST-
  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup slivered toasted almonds
  • FILLING-
  • 1 lb container fresh strawberries, capped and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch pan. Line with foil and grease the foil or spray with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and powdered sugar. Sprinkle with the extracts. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour and sugar until you have pea sized crumbs. Fold in the slivered almonds
  4. Pat 2 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the greased pan. Set the rest aside.
  5. Bake the crust for ten minutes or until a very light golden brown around the edges.
  6. Meanwhile, gently fold your sliced strawberries together with the preserves.
  7. In a small bowl, mix one cup of chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk and extracts and microwave on high in 30 seconds increments, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  8. Carefully spread the strawberry mixture on top of the hot crust. Then pour the chocolate/milk mix on top of the berries and spread. Sprinkle that with the reserved crumbs and the rest of the chocolate chips.
  9. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is set.
  10. Let cool, preferably in the fridge for a couple of hours. Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan to a large cutting board. Use a knife dipped in hot water then wiped dry to cut the bars into serving sized pieces.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

DSCF2005

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Brownies

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Brownies

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Brownies



I’ve come to the realization that I am always going to be a year or so behind everyone else when it comes to trying new things, be it watching a TV show, shopping certain places or trying new foods. When everyone else was watching Glee, I refused. I started watching it on netflix after season two. I then stopped mid season 4 because it sucked, but that is neither here nor there. Greys Anatomy? End of season six is when I started watching. Stopped watching that also, because they got into subject matter I disliked. I have a hard time finding a modern show I can stick with :-p I’m also that person who didn’t realize what a wonderful place Target was until about a year and a half ago. Now, like most women over 12 and under 95, it’s one of my favorite stores.

When it comes to foods, same thing. I didn’t try a Macaron until about a year ago and now I love them. I still haven’t tried making them myself though. Easier just to buy them frozen at Trader Joes. 😀 I didn’t try salted caramel until MAYBE two years ago, a full couple of years after you could find salted caramel everything (salted caramel shoe leather anyone? Maybe a nice salted caramel beef tongue?) on every food page on the internet. That’s one I regret not trying sooner, but live and learn. Stubbornness has its drawbacks and I doubt I’ll be changing anytime soon. The plus though is that, when everyone else has moved past it, yet it’s still a loved flavor, like salted caramel, you don’t have to compete with 5000000 posts each day to get seen. The rest of the foodie world has moved onto marinated llama feet in a balsamic reduction, so the salted caramel treats stand out more 😀

One thing I only recently tried was the whole sweet/salty idea. Sure, I’d had chocolate covered pretzels, which I don’t care for to be honest, but the idea of purposely sprinkling salt on top of a sweet food bewildered me. Until I tried it. Just trust me on this if you’re still as hesitant as I was. Will I be sprinkling salt on a Twinkie anytime soon? No. But on chocolate? It adds an indefinable something to the flavor.

I’ve made browned butter brownies more than once in here and they are still a favorite, but these are totally over the top. Moist, chewy browned butter brownies and creamy chocolate chunks, covered with gooey salted caramel, then MORE salted caramel and some coarse salt for crunch and contrast. Totally delicious!

You know the drill….

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Brownies

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  teaspoon instant coffee (optional; my addition. You can’t taste it, it just rounds out the chocolate flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 large eggs, cold from the fridge
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1/2 cup good quality salted caramel sauce plus more for drizzling
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top

 

  • Position oven rack in the bottom third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  • Line an 8 inch square pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges to use as a handle later. Lightly butter or spray the foil with cooking spray.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter isn’t foaming anymore and there are browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir often and keep an eye on this. It can go from lovely browned butter to a smelly burned mess in no time flat. This will probably take about 5 minutes or so.
  • Remove from the heat and immediately add in the cocoa, sugar, water, vanilla and salt. Stir well.
  • Let cool five minutes. Add the cold eggs to the hot mixture, one at a time, beating well (by hand) after each addition. When the mixture is thick and glossy, add in the flour. Beat well by hand for one minute.
  • Stir in chocolate chips or chunks. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the top of the batter. You could swirl it in if preferred, but I just let it lay on top, where it gets all bubbly and more or less melts into the batter.
  • Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost, but not quite, clean. Cool the pan on a rack then lift out by the edges of the paper. Cut into 16 squares. Drizzle more salted caramel  over the top of the brownies and sprinkle with coarse salt. Enjoy!

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Brownies

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Brownies

Brown Butter, Cherry & Salted Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter, Cherry & Salted Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter, Cherry & Salted Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies



It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. There are times when I’m creating that I find that to be true. I had this cookie all planned out. it was going to use a combo of flavors I loved- cherries, chocolate and pistachios. But have I ever mentioned that little fact that I’m a mom to two young men? Well, I’m a mom to six, but only three are still at home. So, I went to go get all my ingredients ready (big believer in “mise en place” here… never start cooking until you have everything you’ll need ready to go) and lo and behold, my recently bought bag of roasted and salted pistachios were nowhere to be found. That’s where the “I have two young men still at home” seems to have come into play. I have learned that if I have something that is out of the norm for our household, I need to stash it away somewhere where it isn’t found quite so easily. I must not have heeded my own advice in this case because….. no pistachios. Nada, zip, zilch. All gone.

After I stopped crying and making plans to go live on a deserted island in the south Pacific all by myself, I had to reinvent what I had planned to invent. After a search through the cabinets, I found a bag of roasted and salted pepitas. I originally bought them to make my “famous” :-p pumpkin bread. But for unbeknownst to me reasons, I never got around to making any pumpkin bread this past Autumn/ Winter season. The result being that I had still had a full bag of pepitas. So I improvised. And you know what? These are some seriously awesome cookies. You can never go wrong with browned butter anyway… and then when you add in sweet creamy chocolate, tart cherries and crunchy salted pepitas, you end up with a really really tasty treat. I also sprinkled a little salt on top of the cookies. This is something I had never done before myself, though I’d seen it done elsewhere. I figured “what the heck” and went for the whole sweet/salty thing and oh my gosh, it was fantastic. If you’re not sure, just sprinkle some on one cookie and try it. If you don’t like it, just one cookie wasted. but if you DO, you’ll be in Heaven.

You know the drill…. Get to cookin’!

Brown Butter, Cherry And Salted Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned to a golden brown color & cooled
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup roasted, salted pepitas
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top (optional)
  1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and brown your butter-  toss your butter into a medium pot. With the heat on medium high, cook the butter (DON’T walk away!) until it turns a medium (dang, I’m using the word medium a lot) golden brown. Swirl the pan a few times to help it along. Have a bowl ready and once it gets to the right color, immediately pour the butter out into the bowl. Let this cool for about 30 minutes before you continue.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled butter and both the sugars. Beat on medium (there’s that word again) speed until it is thick and creamy. Add in the egg, egg yolk, cream and vanilla. beat on low speed just until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Dump this into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl down once.
  4. Fold in the cherries, chocolate chips and pepitas.
  5.  Line your cookie sheet(s) with a silicone baking mat ( like my favorite ones right here )  or lightly grease.  Scoop out large spoons full of dough (about golf ball sized) and shape into a circle in the palm of your hands. Place them about 2 inches apart on your cookie sheets.
  6. Bake at 350 until golden brown and firm on top, about 16 to 18 minutes. let rest on the pan for a minute, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Other than the one or two you snag for yourself to eat all warm and gooey, of course. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with coarse salt upon taking them out of the oven. If you don’t, that’s cool; they are still some of the most delicious cookies ever.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Brown Butter, Cherry & Salted Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter, Cherry & Salted Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies