Chewy Pecan Coconut Butterscotch Squares

These are the most perfect desert-snack of all time.

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I learned about them from my mother-in-law who is an expert baker. My husband actually told me about them when were first dating a million years ago but I wasn’t that into nutty treats so when I was at his house for some holiday I didn’t even try them. Which is probably good because I was pretty concerned about my figure back then and had about zero dieting skills besides eat-it-all or don’t-eat-any. Plus I’m sure she made them to share and I would have eaten them all. For sure.

It’s actually kind of hard to describe how perfect these are. They are perfect for a potluck (I just took them to one and everyone wanted the recipe, that’s why I’m making this blog post – you’re welcome) they are perfect for holiday parties, they are perfect for birthday parties, the are perfect for any time that there could possibly be cookies or brownies. But those are way over done and someone else is probably bringing them and if you want to stand out as having the awesomest finger-food desert snack than you should bring these.

Side benefit: Everyone will love you.

Or they hate you because they will probably eat way too many and that was not part of their diet and now they have to run two extra miles tomorrow. But that’s ok, running is good for you anyway and really you were doing them a favor because: endorphins.

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These things are super yummy.

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Plus they look kind of healthy right? I mean, look at all those nuts! And that tiny layer of frosting? They can’t be that unhealthy, right? (Wrong)

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Crust

1/2 cup room temp. butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/4 t salt

Pre heat oven to 350 F

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Cream butter and sugar

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Mix together flour and salt

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Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 1/4 cup increments blending between each addition.

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Press into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan

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It will be very thin, try to get it as even as possible

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Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

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While the crust is baking make the chewy butterscotchy nutty deliciousness layer

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(See how there is a red X over the butter, that’s because there is no butter in this layer. I totally thought there was so I put it in the picture but I was wrong. No butter)

Nuts and Yum Layer

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon backing powder

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup coconut, lightly packed

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

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Chop your nuts and beat your eggs

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Mix your eggs and brown sugar together

(action shot!)

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Add your dry ingredients

(another action shot!)

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Add your vanilla and coconut (so gewy)

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Mix in your chopped pecans

(I was really feeling the action shots)

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Wow. Look at the super sticky nutty goodness? Yumtastic.

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Spread over your crust (which can still be hot)

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Bake at 350 for 25 minutes

When it’s done it should look like this: brown edges, lightly browned top. And your house will smell like heaven.

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Cover in about 1 cup of icing, or just enough so that you can just see through the icing to the nutty yumness.

I already had some icing on hand from making too much for a previous desert so I don’t have pictures of this process but it’s super easy.

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Almond Icing 

2 cups powdered sugar

2-4 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon almond extract (super important)

mix together adding more water to get a texture about like elmer’s glue (sorry, gross analogy but still totally true)

This is what it should look like when you have iced it and it’s still hot, see how you can see bits of the nut layer below the icing? That’s good. Too much icing makes it overwhelmingly sweet and it’s already a very sweet bar.

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Wait for it to cool completely before cutting into rectangles about 1 inch by 1.5 inches. The flavors are better when it is cold. You can eat them warm and they are good, but they are the best after they’ve cooled. This takes a few hours so plan accordingly!

Check it out:

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Oh yeah.

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So good. Much nutty.

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Layers of gewy perfection.

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Scrumptious

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Let me know what you think and what your friends reactions were and how much you love me for telling you about these in the comments below!

 

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Pie Day 12 – Birthday Cake! Salted Caramel Chocolate Ding Dong Cake

Happy birthday to me! This Friday was my birthday, and since I had already spent the week re-trying the Crack pie and because I really wanted birthday cake, this Friday’s “pie” was actually a ridiculously delicious salted caramel chocolate and cream cake adorably named “Salted Caramel Ding Dong Cake” or, as I like to call it “Salted Caramel if-you-don’t-like-it-you’re- a-ding-dong Cake.” Haha, I’m a dork.

It’s actually called that because it has some passing resemblance to a hostess ding dong cake.

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I was super worried about making this cake because my last two cake attempts were super dry and I didn’t like the frosting. But I guess some of this pie baking has rubbed off on my general baking skills because this cake was amazing. No joke, while we were eating it my little sister said with complete seriousness, “I hope you are going to blog about this cake because people need to know about it.”

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And she was right.  You need to know about this cake. It would be evil not to share.

So here you go!

First things first, make this cake early in the day or the day before. It’s supposed to sit in the fridge for 6 hours (or 3 if you are like me and didn’t leave enough time for 6 hours in the fridge- it was fine after 3)

I used this cake recipe called “the best chocolate cake” by My Baking Addiction because it had the most wet ingredients of all the recipes for chocolate cake that I found. It was very good. Although I will take it out 3-5 minutes earlier if I make it again. It said to bake for 30-35 minutes and I pulled them out at 30 minutes and they were totally done. Super clean knife.

I used this recipe for the chocolate/caramel ganache and the stiff whipped cream filling from the blog Eats Well With Others.

First things first, make the cakes. They were so easy to make it was kind of ridiculous.

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (I didn’t use this) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine your dry ingredients first.

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2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (I didn’t use this) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix them in a stand mixer or bowl with a whisk.

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They will come out looking, basically, like a box cake mix.

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Then add all your wet ingredients.

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup freshly brewed (hot) strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix until fully incorporated and pour evenly into two oiled and floured pans (you don’t want your cake to rip when you take them out of the pans, so I highly suggest greasing and flouring)

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Bake at 350 F oven for 25 to 35 minutes for round pans, 30 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick or butter knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

If you don’t cool them completely you will melt your filling and then cry.

The Chocolate Caramel Ganache (Also know as “the stuff dreams are made of”)

  • 9 oz (a little more than a cup) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I just used chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put chocolate and salt in a heat proof bowl.

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In a heavy sauce pan over medium low heat mix the 1/3 c of water and 1 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved.

Raise heat  to medium high and continue to heat until the sugar mix is a deep amber. The liquid will bubble quite a bit and sugar will harden on the edges of the pan.

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Remove from heat and pour in the 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. The caramel in the pot will turn into a HARD clump when the cool cream is poured on it.

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That’s ok.

Put the pan back on the heat and continue to stir the caramel and cream, slowly melting the caramel into the cream.

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Stir until all the caramel is melted into the cream. This mixture will bubble a lot. So be prepared by using a large pan or being ready to pull it off the burner before it bubbles over.

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Once the mixture is a smooth even consistency with no more caramel chunks remove from heat and pour over your chocolate and salt.

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Mix the caramel and chocolate until all the chocolate is melted, then add the teaspoon of vanilla and mix that in.

You now have your chocolate caramel ganache!

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Let the ganache cool slightly for 10 minutes or so.

The recipe I used said at this point you should put one of your cold cake layers in a springform pan and pour 1 cup of the ganache over it to cool. I didn’t have a springform pan so I just poured the ganache over and let it drip a little down the edges. The center layer of ganache wasn’t as thick as it could have been, but it was still very good. either way is fine.

Let this cool for about 30 minutes while you make the whipped cream filling.

Cream Filling:

  • 1 1/4 tsp unflavored (kosher/vegan) gelatin
  • 2 T cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • flaky sea salt

Put 2 T cold water in a small microwave safe bowl and add the gelatin. Let stand until soft and incorporated, about 10 minutes.

Place the 1 1/2 c heavy cream, 1/2 c powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form.

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Microwave the gelatin mix for about a minute until a runny liquid. Mix it into the whipped cream. Mine was very hot coming out of the microwave so I poured it into a cold cup before pouring it into the whipped cream. It was still hot but it incorporated well.

Smooth a layer of whipped cream over the bottom layer of the cake (still in the springform if you are using one)

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Gently place the second layer of cake on top of the whipped filling.

Pour the ganache over the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides. I started in the center and whirled my way out to the edge.

WARNING! I had WAY more ganache than necessary and mine ended up pouring everywhere and spilling over the edges of the plate and I didn’t even use it all! Go slow and pour on as much as you want.

See how crazy mine looked?

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Also, mine was kind of bumpy looking because I didn’t use a springform. If I was to do it again without a springform I would cut and smooth the edges a little better and then put less ganache on.

But whatever, it was super delicious and I have no complaints!

Let sit in the refrigerator for 6 hours (I only left it for 3 and it was fine) to give the cream center time to stiffen up so it doesn’t just smuch out when you cut it.

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Cut, serve, drool, enjoy, then eat another slice. It’s so good everyone will love it, and they will love you for giving it to them.

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Yum.

 

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

I stole this picture directly from the blog I’m about to link you to. I’m not going to post the recipe here on my blog, just follow the link and use the recipe you find there.

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies: Macheesmo

These are my number one favorite oatmeal cookies of all time. I’m posting them now because each time I have tried to make this “Crack Pie” I started by making a big delicious looking oatmeal cookie then crumbling it down to make the crust.. which then got covered in gewy yuck that didn’t turn into pie and I didn’t get pie or cookies.

Basically what I’m saying is I’ve been really craving these oatmeal cookies.

They are great plain or with a light smear of almond icing (Powdered sugar with a little milk or water to the thickness you want and a splash of almond extract. Try it. It’s delicious.)

If you, too, try the crack pie recipe (fixed version coming soon!) and find yourself craving oatmeal cookies, this is the recipe that you want. I promise.

Olive Oile Citrus Cake

My mother in law made this Olive Oil Citrus Cake when I was down for a visit and it was so easy and moist and delicious I had to get the recipe from her. She sent it along and I then proceeded to make it for my mom for her birthday!

It’s hard to tell because of the powdered sugar, but they are shaped like roses! My mom loves roses and she had recently given me a rose-shaped cupcake tin. Perfection.

Aren’t they pretty?

Apparently there is a place in LA called Tender Greens that sells these. I have never been there but if all their food is as good as these then next time I’m in the area I will certainly be stopping by.

The recipe below is for making them as mini bunt cakes or cup cakes

The Recipe:

Olive Oil Cake – Citrus from Tender Greens

2 eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 c. (11 oz) sugar

1 c. whole milk

1 c. good quality olive oil

Zest of 2 oranges or other citrus fruit, plus more for garnish

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and thick, about 4 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, olive oil and citrus zest. With the mixer running slowly add to the egg mixture, scraping the bowl down once while mixing to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Over low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, scraping down the bowl once again while mixing to make sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins, filling each cut about 3/4 full. Bake at the cakes at 350 F until the toothpick inserted comes out clean, 18 – 24 minutes rotating halfway for even heating.

Cool the cakes completely and dust lightly with powdered sugar and sprinkle with extra zest before serving.

These are better without frosting, they are best served sprinkled with powdered sugar!

*Warning* *Warning* This is NOT a pie post!

I am trying to get better at making pie, that is why I am writing this pie blog. But I also love to bake other things like bread and cookies and candy cake! And every now and again I come across a recipe that deserves to be shared… or at least saved here so I can find it again. Plus this Friday is my birthday (!!) and I’m planning on making myself an AMAZING cake and it wouldn’t feel right not to tell everyone how it went. Because it’s going to go perfectly. Hopefully.

This is what I have in mind:

Moist, chocolate, maybe a little salted caramel mixed in, maybe some creamy something white, maybe sprinkles! I don’t know yet. Definitely chocolate. I’ll let you know how it goes.