Posts tagged chocolate

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cookie Bars

Caramelitas232

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I heard the sound of a snow shovel banging the pavement outside my house.  My first thought was, “I hate winter! Please spring hurry up”! In my neighborhood, people are really go getters when it comes to shoveling.  The last snow flake has barely fallen before people are out there clearing the walks and driveways.  On this particular day, it had only snowed a few inches so I knew that it would not be enough to warrant my neighbor getting out his snow blower and so kindly doing his walk and mine, but that it was too much to ignore, so I would have to shovel.  I can’t really complain too much though as like I said, we have the world’s best neighbors who have been so kind as to use their snow blower to clear our sidewalk and driveway all winter long.  I could never thank them enough, so I always bake them something special just to say thank you.

Just before I got into bed I decided to peek out my window and see which of my neighbors was so motivated that they were shoveling their walk at 10:00 at night.  As I looked out the window, I was shocked (and thrilled) to see that the teenage boy who lives next to me was actually out there shoveling MY driveways. OMG what a fantastic surprise.  I quickly put on my slippers and popped out the doors to say thank you, thank you, thank you to this sweet young man.  He just smiled and said “sure no problem” as if this is something all people do.  As I laid in bed thinking about that kind kid, I knew I had to bake him something really really delicious.  Salted Caramel and Chocolate bars were the perfect thing!

Let me start by saying that I think this may be one of the most delicious and most addictive things I have ever baked.  The best part is that it is actually a really simple recipe too.  People will love you for these and think that they were much harder to make then they actually were.

Here is what you need:

1 c. flour

1.5 c. oats (old-fashioned or quick oats)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c. (1 and a 1/2 sticks) melted butter

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

3/4 c. chocolate chips

The caramel decision:

Next you will have a decision to make.  For the caramel sauce, you could easily melt about 30-40 caramel squares in a pan with about 1/2 c. of heavy cream. Then add about 1/2 teaspoon good sea salt once the caramel is melted and smooth.  If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you could make a salted caramel sauce. I had made this a few days ago for another recipe so I had some in my fridge already.  I think for many people making caramel might sound a bit intimidating.  Well let me tell you, if I can do it, you can do it.  The only hard part was not getting distracted and walking away.  You just need to stay with it for the entire 5 minutes or so in order to keep it from burning.  This is such a delicious sauce that I really recommend that you make it.  If you follow the recipe here for salted caramel sauce it will make some extra. You will need about half for this recipe. Put the other half in the fridge in a jar and enjoy on everything (or just by the spoonful as I do).

For the caramel sauce you will need either:

30-40 caramel squares

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. sea salt

OR

1 recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce ( you will only need about half for this recipe)

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and melted butter.  Spread half of the mixture on the bottom of and 8×8 baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove from oven and evenly pour chocolate chips and caramel sauce over the crust.  Then spread the remaining dough mixture on top.  Then return to the oven and bake for about 15-20 more minutes or until he edges are bubbly and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting and removing from the pan.

You may be thinking that this makes a pretty small batch as it is baked in an 8 x 8 pan. Well it does and at first I was tempted to double the recipe.  These are so delicious and irresistible that I was glad I did not double it.  We gave about half to the neighbor kid and then ate the rest at home. I literally could not control myself around these.  Every time I walked into the kitchen, I had just a little piece.  That little piece became half the recipe in no time.  I was glad when they were gone so I could go back to life and stop obsessing over these.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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Pumpkin Granola Muffins

Due to the fact that we are currently home bound due to getting 40″ of snow in 24 hours two days ago, we have been doing lots of baking.  We just made these for the first time today and boy are they yummy. We LOVE anything pumpkin in our house, so we are always looking for a new recipe that includes vitamin packed pumpkin.  This recipe was adapted from one I saw from Libby’s Pumpkin website.

Here is what you need:

1 c. whole wheat flour 143809lrg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. canola oil

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

1/ 2 – 1 c. low-fat granola

Here is what you do:  

Preheat the oven to 350. Then beat together the sugar and the oil until well combined.  Next add the pumpkin and the two eggs to the brown sugar and oil. Beat this until very well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda.  If you have it on hand, you could use pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.  Add the dry mixture slowly to the wet ingredients and beat slowly to combine.  Finally stir in the chocolate chips.

Once combined, spoon batter into lightly greased mini muffin tins. Fill almost completely. Then top each muffin with about a 1/2 tsp of granola. Press the granola into the batter slightly.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

These muffins are a wonderful snack for both kids and adults.  They are healthy and not overly sweet, but the mini chocolate chips made my kids think they were having a dessert.  My kids loved them and begged for another one.  These types of muffins freeze really well too so they are a great snack to pack into the freezer and then throw them in a lunch box for a tasty lunchtime treat.  Hope you enjoy and happy baking!

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