Recently a friend and I were debating the flavorings I was going to use in an upcoming recipe and it led us to question a couple definitions, specifically for extracts and emulsions used in baking.

The main difference between emulsions and extracts are that the emulsions are water based and not alcohol based. Yet they can be substituted 1:1 in a recipe. So how do you choose which to use and when to use it when so many meet your flavor needs while cooking and baking?  Best answer: you should choose an emulsion when you’re concerned about the flavor baking out of a recipe. Because they are water-based, bakery emulsions don’t evaporate as quickly as extracts, resulting in stronger aromas and tastes.

EXTRACT – an extract is a preparation containing the active ingredient of a substance in a concentrated form such as vanilla extract used in many cakes and cookies.    SYNONYMS: distillation, distillate, concentrate, essence, juice

EMULSION – I found SEVERAL definitions for emulsions:

  • A system (such as fat in milk) consisting of a liquid dispersed with or without an emulsifier in an immiscible liquid – liquids not forming a homogeneous mixture when added together.
  • A fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.

But for me the most accurate definition I think is:

  • a mixture that results when one liquid is added to another and is mixed with it but does not dissolve into such as mixing oil and vinegar together which produces an emulsion.

Extracts and Flavors are great for both cooking and baking applications. Most extracts and flavors contain 45% alcohol by volume and require sufficient cooking time to evaporate the alcohol.

Use an extract or flavor in cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, and other baked goods. You can also use extracts and flavors in homemade chocolates and candies.

Bakery Emulsions are water-based and alcohol-free versions of extracts. Use them the same way you would an extract but they are also especially great for flavoring frostings and other no-bake applications.

Bakery Emulsions have the same strength as extracts, so they can be substituted one to one in recipes. But conversely because they are water-based, bakery emulsions aren’t suitable for flavoring hard candies or chocolates.

I like the brands Cook’s and Lorann’s extracts and emulsions because they are fairly readily available in most specialty grocers.

Making your own vanilla extract is easy too.  Most recipes call for vodka, but I find flavored rums work really well to as do whiskeys.


6 whole Vanilla Beans
1 cup ALCOHOL of your choice

  • Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise with scissors or a knife, leaving a bit intact at the end just to make it pretty. Cut the beans down to fit the height of your jar.
  • Place beans in jar.
  • Cover with alcohol.
  • Screw the lid on tight or cork it and give it a good shake.
  • Place in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor will be. Be sure and give the jar a shake every week or so.


11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Creme-de-Menthe Filling (BELOW)
Dark Chocolate Ganache (BELOW)

  • In a medium saucepan, melt and stir 4 ounces (3/4 cup) of the dark chocolate pieces, butter, and the unsweetened chocolate over low heat.
  • Remove from heat; cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set aside.
  • Stir sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon JUST until combined.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined.
  • Stir in the remaining 7 ounces (1-1/2 cups) dark chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  • Spread Creme-de-Menthe Filling over cooled brownies.
  • Place uncut brownies in the refrigerator while preparing the Dark Chocolate Ganache.
  • Spread slightly cooled Dark Chocolate Ganache over Creme de Menthe Filling, spreading to the edges with a spatula.
  • Cover and chill about 1 hour or until set. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars.
  • Place brownies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons GREEN creme de menthe
Milk (optional)

  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.
  • Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.
  • Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar.
  • Beat in creme-de-menthe.
  • Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. If necessary beat in 1 tablespoon of additional milk to make the filling slightly thicker than a frosting

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces

  • In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream JUST to boiling over medium-high heat.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add dark chocolate pieces (do not stir).
  • Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Pour over brownies and QUICKLY spread evenly.

NOTE: You can substitute 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, and several drops of green food coloring for the GREEN Creme-de-menthe.


When we go antiquing one of my favorite finds are old recipe boxes, BUT they have to be full of lovingly handwritten recipes!  Needless to say between these finds, cookbooks and magazines I have amassed a LARGE amount of recipes to try or if you will, scraps of recipes, hence the new meme name.

Years ago I participated in a meme called Magazine Monday in an effort to clean out magazines and cook booklets hosted over at the now defunct blog Cream Puffs in Venice. I’d love to revive that meme AND clean out ALL my scraps of paper, but as I don’t know how to contact her for her permission to use the meme, I’ve decided to create my own theme called RECIPE SCRAPS and even better it won’t be tied to a specific day 😀  I like not assigning a specific day to this theme AND even better these scraps of paper will go away forever as I try each recipe.

1 pie crust (homemade or store bought – your choice)
1 can Libby’s pumpkin puree
6 bananas
3 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon FRESHLY grated nutmeg
pinch FRESH ground salt

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Arrange unpeeled bananas on cookie sheet and roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before handling.
  • Increase oven temperature to 375°.
  • Line a 9 inch pie plate with pie dough.
  • Lightly brush the edges of the pie shell with heavy cream to create a perfect, golden brown finish.
  • Peel bananas.
  • Add bananas to food processor and puree.
  • Add sugar, eggs, cream, pumpkin pie spice, butter, nutmeg and salt.
  • Add pumpkin and stir until JUST incorporated.
  • Transfer to pie plate.
  • Bake 50 minutes or until set around edges and only slightly jiggles.
  • Cool completely on rack.

4 egg whites
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch FRESH ground salt

  • Preheat oven broiler.
  • Beat egg whites until frothy.
  • Add cream of tartar and powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff glossy curled peaks form.
  • Spread on filling being sure to seal the edges to the pie crust.
  • Swirl meringue with the back of a spoon to create decorative peaks.
  • Broil at least 4 inches from the heat source for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden.
  • Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.


  • Preparing your meringue in a freezer chilled metal bowl with freezer chilled beaters helps with the meringue success.
  • If you have a kitchen torch, you can also use this method as an alternative, but be careful to spread the flame evenly across the entire surface to achieve a uniform look.


1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup QUALITY honey
1 cup JIF creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups rice krispies
Almond Bark (optional)
Sprinkles for decorating (optional)

  • Combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, peanut butter and vanilla in heavy saucepan, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add rice krispies.
  • Using gloved hands lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray roll into small balls and place on wax paper.
  • Let cool completely.
  • You can eat them as soon as they cool or decorate them if you choose.
  • Melt almond bark and dip each ball in chocolate before placing on wax paper.
  • Immediately decorate as the almond bark dries very quickly.


  • This recipe is COMPLETELY versatile – change out the cereal for ANY cereal of your choice, cheerios, corn flakes, chex etc… AND/OR you can change out the peanut butter for another nut butter, almond butter, cashew butter…
  • Sprinkles can be anything of your choosing.  I also like using mini chocolate chips and finely chopped honey roasted peanuts.


I was recently hunting for a gift idea for a friend and thought she might like a digital candy thermometer (she’s a baker and makes the most wonderful cupcakes). So I sent her a quick text to start the conversation. It went like this:

ME: Do you have a candy thermometer I could borrow?
H: No I don’t… if a recipe requires me to use a thermometer, I find another recipe 😀
ME: LMBO 😀 😀 😀 😀 That’s great unless you’re actually making something that needs to be a specific temperature to set up.
H: You’re more adventurous!… if it requires a certain spice or ingredient, I just won’t make it.

LOL I had to come up with another idea 😀
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
FLAKY Sea Salt
finely Chopped nuts (optional)

  • Line 9 x 9 inch pan with foil.
  • Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a 3 quart pan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in sugar, pumpkin pie spice, allspice and cinnamon until well blended.
  • Whisk in corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin.
  • Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan and get ready to stir for quite awhile.
  • Stir constantly until you reach 248 degrees a.k.a. firm ball stage.
  • Remove from heat and quickly add nuts if your using them.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Immediately sprinkle with salt.
  • Let stand 2 hours or until firm.
  • Use the foil to lift the caramels from the pan.
  • Using a BUTTERED knife cut into 3/4 inch squares.
  • Wrap in individual non-stick foil or waxed paper and twist ends.

NOTES:  If you want a bit of a change up stir in some chopped honey roasted peanuts or pecans at the last minute before poring into cooling pan.


I found this recipe over at Rebecca’s blog and was intrigued so I did a little history.

The Brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian dessert created in the 1940’s.  It is made of condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder and then rolled in chocolate sprinkles. While it is uncertain of when and where the recipe was actually created, there is some history that the name originated in 1945 after WWII.  Eduardo Gomes, whose military ran was Brigadier. He was campaigning for president in Brazil and his slogan was “Vote for the Brigadier who is handsome and single!”

This slogan gave him enormous success especially among women. Many of his most devoted voters decided to try and promote his campaign by organizing fundraiser parties to give him more visibility. Instead of traditional merchandising it was decided to sell candy. But, there was a significant problem everywhere – a lack of fresh milk and sugar in this post war era. It was decided to use condensed milk and mix it with butter and chocolate.

This new creation, specifically these candies were come to be known as “The candy of the Brigadeiro” in his honor. While the candy was a success, the candidate was not.  The name was then shortened to BRIGADEIROS in the 1950’s.

1 can Nestle’s La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
Candy Quick, optional

  • Put all ingredients in a pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until you can see the bottom of the pan between swipes across middle (about 15 to 20 minutes); continue to cook until almost solid (about another 5 minutes).
  • Pour mixture into buttered plates to cool.
  • Using buttered hands, pull away pieces of the candy and roll into balls.
  • Roll each ball in candy sprinkles of choice to complete.


  • I also coated each one in candy quick to give it a hard shell before decorating.
  • Rebecca’s recipe stated that Nestle’s La Lechera sweetened condensed milk was the brand to use for best results, but out of curiosity I tried the La Lechera AND Eagle brand with very little difference in FLAVOR ONLYTexture wise, Nestle’s La Lechera was DEFINITELY the best though!
  • You can also use Nesquik chocolate or strawberry flavored drink mixes, peanut butter powder or espresso powder for different flavors… There really appears to be lots of ways to flavor and decorate Brigadeiros!   For one version I added a couple drops of peppermint extract.  Our favorite version trades 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder for peanut butter powder.


SOUR CREAM FAN ROLLS yields 15 rolls
3-4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup fine sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten

  • In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan heat sour cream, water and butter to 125°.
  • Add to dry ingredients and beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs and 1/4 cup flour. Beat 2 more minutes.
  • Stir in enough remaining flour until a soft dough forms.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  • Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with a cheesecloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.


  • Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half.
  • Roll each portion in a rectangle about 9×23.
  • Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Stack 5 strips together.
  • Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place cut sides up in greased muffin cups.
  • Repeat until all dough is used.
  • Cover with cheesecloth and place in warm area to let rise again until doubled, about 20 minutes.


  • Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool on wire racks.


The BEST pies MUST start with the BEST crust, one that is tender and flaky as well as flavorful!  One of my keys to that crust is VODKA! It adds the moisture when you need it, but then evaporates during baking leaving a tender flaky crust in its wake.


PIE CRUST (makes 2 9 inch pie crusts)
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon FINE sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons REALLY COLD** unsalted butter, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons REALLY COLD** Crisco stick**, cut into cubes
6-8 tablespoons Vodka

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Using a pastry blender cut in butter and Crisco until mixture is crumbly.
  • Using a fork add Vodka 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together to form a ball.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a ball.
  • Form into 2 disks and wrap in saran.
  • Refrigerate at least an hour.
  • When ready to bake, roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface to size and transfer to pie plate.
  • Trim crust and flute edge.
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Line pie crust with a double layer of foil and fill with beans or pie weights. DO NOT PRICK THE PIE SHELL!
  • Bake on lower rack 15-20 minutes until edges are a light golden brown.
  • Remove weights and foil and bake 5 minutes more.
  • Cool COMPLETELY on wire rack.
  • Reduce heat to 325°.

3 1/2 cups FRESH cranberries
1/2 cup chopped cherry pieces
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 LARGE eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla

  • In a large sauce pan combine, cranberries, cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, orange juice and water. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, stir occasionally and cook uncovered 7-10 minutes until cranberries have all popped.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, flour and salt until well blended.
  • Gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of the cranberry mixture to temper the eggs.
  • Add back to the cranberry mixture and return to a low heat stirring constantly until a gentle boil. Cook a few minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Cool while preparing the meringue.

4 LARGE egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1/2 cup sugar

  • Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until foamy.
  • Add the remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time beating on high until sugar is dissolved.
  • Beat until you have stiff glossy peaks.
  • Pour warm filling into pie crust.
  • Spread meringue over filling sealing the edges to the pastry.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until meringue is golden brown
  • COOL COMPLETELY on wire rack for 1 hour.
  • Refrigerate and CHILL at least 4 hours before serving.


  • Cranberries will pop on their own, but if they need a little help, use the back of a spoon and pop them against the side of the pan.
  • After I cut the butter and Crisco into cubes I place them on a small plate in my ice tray until I need them.
  • You can use frozen cranberries and cherries, but be sure to thaw completely and drain well.
  • Pineapple juice can easily be substituted for the orange juice.
  • For BEST results chill beaters and metal mixing bowl in freezer for making the meringue.



3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons fine sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 LARGE egg

  • In a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan combine pumpkin, milk, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Heat until warm and butter is melted.
  • Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until blended.
  • Using hand mixer on low speed add egg until combined. Increase speed and beat 3 minutes until well blended, scrap down sides as necessary.
  • Fold in remaining flour JUST until dough is no longer sticky.
  • Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Turn dough ball to coat with the grease.
  • Cover with a cheesecloth and let rise in a warm place an hour or so until double in size.

2 1/2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup Craisins
1/3 cup golden raisins

  • In a mixing bowl combine the pumpkin and butter. Set aside.
  • In another small bowl combine the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  • Grease a 9×13 pan. Set aside.


  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll dough into a 12×10 rectangle.
  • Spread with pumpkin butter mixture.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.
  • Sprinkle with craisins, golden raisins and walnuts.
  • Roll up tightly jelly roll style.
  • Pinch dough to seal edges.
  • Cut into 12 rolls.
  • Place rolls cut side down in prepared pan.
  • Cover with cheesecloth and let rise in a warm place for an hour until nearly double in size.
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Bake rolls 20-25 minutes and golden brown.

8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Starbucks vanilla powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the brown sugar stirring to dissolve until it starts to bubble.
  • Add the cream, cooking for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk in 2 cups of powdered sugar until well blended.
  • Add up to 2 more cups of powdered sugar to get to the consistency you want.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  • Ice the rolls with half the icing as soon as they come out of the oven. This allows the icing to ooze down into the rolls.
  • Cool 15 minutes and ice again.


I’ve been weighing ingredients more lately. I guess I’ve been watching too many baking shows that refer to it all being a science – Justin Warner, Damaris Phillips and Christina Tosi! But, I am much happier with most recipes since I’ve begun doing that.

2 cups (400 grams) fine granualted sugar
2 teaspoons (6 grams) Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

  • Line a half sheet pan with a silicone mat or lightly grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium sauce pan heat sugar over medium heat, stirring regularly until sugar dissolves. The sugar will clump – don’t worry, it is supposed to!  Keep stirring until sugar completely dissolves and turns amber. Continue stirring until completely smooth.  As soon as it begins to smoke, remove from heat and pour into prepared pan.
  • IMMEDIATELY sprinkle with the sea salt
  • When completely cool, break apart into large chunks.

1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 grams) fine granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) salted caramel dust (see below)
1/4 cup (55 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 LARGE egg (50 grams)
1 teaspoon (4 grams) PURE vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (350 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) QUALITY ground cinnamon

  • Weigh out 200 grams of the salted caramel chunks.
  • Place in a ziploc bag and break with a rolling pin until you have small semi-uniform size pieces. Set aside.
  • Place remaining salted caramel chunks into food processor and pulse until you have a finely ground dust. Measure out 150 grams (3/4 cup) of the dust and set aside. Add any remaining dust to your Rolling Sugar Bowl.
  • In a stand mixer combine butter sugar, caramel dust and brown sugar at high speed until creamy.
  • Add egg and vanilla beating until combined.
  • Sift together the flour baking soda and sea salt.
  • Reduce mixer speed and add flour mixture gradually beating JUST until combined.
  • Stir in the caramel chunk pieces until evenly distributed.

1/4 cup (50 grams) fine granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (2 grams) pumpkin pie spice
Leftover Caramel Dust

  • In a small bowl combine the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and leftover caramel dust until well blended.
  • Roll dough into ping pong sized balls.
  • Roll each ball in the sugar mixture before placing on baking tray 2 inches apart.
  • Place tray of cookies in freezer 10 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes until golden and puffy.
  • IMMEDIATELY sprinkle with sea salt.
  • COOL COMPLETELY on pan before transferring to cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container to prevent cookies from becoming sticky and stuck together.


  • If you are going to freeze dough, roll into balls first and freeze solid on a sheet pan before placing them in a freezer bag.
  • Make sure to have everything in place and ready before beginning the salted caramel. This process happens quickly and cannot be slowed down. It will burn easily.


I found this recipe on Facebook via Chasity Blankenship-Reed. I have changed it a little bit.  YUMMY!

PEANUT BUTTER CUP BROWNIES – yields 1 dozen muffin size brownies

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (divided 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips (divided 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup KRAFT caramel bits
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl combine sugar, softened butter, and water.
  • Microwave on high for about 45 seconds or until butter is melted.
  • Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted.
  • Stir in egg and vanilla extract, mix well.
  • Add flour and baking soda, stirring until combined. Allow the batter to cool to room temperature (it won’t take very long).


  • Then, stir in 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet.
  • After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If it doesn’t happen then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.


  • Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir.
  • While brownies are still warm spoon about a tablespoon full of peanut butter into the center of each brownie.
  • Top with remaining 1/3 cup of milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips and caramels bits.
  • Cool completely in pan.
  • Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • To reheat the brownies just pop ‘em in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.


I’m posting this recipe for my nieces while I keep looking for the one I actually promised them.

Before we get into the recipe I thought I’d share a little about crust making.


There is nothing as good as a flaky, buttery, tender homemade crust in my opinion. Sure, remade is convenient, but it just doesn’t compare. You DON’T have to be a BLUE RIBBON baker to make a great crust either.

Pie dough is basically three simple ingredients; flour, fat and water in EXACT, or at least near exact proportions.

While you supposedly don’t need to sift flour anymore, you do need to stir it up to make it fluffy before measuring. Personally, I still use a sifter. Use a spoon to put the flour in your measuring cup and a knife to level it off. Just scooping into the flour bin tends to pack the flour too tightly.

Be SURE to use COLD fats whether it’s butter, shortening or lard. This is a step that helps make your crust flaky. If you’re recipe calls for fat in a liquid form it will be more tender than flaky. When you cut in your fats STOP when you have pieces the size of peas. Anything too large will allow the dough to form holes in your crust when the fats melt. If the pieces are too small they melt too fast taking away from the flakiness of your crust.

Be sure and add your COLD water only a tablespoon at a time JUST until the dough holds together. DO NOT OVER MIX! Add just enough water to bring the dough together so you can form a ball.

BLIND BAKING (cooking the crust by itself before adding the filling) makes a stronger crust for filling. There are many tricks for doing this. One of the simplest methods is to add a piece of heavy duty folded piece of foil to the inside of the crust and gently form the foil to the pie pan shape. Partially bake the crust, remove the foil, add the filling and finish baking. You will probably want to add a piece of foil around the edges to keep your edges from browning too fast and burning. Many times I add a layer of beans on top of the foil to keep it weighted so it doesn’t bubble and blister. If you’re making a pie with an unbaked filling, remove the foil halfway through the baking time, prick the bottom with a fork and return the crust to the oven to finish baking.


  • TOO MUCH flour or water will make your crust TOUGH.
  • TOO MUCH fat will make your crust crumbly and fall apart.


  • Use 2 sheets of wax paper when rolling your dough so you don’t need to add additional flour. I prefer to do this to keep the crust from getting too tough.
  • Carefully roll your dough gently around your rolling pin and move it to your pie pan and gently unroll to avoid stretching or tearing it. You can also carefully fold your disc in quarters to move it to the pie plate.

This pie tastes just like a caramel apple! The beauty though is that there is a thin and flaky crust that houses the juicy apples and crispy crust that is drizzled with homemade caramel for a melt in your mouth tasty treat.  There are 2 versions CARAMEL APPLE SLAB PIE and APPLE PUMPKIN SPICE SLAB PIE


  • Prep time 40 mins
  • Cook time 45 mins
    Total time 1 hour 25 mins

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup CRISCO butter-flavored shortening
8 tablespoons cold water

  • Spray a 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cold water over the mixture and toss with a fork. Repeat using 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it is moistened and knead the dough into a ball.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 19×13-inch rectangle.
  • Wrap it around the rolling pin and unroll it into the prepared baking pan.
  • Ease dough into the pan and up the sides, being careful not to stretch it.
  • Trim dough to ½ inch beyond edge of pan.
  • Fold dough edge over and flute as desired.

⅔ cup sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons QUALITY ground cinnamon
3½ pounds granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (about 10 cups)

  • In an extra large bowl combine the sugar, ⅓ cup flour, cinnamon and apples.
  • Toss until coated.
  • Spoon the mixture on the dough and spread evenly.

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter

  • In a large bowl, stir together quick-cooking rolled oats, packed brown sugar, and all-purpose flour.
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until topping mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sprinkle EVENLY on top of apples.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender.
  • Cool slightly.


1 cup PACKED brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon PURE Vanilla
Pinch of salt

  • Mix all ingredients together until smooth in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat.
  • Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Serve warm or refrigerate until cold.
  • Drizzle on top of apple slab pie.