MAGIC COOKIE BUTTER BARS

MAGIC COOKIE BUTTER BARS
Years ago one of my VERY favorite treats were Eagle Brand 7 Layer bars A.K.A. as Magic Cookie Bars with sweetened condensed milk, BUT, they were so heavy and calorie packed. This recipe is a WONDERFUL substitute for that recipe and the bars are still moist and tender AND they taste amazingly similar – kind of like a loaded Blondie that strives to be overindulgent! This recipe also makes smaller portion which is great for just 2 people

BARS
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon (I use Red Ape)
Heaping 1/3 cup smooth Cookie Butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup roasted coconut pieces

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, whisking until smooth.
  • Add the heaping Cookie Butter, and stir to blend.
  • Add the flour and salt, stirring until just combined DO NOT OVER MIX!!!! – these are like brownies and overtaxing will make them tough.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips, raisins and coconut.
  • Set pan aside while you prepare the streusel.

STREUSEL
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup whole rolled old-fashioned oats DO NOT USE quick or instant oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoonS cinnamon, to taste
2 tablespoons Cookie Butter, melted for final drizzle after baking
2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips

  • Using the same bowl you made the batter in add all the streusel ingredients except the 2 tablespoons cookie butter and work the mixture with a spoon, a pastry cutter, or your hands until small pebbles form.
  • Sprinkle streusel evenly over top.
  • Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly; and the edges are set and have pulled away slightly from sides of pan. Test with a toothpick. If it comes out mostly clean, you’re good to go. EVERY oven is different so start checking these at the 30 minute mark.
  • After pulling pan from the oven, heat 2 tablespoons of Cookie Butter and 2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips in the microwave to melt, about 15 seconds.
  • Immediately and evenly drizzle Chocolate Cookie Butter over the top of bars.
  • Allow pan to cool for at least 30 minutes cutting.
  • Lift out foil and place on cutting board.
  • Slice and serve.
  • Store bars in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Linking to FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE NUT BARS

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE NUT BARS – the ultimate cookie bar for those that LOVE both sweet and salty mixed together! adapted (but not by much!) from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 16 cookie bars                Prep:15 minutes
Cook:30 minutes                      Total:45 minutes

2 1/8 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips**
1/2 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk
Fleur de sel (Sea salt), for sprinkling over caramel and bars

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Grease a 12×5 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips, toffee bits and walnuts.
  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream.
  • Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes.
  • Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  • Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about ½ inch around the border.
  • Sprinkle the caramel with sea salt.
  • Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered.
  • Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  • Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set.
  • Cut into squares and serve.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

NOTE: ** I like to use  mixture of peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.

MOLASSES CRINKLES

Normally I leave these plain, but just for the holiday we added a little cheery icing and sprinkles.
MOLASSES CRINKLES
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
turbinado sugar for dipping

  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
  • Cream butter, add sugar gradually until consistently smooth.
  • Blend in beaten egg and molasses.
  • Gradually stir flour mixture into creamed mixture.
  • Chill dough 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Shape dough into small balls and dip tops in turbinado sugar.
  • Place cookies on WELL greased cookie sheet or silicone mat. DO NOT FLATTEN.
  • Bake 7-9 minutes.
  • Let cool 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

LEBKUCHEN aka GINGER COOKIES

Do you have a recipe that calls for candied citron? Don’t know what it is? Well, it’s not candied lemon or grapefruit peel. Citron is an actual semitropical fruit that’s similar to a lemon but with a thicker skin. To make candied citron, the citron is blanched in water, boiled in sugar syrup, and dried. It lends a mild floral note to fruitcakes and other such confections. While I love candied citron know that you have other options. Each shines in a different way, but they can pretty much be used interchangeably in most recipes, so if you happen to have one kind on hand, try that in your recipe.

Photography by: Chelsea Cavanaugh

ORANGE SLICES (Top Left) – They’re great as a decorative flourish on top of cupcakes.
CITRON PEEL (Top Right) – Though the pulp is sour, the candied peel is perfect for baking into stollen or stirring into granola.
LEMON RIND (Middle Left) – Finely chop it and mix into muffins and pancakes for a bright flavor.
ORANGE PEEL (Middle Right) – Dip pieces in dark chocolate and serve as an after-dinner treat.
CITRON SLICES (Bottom Left) – Serve thin slices as part of a holiday cheese plate.
CLEMENTINE SLICES (Bottom Right) – You can also garnish cocktails with these.

Candied citrus is available at specialty stores (especially around the holidays) and online at stores like junetaylorjams.com, but you can also easily make your own at home. Either way, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a month.

LEBKUCHEN
Traditional Lebkuchen German Christmas cookies are a form of gingerbread descended from medieval times and taste spicy and nutty in flavor. They were typically a combination of spices, honey, and dried bread crumbs. They are often cut into “sugar” cookie shapes and ornately decorated. I made a super “simple” version this year for hubby since I am unable to make neighbor plates and do my normal holiday baking.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes.
  • Cook time: 10-12 minutes.
  • Makes 12 servings.

COOKIES
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses
¾ cup brown sugar
1 LARGE egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2¾ cup flour, plus flour for dusting
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice & nutmeg
⅓ cup candied citron, diced (I prefer candied ginger)
⅓ cup hazelnuts, finely chopped

ICING
1 cup sugar
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

GARNISH
Sliced almonds
Candied citron or ginger
Melted chocolate

  • In a medium saucepan, bring honey and molasses to a boil.
  • Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and zest.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and all spices, and stir in molasses mix, citron and hazelnuts. Cover; chill overnight.

 

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • On a floured, hard surface roll out a small amount of chilled dough to ¼-inch thick. If dough is sticky, use more flour.
  • Cut dough in 2-inch rounds or shapes; transfer to prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make icing by heating sugar and liquids in a small saucepan (do not boil).
  • Remove from heat; stir in confectioners’ sugar. If icing crystallizes, reheat and add a touch of water or milk.
  • Transfer cookies to rack and while still hot, brush with icing and decorate with almonds, citron, ginger or sprinkles; or, let cool completely and drizzle with melted chocolate.
  • Store in sealed container.

DAY 16 – BLOGMAS 2017 – LAST MINUTE GIFTS

I’m a Virgo and as such tend to make lists and be over-prepared. So, the only last minute gifts I tend to need are a couple extras for those unexpected visits that come up like a surprise gift from a neighbor.

A few of the “things” I keep on hand (with a festive ribbon already tied to them) for those occasions are:

  • Coffee gift cards
  • Homemade applesauce
  • Homemade jam
  • And closer to the actual day a plate full of homemade goodies

Here are a couple of recipes I make most years that are great to have around and NEVER EVER go to waste whether they are givien as gifts or eaten in house LOL.

CARAMEL BUTTERSCOTCH FUDGE
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup Kraft caramel bits
1 can Eagle-Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans
  • Line a 9×9 pan with heavy duty foil leaving enough foil overhanging the edges to use as handle to lift the foil out of the pan after the fudge has set.
  • Using a double boiler over medium heat melt the chips, caramel bits and condensed milk together until smooth.
  • Immediately pour into the foil lined pan.
  • Top with pecans using a piece of wax paper to press the pecans slightly into the fudge.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 can Eagle-Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup Crushed Honey Roasted Peanuts

  • Line a 9×9 pan with heavy duty foil leaving enough foil overhanging the edges to use as handle to lift the foil out of the pan after the fudge has set.
  • Using a double boiler over medium heat melt the chips and condensed milk together until smooth.
  • Immediately pour into the foil lined pan.
  • Top with peanut pieces using a piece of wax paper to press the pecans slightly into the fudge.

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE DROPS

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE DROPS
2/3 cup Hot water
10 ounces Land of Lakes cocoa mix
2 cups JIF creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups C&H powdered sugar, divided 2cups + 1 cup
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
2 cups crushed ginger snaps
72 Hershey Kisses (I like the cherry cordials)

  • Whisk together the hot water and cocoa mix until smooth.
  • Add peanut butter and corn syrup. Blend until smooth.
  • Add 2 cups powdered sugar and stir until well blended.
  • Stir in cookie crumbs until well blended.
  • Spray wax paper with PURE (these will be sticky so don’t forget this step).
  • Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto the wax paper.
  • Place the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a ball and dredge in powdered sugar.
  • Press your thumb into the center and fill with a Hershey’s kiss.

SEA SALT & CARAMEL RICE KRISPY TREATS

SEA SALT & CARAMEL RICE KRISPY TREATS
8 cups Rice Krispies
50 Kraft caramels
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes

  • In a medium sauce pan over  a low-medium heat stir together the sweetened condensed milk, the caramels and 1/4 cup unsalted butter until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.

 

  • Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil, extending over the edge.
  • Spray with non-stick PURE or PAM.
  • Melt butter in large sauce pan.
  • Add marshmallows and stir  until just melted.
  • Add vanilla, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of caramel sauce and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in rice krispies until evenly coated.
  • Press into pan**.
  • Cool completely.

 

  • Pour remaining caramel over rice kripy treats and spread even with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle remaining sea salt over top.
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight container.

**I use a stainless steel spatula that has been sprayed with PURE to keep it from sticking.  It helps to press down firmly to get an even level.

SHARING with FOODIE FRIDAY and TASTY THURSDAY.

REINDEER NIBBLES

REINDEER NIBBLES
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
4 cups regular oats (uncooked)
1 cup unsalted peanuts, slightly chopped
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups melted CandyQuick

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Whisk together the honey, peanut butter and cinnamon in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated through. DO NOT BOIL.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • In a large bowl pour peanut butter mixture over the oatmeal, stir to combine.
  • Spread oats in a jelly roll pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Return oats to large mixing bowl and stir in peanuts, chocolate chips and raisins.
  • Spread oat mixture back into jelly roll pan and return to oven.
  • Turn oven off and let cool in oven for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping the door closed.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Melt CandyQuick in 30 second increments until pourable.  Stir after each 30 seconds.
  • Pour CandQuick over oat mixture and freeze for 1 hour.
  • Break apart into pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container.

NOTE: The pieces that are at the bottom make a great granola!

SHARING with FOODIE FRIDAY and TASTY THURSDAY.

CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS

Christmas is right around the corner so I thought I’d share one of my favorite holiday recipes. My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them and know they were there. She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect!  They are delicious and they are a quick, easy, no bake treat and they’re so pretty to add to the cookie & candy tray selections.

CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS
(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)

30 large marshmallows (or 3 cups mini marshmallows or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2-4 cups cornflakes
Red Hots or sprinkles for decorating
  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler.
  • Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

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GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS

Whether you use homemade or store bought these cookies turn out swoon worthy of any holiday goodie platter. They are sooooo simple, but look and taste sooooo decadent.

GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS
42 gingersnap cookies, (homemade or store bought)
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup + 1/4 cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts
12 ounces combination of white and dark chocolate
Sprinkles of choice (I like chocolate for the holidays)

  • Arrange cookies on cooling rack line baking sheet.**
  • In a microwave melt the caramels with the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
  • Stir in peanuts.
  • Spoon about a teaspoon over each cookie.
  • Refrigerate until set.

 

  • Alternately melt white and dark chocolates.
  • Coat each cookie halfway with one of the chocolates, return to the rack allowing the excess to drip off.
  • Sprinkle with sprinkles and/or crushed peanuts.
  • Refrigerate until set.

NOTE** Was paper or parchment paper works well also.

GINGERSNAPS
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup CRISCO
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
sugar for rolling

  • Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and crisco together until smooth.
  • Add sugar and molasses, blending until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture gradually until well blended.
  • Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

 

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Roll dough into small balls
  • Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 minutes for soft chewy cookies and 12 minutes for crisp cookies.

CARAMEL STUFFED AUTUMN SNICKERDOODLES

Another fun find on facebook that I altered to out taste. I mean who doesn’t like a snickerdoodle? and caramel? and cinnamon sugar? Put them all together and you have something really special for the fall season.

CARAMEL STUFFED AUTUMN SNICKERDOODLES yields 12 cookies adapted from DELISH
3/4 cup spiced apple cider
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
Cinnamon sugar, for rolling
12 unwrapped caramel candies, cut into 4 pieces each

  • Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple cider to a simmer, cooking until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Let cool.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar.
  • Add egg, vanilla, molasses and apple cider mixing until well blended.
  • Add flour and mix JUST until combined.
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball then flatten it slightly with your hand.
  • Press 4 caramel pieces into the center of the dough, covering and sealing the caramel entirely with dough.
  • Reshape it into a ball and roll in cinnamon-sugar.
  • Place on cookie sheet and repeat with remaining dough and caramels.
  • Freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and set in the middle, 10-14 minutes.
  • Let cool for on pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

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PB BANANA BITES

These are so SIMPLE and relatively healthy too.
PB BANANA BITES makes 12 – 16 pieces
2 bananas, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (size is based on your desire)
1/4 cup peanut butter
4-6 squares Candiquick
Sea Salt

  • Place a dollop of peanut butter on half the banana slices.
  • Top with the other half of the banana slices.
  • Microwave candiquick at 30 second intervals until melted.
  • Using a fork to support a stack dip it into the chocolate and place on a sheet of waxed paper to harden.
  • While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with seas salt.
  • Keep refrigerated.

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