Salted caramel is seems to the “in” thing now. I have to say I am all for it. I LOVE salted caramel in any form. And then to cover it in chocolate… It can’t get much better. I was browsing recipes to make for goody bags for my sons’ teachers and came across this recipe on Pinterest. I was intrigued. The picture looked so delicious and I have to say the flavor was just as the picture promised. I have made it twice now. The first time exactly as the recipe said, the second “tweaked” a little. The first time the caramel was to runny and oozed out from the chocolate coating. The flavor was still good but you had to use a spoon. Also trying to dip the caramel was a nightmare. The second time I changed it up a little and loved the results. Below is the tweaked recipe. Be forewarned though…..once you have eaten one bite it is hard to stop.
Chocolate Covered Salted Caramels
Ingredients for Caramel:
- 14 T. butter
- 3/4 c. light brown sugar
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 3/4 c. light corn syrup
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 2 t. vanilla
- 1 1/2 t. sea salt (may increase to 2 t if want more)
Ingredients for Chocolate coating:
- 2 c. dark chocolate chips
- 1 T. shortening
- In a heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the caramel ingredients except the vanilla.
- Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is well combined.
- Continue to boil until caramel is a rich caramel color and candy thermometer reaches about 255 º F.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Allow to cool a couple of minutes, then pour into an 8×8 silicone pan or pan lined with parchment paper.
- Refrigerate several hours
- Once chilled, pull caramel out of pan cut into small squares.
- Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave safe bowl for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir and then continue to microwave at 50% power for increments of 30 seconds until chocolate is melted.
- Dip caramel and set on wax paper to harden.
- The correct temperate is very necessary, if the caramel isn’t hot enough it will ooze and not be able to cut or dip.
- Caramel goes from tasting good to burned quickly so watch carefully.
- If you do not have a candy thermometer, then watch for the rich caramel color as well as the texture change. It will go from runny to thick and will string from spoon. When it cools quickly on the spoon and doesn’t drip off but leaves a small string it is ready. Tasting it at intervals you will notice the texture change faster. (Also it tastes good)
- After cutting into squares, divide the caramel into batches and dip a small batch at a time leaving the rest in the fridge. As the start to warm up the squares will start to stick together.
- Instead of melting chocolate the second time, I used the Ghirardelli double chocolate dipping chocolate and just melted it according to instructions on the back with using shortening. It worked well and tasted good!
- You may sprinkle coarse sea salt on top of the dipped chocolates if desired.
Anything with the words chocolate and cheesecake and cupcakes in the title you know has to be good. So when I found this recipe on pinerest with those words and a great picture I had to try them. I have to say I was impressed. A lot of cupcake recipes that I have tried that had a cream cheese filling stayed just that… cream cheese just a harder dried out version of it. Not this recipe, the middle was the texture of cheesecake and tasted like cheesecake. I took these cupcakes to a family pot luck and heard nothing but great comments, Even my husband who isn’t a big chocolate fan but loves cheesecake gave me a great review. I paired this great cupcake with a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream which is a lot less of a sweet frosting like the traditional buttercream frosting made with lots of powdered sugar.
Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
Yield: 16 cupcakes
- 1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips (divided)
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. vegetable or canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 c. water
- 2 packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/8 t. salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line muffin tin with cupcake papers
- Microwave 1/2 c. chocolate chips in small uncovered bowl on high for 45 seconds. Stir. If still not completely melted microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat sugar, oil, 1 egg, and vanilla in a large bowl until blended. Beat in melted chocolate.
- Gradually add flour mixture alternating with water to sugar mixture. (Batter will be thin.)
- Beat cream cheese, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 egg, and salt in a small bowl until creamy. Stir in 1 c. chocolate chips.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 1/2 full.
- Spoon rounded tablespoons of cream cheese mixture over batter.
- Spoon remaining batter over cream cheese.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool on wire racks.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room tempterature
- 2 egg whites
- 3 oz granulated sugar
- Melt chopped chocolate over a water bath or in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.
- Place egg whites and sugar in top of double boiler. Whisk gently until mixture reaches 140 degrees F (or until sugar has dissolved and mixture doesn’t feel grainy between your finger tips). This should take awhile.
- Remove from heat and using electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until egg whites are cool to touch.
- Continue beating, gradually adding butter 1 tablespoon piece at a time and continue to beat.
- At first it will look watery or separated, but continue to beat for 10 – 15 minutes, it will clot and come together into a silky smooth buttercream.
- Once desired piping consistency is reached, fold in cooled chocolate until well mixed. Put on desired cupcakes
- I ended up having more cream cheese mixture left than cupcake batter, so made a second batch of the batter to finish the cream cheese off. Next time I will double the chocolate batter.
- When making the buttercream, it is very important to get the egg whites to 140 º F (60 º C). That temperature is needed to kill any bacteria in the egg whites and make them safe to eat. Don’t cut this step short.
- The more you beat a buttercream (or any frosting) the more air gets into and and makes it thicker and lighter.
It just amazes me how many ice creams you buy in the store that have corn syrup as an ingredient. One of my sons is allergic to corn products, corn syrup included, so I read a lot of labels. He loves ice cream but I get so discouraged not finding a lot he can have. So when I found my ice cream maker in a closet in the garage, I had a wonderful idea to make him ice cream. The recipe below is my 3rd ice cream to make. They all have been wonderful, but this is the first one I got a picture of before it was all gone. With the success I have had so far I’m sure there will be many more recipes posted. I have to add, I think I’m getting spoiled by the homemade variety and how good they are.
This recipe is what is called a custard version. It includes egg yolks, but they are cooked into a custard first to a certain temperature so you won’t have to worry eating uncooked eggs. The custard makes this ice cream so creamy. I found this recipe on www.browneyedbaker.com. I had previously make her Rocky Road ice cream (so good), so when I saw this one I had to try it since my son loves peanut butter cups. I have tweaked it a little to tone down the chocolate intensity. It also called for corn syrup (which I have to avoid), so I substituted simple syrup. Both my sons loved the recipe and gave it two thumbs up. It is fabulous.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Yields: 1 quart
Ingredients for Ice Cream Base:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate (chopped)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 t. vanilla
- 20 regular-size peanut butter cups (chopped)
Ingredients for Peanut Butter Swirl:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 T simple syrup (recipe posted)
- Warm 1 cup of whipping cream with cocoa powder in a saucepan, whisking to blend cocoa in throughly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, the whole time whisking.
- Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then add remaining 1 cup of whipping cream.
- Pour mixture into a large bowl, ensuring to scrap saucepan. Set aside with a mesh strainer on top for later.
- Warm milk, sugar, and salt in same saucepan. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, then pour warmed milk mixture over egg yolks whisking constantly. Then pour back into sauce pan.
- Heat egg yolk mixture over medium heat stirring constantly, scrapping bottom with spatula. When mixture begins to thicken and coat spatula, use an instant read thermometer to get temperature. It should be 170 º F. (Don’t over cook or it will begin to get chunky with cooked egg)
- Pour custard through strainer and stir into chocolate mixture until smooth.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Stir until cool in an ice bath.
- While custard mixture cools, make the peanut butter swirl.
- Combine peanut butter, whipping cream, simple syrup, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on low heat, stirring until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Transfer to an airtight container.
- Chill both the custard and swirl at least 8 hours.
- Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to maker instructions. (If custard is too thick from being cold, whisk it and then pour into machine.
- During last two minutes (most makers go for about 2o minutes), add in the chopped peanut butter cups.
- Once done in ice cream maker, alternate layers of peanut butter swirl and ice cream in storage container, ending with ice cream.
- Finish freezing to harden, then ENJOY!!!
- If you miss adding the chopped peanut butter cups in the last minutes, fold in before moving to another container. Ice cream is still soft at this point.
As you have probably read in previous posts, one of my sons can’t have corn products such as corn meal, corn starch, and corn syrup. So I have been reading different recipes for a substitute to use in recipes that call for corn syrup. This recipe I have had the most success with, the texture is as thick and doesn’t through the flavor of the final product off.
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 t. cream of tarter
- 1 pinch salt
- Add all ingredients to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan.
- Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until it reaches soft ball stage.
- Cool and store in a covered container at room temperature up to 2 months.
- To test for soft ball stage, fill a glass with tap water. Drop a drop of mixture into water. It should stay together until bottom, then do a look like a soft ball on the bottom. (A little squashy, not a hard round ball).
My oldest sons loves donut holes and would eat them every day if possible (like most kids). But the amount of sugar on them not to mention the amount of money to buy daily donut holes from a donut shop makes it not desirable. When I saw a recipe for regular muffins labeled glazed doughnut muffins on pinterest from www.sweetpeaskitchen.com, I just had to try it. Below is the recipe with some “tweaks”. I made this recipe two ways: mini muffins and cake balls using my cake ball maker. Let me tell you fresh out of the oven or from the cake ball maker hot and dipped in the glaze can be hard to resist.
Glazed Donut Mini Muffins or Glazed Donut Cake Balls
Ingredients for Muffins/Cake balls
- 1/4 c. butter softened
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 3/4 t. cinnamon
- 3/4 t. salt
- 1 1/2 t. vanilla
- 2 2/3 c. flour
- 1 c. milk
Ingredients for Glaze:
- 3 T. butter melted
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 3/4 t. vanilla
- 2 T. hot water
Directions for making mini muffins
- Preheat oven to 425º F. Line muffin tin with papers.
- Beat together butter, oil, and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time.
- With mixer on low, add baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla until just combined.
- Alternate adding flour and milk to butter mixture.
- Spoon batter into cups.
- Bake until muffin tops are a pale golden and springy to touch, about 12 – 15 minutes.
- Cool muffins in tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before glazing
Directions for making donut holes with cake ball maker
- Plug in cake ball maker and allow to completely heat.
- Use butter to grease wells. ( I use a paper towel wadded up with butter on one end)
- Fill bottom wells mostly full with batter and close lid. If more full, they will overflow as they rise.
- Bake for 3 1/2 minutes then open lid. They should be starting to look golden.
- Allow to bake for an additional 30 seconds with lid open before removing.
- Allow to cool slightly, then follow instructions for glazing.
Directions for making glaze and applying glaze.
- In a medium bowl whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and water until smooth. Should be slightly thicker than runny stage.
- When muffins /donut holes are slightly cool, dip the whole donut hole or muffin top into the glaze and allow glaze to harden.
- Once harden, dip a second time.
- Allow to harden and serve.
- Once donut holes and muffins are glazed, set on wire rack that on a cookie sheet to allow extra glaze to drip off.
- This recipe can be made into regular size muffins as well.
- This recipe makes a lot. After some batter tasting to tweak spices, I made 24 mini muffins and 35 donut holes. With that many I had to make double the glaze recipe.
- Each mini muffin or donut hole has about 70 calories.
- I use wooden chopsticks to remove my donut holes and cake balls from the maker. They don’t seem to tear them like a fork or knife and won’t scratch the non-stick finish.
- I make these on the weekend and my son can then have several of them every day if he desires as part of his breakfast or a snack. Since there is a lot less glaze and sugar in the recipe, he doesn’t have a sugar high.
Biscotti is a wonderful invention. Got to love a cookie that can be dunked in coffee, tea or milk (if you like to dunk like my kids) and it doesn’t get super soggy. It also doesn’t’ have an overly sweet taste. I drink a hot cup of tea every night and love a little something to munch on with it. So one rainy day recently I was in the mood to make new recipes and a little on the cold side, so out came biscotti options. The one below is what I ended up making. It is so good and went great with that night’s cup of Earl Grey tea. It has a great super-chocolatey flavor!
Double Chocolate Biscotti
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 t. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. white baking pieces
- 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on high speed with mixer for about 30 seconds.
- Add in sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Beat until just combined, scraping bowl sides as needed.
- Beat in eggs until combined.
- Add flour slowly, beating in between as much as you can. Then add rest of flour and mix by hand.
- Stir in white baking ships and chocolate chips.
- Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 9 inch long roll and place on prepared cookie sheet.
- Flatten the rolls until they are about 2 inches wide.
- Bake at 375 º oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 1 hour.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325º. Transfer rolls to a cutting board.
- Using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
- Place slices on ungreased cookie sheet, sliced edge down.
- Bake at 325º for 8 minutes. Then turn slices to other sliced edge and bake for 7 to 9 minutes more, or until dry and crisp (do not overbake.
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely
- Instead of greasing a cookie sheet for first baking, I lined mine with a silicone mat and it worked well. I used that same sheet with mat for the second baking as well.
- If using a heavy duty mixer such as a KitchenAid, you should be able to get all the flour mixed in.
- Makes about 32 cookies.
- Store in airtight container with layers seperated by wax paper.
- Can freeze for up to 3 months.
- Makes a great gift for those coffee and hot tea drinkers you know!