Archives for category: Caramel

This recipe is for caramel lovers only! A whole bag of caramel goes into these bars and that’s what makes them so amazing! The chocolate and oat crunch just add to the caramel goodness so grab some friends and enjoy making and eating these together!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 stick; I use salted butter but unsalted may be used)
  • 3/ 4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-rolled old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 35 caramel squares, unwrapped (I used Kraft Caramel Bits which are wrap-free (!) and you can use the entire bag)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt, optional and to taste, if you prefer salted caramel sauce
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lining your pan is highly recommended for ease of cleanup due to the stickiness of the caramel; set pan aside. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 90 seconds. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, optional pinch salt, and stir until combined. Mixture will be quite thick. Add half of the mixture to the prepared pan (just eyeball it), and smooth it with spatula or the back of a spoon, to create an even, smooth, flat layer; set remainder aside.

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Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.

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In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels, cream, and heat on high power in 60-second bursts to melt caramels, stirring after each burst. It will likely take about 4 to 5 minutes total to melt; heat until mixture can be stirred smooth. Alternatively, combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously, until mixture can be stirred smooth. Optionally stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste, for salted caramel sauce; set sauce aside.

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After 10 minutes, remove pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate.

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Slowly and evenly pour caramel sauce over the chocolate.

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Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top.

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Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes (I baked 16 1/2), or until edges are lightly browned and center is bubbling slightly.

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Allow bars to cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving, giving the molten caramel time to firm up. This can take up to 4 hours, or overnight, at room temperature. You can speed it up by placing pan in fridge with a sheet of foil over the top to prevent fridge smells. If you don’t wait for bars to cool completely, they’ll be a literal hot mess. They’ll taste fine (don’t burn yourself), but they won’t slice neatly with clean cuts. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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The next set of cupcakes we made was this delicious combination of caramel apple all in a cupcake! I am a sucker for caramel so as soon as I found out that pure, thick, caramel was going both into the cupcake and the icing, I was sold! I will note that I do not like having left over icing, so I cut the icing recipe below in half and it was more than enough to cover all 24 cupcakes, but you can always make it as is shown below. Also, I didn’t do the fancy nut topping but feel free to add that nutty touch! Enjoy!

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • 1 (15.25 box) yellow cake mix
  • ¾ cup apple cider
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup apple butter
Frosting:
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages regular cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 (4 oz.) sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup thick caramel topping
  • ¼ cup apple butter
  • 6 cups sifted powdered sugar
Topping (optional):
  • ½ cup thick caramel topping
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, or peanuts)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper baking liners or spray pans with nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl mix together cake mix, cider, eggs, and ½ cup apple butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans so that each cup is about ⅔ full.
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Bake cupcakes for about 19-23 minutes or when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on wire racks and cool completely.
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To make frosting, mix together cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl until well combined and lumps are all gone. Mix in ¼ cup caramel and apple butter until well combined. Slowly mix in powdered sugar until well combined. Frost cupcakes as desired with pastry bag or knife.
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If desired, warm remaining ¼ cup of caramel in microwave for 15 seconds or until drizzling consistency. Cool slightly then drizzle over cupcakes. Sprinkle nuts on top. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
 I didn’t get to add a caramel drizzle or nuts but I did try a mattice icing style with the same icing through a pastry bag.
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For my college roommate’s bridal shower, I made a vegan treat since she recently became vegan. It was hard finding a recipe for which I had all the ingredients at home, but then I found this one! It really did come out delicious, but be sure to keep it chilled until you eat it and thaw the frozen fruit before placing on the caramel filling. Very easy and delicious! Congratulations again Karen and Zach!

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Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 cups raisins
Filling Ingredients 
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Water, if needed

Topping Ingredients

  • 3 cups frozen berries (or however much you want)
  • 1/2 cup goji berries

Crust Directions

Pulse the walnuts in your food processor until they become a rough flour. Add the raisins and process until it stick together, forming a rough dough. Press into a tart tin. Put in the fridge and let it set for about 2 hours (this is preferable but not absolutely necessary).

Filling Instructions
Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Spread gently into the bottom of your tart crust and then let it harden in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Now top the tart off with all the berries, slice and serve!

The recipe many have been waiting for….ALFAJORES! This truly is a special treat. The lovely Doris shared with us her famous alfajores! Of course she has her magic touch that makes them extra special but here is the recipe for you to try out at home. They are absolutely delicious and great for everything! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks of sweet cream butter (Kirkland brand recommended)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (Gold Medal brand recommended)
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • powdered sugar
  • 1 can Dulce de Leche (La Lechera brand recommended)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 305 degrees. Let sticks of butter sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes until they are soft at the touch but not too soft that they dent far when you touch. Press with a fork until blended as shown below.

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Slowly add flour bit by bit and use your hands to fold the dough until combined well.

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Add egg and mix well. Dough will feel sticky.

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Flour the surface and make dough into a ball. Let rest in a kitchen towel for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

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After 20 minutes, cute dough in half. Use one and save the other half in the towel for later. Roll out dough to about an inch thickness.

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Cut out circles with cookie cutter into as many as the dough can give. 

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Place dough on cookie sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes. 

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Take out of the oven when they are still pale and not crumbling. This is the hardest part of the recipe and key for the construction of the alfajor. Take cookies carefully off of cookie sheet and let them cool. 

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Build the alfajor! Grab one cookie at a time and place dulce de leche on top (place as much dulce de leche as the thickness of the cookie for proportional taste). Grab another cookie and squish the cookies together so they create a sandwich. Roll around in a shallow tub of powdered to make sure it is completely covered. 

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Enjoy!!     

This traditional Venezuelan dessert is one of my all-time favorite recipes! My mom shared her delicious recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or rum
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

Pour sugar and water into pan over high (6) stove top. Once the sugar starts to boil, lower heat (4). Once caramel starts to form, turn pan so that caramel surrounds the bottom and sides of the pan. CAUTION: the caramel gets really hot so be sure to not let the caramel come off the pan.

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Set aside to cool.

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Mix eggs, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla in blender. Can also add some cream cheese if thicker consistency is desired.

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Pour blended mix into the caramel covered pans.

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Turn oven to 350 F and place pans in larger containers filled with water for 1 hour. OR can place pan in large pot also filled with boiling water over stove top for 45 minutes.

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Remove from oven and make sure that a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Separate from sides with a knife and let cool. Flip over to serve.

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You can also make individual-sized quesillo in a cupcake pan. The hardest part is getting them out so be sure that the caramel has hardened so that it comes out easily when you scrape the sides.

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This week begins my second round of grad school finals, which means I’m going to need a lot of snacks to keep me going! Here is a recipe I found a while ago but was waiting for the perfect moment and this is definitely it! This will also be shared tomorrow night at band practice with the Grupo Tepui-a Venezuelan band that my Venezuelan group is a part of and who performed this past weekend at JMU and did a great job! I hope they like them! (if not I will gladly eat them haha)

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Caramel Filling

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment and spray again with cooking spray.

Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and light, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, add 2 1/4 cups of the flour, beating just until the dough is smooth and the flour has been absorbed, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary.

Transfer 3/4 of the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan to form the bottom layer. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator while you make the filling and top layer.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the remaining dough in the mixer bowl and work it in with your fingertips until 1/8 – 1/4-inch crumbs form. Set aside.

Filling:

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally.

When the mixture begins to boil, whisk frequently until it begins to thicken and darkens in color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling over the bottom crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly then distribute the crumb topping over the filling.


Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is gently bubbling and a dark caramel color.

Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes.

Use the foil (or parchment) to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Once completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.

SO soft and chewy!!

And here is a picture of my new sifter:

Thanks, Mom!

Recipe from Baked Perfection

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