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Thumbprint cookies three ways

24 Nov

Confession: I’d never made thumbprint cookies before, but I was craving salted caramels, and figured this was a good way to combine that craving and get a daily cookie recipe.

These can be easily adapted with any type of filling – I’ll include recipes for the fudge and the caramels, but you could put almost anything else you wanted.

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Thumbprint cookies

10 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a stand mixer, combine the sugar and butter until completely mixed, 2-3 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

3) Slowly add flour, and mix on increasingly high speeds until it’s combined.

4) Roll cookies into balls, and place on cookie sheet. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from oven.

5) Using a melon baller or a coffee scoop, indent each cookie (this is where the “thumbprint” comes from). Bake for another 7-8 minutes, and let cool slightly.

6) Before cookies cool completely, fill the center with the topping of your choice – two recipes are below, or you can use jam (my third choice). Let cool completely before eating.

Fudge topping

2 tablespoons butter

2 oz semisweet chocolate

1 tsp corn syrup

Mix in microwave safe bowl, and zap for 30 seconds at a time until fully combined.

Salted Whiskey Caramel topping

Take this recipe: salted whiskey caramels and make it, but only cook the caramel until it hits 234 degrees. Let cool slightly before adding to cookies – then sprinkle with sea salt.

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Bourbon Apple Cider Caramel Milkshake

29 Oct

After I made the bourbon apple cider caramel sauce, it seemed like the only logical conclusion was to add icecream.

So I did.

All I can say is, I regret nothing.

bourbonmilkshake

Bourbon Apple Cider Caramel Milkshake

2 cups vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

1/3 cup bourbon apple cider caramel sauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup bourbon (I used bulleit rye – you’ll taste the bourbon pretty strongly, so I’d go with a nicer one if possible)

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Whipped cream for serving

1) Add all ingredients to a blender, and mix until milkshake consistency. You may need to add more icecream or milk to achieve desired consistency.

2) Serve with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Bourbon Apple Cider Caramel Sauce

27 Oct

Last fall, I made a lot of apple cider caramels.

A lot. I even blogged about it: Apple Cider Caramels.

This fall, I kicked it up a notch by adding bourbon and making it a sauce that you could use on icecream, with greek yogurt…or just with a spoon if the spirit moves you.

And stay tuned – I’ll be posting a recipe soon that involves this sauce, vanilla beans, more bourbon, and maple syrup to make a milkshake that is to die for.

Bourbon Apple Cider Caramel Sauce

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4 cups  apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick salted butter

2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark works)
1/3 cup heavy cream

1) Boil the apple cider in a medium saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to a thick syrup and is about 1/2 cup in volume. This took me about 45 minutes, but will depend on your stove/humidity/etc. You can stir occasionally, but don’t need to stir constantly.

2) While the cider is boiling down, butter a 8×8 inch glass pan and set aside.

3) Once the apple cider has boiled down, remove it from heat and add the butter, brown and white sugars, and heavy cream. Add bourbon. Return to medium-high heat, and boil until a candy thermometer reads 236 degrees. This shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, if that.

4) Pour caramel into the prepared glass dish. Mix cinnamon and kosher salt together, and sprinkle over the prepared caramels. Stir in completely.

5) Let cool, then transfer to a mason jar. Stores in the fridge for up to a week.

Double chocolate muffins with salted whiskey caramel frosting

8 Apr

Now, I suppose that technically, if you’re frosting them, these are cupcakes. That said, muffins you can eat for breakfast, and cupcakes you can’t, so I’m hereby declaring them muffins for all morning eating purposes.

There’s really not much more to say, now is there.

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Double chocolate muffins with salted whiskey caramel frosting

For the muffins:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 dutch process cocoa powder (you can also use unsweetened cocoa powder, but splurge for the dutch process if you can)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup salted butter, very very soft

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup coffee

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

5 tablespoons butter (salted)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup whiskey (I used Knob Creek, but Jack Daniels and Makers also work well)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ cups white sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 tsp sea salt

2-4 tablespoons milk

2 lbs powdered sugar

First, make the cupcakes.

1) Preheat the oven to 350, and prepare the muffin tins (I used cupcake baking cups, but you can also just grease).

2) Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl — I recommend using a stand mixer.

3) Add butter, and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Then, add vegetable oil, and mix at low speed until the batter is a sand-like texture.

4) In a separate bowl, combine coffee, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla. Slowly add to the flour mixture.

5) Add eggs while mixing on low speed, and mix until fully combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the edges of the bowl.

6) Add mini chocolate chips, and mix for another minute or so, then pour into cupcake pan. Bake for 21-23 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

1) Heat the heavy cream, butter, whiskey, and vanilla over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove immediately from heat, and set aside.

2) In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium-high heat, but DO NOT STIR. Bring to a boil, and continue to cook until it is golden brown.

3) Once the sugar mixture is golden brown, stir in the heavy cream/butter mix. Careful: it will bubble up violently. Stir occasionally over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 235 degrees. This usually takes 5-10 minutes, but will depend on temperature/humidity/etc. Once it reaches that temperature, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes.

4) In a stand mixer, mix the slightly cooled salted caramel sauce with 1.5 lbs of powdered sugar (no need to be exact) and one teaspoon sea salt. Add powdered sugar or milk until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Wait for cupcakes to cool before frosting them. Once frosted, sprinkle a bit of additional sea salt on each cupcake.

Apple Cider Caramels – fall flashback

2 Apr

I realize that it’s no longer fall, and that as the cherry blossoms start to bloom here in DC, that it’s time to start making more spring and summer treats.

But that doesn’t stop me from thinking back to these delicious apple cider caramels I made this fall, and wishing that apple cider was available year round.

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Apple Cider Caramels (Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen)

4 cups (945 ml) apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick salted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark works)
1/3 cup heavy cream

1) Boil the apple cider in a medium saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to a thick syrup and is about 1/2 cup in volume. This took me about 45 minutes, but will depend on your stove/humidity/etc. You can stir occasionally, but don’t need to stir constantly.

2) While the cider is boiling down, butter a 8×8 inch glass pan and set aside.

3) Once the apple cider has boiled down, remove it from heat and add the butter, brown and white sugars, and heavy cream. Return to medium-high heat, and boil until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees. This shouldn’t take more than 7 or 8 minutes, but trust the thermometer.

4) Pour caramel into the prepared glass dish. Mix cinnamon and kosher salt together, and sprinkle over the prepared caramels.

5) Let caramels cool completely, then slice into desired sizes. If they are a little gooey, stick them in the fridge for an hour or two to make slicing easier.

Salted Whiskey Caramels

26 Mar

While I have quite the sweet tooth, my other great love in life is a good whiskey. In fact, when I moved into my new apartment, my house warming presents were pretty evenly split between baking soda and bourbon – clearly my friends know me well!

That said, it only seemed appropriate that I find a way to incorporate my love of bourbon with my love of baked goods – and these whiskey caramels do just that.

One note – there is no way to make caramels without making a mess. Don’t try this the night before you need to show off your apartment, or the day after you have a cleaning person come. Just trust me on this one.

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Salted Whiskey Caramels

5 tablespoons butter (salted)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup whiskey (I used Makers 46, but Jack Daniels and Knob Creek also work well)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ cups white sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 tsp sea salt for sprinkling on top

Preparation

1) Butter a 8×8 pan and set aside.

2) Heat the heavy cream, butter, whiskey, and vanilla over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove immediately from heat, and set aside.

3) In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium-high heat, but DO NOT STIR. Bring to a boil, and continue to cook until it is golden brown.

4) Once the sugar mixture is golden brown, stir in the heavy cream/butter mix. Careful: it will bubble up violently. Stir occasionally over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 244 degrees. This usually takes 15 minutes or so, but will depend on temperature/humidity/etc.

5) Once the caramels have hit 244 degrees, remove immediately from heat and pour into the 8×8 pan. Let sit for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt.

6) Let cool completely before cutting into 1inch squares.

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