Salted Caramel Cupcakes

It’s finally Summer!! Gotta love having my little ones out of school πŸ™‚ I will admit it has been a little bit of an adjustment this last week. They are so use to having stuff to do all say, that now that they’re out, it’s been kind of a full time job cleaning up after them and also finding tasks to keep them occupied. We need to find some kids crafts. But I love having them home.

But like I said this last week has been crazy. We also had my cousin’s baby shower last week, and yeah. I needed a couple of days just to recover from that. Love throwing parties, but they are a lot of work. It’s always fun though cause I get an excuse to get some new decorations πŸ™‚

I saw this amazingly creative idea, on Glorious Treats, for using mason jars instead of paper cups for your drinks. Love it!!

Here was our whole spread πŸ™‚ Food is always the centerpiece of our parties.

And last, but no least, my cupcakes and Oreo Truffles on the dessert table. (A little confession: I seriously think had like 5 of those stinking Oreo Truffles over the course of last week. Ok, I know it’s more then 5, but I’m not admitting how many!! Needless to say, this week, is nothing but carrots and celery sticks week.)

All and all, a pretty busy, but oh so fun, week!! I had to share this Salted Caramel Recipe though. It’s amazing! Just the right amount of caramel, with a super flavorful cupcake, and then how can you pass up vanilla buttercream. Ugh!! Moist, gooey, creamy, and decadent!! Enjoy πŸ™‚

Printable Recipe

Brown Sugar Cupcakes
     1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
     1 teaspoon baking powder
     1/4 teaspoon salt
     1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
     1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
     2 large eggs, at room temperature
     1 teaspoon vanilla
     1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Salted Caramel Filling and Drizzle
     1/2 cup sugar
     3 tablespoon salted butter cubed
     1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
     3 cups confectioners’ sugar
     1 cup butter, softened
     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
     1/4 cup whipping cream
     2 tablespoons sea salt (for assembly)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffing tins with papers. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. (while baking make salted caramel filling and set aside to let cool) When done transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

To start caramel, melt butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 to three minutes, stirring continually. Turn down heat to low until mix stops boiling and add cream. Turn burner back up to medium high and cook mixture, continually stirring, until caramel just starts to boil again. Set aside and let cool to about room temperature.

While cupcakes and caramel are cooling, prepare frosting by mixing together sugar and butter in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. Add more cream, one tablespoon at a time, if needed for spreading/piping consistency. Set aside.

When cupcakes are cool enough to handle, remove centers using a piping tip, going 1/2 way into the center of the cupcakes (keep the top portion of the cupcake that you remove). For pictures on this click here and scroll down. Fill a piping bag with 1/4 of the cooled caramel and set aside. With remaining caramel, spoon caramel into the center of the cupcakes, then cover with the little cake top cap.

Pipe or spread vanilla buttercream over cupcakes, then drizzle with caramel in piping bag (you may need to warm it up just a little). Immediately after drizzling cupcakes with caramel, sprinkle on a little bit of sea salt.

Printable Recipe

Cupcake and caramel recipes altered from sprinklebakes.com and frosting recipe altered from foodnetwork.com

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Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am so excited about this recipe. I’ve been feeling really experimental lately, and since opened the door to start creating my own recipes, ideas have been flooding my mind. I even bought a notebook and have been sketching all my ideas. Me and my hubby were at Oreganos for dinner, and I used our recipe to note down some ideas that I was afraid I would forget. It’s been constant. So hopefully, I will be adding a lot of my own envisioned recipes soon.

But for now, here is one I was most excited about. First, I used Werther’s Original Caramel. You don’t have to use these, but I like them cause I know that they are a pretty amazing store bought caramel. But if you don’t have this brand where you live, you just want 30 hard caramels, and 12 chewy caramels.

The hard caramels, you want to look like this. So put like 2 or 3 zip lock bag layers around the hard caramels, and go to town with a rolling pin. This is a great way to get out some built up emotions πŸ˜‰ Maybe this is why this idea came to me, but don’t go completely nuts. You want the caramel to be broken apart, not turned into a powder. You are gonna get some of that, but you want some small chunks as well. Just not like the size of half the caramel. Cool? And that’s about it. The chewy caramel center is going to melt and spread the cookie out so space them out. But really, super easy recipe!! Enjoy πŸ™‚

Printable Recipe

Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies
     1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
     1 cup packed brown sugar
     1/2 cup sugar
     2 large eggs
     1 tsp. vanilla extract
     2 1/2 cups flour
     1 tsp. baking powder
     1/2 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 tsp. salt
     1 (5.5 oz) bag hard caramel candies, crushed
     1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
     1 (5.5 oz) bag chewy caramel candies, halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add butter, sugar, and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

Cream together.

Add vanilla and eggs and mix together on high speed for about a minute until mixture is light and creamy looking.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add to butter mixture and mix well.

Fold crushed hard caramel and milk chocolate chips into the dough. Take about 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp. of dough, push a finger in the middle to create a divot, and form around soft caramel halves.

Space dough balls 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on cookies sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before removing. Transfer to a cooling rack and continue to let cool, or serve warm.

Yields: About 24 cookies

A Food Snots Original Recipe

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Pina Colada Ice Cream Floats

Today in Phoenix, it’s going to be 108 degrees F. Man, can I tell you how badly I want to move. Not really to get me away from the heat so much, but I feel so bad for my pour husband that has to work up in the air or on a pole all day in this. Plus, I’m ready for some kind of adventure. I’ve lived in Phoenix, Arizona my whole life!! And although I love my family being here and all that, I would really love a change, and I want to do it before my kids get to old. Because you really shouldn’t move a kid once they’re in high school in my opinion. Not that they’re close to that age, but when I want things done, I want them done like yesterday, but we’ll see what happens. (If you know of any good paying lineman jobs in an area that doesn’t get below 0 degrees F in the winter, give me a shout out!!)

But since it is so amazingly hot where I live, I figured it’s about time to cool things down. When first making this recipe, I didn’t really intend to have it be Pina Colada flavored. It just sort of evolved into that. First I wanted to make some coconut ice cream, because I fell in love with it while we were in the Caribbean in March. They had the most amazing coconut ice cream, so I wanted to attempt to recreate it. Then I was like, “Hey, we should make this into a float!!” And since I love Pineapple Juice, and that felt very summery to combine the two, here we are. I really am so happy with the finish product, but the coconut ice cream is define on it’s own too. Enjoy!!

Printable Recipe

Pina Colada Ice Cream Floats
Coconut Ice Cream
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. rum extract
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Assembly
2 cups pineapple juice
1 1/2 cup Sprite soda
Sliced pineapple and mint leaf axcents, optional

Combine coconut milk, shredded coconut, sugar, and extracts in a blender. Blend until mixture is almost smooth, about a minutes. You want the coconut pieces to be small, but not completely broken apart. In a container add coconut mixture with milk and cream. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let mixture cool. Add to ice cream maker. Follow maker instructions. Freezer in an air tight container.

When ice cream is finished, combine pineapple juice and Sprite in a pitcher (you may need more depending on how many floats you are making and the size of you glasses). Mix well. Fill serving cups 1/2 way full with juice mixture, then top with a scoop of coconut ice cream. Add slice pineapple and mint leaf if desired. Serve immediately.

A Food Snots Original Recipe

Printable Recipe

S’mores Monkey Bread

Well, Phoenix is officially in the 100’s. Monday we were at 106 degrees (F) already. Sheesh!! Which means, it’s time to head up to the mountains for some camping and cooler weather. Which got me thinking. Lately, I’ve been trying to think of new creations to make of my own. Making other peoples recipes is fine and all, but I really want to start creating my own. Combine that thought with the thought of camping and my favorite campfire treat. And voila, S’mores Monkey Bread.

I mean, anything that incorporates this amazing treat has got to be a winner, right!? So, how to put it all together. I came up with doing a Graham Cracker Bread, with Marshmallow Caramel, drizzled with chocolate. A couple of things about this before we go on. First, I’m calling the Marshmallow Caramel, “Caramel”,  but I do realize that it might now exactly fall under the definition of caramel. So please, no one message me just to tell me this isn’t actually caramel. I just didn’t know what else to call it, and in my world, it falls under the specifications. So we’re calling it caramel regardless. Second, you HAVE to use Hershey’s Chocolate Bars to drizzle over the top. If you don’t, and you use just regular chocolate, your monkey bread will not come out tasting like a s’more. Hershey’s has a specific taste to it, and trust me, it makes or breaks this treat. Lastly, Make sure you spray your bunt/fluted pan with a generous amount of cooking spray. If you forget to do this, you will never get the bread out. So don’t forget!!

I’m super happy with how this turned out though!! It took me a couple times to actually get this recipe right. The first time, my bread would not rise, at all! So the bread came out really tough. Not pleasant. But the second time, I added a little less graham cracker crumbs, and some baking soda and baking powder. As a result…

This bread literally melts in your mouth when served warm. It’s light, soft, and so delish. Hope you all like it!! Enjoy πŸ™‚

Printable Recipe

Graham Cracker Bread
     1/2 cup warm water
     1/4 cup packed brown sugar
     1 packet fast rise yeast
     1 cup graham cracker crumbs
     3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
     1 tsp. baking powder
     1/2 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 cup butter
     1/3 cup milk
     2 eggs
     1 tsp. salt

Marshmallow Caramel
     6 Tbsp. butter
     1/4 cup sugar
     3/4 cup heavy cream
     2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
     1 tsp. vanilla
     2 cups miniature marshmallows

Assembly
     1 cup graham cracker crumbs
     1/4 cup butter, melted
     1 cup miniature marshmallows
     1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
     2 (1.55 oz.) Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bars

In a small bowl, combine warm water and brown sugar. Stir together until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add yeast and stir until dissolved.

Let sit for 10 minutes until surface of mixture becomes foamy.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, add 1 sleeve of graham crackers.

Pulse until graham crackers are very fine.

In a medium bowl, add 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 3 cups all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix together well. Set aside.

Add butter and milk to a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until butter is melted. Let cool slightly. Add to a large mixing bowl with eggs and salt. Mix well.

Add yeast mixture and flour mixture.

Beat until just combined.

On a lightly floured surface, knead 2 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour into dough. Knead until dough comes together and is equally consistent throughout. About 5 minutes (by hand). Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat entire surface of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.

While bread is rising, make caramel by combining butter, sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, continuously stirring. Boil caramel until sugar has dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Turn heat down to low. Wait until caramel stops boiling. Add marshmallows.

Cook on low heat, continuously stirring, until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Take off heat and let cool slightly before assembly.

Prepare to assemble by taking 1 sleeve of graham crackers and placing in a large zip lock bag. Using a rolling pin, crush crackers into small pieces. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

After dough has risen, pour 2/3 cup marshmallow caramel into a greased 10-inch fluted pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup marshmallows and 1/4 cup chocolate chips over caramel. Set aside.

Punch down dough and shape into 40 balls (about 1-inch diameter). Place melted butter in a small bowl and retrieve graham cracker crumbs. Roll balls in butter, then roll in crumbs. Place 20 balls in the pan over caramel/marshmallow and chocolate chips.

Drizzle 1/4 cup marshmallow caramel over dough balls, and top with other half of marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Pour 1/2 cup caramel over marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Roll remaining balls in butter and crumbs and place over caramel in tubed pan. Sprinkle some of the left over crumbs to fill in any holes between the dough balls to cover exposed marshmallow or chocolate areas. Cover and set in a warm place to let rise for another 30 minutes.

Place fluted pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Cool bread in the pan until edges are touchable, about 3 minutes. Invert pan onto a serving plate. Do not remove pan until bread is just warm!! About another 5 minutes. (you don’t want to take pan off while bread is still hot or else it will fall apart) Slowly remove pan and set bread aside.

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave 2 Hershey’s bars (broken up) for 30 seconds.

Stir chocolate until smooth. Pour melted chocolate into a small zip lock bag. When chocolate is cool enough to handle, clip the corner of the bag and pipe chocolate over monkey bread. Repeat the same process by putting leftover caramel into a zip lock bag and piping over chocolate/monkey bread. (You may have to warm up caramel just a little.) If there is left over caramel, serve on the side for dipping. Bread is best when warm.


A Food Snots Original Recipe

Berry Mini Breads

Happy Monday Everyone!! I hope all of you amazing Mothers had an absolutely spoiled day yesterday! It was a pretty good day for me. My hubby had to work yesterday, which stunk, but he was so good to me when he did get home. Then we stayed up to 12:00am watching hilarious clips on You Tube.

Here is one of the funniest ones we watched. It’s long, but we laughed to hard. It was such a good time. Needless to say though, I’m so tired this morning. Ugh!! That 6:00am alarm clock came way to quickly. I’m thinking tonight, we’ll be going to bed early to make up for the lack of sleep.

But before I go, lets just see if I can get through this post someone coherently. I have been in a “bread baking” mood lately. Yesterday I actually started to make up my own recipe for S’mores Monkey Bread with Marshmallow Caramel, but I haven’t quite perfected it yet. The Marshmallow Caramel is amazing though. I’m so proud of how that turned out. I just need to perfect the Graham Cracker Bread first. So I’ll post this recipe instead. Which is also super amazing. I love berries in spring, so this recipe was super satisfying. The only thing I changed is, I used just regular milk instead of the buttermilk. My buttermilk was past the expiration date, so there was the thinking behind that, but I also really loved how the loaves turned out with the regular milk. I’m thinking that buttermilk would have been too sour for the bread anyways. So yummy!! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Berry Mini Breads
     1/2 cup butter, softened
     1 cup sugar
     2 eggs
     3 cups all-purpose flour
     1 teaspoon baking soda
     1 teaspoon baking powder
     1 teaspoon salt
     1 cup buttermilk
     1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
     1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

In a bowl, add butter and sugar.

Cream together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine dry ingredients.

Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.

Stir in cranberry sauce and blueberries. Pour into four greased 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from Taste of Home “Cupcakes & Mini Desserts” Mini Magazine.

The Ultimate Sticky Buns

Had to add something sweet today πŸ™‚ Not like that isn’t a regular occurrence in my world, but still. I’m just gonna add a really quick post to go along with this since this recipe is soooo long! I know. It looks daunting. But don’t be scared off by the long list of instructions. This recipe really is so worth it!! I mean, the salted caramel on top should say it all (even though I forgot to add the sea salt before I took the stupid picture (frustration). Anyways! These really are Amazing, with a capital “A”!! It’s all from scratch, so it does take a while, but you can also make your dough a day ahead. So it works out. Just trust me, try these. Enjoy!!

Printable Recipe

The Ultimate Sticky Buns
Sweet Dough
     2/3 cup whole milk
     5 Tbsp. sugar, divided
     1 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast (from one 1/4-oz. envelope)
     2 large eggs, room temperature
     2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
     1 tsp. kosher salt
     1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 Tbsp., melted


Topping
     1 3/4 cups chopped pecans (about 8 oz.)
     1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
     3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
     3/4 cup heavy cream
     1/3 cup honey
     1/4 tsp. kosher salt
     1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest (optional)

Buns
     1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
     1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
     3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
     1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
     1/8 tsp. kosher salt

     All-purpose four (for dusting)
     1 large egg
     Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)

Sweet Dough: Start preparing Sweet Dough by heating milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110-115 degrees F. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.

Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, four, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. Place dough in refrigerator and chill dough for 2 hours. (Can be made a day ahead. Just cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.)

Topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spay an 8x8x2″ metal baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1 1/4 cups nuts aside for buns.

Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3-4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of glaze into baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.

Buns: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Set filling aside.

Punch down dough; transfer to a floured work surface. Lightly dust top with flour. Roll out the dough into a 12×16″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Arrange the dough on the work surface so one long side faces you. Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1″plain border on the side farthest from you.

Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over cinnamon-sugar mixture. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log, tightening as you roll, and patting in ends if they begin to taper. Pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal. Arrange the log seam side down on the work surface.

Using a large knife (or I use dental floss or a this wire),cut the log crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Lightly flour the knife between slices if the dough is too sticky. Turn the buns cut side up and gently pat the top to flatten slighty. If needed, reshape to form round edges by cupping lightly floured hands around each bun and gently pushing and turning them in a circular motion. Place the buns in prepared pan; space them evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).

Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, or 1 1/2 to 2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight. Arrange a rack in middle of oven, preheat to 350 degrees F. Whisk egg with 1/2 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant read thermometer inserted into center of buns registers 185 degrees F about 50 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on wire rack.

Lightly sprinkle sea salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Yield: About 9 buns.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from Bon Appetit April 2012 Magazine.

Honey Baked Ham

Today I have to sickies laying on the couch home from school, so I’m thinking, it’s a bread baking day. I’ve been eyeballing this amazing looking Berry Mini Bread Loafs. So I think today I’m gonna finally get to make those since we’re home-bound today.

I made this for dinner last night though. It’s amazing!! You would think with the red pepper flakes and cayenne it would have a little kick to it, but not at all. It balances out the sweet honey glaze perfectly, giving it amazing flavor. I did have a problem with the amount of time it said to bake this for though. It says to bake for 1 hour, then 30 min., then another hour. That last hour, I only baked for 30 minutes and mine was done. So something to maybe keep in mind when your cooking.

I also change this a little bit. When applying the glaze before baking for the last time. I took about 2 or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and rubbed it all over the glaze. This caused a little bit more of a crunch on the exterior of the ham from the melted sugar. I know that’s what I like, so do what your personal taste calls for. This recipe was amazing either way though, and a lot easier then I thought it would be. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Printable Recipe

Honey Baked Ham
     6 pounds bone-in ham
     1/3 cup brown sugar
     1/3 cup honey
     2 teaspoons cornstarch
     1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
     1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place ham on a rack in a foil lined roasting pan. Bake the rounded side up for one hour.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix all ingredients together. Stir until it forms a nice this glaze.

Rub on half of the glaze and bake for 30 minutes more. Flip the ham over and rub on remaining glaze and bake for 1 hour more. Remove from oven and allow the ham to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from foodnetwork.com.