Tag Archives: caramel

Guest Post from Gotta Get Baked: Brown Sugar Turtles Cookies

I’m so excited to introduce today’s fantabulously fierce guest blogger today, Nancy from Gotta Get Baked!

Have you guys met Nancy? I can’t believe it’s been a scant 2 months since I first found her amazing, witty, stitch-in-my-side-hilarious blog, but after we had dinner in Vancouver two months ago we both became quickly convinced of our past-life status as clones. With me as the slightly less brilliant and profound clone.

You’ll see what I mean when you read the following guest post–I relished every word of her crisp, clear writing voice, and she’s humorous to boot. So without further ado, folks: here she is!

Update: In her main post, Nancy mentions the Isla Vista shootings and violence–against women, in particular–that relate in some ways to the post below, though she wrote it well before the tragic events on Friday. I’d like to send my prayers to those whose lives have been changed by the tragedy, and plead with you all to remain vigilant, compassionate, and above all, safe. 

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Hi everyone, I’m Nancy of gotta get baked. Ala ‘n I have been having a little lady love affair lately, singing each other’s praises and appearing (probably far too often) on each other’s blogs. What can I say? I’m a ridiculously easy person to love.

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Blogging has made me braver and bolder. I’m a naturally suspicious person, believing that everyone is dastardly and evil until they prove me wrong. I was always “that girl” at the club (back in my clubbing days when I was young and beautiful). My friends would be dancing and having a good time and I’d be the one with my arms crossed, glaring at the men who would dare to start grinding against us in the hopes they’d get lucky because seriously dude, a) don’t fucking touch me cause I don’t know you from Adam and b) don’t even think about going near any of our drinks, you roofie-toting-scumbag! I ride transit with my bag clutched to my chest because everyone is a pickpocket. I don’t want to sell my shit on craigslist because with my luck, I’ll be murdered, dismembered and I STILL wouldn’t have gotten rid of whatever crap I’m trying to sell.

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I’ve gone straight up crazy. When I first started blogging, I didn’t use my real name anywhere. Any photos I’d post of me would have my face hidden behind giant sunglasses, a glass of wine or those computer generated swirls. Fast forward a year and I’ve created a Google+ account using my real name. MY REAL NAME, people! I got business cards printed with my real name on it. I talk about where I live and my profession, meaning it’s damn easy to hunt me down. Continue reading

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Filed under Cookies

Epic Dulce De Leche Brownies

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It’s that time of the year again. You know, December: the month of Christmas lights, good cheer, the smell of warm apple pie wafting around every street corner, the murmur of family chatter over holiday feasts, and the universally-acknowledged wish that we all had the metabolic capacities of high school swimmers again.

Yeah, that time.

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These fudgy, rich, and not-a-dry-crumb-in-sight brownies made me wish really, really hard for that metabolism. Ditch the woolen socks (although after these I could use a roomier pair of jeans) and come onnnn, Santa!

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In our extended household, holiday dinners are always something of a battlefield. Imagine the Spartans meeting the Huns meeting Napoleon Bonaparte, then imagine them getting squished into an itty-bitty little corner by Brobdingnagian knocking elbows and clattering plates. Stretchy pants are the phrase of the day, and chopsticks are our surprise weapon of choice here.

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I like to think we burn off all of our food just by fighting for it–but I may or may not have majored in Wishful Thinking in college.

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So as you sit there at your computer regretting all the extra stuffing, strudel, and sausage you shoveled onto your plate this lovely weekend-after-Thanksgiving (for all you Americans out there, at least!), I am going to sit here at MY computer–completely blameless, thumbs twiddling–and introduce you to these Epic Dulce de Leche Brownies. Please enjoy the photo-music I have prepared for you while you wait…

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La la la la lots, and to all a good–no, amazing, awesome, EPIC brownie! And you can feed them to the people around you so you feel better about yourself, ha ha. <– But seriously, this actually works…have you tried it? Then don’t talk until you have.

These are, hands down, unlike any brownie I have ever made–and I say that having made all of these uh-mayzing variations. You saw the “Dulce de Leche” in the title and thought these were just normal dulce de leche brownies, didn’t you? Oho, not so, my fast friends. Here’s the secret to these incredibly fudgy, and possibly most flavor-packed brownies ever: the dulce de leche goes straight into the batter. Not swirled, not drizzled. IN.

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Although I have recently taken to creating my own recipes (including my all-time favorite Best Chewy Biscoff Blondies recipe–have you checked it out yet?), I have Sommer from A Spicy Perspective to thank for this recipe. She even goes to the trouble of diagramming the epic proportions that make up this extra-thick, ultra-fudgy brownie! Talk about dedication. I was sold faster than a Black Friday Playstation 4 combo set (which, sadly, I have not yet been gifted).

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But really, you need to make these to believe these–they will have your family and friends caroling your praises all season long! And with New Year’s resolutions galore right around the corner, you’ll want to make these NOW. There’s no time like the present–and what better present than gifting yourself a batch of the best brownies ever?

Happy holidays!

Ala

Epic Dulce de Leche Brownies

Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan; 16 large squares

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective, who is basically a genius

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (or approximately 1.5 cups) dark chocolate chips–semi-sweet will work in a pinch
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
  • 7 ounces dulce de leche OR homemade dulce de leche (Recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 5/6 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, crushed
  • 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (other add-ins, such as nuts or chopped candy, may also be added)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with lightly greased foil and set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, chocolate, and dulce de leche together in 30-second intervals, stirring vigorously between each interval.
  3. Beat white sugar into melted chocolate mixture.
  4. Add vanilla and egg, then mix until combined.
  5. Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and coffee granules. Stir in until just incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and other desired add-ins.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out MOSTLY clean–trust me, your brownies will be ready to party at this point! Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Wait 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the tops of the brownies.
  8. Allow to cool completely on stovetop before cutting brownies into fudgy, delicious squares of epic proportions.

Dulce de Leche Recipe

There are many ways to make dulce de leche at home. I used the oven method, which is simple and requires 1 (16 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk–for the recipe above, you will only require half of this amount, or 8 oz.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Pour the condensed milk into a baking dish and loosely cover it with foil.
  3. Place this baking dish in a roasting pan or a larger baking pan; fill the large pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Then slide both pans into the preheated oven.
  4. Bake for approximately 80-90 minutes, stirring at 15-minute intervals. Your dulce de leche will achieve a rich golden caramel color and should be fairly thick. For more visual and detailed instructions, see the Wiki page for How to Make Dulce de Leche.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Caramel ‘Could Be Crack’ Snack Mix

I am a home-grown, Converse-wearing caring-is-sharing gal, and I have never, ever ever used drugs except in my extra-special brownies. And yeah, you’re staring at the exception to that rule right now. Well, stare away, my lovelies, and let’s talk crack snack mix.

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If you’ve been following my blog recently, you will know that I am totally digging the idea of photoseries–you know, turning ordinary food photography into fun-derful stories. This recipe deserves its own photoseries. Let me put it this way: this is the single most-requested potluck, party, zombie-apocalypse-you-name-it-event recipe I have ever madeSo will you want to print, Pin, and share this recipe on Facebook? You bet your bowling balls you will.

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Let’s make one thing clear. Like most addictions, this snack mix is liable to ruin your lifeWillpower? Buh-bye. Your ex? Kow-towing at your doorstep. And diet what?

But it’s important to get all of these minor questions out of the way first, because then we can talk about why my friends are spamming my text inbox and Facebook wall with requests for this. Damn. Crack.

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Nobody who has tasted it seems to know what goes into it. I have tested this recipe on 20+ unsuspecting victims wonderful friends and the very first question to leave all of their crack-coated lips never fails to be, “What the HECK did you put in this, Ala?” A brawl almost literally broke out over the remaining caramelly crumbs when I brought this to a party last weekend, which is always kind of a major ego boost. It’s a pity fights don’t break out over me like this.

But I’ll let you in on the secret. SHHHH.

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Throw in some cereal. Whatever you have on hand works. I had those Chex Mix corn squares. Chop up some of whatever else you have on hand. Leftover Halloween candy? Great. Frozen cookie dough? No problem. Nuts? Perfecto. Actual crack? GO FOR IT. No, maybe you shouldn’t…not that you’ll need it, anyway. I went ahead and mixed in some chopped-up failed blobby cookies, then threw in cookie butter for good measure. Because I’m a sadist that way.

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Then throw some butter, lots of brown sugar, and corn syrup into a pot on the stovetop. Don’t be shy. Your waistline will become intimately acquainted with the mixture shortly.

Let that cook up and caramelize into a crazy creamy goo. Stir in some more cookie butter if you must. Stir in some baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, then spread your cereal mix on a cookie sheet and pour the whole caramel shebang over it with the blissful knowledge that about half of it will get stuck on the sides of the pot and you will have to lick it all off yourselfFeel free to do your “clean-up” while you throw the tray into the cookie tray into the oven to bake.

And that’s it.

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Crazy, crunchy, caramelly, CRACK.

Ready to take the plunge?

Ala

Print this recipe! Did you enjoy this photoseries? I would love to hear your feedback and comments. For more fun-derful updates from Wallflour Girl, follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. See you on the crack–er, flip side!

Caramel ‘Could Be Crack’ Snack Mix
Ingredients:
  • 5 cups Chex cereal (or any other plain cereal of your choice)
  • 1-2 cups of other mix-ins (I used leftover chopped-up cookies; you may also use nuts, chocolate, candies)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine (OR 3/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup cookie butter)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with lightly-greased foil. Toss together cereal and mix-ins on lined cookie sheet. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, heat up butter (or butter & cookie butter) until melted. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Your mixture should reach a deep caramel-brown color at this point. Turn off burner and remove pot from heat.
  4. Stir in baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  5. Pour caramel mixture evenly over cereal mixture, taking care to coat cereal thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to stick your spoon (or hands) in there to make sure you get every last bit crack-ified.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, stirring cereal every 15 minutes to get an even crunch. Your mix will be ready to take out from the oven when the cereal begins to feel crispy but has not completely hardened.
  7. Allow to cool completely before serving to the friends pining outside your door.
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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Snacks

LWOM: Healthy Apple Spice Bars with Caramel Penuche Icing

It was a Wednesday, and as a consequence, Piglet was sitting on a log. Mind you, this was his Wednesday log, which is different from his Thursday or Saturday log, although sometimes you found it hard to tell the difference, and so did Piglet.

“Tiddly pom, hum,” he said, since it seemed like the right thing to say when one is sitting on a Wednesday log.

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Speaking of the right thing to say, it was an afternoon perfect for soft, warmly-spiced apple bars frosted with caramel penuche icing and–

“Excuse me?” said Piglet.

“Excuse me,” I said,  startled.

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“Were you speaking just now?” he asked, looking up with a slightly mesmerized expression, as I’m sure you’re wearing at this very moment. Because his attention was fixed on this gif right above us, too.

“I think so. Or at least the gif above you was. It was one or the other of us, you know.”

“Oh. I thought somebody must have been.” He paused and twiddled the daffodil that he had been twiddling after his thumbs had been all twiddled out. “And…and who were you speaking to?”

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“Why–to the readers, I suppose,” I said.

“Oh.” The flower wiggled its petals and worried its stem. There was a pause.

“Not to me?” he asked finally.

“Well, not at first,” I said, but I added kindly, “But it could have been to you.”

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Piglet considered this. He considered saying “Oh, hooray, and three cheers for Piglet!” but decided that might make him sound what he called “over-eager.” So he said instead, rather randomly, “You know, people like to talk to Pooh very much.”

“I know,” I said. Because it was true.

“But he can be a bear of very little brain–as he says himself, of course,” Piglet finished hurriedly. And then he added, so as not to sound too self-interested, “I admire your the pig cup in your pictures. And the apple spice bars look very nice, too. There’s something about pigs that are very pleasing and nice and…and un-bear-like, you know.”

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“Of course,” I said.

“I mean,” he went on, speaking now to the stem of his greatly worried daffodil, “what does one DO as a Pooh bear?”

“Eat, I suppose. And think about eating. And other Pooh-like things.”

“Right,” Piglet replied. “

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We waited. The daffodil jiggled a little bit as he thought about this carefully.

“Do you think, hypo-thack-tikly speaking, (which was a grand thing to say, because Christopher Robin said it all the time), one–say, perhaps, a pig, or a tiny pig–that one could become a Pooh?”

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“Well,” I said. “When one wants to pretend like one’s a grown-up, Piglet, what does one do?”

“Wear grown-up clothes and do grown-up things like cook and stay up late and cross the street without holding anybody’s hand,” Piglet said proudly, for he had done all of these things before when he wanted to feel grown-up.

“Precisely,” I said. “And so if one–say, a tiny pig–wanted to be a Pooh Bear, what would one do?”

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“Aha!” Piglet said suddenly, jumping up from his Wednesday log and casting a longing look at the pan of apple spice bars with rich caramel penuche icing sitting in front of him.

And do you know what happened then?

I’ll let you decide. Although, if I were you, which I am decidedly not (but if), I would look below for a clue.

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Done just like a Pooh bear.

Ala

What character would you be from the 100 Acre Woods?

(I apologize for the blurry, pixelated gif this time–it was a rushed day! But I’ll get it right next time around :] )

This post is part of the Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt (LWOM) series here at Wallflour Girl, where Ala takes a popular or classic literary character and uses him/her/it to tell a story about her recipes.  Ala is an English literature graduate student with a strong interest in children’s literature, Victorian lit, and everything in between, beyond, bubbly, or burgundy. Ala does not own the rights to any of these characters or original literary texts, although she does own a really cute Winnie-the-Pooh balloon-shaped stuffed-animal. This series is intended to offer you a glimpse into her world through our shared love for food. Please let Ala know what you think of these stories–she’d love to hear what you think (and I’m sure Piglet would, too).

Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Healthy Apple Spice Bars with Caramel Penuche Icing
Apple spice bar recipe adapted from Allrecipes
Caramel penuche icing recipe originally posted at lifesabatch (and it’s delicious!)
 
Apple Spice Bars:
Yield: 30 large bars (or 9×13-inch pan)
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add egg, mix in until combined. Stir in applesauce. Add remaining (dry) ingredients and stir until the entire mixture is just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until bars are golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Caramel Penuche Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Add sugar and return mixture to a boil for 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Add milk, then return to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before mixing in powdered sugar.
  2. Pour over cooled bars. Enjoy!

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Insanely Fudgy Deconstructed Twix Brownies

Happy Friday! Or, if you’re at my house, Happy Gooey, Rich, Caramel-y, Fudgy Friday…

In honor of this momentous occasion, I have composed an incredibly insightful, original, and profound song for all of you…

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(Sung to the tune of something vaguely resembling Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” the rights to which I do not own–thank God.)

♪ Oo-ooh-ooh, ooh yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah, yeah, yeah

7 AM waking up in the morning

Skipping to the chorus ‘cuz this verse’s boring….

It’s GooeyRichCaramel-yFudgyday,

GooeyRichCaramel-yFudgyday,

gotta get brown(-ies) on Friday

Everybody’s looking forward to the

Freakin’ fudgy brownies!

(Spoken in a deep sexy male bass voice: Because nobody cares whether you should take the front or back seat, okay, Becky?) ♪

<<Fin.>>

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I know. CRINGE. I didn’t say it was going to be good…but let’s be honest. Even you would rather listen to my version of this song than Rebecca Black’s, right?

Or what if I offered you these Gooey Rich Caramel-y Fudgy brownies, hmm? What say you fair folks then?

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Cavities and utter bliss that is worth every hole, that’s what say.

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I first stumbled across the base recipe for this fudgy, chewy brownie on Allrecipes, the people’s domain of all things wonderfully (and sometimes not-so-wonderfully) edible. As of the moment of this writing, at an ungodly 2:37 AM the evening/morning before I teach my very first class of the quarter at 9, this recipe has 4.5 stars and a whopping grand total of 4,853 reviews. Yeah, that’s a lot of reviews and ratings. So you can probably see why I was thrilled to finally try my hand at it.

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I was also, you know, excited to put off lesson planning. Aside from baking, one of my little-known talents is professional productive procrastination. I mean, these brownies had to happen eventually, right? And I’m making people the happier (and more cavity-laden–but happier) for it, right?

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Obviously.

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So I made these. And then I chopped up a bunch of homemade Twix bars because I had them sitting in my freezer from another event and couldn’t decide what to do with them except shove all of them down my throat in one sitting because I was so distraught about the pile of papers and research steadily towering above my head like the apocryphal sword of Damocles that hung by a thread above his head.

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Then I decided that, since having Twix inside a brownie was neither enough nor original, I wanted my Twix on the outside of my brownies as well, and therefore smothered it in homemade caramel dessert sauce–which, by the way, is pretty straightfoward to make and ridiculously rich to boot.

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Speaking of ridiculous, if you’re loving the colors and lighting in these photos, I spent part of today browsing through some of my very earliest blog photos from just last summer. Fantastic recipes, all of them…but what a change there’s been since those early times! I’m almost embarrassed to have them up, but on the other hand I absolutely love having them there–they serve as an awesome and really quite amazing reminder about how much a blog (and blogger) can grow in a short amount of time. Of course, I’m still learning absolute loads–for example, my DSLR camera is still about as comprehensible to me at times as heavy literary theory, i.e. less than not-at-all–but that’s most of the fun!

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You, dear readers, inspire me every day to keep exploring and discovering all I can about the blogging world, so please share your stories, thoughts, links, recipes, and anything you think will add to the story that’s being written here with your help every day! Every voice counts, even if it’s just a small thought that will keep this little engine chugging along and puffing out more stories to share.

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Insanely Fudgy Deconstructed Twix Brownies
(Original brownie recipe from Allrecipes)
Yield: 8×8-inch baking pan 
Twix Brownie
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar (I used a heaping cup-ful)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used about 3/4 tablespoon less for a denser mix)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 mini Twix bars, chopped roughly into pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Gently mix together melted margarine, white sugar, beaten eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to wet ingredients and mix in only until just combined. (Overmixing will result in a much cakier brownie.) Gently fold in Twix pieces.
  3. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 22-27 minutes, then remove from oven. NOTE: Be sure not to overbake–I removed mine from the oven about two minutes early and let them sit in the pan on the stovetop so they would finish cooking at a lower temperature while they cooled. This helps keep your brownies moist and fudgy.
  4. Immediately after removing brownies from oven, smother half of the chocolate frosting (recipe follows) evenly on top so that it melts into the brownies and infuses that chocolate flavor. (You may want to poke some holes into the brownies using a toothpick or chopstick so that more of the frosting seeps in–it adds a GREAT rich dimension to them!) Allow brownies to cool completely, then smother with the remaining half of chocolate frosting. Cut into bars and top with caramel dessert sauce (recipe follows).

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Spread on top of brownies as directed above.

Caramel Dessert Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk, warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt sugar while stirring frequently to prevent burning. Your sugar will begin by turning into a clear liquid near the edges, then turning into a light brown liquid. Continue to stir occasionally until all of the white sugar has melted into liquid, then stir constantly while it darkens into a medium-amber shade (about the color of very dark honey). Take care not to let the sugar burn; if you’re unsure, turn your heat on the lowest setting possible and continue stirring until it reaches that dark honey color.
  2. Add margarine or butter and begin stirring quickly–your mixture will bubble up, which is perfectly fine. (Note: a saucepan with higher sides is best for making caramel to prevent overflow.) Continue stirring for 5 seconds, then add the still-warm milk. Stir rapidly, taking care not to splash as the caramel liquid will be very hot. When the lump of solidifying caramel dissolves completely into a liquid state, remove from heat. Your caramel is done! Pour over cooled brownies before serving.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

LWOM: Caramel Apple Pie Bars (from the Perspective of Pooh)

I’d like to do something a bit different today. Today is a Friday, which is different from a Thursday or a Saturday or a birthday or an unbirthday, so of course things would be different to begin with. But today will be a different-in-a-meeting-new-friends-kind-of-way day, which is our favorite kind of day. And I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. You may have heard of him before.

Why don’t you say hello to our friends, Pooh?

“Hello to our friends,” said Pooh.

“Thank you Pooh,” I said.

So this is Pooh. Also known in the 100 Acre Woods (where he’s from–Pooh, that is) as Winnie-ther-Pooh–or at least that’s what Christopher Robin calls him. And Christopher Robin is usually not wrong about these sorts of things, except on every other Thursday, and sometimes when it’s his unbirthday.

“What sorts of things are we talking about?” a growly bear voice said.

“About you liking honey, for instance,” I said.

“Oh,” Pooh replied. “I thought we were. I just wanted to make sure.”

“That’s a very good thing to do,” I said.

“And well–if you don’t mind my asking–what other sorts of things do I like?”

“What about these caramel apple pie bars?” I asked, pointing at the picture you just saw. “What do you think of them?”

“I don’t see them quite well,” said the bear, who scratched his head with his paw in a puzzling sort of way. “It’s a very hard thing to do when you’re on the same screen page as a picture.”

“Well, maybe if you look from the outside,” I suggested quietly.

And so he did. And it looked something like this. From your point of view, of course. I imagine it looked quite different to Pooh.

“Well?” I asked when he had pondered for a pondering while.

“I’m not a very par-tick-curlar bear,” said Pooh. “I like most anything. But this caramel apple pie bar needs a little something.”

“And what’s that, do you think?”

“I don’t know about thinking. But perhaps a hug,” the not-very-partickular bear suggested. “Yes, perhaps that’s just the thing it needs.”

“It might not be a very easy thing to give a caramel apple pie bar a hug, Pooh,” I said. “Have you ever tried giving one a hug?”

“No,” he said, “but just because it’s never been done before, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, if it’s a good thing,” said Pooh.

“That’s very true, Pooh,” I said. “Why don’t you try it?”

And so reached out his furry paws, wrapped them around the bars, and gave them a large hug. You know, of the bear variety. Because he was a bear. And bears are always right about these sorts of things.

You know, these food sorts of things.

Or at least Pooh bears are. So now, if you ever meet a Pooh bear, you’ll know.

“Pooh?” I said.

“Hmm?”

“Do you want to say good-bye to our readers for today?”

Pooh lifted a crumb-coated paw and licked it thoughtfully. He tapped twice with his other paw on the side of his head. Then he raised both paws, placed them next to my ear, and whispered something that sounded like a small buzzing bee telling secrets to a daisy.

“Yes, Pooh,” I said to the bear when he had finished buzzing. “That counts, I think.”

“Well, may I simply say it, then?”

“Go on.”

So then he turned to you, a bit like he turned to his friend the butterfly in this picture (only if you would be so courteous as to imagine yourself as a butterfly, which not everyone can do)

and he asked, very politely,

“When will you be making this recipe?”

So there you have it. When will you?

This post is part of the Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt (LWOM) series here at Wallflour Girl, where Ala takes a popular or classic literary character and uses him/her/it to tell a story about her recipes.  Ala is an English literature graduate student with a strong interest in children’s literature, Victorian lit, and everything in between, beyond, bubbly, or burgundy. Ala does not own the rights to any of these characters or original literary texts, although she does own a really cute Winnie-the-Pooh balloon-shaped stuffed-animal. This series is intended to offer you a glimpse into her world through our shared love for food. Please let Ala know what you think of these stories–she’d love to hear what you think (and Pooh would love to hear it, too).

Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups
Ingredients:
  • For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For cheesecake filling:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For apple layer:
  • 1 large apple (any variety according to your preference–I used Fuji), diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • For streusel:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons chopped nuts, any variety
  • 1/3 cup caramel dessert topping

Directions:

  1. To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, 1/3 cup white sugar, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. (At this point, feel free to leave your mixing bowl unwashed–why do more dishes when you can avoid it? Save water, hassle, and a whale–set it aside for mixing the streusel!) Press into a lightly greased 9×9-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake filling and streusel.
  2. To make cheesecake filling: In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and 1/4 cup white sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat together until smooth. Spread over warm crust.
  3. To make apple layer: Combine apples, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Sprinkle diced apples evenly over cheesecake layer.
  4. To make streusel: In the same large bowl as you used to make the crust, combine flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and nuts. Cut in the 5 tablespoons butter and mix until you get a lumpy, coarse meal. Sprinkle over the apple layer.
  5. Bake bars in preheated oven for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown. Pour caramel over warm bars. Allow your bars to cool completely before cutting into them.
  6. Serve to the hungry Pooh bear waiting for you at home (whoever that might be!). (“That’s a very good idea,” Pooh said to me when he read this.)

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars

Butter Brickle Frozen Delight

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell

Just as sweet.

Call me wallflower girl. Does that sound sweet to you?

It’s always been a source of minor discomfort to me how fast I can turn from the happy locus of attention among a group of friends to a complete, total wallflower in other social situations. Even when I’m ostensibly happily immersed in a large-group conversation, I can just as easily be that awkward person standing between two people who are having a really great discussion.The only things that make it slightly less great are that…

1) they’re having the discussion across you instead of with you,

2) you’re already part of the circle and can’t leave without seeming rude, so you have to stand there and politely nod at some neutral viewing space between the two people with a look as glazed as a fresh donut,

3) the said conversationists will inevitably give you an acknowledging glance every, oh, half a minute or so, to let you know that they know you’re still there. And that they’re maybe trying to include you. But you’ve been so busy staring at the back of somebody else’s head for the past 30 seconds that you don’t know what they were talking about anyway, and so you just smile.

4) You find out you were smiling while they were talking about something super serious. Like the resurgence of the bubonic plague in a remote corner of New Zealand or something. And then you just feel pretty dumb.

Social situations and I can sometimes get along like, say, water and oil that has caught on fire. For your reference, apparently you’re not supposed to throw water on a stovetop on which oil has flamed up. Instant flambe. Very good to know.

So that’s my metaphor for me and human society. Like, all of it.

Having recently watched the movie that partly informed the namesake for this blog (Perks of Being a Wallflower), I haven’t been able to stop thinking what it means to be a wallflower. My friend recently asked me what made my blog different from all the other faded-background-cool-Joe-lighting-photo food blogs out there, and I realized I couldn’t answer him.

Of course, one perk of being a wallflower (or wallflour) girl like me is that you always have plenty of time to think about these things.

I’m an amateur baker/cook/kitchen fairy. I’m also a food blogger, for all of 5 months or something like that. I’m somebody who writes here because sometimes, to be honest, I wouldn’t have any idea how to express these thoughts somewhere else, to people who know what I’m like in the “real world.” And I write because it’s nice being part of a community that doesn’t care whether I have something incredibly witty to say on the spot when I’m asked how I feel about the final Twilight installment.

But I’m also an avid reader of literature, a geeky Sailor Moon fan, a self-proclaimed Disney expert, and I have thoughts. Not always smart thoughts–but some sort of mental activity registers every time I sit down at the computer to type it all out.

And my thought today is this:

Why not make this more than an ordinary, story-sharing blog?

Photo: Do the right thing today! I won't tell you what it is, but why don't you come grab a cookie in the TA office while you think it over, hm?

So it’s been decided. Just like that.

Look forward to some experimental, fun freestyling stuff in these upcoming posts: I’m thinking posts in verse, posts in foreign languages, graphic/visual posts, literary posts, and all sorts of other fun stuff. After all, what fun is it being a wallflower girl if you can’t be a wildflower under an alias?

Do you have any ideas that would make for a FUN type of blog post?

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Oh, and viva +4 years forward.

Butter Brickle Frozen Delight
Adapted from Allrecipes
Yield: 8×8-inch springform pan
Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 (16 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) jar caramel dessert topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 6 tablespoons melted butter, white sugar, and cinnamon. Press gently and evenly into the bottom of a lightly-greased 8-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Using the same bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, and nuts. Spread in a thin layer across baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Crumble while hot, and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together condensed milk and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Fold in frozen topping. Spread half of the mixture on top of cooled crust, then sprinkle half of the butter brickle crumb over this layer. Cover evenly with half of the caramel dessert topping. Repeat layering.
  4. Freeze until firm (best overnight), then remove springform pan sides before serving. Serve with additional caramel if desired.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Frozen Desserts