Salted Caramel Brownies

20171108_155227When one door closes another one opens, yet instead of focusing on the closed door, I ended up developing these delicious brownies. The journey began after a long weekend of performances for my daughter at our church’s annual festival, in which I had no time left to shop for food like I normally would. I did manage to squeeze in some time to brainstorm recipes I planned on developing for Thanksgiving, the first of which was to be a lighter & more portable spin on monkey bread. I knew I already had all the ingredients on hand, including the all important yeast.

20171108_155319Well fast forward a few days and I was ready to make monkey bread. I grabbed all my ingredients from the pantry, including the all important yeast, only to discover it had expired ages ago. Any other day I would have just put everything back and started over once I picked up some fresh yeast from the store. The reason I couldn’t do that this time was because my oldest daughter was so excited to bake something I just couldn’t say no.

IMG_20171108_1I quickly searched the pantry for ideas but all the recipes I had begun developing all required ingredients I had yet to purchase so I couldn’t start those either. I spotted some cocoa powder and immediately thought about brownies. I decided that brownies would be quick and easy for her to make and something I had everything on hand for. As an added bonus to my quick thinking, I could easily dress up the brownie base my daughter helped make with caramel, drizzled chocolate, and sea salt, making them decadent enough to share here with all of you. Crisis officially diverted!

20171108_155342So if you need a last-minute, crowd-pleasing dessert or something fun amd easy to make with your kids, these rich layered caramel brownies dusted in flakes of sea salt will not disappoint!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 3.4 ounces (¾ cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted

Topping Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Evaporated Fat-Free Milk
  • ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch metal pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare brownies, combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the 6 tbsp. melted butter, eggs, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring well to combine. Gently stir in the walnuts until just combined.
  3. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies completely in pan on a wire rack.
  4. Once brownies have cooled completely, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add ¼ cup brown sugar and milk; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and Confectioners’ sugar. Stir with a whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, spread caramel mixture over brownies, spreading evenly to coat all areas. Let stand 20 minutes or until caramel has set.
  5. Once caramel has set, place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute, or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Once melted stir just until chocolate is smooth then drizzle over caramel topping. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt. Let stand until chocolate sets before cutting into squares.

 

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

 

 

 

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Caramel Apple Pie

20160730_131312Caramel apples are one of my favorite desserts that signify the beginning of fall. Being that we are still in the heat of summer, fall remains a long ways off (especially for Floridians). This may leave you wondering then why I’m bringing up fall already. To be quite honest, I’m secretly longing for much cooler temperatures because I’m 8 months pregnant and only a few weeks from my scheduled delivery. The heat has really gotten to me and has pretty much kept me indoors the majority of the past few months. If the weather turns cooler I’m allowed to be outside more and I’ve been going crazy being cooped up in the house on modified bed rest. A few days ago I began thinking of fall and how much fun it will be with a new little one. It was all downhill from there and I practically doomed myself into having a craving for a caramel apple.

20160730_131037Since caramel apples are scarce to find this time of year I decided to dress up an old-fashioned apple pie with the flavors of a caramel apple in order to quench my hormone induced craving (or at least that is what I like to blame it on). In a traditional apple pie, I like to add the warm spices typically associated with fall, like cinnamon and nutmeg. However, in this pie the traditional spices have been left out and I assure you with good reason. Simply put, caramel apples are not spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg and this pie is meant to be an equivalent to the sticky treat not an old-fashioned apple pie topped with a bit of caramel. If that is what you are expecting from this recipe then unfortunately this pie won’t be for you.

20160730_131602For those still willing to give it a try, I can practically guarantee this pie will disappear far too quickly. Who can really resist the perfect blend of sweet and tart apple filling drizzled with caramel and blanketed with a crunchy streusel topping? I can’t think of anyone either!

Note:

  • This recipe will yield 2 (9 inch) pies with 12 servings per pie (24 servings total).
  • If not serving immediately, do not cover pies until completely cool, otherwise streusel topping will become soggy.

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Caramel Apple Pie

Topping Ingredients:

  • 4.4 ounces Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; chilled & cut into small pieces

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pk.) Frozen Traditional Pie Crusts
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ pounds Granny Smith Apples; peeled & thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound Fuji Apples; peeled & thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • Caramel Sundae Syrup

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the streusel topping: Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until crumbly, approximately 10 to 15 pulses. Transfer topping mixture to a bowl, cover, and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove frozen pie crusts from freezer and allow to thaw while preparing the filling.
  3. To prepare the filling: Place granulated sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until combined. Add apples to bowl and toss to evenly distribute sugar mixture. Distribute and arrange apple mixture evenly among the two pie crusts, mounding apples slightly higher in the center. Drizzle caramel syrup evenly over apple mixture, using as much or as little as desired. Bake pies for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove pies from oven and sprinkle both evenly with chilled streusel topping. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with additional caramel if desired.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: BILL JAMISON & CHERYL JAMISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Angel Food Cake

20160526_163523Angel food cake is a dessert as heavenly as the name suggests. It is light, spongy, and just sweet enough to satisfy without feeling as if one has gone overboard. As great as angel food cake is on its own, its simplicity provides endless possibilities for creating different versions of the dessert. With very little effort, a plain angel food cake can be transformed into an elegant cake for any occasion.

20160526_163534Traditionally, angel food cake is dressed up with fresh fruit and whipped cream to keep the cake light. I elected to go a bit of an unconventional route and add some heavier flavors because the rest of the cake is light enough to handle such additions without being too much. I took the flavors found in a turtle sundae (chocolate, caramel, pecans) and drizzled them across the top of the prepared cake. The results were a divine cake from top to bottom.

20160526_163739Chocolate & Salted Caramel Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (7oz.) container Dark Semi-Sweet Dipping Chocolate (such as Baker’s)
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Pecans; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Bake angel food cake according to package directions. Cool completely.
  2. Melt dark chocolate according to package directions. Place melted chocolate in a clear, decorating squeeze bottle. Squeeze bottle over top of cake, moving back and forth to create a drizzled effect on both sides of the cake. If you do not have a squeeze bottle use the back of a spoon to drizzle the chocolate using the same motion.
  3. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, and salt over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly drizzle caramel over the cake in the same motions as the chocolate. Top with pecans and serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

20160426_102122As the days creep closer and closer to 90° here in Florida I begin to miss the cooler, humidity free temperatures of winter. What makes summer even harder to grasp is this year we had a very mild winter with only a handful of very cold days. I quite honestly feel robbed of my favorite time of year. In order to make up for the loss I decided to make a classic cooler weather combination in spring.

20160426_101906Growing up, one of my favorite sweets to eat in fall was the caramel apple. A local candy shop in my hometown makes the best caramel apples and to this day I have yet to find a location that has made them better. The problem is those apples are seasonal treats and once the season is over (October/November) the decadent apples disappear for another year. The memories of eating these apples were brought up a few weeks ago and I have been craving them ever since. Of course I couldn’t even get one if I wanted to because they are not in season but perhaps I could replicate the flavors I was craving and fool my body into thinking I had been reunited with my childhood favorite. An even better idea was to implement those flavors into a skinnier option than a typical dessert.

20160426_102135This recipe makes approximately 4 dozen cookies so if you do not want that many at a time I recommend freezing some of the dough to bake in the future. After taste testing a few of these my father also suggested that the flavor and texture of the dough would make a great snack bar. If you have a snack bar pan it may be worth the try although I have not personally given this a go yet. Packed with oats, chopped apple, and decadent caramel, these cookies bring the flavors of fall year round. At less than 100 calories a cookie they also leave you feeling a bit less guilty.

Skinny Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (approximately 1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Large Apple; peeled, cored, & quartered
  • ¾ cup Caramel Baking Bits (Kraft)
  • Parchment Paper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a slip mat and set aside.
  2. Place quartered apple pieces in a food processor. Pulse until apple is finely chopped, about 5 pulses. Measure out ¾ cup of the chopped apple and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl place the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk until combined.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl), add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter. Using a stand or hand mixer set to medium speed, beat the mixture together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg, beating again until combined. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Fold in the chopped apple and caramel bits until evenly combined.
  5. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough mounds slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cookie)

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Weight Watchers: 3 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 1 Traditional Point

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HELEN WORTHINGTON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Dreamy Coconut Cookie Cups

20140128_162242Today was a rather dreary day and that made it perfect for staying in and baking. After a relatively busy day yesterday full of appointments revolving around my little one and grocery shopping, I was ready for a mellow day. After making breakfast for my little family I took on a recipe called Dream Bars. I decided to reinvent it into a more convenient, portable treat.

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Sure they may not seem like much but they sure do taste delicious. Surprisingly, despite how simplistic they may appear, these little guys can cause some problems. First off, most of the traditional Dream Bar recipes out there were just too sweet, even for my very forgiving sweet tooth. To overcome this, I wanted to overcome the sweetness with nuts. By toasting the nuts until crunchy, it cut through even the toughest of residual sweetness.

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Perhaps my favorite part of this treat is the coconut topping. Of course my favorite things always end up being the most problematic… go figure!!! Shredded coconut on its own would just dry out, burn, and become gross. To keep the shredded coconut moist and delicious I soaked it in cream of coconut, which not only kept it moist but added richness and the perfect concentration of sugar that results in a caramelized topping without being overly sweet.

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To further balance out the sweetness it is key to dial back the sugar in not only the topping but also the crust. By making the crust thicker and resemble a shortbread cookie instead of the typical thin, weak base, the nuttiness is more prevalent and keeps the sugary topping at bay. Speaking of sugar, I’m sure Domino Sugar would be hating on me for discouraging the over usage of its product since back in the day it was the bar version of this recipe that was used as a marketing tool to sell their sugar to housewives. Sorry Domino, please forgive me 🙂

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I will admit this isn’t my strongest post, but it was never meant to be. It was meant to be an experiment, a way to refresh a recipe created in the Great Depression into something modern for our crazy, hectic world we now reside. It is not glamorous or gourmet. It is homey, practical, and satisfying. Probably why it has stuck around for so many years and had so many back-of-the-box variations. If it made some of the harshest moments of American history a bit more dreamy, than it is okay in my book!!!

Note: Formula yields 18 cookie cups. Cookie cups can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5 days.

Dreamy Cookie Cups

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Pecans
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; cut into pieces & chilled

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup Cream of Coconut
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Pecans; toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the crust, process flour, sugar, pecans, and salt in a food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into the bottoms of each muffin tin. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Combine the shredded coconut and cream of coconut in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in the pecans, then spread over the cooled crusts, dividing evenly among each cookie cup. Dollop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture over the filling and spread into as even a layer as possible.
  4. Bake the cookie cups until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MARIA DEL MAR SACASA

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Turtle Rice Krispie Treats

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While on the trail for unique or more grown-up versions of the traditional plain Rice Krispie Treat, I stumbled across this little variation inspired by a delicious sundae flavor I love… Turtle. What I love about this formula is not just the taste but that the preparation still stays relatively simple like everyone relies on Rice Krispie Treats to be when they need a go to treat on the fly. Practically the hardest part of this rendition is having the patience to unwrap all the little caramel candies!!! With the flavors of Chocolate, Caramel, and Pecans in a beloved childhood treat, what could really go wrong about this… absolutely nothing 😉

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Now the original version of Turtle Treats I stumbled on uses Cocoa Krispies cereal rather than regular. You can surely do this and it does save time but I prefer melting chocolate with the marshmallows as it gives it a much richer flavor. If of course you are really in a pinch for something then go ahead and use the Cocoa Krispies as an efficient substitution to the chocolate. Of course if you wanted a double chocolate flavor you could melt chocolate with the marshmallows and use Cocoa Krispie cereal. I personally did not choose to do this for fear it may overpower the caramel flavor but I certainly can recommend any chocoholic’s out there to try it.

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Turtle Rice Krispie Treats

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 ½ bags (15 oz.) Marshmallows
  • ¾ cup Dark Chocolate Chips (can substitute Semi-Sweet)
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 7 ½ cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • 25 Soft Caramel Candies, quartered
  • 1 cup Toasted Pecans, chopped
  • Caramel Sauce (Optional)

 

Formula:

  1. Grease a 13×9 in. baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Melt butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the caramels and pecans until evenly distributed. Add the Rice Krispies cereal and mix until well incorporated. Scrape the mixture evenly into the prepared pan set aside earlier and press firmly into the bottom and corners with a greased rubber spatula. Allow to cool completely, approximately 1 hour.
  3. *Optional: You may purchase a caramel sauce or make your own (Use the remaining caramels from the bag you purchased along with enough milk to cover the caramels about halfway. Melt in the microwave stirring every 15 seconds until smooth and creamy. If needed, add more milk to create a creamy smooth texture). Drizzle the caramel over the cooled Turtle Treats. Allow caramel to cool and set, about 15 minutes. Cut treats into squares and serve.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM JEREMY SAUER

 

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Caramel Cupcakes

Summer has come to a close, the fall colors are in bloom and with that come fall flavors. One of my favorite flavors of fall are Caramel Apples. As a kid I used to get them from a local store in my hometown called Betty Jane Candies, which I recommend anyone check out if they are in the Midwest. Also they have a website you can mail order anytime http://bettyjanecandies.com. I recommend the Gremlin candies. They are to die for 🙂

It was from this local confectionery that my love of caramel came. Caramel on apples, caramel in chocolate, caramel on ice cream. You name it I like caramel on it. So who wouldn’t like the idea of a simple Caramel Cupcake for fall. Now I know what you’re thinking… making anything caramel is tedious and stressful, but the frosting for these cupcakes is quick and simple… I promise. If you are still skeptical you can always refer to a digital thermometer as back up but as long as you follow the formula you should have goof proof caramel frosting in no time.

The reason so many have issues with caramel is they usually wait too long to take the caramel off of the heat and it ends up burning from residual heat. Also traditional caramel recipes are made with granulated sugar but this recipe is made with dark brown sugar which already has a rich caramel taste to begin with and then that flavor further condenses upon heating. So there is really no need for a candy thermometer. The only tool you need is your eyes to watch for a ring of bubbles around the perimeter of the pan which is your cue that it is time to add the cream and in a few minutes get that pan off the burner.

Now if you are really pressed for time, although I don’t recommend it, you can use a boxed cake mix for the actual cupcakes. I would use a simple yellow cake mix and prepare it according to the box directions for cupcakes and then follow the formula below for the caramel frosting after the cupcakes have fully cooled. You may also wish to make a cake in the same fashion, following the box directions for a 8 or 9 inch cake and let that fully cool. You will have enough  frosting for either size. The reason I don’t necessarily recommend a boxed cake mix is because the actual strength of the cake will be a bit weaker and the heaviness of the frosting may put too much weight on the cupcakes made of boxed mix. I provide a formula below for a stronger structured cake but if all you wish to do is sneak them to eat during the week or feed them to a mob of hungry kids, then by all means save yourself some time and use a box mix. It can be your secret and no one will be the wiser as the rich, delicious flavor of the frosting will distract them.

Caramel Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ tsp. Salt
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened & cut into 16 pieces

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened & cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 ½ cups Confectioners’ Sugar, sifted

Cupcake Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350°. Fill a cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in a large measuring cup. With mixer on low, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, until only pea-sized pieces remain. Pour in half of buttermilk mixture and beat over medium-high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add remaining buttermilk mixture to bowl and beat until just incorporated.
  2. Pour the batter into prepared liners of the cupcake pan and bake until golden, about 15-25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack, at least 1 hour.

Frosting Formula:

  1. Heat 8 tbsp. butter, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the pan. This should take approximately 4 to 8 minutes. Whisk in the cream and cook until the ring of bubbles reappears, about 1 minute. Take the caramel mixture off the heat and whisk in the vanilla. 
  2. Transfer the hot caramel mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a hand mixer. On low speed, gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Increase to medium speed and beat until the frosting is pale brown and just warm, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Working quickly, spread the frosting over the cupcakes. Although the frosting stays soft and spreadable longer than other caramel frosting formulas it will harden over time. If the frosting for any reason does stiffen before you have finished, microwave it for about 10 seconds or until it returns to a spreadable consistency. Give it a quick beat and continue until all cupcakes have been frosted. Serve

Special Thanks To:

 

Cali Rich

Peter Mendoros – Photography

 

All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012