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Caramel Shortbread Bars

caramel shortbread barsI was introduced to the buttery flaky happiness of shortbread cookies last fall, and I promised myself that I would return to them in a new recipe. Instead of baking them in cookie form, I baked these in a pan and then covered them with dulce de leche caramel and a chocolate glaze. They are AMAZINGLY good. Really. That good. Look at the pictures…. they are THAT GOOD.

Caramel Shortbread bars

 

You can make your own dulce de leche using a can of sweetened condensed milk (here’s my recipe for that)- or you can just buy a couple cans of it. I always find it in the Hispanic food section of my local grocery (they have it at WalMart there too). I bought cans for this creation- easy and sooooooo yummy.

Here’s how we made these! (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS:

Cookie base:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder

Toppings:

  • 2 cans (13.4 oz. each) of dulce de leche I used La Lechera by Nestle
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place 1 cup of unsalted butter and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and using a mixer, beat until light and fluffy (think buttercream frosting…!)
  • Add vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • Add flour and baking powder to butter/sugar mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated well (don’t over-beat this).
  • Press into a standard 9×13″ cake pan that’s been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned on top and firm at center.
  • Cool completely.
  • Pour cans of caramel over the top and smooth.
  • Melt chocolate chips with 6 Tablespoons of butter. Stir to mix well and pour over top of caramel layer. Smooth top.
  • Before top hardens, if desired, drizzle with white chocolate and pull lines back and forth with a toothpick to make design shown.
  • Chill for at least an hour before cutting.
  • Enjoy!!

Caramel Shortbread

My thoughts: YUM!!!  I love shortbread, I love caramel, and I love chocolate! These are fabulous cookie bars! 🙂 Be sure to use dark chocolate chips to keep the “sweet” factor down. If you want just a touch of caramel, use one can of La Lechera instead of two. I wanted a big layer of caramel in my cookies- but you might want more cookie and less topping. I hope you get a chance to try these!!!  ~Enjoy!!! 

Caramel Shortbreads

Other caramel deliciousness here: (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Inside-out Caramel Apple!!Salted Caramel Cookie Cup!!!Caramel Coconut CupcakesCaramel Gelato5

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Caramel Oatmeal Bars

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Caramel Oatmeal Bars!

What could be better than oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips? This. This could be better, because we baked them in bars and added caramel. And we all know that caramel makes everything better.

Think “gooey”. Think “rich”. Think “this has oatmeal in it which makes it almost healthy”. Emphasis on almost.

Healthy these are not. But delicious? Yes!

Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c. margarine
  • 1 c. brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups uncooked old-fashioned oatmeal (plain, and not instant!)
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips 
  • 32 Kraft caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1 can (14oz) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Spray a 9×13 cake pan with non-stick spray
  • Beat margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until creamy- and yes, I use margarine here- not butter.
  • Blend in eggs and vanilla
  • Add flour, soda and salt to cream mixture and beat well
  • Stir in oats and chocolate chips
  • Mix until well combined and press a little less than 1/2 of batter into pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  • While this bakes, combine caramels, condensed milk and butter in a saucepan and heat (stirring constantly) until caramels are completely melted.
  • Remove cake from oven and pour caramel over the top. Try to keep it away from the edges of the pan. You won’t be able to do this perfectly, but it is the caramel that sticks to the pan when you go to cut it later.
  • Spoon remaining batter over the top of the caramel and bake for an additional 25- 30 minutes- until browned on the top and not “jiggly” in the middle when the pan is moved. 
  • Cool completely before cutting. It is easiest to cut after it is even chilled a little bit, and I kept these refrigerated until serving.
  • Enjoy!

Caramel Oatmeal Bars2

My thoughts: These are RICH, gooey, happy cookie bars. Cut them small, as they will fill you up fast! I hope you get a chance to try them!  ~r

Other cookie and brownie bars here on easybaked:

Peppermint marshmallow crunch barsCandy Corn Peanut Bars!!Caramel Oreo Brownie BarCookie Dough Brownie

Andes Mint Cookies

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Andes Mint Cookies!

Creamy mint filling sandwiched between delicious dark chocolate cookies. Add a dip of chocolate on one end and you have the most delicious minty treat ever!!

Sometimes I just crave mint and chocolate. Mint and dark, not-too-sweet, chocolate. I have a favorite chocolate cut-out cookie and for this recipe I changed it around a bit to make it dark and less sweet. I love (love!!) how these turned out. My mom made wonderful mint brownies, and I grabbed the mint filling from those to add as a filling to these.

Andes Mint Cookies!

I think you will love these!!!  Here is how I made them (printable recipe):

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter)

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mint extract
  • green food coloring
  • 1/2 bag of Wiltons candy melts in dark chocolate
  • 1/4 bag of Wiltons candy melts in green

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine 2 sticks of softened butter, and both sugars in a large mixing bowl, and beat on low until creamed together.
  • Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Add cocoa powder and beat until combined.
  • Gradually add flour until able to remove beaters and knead by hand. Add flour until a smooth ball of dough is formed.
  • Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut into whatever shape you want. I used a rectangle.
  • Place cookies on parchment paper covered cookie sheets, and bake for 12-16 minutes until firm.
  • Cool completely.
  • While cooling, mix 1 stick of melted butter with powdered sugar and mint extract. Add water until mixture is a thick but smooth icing.
  • Add green food coloring to desired shade.
  • Spread mint icing between two cooled cookies.
  • Melt chocolate and green candy melts in two separate bowls in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until smooth.
  • Place green melts in a small zip top bag, zip it tightly shut and clip a small corner off.
  • Spoon chocolate over 1/2 of a cookie, tap on side of bowl to remove excess chocolate and set on parchment paper.
  • Make lines of green on the melted chocolate and use a toothpick to pull through the green chocolate one way and then back the other to make design.

Andes Mint Cookies1Andes Mint Cookies

  • Allow cookie to harden
  • Enjoy!!

Andes Mint Cookies!

My thoughts: These are delicious. I love the dark chocolate cookies so much. They are almost like a not-too-sweet brownie. The mint adds so much and while I really like the look of the dipped end, you could totally skip it and serve the cookies plain. They are a touch less sweet when not half-dipped in chocolate. I hope you get a chance to try these!!  Enjoy!!! ~r

Andes Mint Cookies!

Andes Mint Cookies4

Other not-too-sweet desserts here on Easybaked: (click on photo to see recipe)

Granola CupsCarrot Cookie with Orange FrostingChocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesStrawberry layer cake

 

 

Bajadera Torte (a recipe from Croatia)

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Bajadera Torte

Layers of cookies, almonds, and chocolate make this dessert recipe from the country of Croatia a beautiful, and totally unique treat!

There are so many of you who check in here on Easybaked every week for my latest dessert creation, and I feel like we have become friends, you and I. I follow many of your blogs and I’ve heard about your celebrations and sadnesses.

Blog friendships are a strange thing though. Most of you only know me as a baker. With a cute little white dog. That is a part of who I am, but it is really just a tiny little sliver of my life here on planet earth.

  • Did you know that about 2 years ago I lost my job in Genetics? I’d worked in medicine for 23 years and budget cuts did us in.
  • Did you know that instead of staying in medicine I spent 8 months in Rough Rock Arizona, working as a missionary with a little Navajo church?
  • Did you know that last fall I began raising support to be a full-time missionary with Josiah Venture- reaching out to young people in Eastern and Central Europe with God’s love for them?

Some of you who have faithfully followed Easybaked over the years know bits and pieces about these parts of my life, but the rest of you probably didn’t know those things. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the mission organization I am working with by sharing a recipe from one of the countries we are in: Croatia!

Bajadera Torte

Aren’t those just so much fun? I can tell you, they are absolutely delicious too- very buttery and flakey.

These are a no-bake dessert and I think they are a perfect recipe for kids to help with! I read about 20 recipes for these online and there are a ton of different ways to make these (and lots of opinions about which version is the most authentic!) I will tell you that these are NOT authentic because rather than using “tea biscuits” or “butter cookies” I used good ol’ Nilla Wafers! You can certainly try the recipe with a more European-type cookie base, but I wanted to be practical, and every American family can get their hands on a box of Nilla Wafers!

Here is how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

TORTE:

  • 3 cups of vanilla wafers (or another plain tea-biscuit sort of cookie)
  • 1 1/2 cups of blanched, peeled almonds (I found these in produce at my grocery)
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

GLAZE:

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil.
  • Place vanilla wafers and almonds into the bowl of a food processor or food chopper and pulse until both are finely ground.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add sugar, 6 Tablespoons of butter and water and microwave on high in one minute increments (stirring in between) until butter is melted and sugar is mostly dissolved (mine took about 4 minutes)
  • Pour cookie and nut mixture into bowl with hot sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Divide out about 1/3 of the dough into a separate bowl.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir into 1/3 of the dough.
  • Press half of the “plain” dough into the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
  • Press all of the “chocolate” dough on top.
  • Press remaining “plain” dough on top of the chocolate layer.
  • Make glaze by melting 1 cup of chocolate chips with 6 Tablespoon of butter in the microwave.
  • Stir well and pour over top.
  • Refrigerate until glaze hardens, cut into pieces and enjoy!!!

Bajadera Torte

My thoughts: These are absolutely delicious. If you want your version to be a little less sweet, use bittersweet or dark chocolate instead. Let’s hear it for Croatia, and a perfectly wonderful dessert!

Croatia is just one of 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe that Josiah Venture is working in. Josiah Venture began just over 20 years ago, and now they have over 300 missionaries in 14 countries. Over half of those missionaries are nationals, because one of Josiah Venture’s firmly held beliefs is that our job is to partner with churches in each country and equip nationals to lead and serve in their own country. The focus is reaching out to young people with the good news that God loves them.

This is done in practical ways that provide for other needs in these countries. Most of these countries have excellent educational systems, but they lack extracurricular activities, like music and sports. Josiah Venture partners with a local church and the school to provide training in those things and to offer, at the same time, information about who God is and how to know Him. This has been, and continues to be, an incredibly effective way to encourage positive activities along with a relationship with God in this young generation.

In 2010 and 2011, I took the college ministry I led over to serve at a Josiah Venture camp in Slovakia, and I just loved meeting the young people who are becoming a positive influence in the lives of others in their country. It was incredible.

When I was preparing to leave the Navajo Nation last fall, I was invited to join Josiah Venture full-time as the coordinator of a program that offers internships to college-age students. We invite young people to spend 3 to 6 months overseas, partnered with one of our missionaries, to see if they might be interested in full-time work with youth overseas.

Amazing Race Josiah Venture

A picture of last year’s interns during training.

 

I’ve been raising the support I need to begin this position full-time, and I’ve been learning the systems in place for getting these interns prepared to serve overseas. We have just over 90 interns this year, and we are hoping to increase our capacity to invite more!

It’s a really exciting and new part of my life, and I’m really SO thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible movement of God both here- in the lives of these college students- and overseas.

I know that you are here for a recipe~ but maybe today you are here for more- to learn about what God is doing in another part of the world. There are several ways you can connect with Josiah Venture and with the intern ministry I am helping to lead.

1. The Josiah Venture Website is a wealth of information about each country, each ministry and each missionary.

2. My personal blog began out on the Navajo reservation and has been all about my journey from there to here.

3. My newsletter  sends you updates on what God is doing with my little part of Josiah Venture. It is published monthly.

4. Josiah Venture on Vimeo has incredible videos of what God is doing in the lives of these students.

Hey~thanks for letting me tell you a little about something that really matters to me. Not that desserts don’t matter…but these other things matter for eternity.

Now, settle in with a piece of this beautiful torte and read a little about what God is doing in Croatia, and in all the other countries of Eastern and Central Europe!   Enjoy!! ~r

Bajadera Torte

 

I usually leave you with links to my favorite recipes here- but today, here are a few memorable moments from the past year: Preparing to leave for Arizona…Lessons from real-life shepherds…Learning about JV…and a Christmas we will never forget.

az-441sheep-squareNavajo392067_10151247110872513_1568830611_n-2

 

 

Caramel Oreo Brownie Bars

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Caramel Oreo Brownie BarRich and gooey, these brownies are filled with soft caramel and Oreo cookies.  Does dessert get any better than this?!?

Wow…this was an experiment, and I’m almost speechless about how good these are.  It is hard to describe the yumminess…You need to try these.  I need to make these again, because they are already gone.

Caramel Oreo Brownie Bars!I’ve shared this recipe before on Easybaked, a very long time ago.  It is a wonderful recipe I called caramel chip bars.  This was one of my very first recipes on this blog, and if you click on the link you can see the recipe AND my awful beginning photography!!!  Lol.

These are very versatile brownie bars.  I make them all the time with a variety of cake mix flavors and chips.  It is a perfect way to use up half-empty bags of chips.

Caramel Oreo Brownie Bars!!!This time….I added Oreos, and the result was too incredibly yummy to not share with you all.  So here you go: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix
  • 1/3c. oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • 1 box of Double Stuf Oreos
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 32 unwrapped Kraft caramels
  • 1 (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  • Line a 9×13″ cake pan with foil.  
  • Combine cake mix, oil and eggs.  
  • Blend well and stir in all of the chips (mixture will be very thick).  
  • Press a little less than half of the mixture into bottom of pan (it will press into a very thin layer and you might be able to see the bottom of the pan, but when it bakes it will fill in).  
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While this is baking, in a medium saucepan, combine butter, caramels and condensed milk.  
  • Cook over low/medium heat until melted and smooth (stir constantly!)
  • When cake has baked for 10 minutes, remove from oven and place 24 Oreo cookies over the top of the partially baked cake.

Oreo Caramel BrowniesOreo Caramel Brownies

  • Spread caramel over Oreos.  
  • Top with remaining cake/chip mixture.
  • There is a technique to this- you cant just spoon the batter on top or it will just mix in with the melted caramel.  Instead, take a small ball of dough/chips and press it very flat between your hands. Lay this on top of the caramel and repeat the process, like a patchwork quilt, until the entire top is covered.  It is ok to have a few gaps.

Oreo Caramel BrowniesOreo Caramel Brownies

  • Bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.  
  • Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes.  
  • Gently lift from pan and peel foil from edges.  
  • Cool completely before cutting. Makes about 24 bars.

Caramel Oreo Brownie Bars!!!

My thoughts:  You have to make these!!!!!!! YUM!!!!!

Caramel Oreo Brownie BarsLove caramel?  We do too!!!  Here’s a few more caramel- filled recipes from Easybaked:

Caramel Cheesecake!!Dulce de Leche caramel sauce form a canSalted Caramel Cookie Cups (2)Caramel Fudge Brownies!!

Candy Corn Peanut Bars

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Candy Corn Peanut Bars!!
A chewy cookie crust topped with peanuts and sweet candy corn.  So many fun fall flavors in one  little bar cookie!

I confess.  I hate candy corn.  Everyone I know loved these cookie bars, but I had to make a little section of no-candy-corn just for me.  This recipe is easily made with or without the candy corn.  The candy makes it pretty though…and that counts for a lot!

Candy Corn Peanut Bars!!

Want to know how to make these easy little cookie bars?

Here you go (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24 bar cookies)

Crust:

  • 1 boxed yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 egg

Topping:

  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 (10 oz) package of peanut butter chips
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 cups salted, roasted peanuts
  • One bag of candy corn

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, 1/3 cup of melted butter and one egg.  Mix well, kneading with clean hands at the end.
  • Carefully press crust into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan. (I line mine with parchment paper)
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 12-14 minutes.
  • Carefully pour mini marshmallows over top of hot crust and place in oven for about 5 minutes (until marshmallows puff up)
  • Cool.
  • In a large saucepan, heat peanut butter chips, corn syrup, vanilla and 1/4 cup of butter until all chips are melted and smooth.
  • Add Rice Krispies and peanuts and combine well.
  • Working quickly, spoon topping over marshmallows and then press candy corn on top.
  • Chill before cutting and ENJOY!

Candy Corn Peanut Bars!!


My thoughts:  I can’t believe it is already October.  When I spotted candy corn at the store I did a double take.  October….already?  These are an easy and fun treat for all of your fall parties and events.  Hope you love them!! ~r

Candy Corn Peanut Bars!!!
Other fun fall recipes:

Inside-out Caramel Apple!!Honey cut-out cookiesFall Acorn Cupcakes!Peanut butter Acorn Cookies!

Salty Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Cheesecake6

Creamy caramel cheesecake over a pretzel crust is topped with a layer of dulce de leche and dark chocolate.  Sweet and salty perfection!

I’ve been craving caramel lately.  Maybe because it’s fall now and caramel seems to be a fall treat.  Whatever the reason, I went on a hunt for caramel cheesecake and found this one at Bon Appetite.  I wanted to add salty to the recipe, so I used a pretzel crust instead of grahams and added dark chocolate.  It is really good.  A subtle caramel flavor with just a hint of salt from the crust.

Caramel Cheesecake5

Want to know how these are made?  Here you go:  (Printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 24 cheesecake squares)

Crust:

  • 3 cups of crushed pretzels
  • 2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1  stick (1/2 cup) of butter

Cheesecake:

  • 3 packages of cream cheese (8 oz.), softened to room temperature.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 can (13.4 oz) of Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche (or 1 cup of your own- find recipe here)

Topping:

  • 1 bag (10 oz.) Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels.
  • 12 Tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
  • Make crust by combining crushed pretzels, butter and sugar together and pressing into a greased 9×13 pan.
  • Bake at 325F for about 10 minutes.  Cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, cream together sugar with cream cheese.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed between each one.
  • Add vanilla and 1/2 of the can (about 1/2 cup) of Dulce de Leche.
  • Beat on medium until completely combined.
  • Pour cheesecake over cooled crust and bake at 325F for 45 minutes. (Until center is set)
  • Cool at room temperature.
  • Carefully spread remaining Dulce de Leche over the top of the cooled cheesecake.
  • Melt 12 Tablespoons of butter with dark chocolate chips until smooth.
  • Pour over top, carefully spreading chocolate to cover entire cheesecake.
  • Carefully set pretzels on top of chocolate.  Each one will be in the center of one piece when it is cut, so place them according to how big you want your pieces.
  • Lightly sprinkle with coarse salt.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Before serving, allow cheesecake to warm a little and then using a sharp knife, cut into squares with a pretzel centered in each.
  • Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

My thoughts:  These are really so yummy.  My only problem?  The crust was a little crumbly (you can see in the pictures).  I’m almost positive I didn’t get my pretzels chopped fine enough.  Make sure you chop/food process them into FINE bits- not coarse.

If you don’t want a salty crust just use graham crackers– or Oreos…oh my, caramel cheesecake over Oreos?  Yes, please!  The cheesecake is delicious.  It would be good over any crust.  I hope you enjoy trying it!!!  ~r

Salted Caramel Cheesecake!

Other caramel desserts you might enjoy:

Salted Caramel Cookie Cups (2)Inside-out Caramel Apple!!Caramel Fudge Brownies!!Turtle Cheesecake

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