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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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Rocky Road Cookies!

rocky-road-cookies

Rich fudge cookies covered in a pile of marshmallows, chocolate and almonds.

A perfect rocky road combination!

Confession: I’m not a fan of ice cream. I mean, it’s ok- but it isn’t like my favorite dessert. The rocky road combination of marshmallows, chocolate and almonds began in ice cream- back in the early 1900’s. It was actually the very 1st creative ice cream flavor- prior to its invention there was only vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Stop and imagine that for a minute. The world with no mint-chip ice cream…

So they invented this crazy new flavor, and then the Great Depression hit- and people didn’t have much money to buy ice cream. In a feat of marketing genius, it was given the name “Rocky Road” to relate to what people were going through and boost sales. It must have worked, because this flavor of ice cream has stood the test of time and is still filling the freezers of America.

rocky-road-cookies

Since ice cream isn’t my favorite dessert, I like to take these flavors and create other things with them instead! I made Rocky Road cupcakes a couple of years ago on Easybaked, and they are still one of my favorite recipes. Yum.

rocky-road-cookies

These are easy to make, and a perfectly rich, but not too sweet treat for any holiday or celebration. Or just for Mondays. Mondays always need good cookies.

Here is how we made them (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24, 4-inch round cookies)

Cookie: 

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Toppings:

  • 1 bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 1 bag of Wiltons candy melts in dark cocoa
  • 1/4 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in white
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Add butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa together in  large mixing bowl.
  • Blend on medium speed with a mixer until smooth.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until smooth (use clean hands at the end, to knead into a soft ball of dough)
  • Roll out cookie dough on floured counter.  
  • Cut into large circles (you want to have room for all those toppings!) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  
  • Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm.
  • Slide parchment paper off cookie sheet with cookies on top. Allow them to cool on counter.
  • Melt dark cocoa candy melts in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • Spoon about a tablespoon of chocolate on the top of a cookie and spread to edges.
  • Immediately (before chocolate hardens) add marshmallows, almonds and chocolate chips. They all don’t have to touch the melted chocolate, and some can be loose on top.
  • Finish all cookies in the same manner.
  • Melt white candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • Place candy melts into a small zip-top bag, clip a corner and drizzle white chocolate over the top of each cookie as shown.
  • Allow everything to harden up.
  • Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days (the marshmallows get a little chewy past that point). Make sure to layer parchment paper between the layers of cookies when storing them.
  • Enjoy!

rocky-road-cookies

My thoughts: There is just something unbelievably good about marshmallows on a cookie. The chewy sweetness of those, the crunchy nuts, the soft chocolate cookie… I LOVE these! Sometimes the love of a dessert is as much about the textures as it is about the flavors- and this cookie wins in both categories!!!! I hope you get a chance to try these! Enjoy! ~r

Other favorites for the cookie jar: (click on a photo to see the recipe):

Gingerbread Cookies!German Chocolate CookieChocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesChocolate Espresso Cookies!!!

 

Strawberry Cream Confetti Cups!

strawberry-cream-confetti-cups

Nothing says “Happy New Year” like confetti!!!  These cakes, baked in cups, have confetti in every fun bite!

Confession: I am a confetti addict. I LOVE it. I don’t mind vacuuming it up for months after New Year’s Eve- at all! A few years ago we piled as much confetti as we could on my ceiling fan blades and at midnight we turned on the fan. Ah— SO much fun!!!!  You should totally try it. As a side note… on Cinco de May0 we also piled little candies on the fan and turned it on. We called it a “FAÑATA” ! 🙂 It hurt a little…but the memories!!!

Someday I want to be in Times Square on NYE…mainly for the confetti, but this year I will celebrate at my dad’s, and I have serious doubts about the level of confetti at our party…but he reads my blog, so maybe he will be inspired by my ideas! (*hint *hint dad…!)

Whether your party includes real confetti or not, these cups of cake will add some edible confetti to the celebration! Plus the strawberry and cream flavors… oh my.

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

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12-16 cups of cake, or 24 cupcakes)

  • One boxed strawberry cake mix (plus water, oil and eggs to make according to package)
  • 2 cups (seriously- or more…) confetti sprinkles
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla
  • A little white food coloring to brighten up the frosting (if desired!)
  • 12-16 (8 oz.) party cups. I got mine at Target in the dollar section, but there are all sorts on Amazon- like these. (or make these as cupcakes with polka dot cupcake liners!!)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and place cups on cookie sheets (preferably the sort with edges, to prevent sliding!)
  • Make cake according to package.
  • Mix in a cup of confetti sprinkles, and spoon batter into cups, filling them about 1/2 full.
  • Bake according to package directions for cupcakes- but add a little extra time since they are bigger, and test with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, they are done!

*Note: I was a little uncomfortable baking in these paper cups- so I kept a constant eye on them. I’m not sure if they can burn- I suppose it depends on the cup- and I read about people who made cupcakes in Starbucks coffee cups and just did it with no problems. Please be careful though- and use your good judgement about baking in paper cups. If you have any hesitation, use cute cupcake liners instead! 😉

  • Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely.
  • Make frosting by combining butters, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat on high until very light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Add white coloring if desired.
  • Scoop frosting on top of each little cake and then press the frosting into a bowl filled with confetti sprinkles to coat the top completely.

confetti-cupcakes2 confetti-cups7

confetti-cups

My thoughts: These are a delicious and pretty way to say “Happy New Year!!!” I hope you love them as much as I do!!!

confetti-cups6

confetti-cups3

Other fun New Year’s treats to make for your party! (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Confetti cookies!Ball Drop CupcakesPink Champagne Cupcakes1Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Pumpkin-stuffed Oreos

pumpkin stuffed oreos

Why have plain old pumpkin pie, when you can have these Oreos- filled with pumpkin and dipped in white chocolate?!?

Admission: I don’t like pumpkin pie. I never have and probably never will. I don’t like pumpkin spice anything either. The best way to ruin a Starbucks drink is to add pumpkin spice. Ew.

So I made these for you. All of you lovers of pumpkin out there! I also distributed these to as many pumpkin-addicted friends as possible, to get their thoughts. They LOVED them. I like that they are cute. Cute is always good.

pumpkin filled oreo

Like that photo, pumpkin people??? 🙂 I bet you do…. If you love pumpkin pie- you will go crazy over these fun little cookies!

Here is how we made them (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 20 cookies- but see notes at end of recipe)

  • 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
  • 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1-2 boxes of Oreo Thins in vanilla (see notes)
  • 1-2 bags of Wilton’s Candy Melts in white (see notes)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  • Place pumpkin, condensed milk, TWO eggs (save one), pumpkin spice, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and blend well using a whisk.
  • Pour into a baking dish (a pie plate works perfectly!)
  • Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes- until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • Remove from oven, spoon into a clean mixing bowl and blend until fairly smooth (it’s pumpkin, so it won’t be creamy smooth- but without big lumps).
  • Freeze for 30 minutes- until chilled through.
  • While baking /freezing pumpkin, make pie crust toppers.
  • Unroll pie crust and use a small cookie cutter to cut shapes out. Place these on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet.
  • Separate remaining egg and keep just the white. Use a brush to coat top of each pie piece with egg-white. (I added a bit of orange and green food coloring in separate bowls to give them a hint of color- but this is optional!)
  • Bake at 375F for 7-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them! Mine got a little too brown.  I just popped these in while my pumpkin was still baking. Cool on counter.
  • Place 1/2 of Oreo Thins on a small cookie sheet. 
  • Scoop cooled pumpkin on top of each and gently press second Oreo on top.

pumpkin pie cookiesimg_0116

  • Freeze for at least 30 minutes (until pumpkin in the center is fairly hard).
  • Melt Candy Melts in a bowl the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring until smooth.
  • Set a pumpkin-stuffed Oreo into candy melts and spoon over the top and sides. 
  • Remove using a fork. Tap against edge of bowl to drain excess away and gently slide onto parchment paper. 
  • Before candy hardens, place a pie piece on top and sprinkle with a little pumpkin spice seasoning. 
  • Allow candy to fully harden ( a couple of hours).
  • Serve in a pie plate- or bag them up in cute cello bags with ribbon. 
  • Enjoy!

Pumpkin pie oreos

My thoughts: Honestly, these take a little time. You bake a pie and then turn it into cookies. Everyone loved the HUGE amount of pie filling in each cookie- but if you haven’t done much dipping in chocolate before, I highly recommend you get a second box of Oreo Thins and put less in between each cookie. The hardest part of this process was coating such a tall cookie in white chocolate. If I made these again I would use less pumpkin filling to make that easier. If you do this, you will need a second bag of candy melts as well.

pumpkin-oreo3

See… half that amount would still be enough! Once these were hardened, I placed them in little cello bags and tied them with ribbon. They were still yummy (to my pumpkin loving friends) several days later. Because of the moist pumpkin filling, I recommend you serve these fairly soon after making them though. Within a few days. Enjoy!!!  ~r

Pumpkin filled oreos

Other fun recipes for Thanksgiving! (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Pecan Pie CupcakesTepee CupcakesHoney cut-out cookiesPeanut butter cup cheesecake

A bowl of eyeball cookies!

Posted on

eyeball-cookies

These delicious little cookies are the perfect creepy treat for October!

Ah…these were fun to make and really fun to share! They definitely gave kids a pause. I heard one little girl say, “Mom- I’m a little scared of those cookies because they are looking at me!”

Love it.

Ok- so these don’t involve baking. You could certainly bake cookies and decorate them this way- but if you are like me and you needed a recipe at 10pm the night before- Nilla Wafers and Ritz crackers will do just fine (and taste GREAT!)

Here is how we put them together (and there is no printable recipe- because there isn’t really a recipe for these- just a technique!)

eyeball cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nilla Wafers (and some mini-Nilla wafers, if you’ve got them!)
  • Ritz crackers
  • Wilton Candy melts in green, blue, white and black
  • Candy eyes (although these aren’t technically necessary, since you have the white and black candy melts).

DIRECTIONS:

  • Melt candy melts, one color at a time, in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted and smooth.
  • Spoon into a zip-top bag and cut a corner off. (Or use a squeeze bottle fitted with a decorating tip if you have one)
  • Use green to outline the edges of the Ritz crackers and then fill in. Use white to outline and fill in the tops of the Nilla wafers.

eyeball-cookieseyeball-cookies

  • Draw eyes of different sizes on the Ritz crackers, using a toothpick to make the tiny pupils in black (use candy eyes if you have them, for one size) I even added some little green blotches on these just to make them more weird.
  • Use blue and black candy melts to make eyes on the Nilla Wafers.

eyeball-cookieseyeball-cookies6

  • Let these harden and then serve them up in a fun bowl- or maybe put them in little cello bags and tie them with ribbon!
  • Enjoy!

eyeball-cookies

My thoughts: Aren’t they fun? You don’t have to be fussy about making them perfect- the crazier the better! Those Ritz crackers are especially yummy with the sweet candy on top. Yum. Enjoy these quick and easy treats!!!  ~r

Other creepy recipes for your October: click on a photo to see the recipe.

Spider EggsEdible Jello Earthworm CupcakesBroken glass Cupcakes!!!Mummy Oreo Pops!

Hairy Monster Oreo Pops

Posted on

hairy-monster-oreo-pops

These fuzzy Oreo monsters aren’t TOO scary- and they taste delicious!

Oh Oreo Pops… I love you! So many possibilities and so little time! Aren’t these so cute? They remind me of the little pom-poms with eyes that we used to put on the tops of pencils. Yes..pencils…back in the olden days when we used paper 😉

In any case- these are perfect for Halloween and even for just fun fuzzies at kids parties! The only requirement??? You need to like coconut!  I know that eliminates a few of you out there…but believe me- if you like coconut, you will LOVE these! Coconut plus Oreos?? Bam!

monster-oreo-pops

Here’s how we made these fun little guys: (printable recipe available here)

INGREDIENTS: (for about 24 cookies)

  • One package of Double Stuff Oreos
  • Wilton’s Candy Melts– you need about a bag and 1/2- so if you do all three colors you need 1/2 bag of each.
  • Candy eyes
  • About 3 cups of shredded, sweetened coconut
  • Food coloring in desired shades
  • About 24 lollipop sticks

DIRECTIONS: (if you’ve never made Oreo Pops, check out our tutorial here)

  • Place coconut in small zip-top bags and add food coloring in desired shades. Zip bag shut and shake and squeeze until coconut is completely colored. Set aside.
  • Twist apart all of your Oreos.
  • Melt your candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  • Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melts, spread a little on the top of the white filling of the Oreo and then press the stick into the white filling.
  • Place the top of the Oreo back on so that the stick is in the middle with the filling.
  • Do this for all the Oreos, and set them on a large plate or cookie sheet to FREEZE for about 10 minutes.
  • Hold a chilled pop by the stick, and spoon candy melts (in desired color) over the top, bottom and sides of the Oreo.
  • Tap stick against the side of the bowl to get extra melts off, and gently pull the bottom of the Oreo along the edge of the bowl, scraping off excess melts.

hairy-monster-oreo-popshair-monster-oreo-pops

  • Set Oreo on parchment paper to harden- but before it hardens, sprinkle a generous amount of coconut on the top of the candy melts, and gently press it up against the sides.
  • When all Oreos of a given color are dipped and covered, take the remaining candy melts and use a dab on the back of each candy eye-ball to “glue” these on top of the coconut. I used a toothpick to add this dab of candy melt to the eyeball.
  • Continue until you have all colors finished. Allow Oreo pops to completely harden (a couple of hours). You can freeze them to speed up this process. 
  • The BEST way to serve these is to wrap them in cello bags and tie them with a ribbon. This keeps all that coconut in place (and not all over the other colors of coconut!)

hairy-monster-oreo-pops

hairy-monster-oreo-pops

My thoughts: These are quick, but a little messy to put together, They are adorable and delicious though– so well worth the effort in my opinion!!! I liked them even better after a couple of days- when the coconut gets a little firmer in texture from sitting out and it’s less oily. These will keep for at least a week (maybe longer?) when wrapped up in cello bags. I do hope you get a chance to try them!  Enjoy!!  ~r

hairy-monster-oreo-pops

We specialize in making kids smile here at Easybaked. Here are a few more ideas: (click on photo to see recipe)

Cookie Monster OreosFish Pond CupcakesTepee CupcakesPile of Cupcakes!

Chocolate “Poo” Emoji Cookies!

Emoji Poo Cookies!

Send a little smile with these Poo Emoji Cookies! They are a really delicious chocolate cookie swirled around a Hershey Hug!

Ok. Some of you are shaking your heads… 🙂 When I made my Emoji Oreo Pops last week, everyone loved them and the next question out of their mouths was, “What about the little Emoji Poo?? Are you going to make little Poos?”

Since an Oreo isn’t triangular, I went back to one of my favorite chocolate cookie recipes that doesn’t spread out and keeps its shape when baked. I wasn’t sure it would form swirls or keep this particular shape- but it worked perfectly! Plus it is the yummiest cookie recipe ever.

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

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 15-20 Hershey Kisses or Hugs (unwrapped)
  • Candy eyes
  • White fondant (or white candy melts piped into the shape of a smile!)
  • A little white chocolate (melt chips, or use a few candy melts)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Unwrap Kisses/Hugs.
  • Place parchment paper on a large cookie sheet.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Place chocolate chips and butter together in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30 second increments in the microwave. Stir between until melted completely. It will be a fairly firm mixture.
  • Add condensed milk and stir until smooth.
  • Add flour until it becomes thick. This is the trickiest part to get right- you want to be able to pipe it out of a bag- so don’t add so much flour that you can’t squeeze it out. You want it to hold it’s shape though- so you have to add enough flour for that. As I was piping mine, I thought- PLAYDOUGH- this is the consistency of fresh Playdough.
  • Immediately scoop dough into a zip-top bag and seal. 
  • Clip a large corner off the bag and squeeze out a small circle of dough. Place a kiss/hug in the center and then continue piping dough in a swirl that covers the kiss up. Use your other hand to press the swirl together as you go- so that the kiss is covered up completely.
  • Continue piping these “poos” out on the cookie sheet- you can put them fairly close together on the sheet- they don’t spread out much at all.

Chocolate poo cookiesChocolate Poo CookiesChocolate Poo Cookies

  • Eventually, the heat of your hands will draw some of the butter out of the dough and it will get harder to pipe in a swirl. You can: A. Place the dough back in the bowl and re-knead it together, place in a clean bag and pipe more swirls OR B. quit making swirls and just make some plain old poo cookies. (I promise that the plain ones will get more laughter than the swirls….really! Plus you don’t use up so many eyes!!)
Milk and cookies anyone??

Milk and cookies anyone??

  • Bake at 350F degrees for about 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet.
  • Use a little white chocolate or some White candy melts to “glue” eyes on, and use the same white chocolate to pipe on a smile (or— use white fondant and our fun cookie cutters from my Oreo Emoji recipe to cut out a smile and glue that on!)

Chocolate Poo Emoji Cookies3

My thoughts: These just make me laugh. They are funny and cute (and those non-emoji ones are SO gross- if one of those got dropped on the floor, my dog would get a talking to!) Have you seen the Kitty-litter cakes? Let me find a link to one in case you haven’t….. hold on….. found one (on a super cute blog called tbsp.- click here to see it) Who needs tootsie rolls when you can have such realistic cookies??? Bring on the Halloween gross-factor! Pair them up with Emoji cookies, or serve them alone… however you make them or serve them, I hope you enjoy!!  ~r

Emoji poop cookies

Other gross-me-out recipes here on Easybaked (just in time for Halloween!!)- click on a picture to see the recipe!

Edible Jello Earthworm CupcakesToxic Slime-filled Cupcakes!Broken glass Cupcakes!!!Apple Oreo Pops with worms!

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