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Turtle Cookie Cups

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Turtle Cookie Cup

Chocolate cookie cups full of creamy caramel, chocolate and pecans.  So many fun fall flavors in one little dessert!

There’s something about November that makes me think caramel and pecans. Comfort food, maybe? Thanksgiving?  I’m not sure, but these yummy little treats hit the spot!  They are fun to make, and a pretty mini dessert for all those November and December get-togethers.

Here’s how they are made: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 2 sticks (one cup) butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Toppings:

  • 1 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in milk chocolate
  • 2 cups of chopped pecans and about 60 whole pecans
  • 32 Kraft caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

DIRECTIONS:

Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Add butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together in a 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, and knead into a soft ball of dough
  • Use a small cookie scoop (I used one that holds ½ tablespoon of batter) to portion your dough into mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with non-stick spray
  • Use a tart shaper, or a wooden spoon to press the dough into a cup shape.

Making cookie cups

  • Bake at 350F degrees for 7-8 minutes and remove from oven.
  • Press centers in a second time and allow cups to cool for just a couple of minutes.
  • Use a small paring knife to pop each cup out and allow them to cool on the counter.

Toppings:

  • Place caramels, sweetened condensed milk and butter into a medium saucepan and heat on medium over the stove until all of the caramels are melted.
  • Heat milk chocolate candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.
  • Place chopped pecans into a small bowl.
  • To assemble, dip top edge of cup in candy melts and then in chopped nuts.

Dipping tops of cookie cups in chocolate

  • Place caramel sauce into a sturdy zip top bag and clip a corner.
  • Pipe caramel into each cup until filled completely and top with a whole almond.
  • Allow caramel and chocolate to firm up.
  • Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • Enjoy!

Turtle Cookie Cup2

My thoughts: These are a little time-consuming to make, but sooooo yummy. They are a perfect mini-dessert for any of the upcoming holidays, and they got RAVE reviews in my little world! That caramel….!!!! Enjoy! ~r

Other fun mini desserts here at Easybaked (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Cheesecake Sundaes Mint Creme Brownie CupsCake balls filled with cream cheese frostingMini chocolate chip cookie cheesecakes

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Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle!!
This thick and crunchy peanut brittle just melts in your mouth, and it’s one of our family’s favorite Christmas treats!

This is the best peanut brittle I’ve ever had.  My wonderful Aunt Beth has brought it to our family Christmas celebrations since I was just a tiny girl.  I remember being SO full after dinner and no matter how full I got,  I always had to have a piece of Aunt Beth’s peanut brittle.  I have vivid memories of opening presents one-handed because I had peanut brittle in the other hand.  It is THAT GOOD.

Aunt Beth

Aunt Beth and Uncle Keith

I think what makes it perfect is that it isn’t really hard to bite into or a “teeth-stuck-together” kind of candy.  It just kind of melts in your mouth…and oh my….

I’d never made it, because there has always been this aura of “impossibly difficult recipe” surrounding it.  First of all, you need a candy thermometer and I think that discourages many a would-be peanut brittle maker.  Second, it takes some stirring time over a hot stove.  This isn’t a quick recipe- but it is so sooooooo worth it!

Aunt Beth issued two warnings to me when I embarked on the mission to try her recipe:

1.  Once you add the peanuts you have to stir constantly or the brittle will burn.

2. Be incredibly careful handling the pans and especially the candy, as it is SO hot and sticky and you could easily burn yourself.  Use caution stirring and pouring.

I put on safety glasses and got out a big pan…..

RuthanneIt wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.  It was actually really fun, and it turned out GREAT!

Ready for the recipe?  Here you go:  (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Light Karo Corn Syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lb. raw peanuts (be sure to use raw- I found mine in the produce section of my grocery)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (plus enough to coat a large jelly roll pan)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons baking soda

DIRECTIONS:

  • Liberally butter a large jellyroll pan (this is just a cookie sheet with sides- the bigger, the better!) and set it on a towel or potholders (it will get very hot when you pour the brittle in).
  • In a large saucepan (I used a dutch oven pan) place water, Karo syrup and sugar.
  • Place a candy thermometer in the pan (I clipped mine to the side)
  • Heat on high and boil until soft ball stage (238F degrees), stirring occasionally.
  • While this is boiling, measure out the remaining ingredients and have them ready to add.
  • At 238F degrees, add the peanuts, salt and butter and carefully STIR continually until mixture reaches brittle stage (310F degrees).  This took me about 15-20 minutes.

How-to-make peanut brittleHow-to-make peanut brittle

  • Add baking soda and stir until it disappears.  The mixture will foam up and double in size (that’s why you need a big pan!). Give it  few seconds to get nice and foamy.
  • CAREFULLY, using oven mitts, pour mixture onto your buttered jelly roll pan.  Do not spread it out, just let it spread it out on its own.  Allow brittle to cool for several hours (don’t rush this part– it is worth the wait!)

How-to-make peanut brittleHow-to-make peanut brittle

  • Once it is completely cool, break it up into chunks and enjoy!!!!!!

Peanut Brittle!!
My thoughts: This isn’t a difficult recipe- it is just hot and time consuming.  Now that I’ve made it, I will make it again though- it is SO worth the effort!  I know there are much simpler recipes (even ones in the microwave!) for peanut brittle, and I’m all about simple.  But this is an exception to the rule of keeping things simple.  I really think you will love it!  Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipe Aunt Beth!  Love you!  ~R

Peanut Brittle
Other Christmas recipe ideas:

Snowman Oreo PopsChocolate Pecan TartChocolate Bon-bonsPeanut butter cup cheesecake

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