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Tuesday
Feb212012

Salted caramel butter bars

It finally snowed! It looks strangely like winter outside today. The snow that fell was the wet heavy kind, causing our satellite dish to cease working last night. Did I mention that this happened just as I was sitting down to watch a show that I get really excited about watching every week? I was super bummed, but it opened up time to accomplish a few other tasks, such as writing out a birthday post for my 5-year-old boy! Our journey with Elijah has been one filled with challenges and incredible joy. Seven heart catheterizations, three open heart surgeries, two bronchoscopies, one spinal cord surgery and one urethra surgery later, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change any of it. Happy 5th birthday, beautiful son of mine! What an incredible journey it has been.

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. Looking back on the first 5 years of this boy's life made me weepy. Grateful and happy, but still weepy. At the end of yesterday, I needed comfort! Especially since the snowed-upon satellite dish ruined one of my comfort sources. So I broke out the ice cream and Bailey's! If I would have had a pan of salted caramel butter bars nearby, it would have been completely demolished. Sadly, these bars were long gone.

I found these through the beloved Pinterest, on Cookies & Cups. It looks like the original source is the cookbook Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth. Why in the world do I not own this cookbook?!

I about died when I saw how much butter was used for this recipe. I had my husband check and double check amounts and conversions before adding FOUR STICKS OF BUTTER to my bowl. Let me tell you, though, they are weak-in-the-knees delicious.

In a large bowl, combine:

4 sticks (yes, 1 POUND) salted butter, at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Using a hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla and beat until combined.

Gradually add 4 cups of all-purpose flour to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Press one half of the dough evenly into the prepared pan to form a bottom crust, and place the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

While the crust is cooling, make the caramel filling. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine:

One 14-oz. bag caramel candies, unwrapped

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If the caramels are not completely melted, microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt over the top.

Remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel layer. 

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.

After your first bite, you will likely forget about all of that butter. I did. 

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

Do I really need to tell you that these are to-die-for?! (source: cookiesandcups.com)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 21, 2012

Serves: 16

Total time: 1 hr, 10 min

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks (1 lb) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • One 14-oz. bag caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars. Using hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Press one half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough in refrigerator. Bake until firm and edges are pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling.
  3. Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream and vanilla, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
  4. Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle the salt over top. Remove remaining dough from refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.

 

 

Saturday
Feb182012

Caramel sauce

There aren't many things I enjoy more than caramel. Caramel is a fantastically scrumptious mixture of butter and sugar and yum-yummy-yumminess. For Christmas I used to slave over the stove to make caramels. They took for. ev. er. to make, but they were insanely addicting. In recent years I have forgone that process because I have bad memories that involve stirring for hours upon hours, while calluses formed on the bottoms of my feet and carpel tunnel formed in my wrists. I do miss eating those ooey gooey caramels, but I have discovered another form that can be made in a fraction of the time. And it is just as good! 

I gave a jar of this caramel sauce to my sister and she loved it, too. Her favorite thing to do with it was spread it on toast. I loved it as a fruit dip. This is some seriously good stuff, people.

In a medium saucepan, combine:

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 3 additional minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

See? Isn't that easy? Callus-free carameling, people!

Transfer the caramel sauce to a pint-size glass jar (or 2 half-pint jars) and seal it with a lid. Let cool. Store the sealed jar in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Before use, microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval.

The caramel will separate a bit when it settles, but a few quick stirs will mix it up easily.

Enjoy this on basically anything! Ice cream, fruit, CARDBOARD..

Caramel Sauce

Use this as a fruit dip or spread it on your morning piece of toast!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 18, 2012

Serves: 12

Total time: 30 min

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients: 

  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, heavy whipping cream, brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 3 additional minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer caramel sauce to a glass jar and seal with a lid. Let cool. Store sealed in refrigerator or at room temperature. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, before serving.

 

 

Thursday
Feb162012

Buffalo chicken stromboli

I have regrets about this year's Super Bowl menu. Not about what was on the menu (because it was quite the delicious spread), but regrets about the actual piece of paper that had all of our recipes written on it. Remember how I told you that Dan is selectively particular about certain things? One of his things is menus. When we prepare food for guests, he likes to write out a very detailed diagram of how the serving table will look. His latest diagram made me giggle more than most because it had T.O.P. written in the middle of the page (short for Tower of Perfection, of course). I wish I had saved it! I'm sure he would absolutely love me sharing that with all of you. 

I believe this recipe was meant to sit atop the T.O.P. because it was one that we were both particularly excited about. We came up with the idea about a week before the Super Bowl while brainstorming recipe ideas. We love stromboli. It is delicious and a great party food. And since Dan was making a huge batch of buffalo sauce for his wings, we had the idea of combining the two! Buffalo chicken and stromboli indeed turned out to be a successful marriage. This was my personal favorite of all of our Super Bowl spread. It's placement on the T.O.P. was well-deserved.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.

Place 4 defrosted chicken breast halves in the prepared baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or unil juices run clear and meat is cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool and then shred.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken with 3/4 cup buffalo sauce. Mix well. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Lightly flour a work surface. Roll 1 pound of frozen pizza dough (at room temperature) into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Spread with the chicken-sauce mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the dough edges on all sides. Top with 1 cup of blue cheese crumbles and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Fold 1 inch of dough over the filling on the short sides of the rectangle. Fold the long ends over the filling, pinching the dough together at the corners. 

Roll the dough, starting at one of the long ends, as tightly as possible. Pinch the seam to seal.

Transfer the roll, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet and brush with 1 lightly beaten egg. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden.

Loosen the bottom of stromboli from the foil with a spatula and transfer to a cutting board. Let cool. Cut into slices and serve warm.

I promise I will save Dan's next party table diagram! Enjoy this stromboli. It is seriously delicious and a huge crowd-pleaser!

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli

Buffalo chicken wings wrapped up in delicious dough!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 16, 2012

Serves: 12

Total time: 1 hr, 15 min

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breast halves, defrosted
  • 3/4 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1 lb frozen pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear and meat is cooked through. Let chicken cool and shred. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken and buffalo sauce; mix well. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin; roll pizza dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Spread with chicken-sauce mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the dough edges on all sides. Top mixture with blue cheese crumbles and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Fold 1 inch of dough over the filling on the short sides of the rectangle. Fold the long ends over the filling, pinching the dough together at the corners. Roll the dough, starting at one of the long ends, as tightly as possible. Pinch the seam to seal.
  5. Transfer the roll, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden.
  6. Loosen the bottom of stromboli from the foil with a spatula; transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into slices and serve warm.

 

 

Wednesday
Feb152012

Valentine's Day 2012

The sixth annual Megan-Dan V-Day dinner was a delicious success. I have been saying all day long that I would really like to rewind to last night at about 6:30. I want to eat it all over again.

Here is a peek at our menu! Recipes to follow in the next week (or so).

Wednesday
Feb152012

Giveaway winner announced!

Thank you so much for the comments you all left! The winner of these cute silicone mixing bowls..

...is comment number 51, which was written by Britta Nerber! Congrats, Britta! Send me your mailing address and I will get the mixing bowls in the mail for you!

 

Thanks for commenting, everyone!