Carmelitas, Or How I Was Told to Bribe my Coworkers

A few coworkers and I were out to lunch, welcoming a new member of the team. The subject came up that I liked to bake, to which the woman on my left said “You know, you haven’t been baking much at all out of the “Stuff we want Liesl to make” Pinterest board. I think that you don’t really love us any more.” One of my leaders was also at the table and said, “Yeah, your year-end review is coming up. I think you need to show us the love.”

So, I got ‘gently persuaded’ to bake something and bring it in to work. Plus, we’re all facing the end of our fiscal year, so we’re all a little stressed out.

Original recipe is here: http://luluthebaker.com/2010/10/the-tale-of-the-carmelitas.html

Here’s What You Need
32 caramel squares
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

And Here’s What You Do
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove pan from oven and evenly layer the chocolate chips over crust then pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel.
5. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.
6. Seriously, don’t try to cut them before they are cool. They will still be a little wobbly when they come out of the oven and will firm up as they cool.

What I Did
I really need to read recipes all the way through before charging blindly ahead (but, hey! Where’s the fun in being prepared?) I thought that one recipe would be enough to cover a 9X13 pan. So, I had to improvise and do another 1/2 recipe to try and cover the 9×13 pan. They turned out ok.

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Oh yeah….

However, here it is a week later, and I’m making another pan for Scott. This time, I had all the ingredients that I needed for a full batch, and I can already tell that they are going to turn out better than the last batch did.

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The coworkers loved them! I ended up bringing a few home for Scott to take to work, but I don’t think that actually happened. Because really, they are the perfect thing to pick you up after a long hard day at work. Or on a Saturday. Or a Sunday…

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Somoa Cookie Bars

Another Girl Scout cookie season has come and gone, but you can still whip up a batch of these babies to satisfy your Samoa (Or Caramel de Lite) craving!

Origingal Recipe is Here: http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/02/samoa-magic-bars/

Here’s What You Need

½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
18 square caramels, cut in half
1 can (14 ounces) fat-free sweetened condensed milk

And Here’s What You Do

1. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Trust me, you don’t want to try to remove these babies if you don’t have the foil and the cooking spray
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the flour, sugar, and salt. Once combined, the mixture will be crumbly and look very dry. However, you should be able to press it together with your fingers and have it stick together. (see picture below) Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Remove hot crust from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips, coconut, and caramels. Finish with sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden around the edges. Cool completely before cutting.
4. Store in an airtight container.

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What I Did
I should have thought about the layers on these bars before I dove into the recipe. I should have layered chocolate first (of course they were the little mini chips), then the caramel, then the coconut, then the sweetened condensed milk. It would have looked prettier that way. Instead, I have this lovely mess of mini chocolate chips glistening over the pale coconut. They would have tasted the same either way, but aesthetically would have been more appealing, I think.

As revealed in another post, I am a sucker for sweetened condensed milk. Lord only knows why. There isn’t anything truly appealing about the stuff, and it tends to get everywhere if you don’t pay attention while you are pouring it out of the can. Still, I can’t help but love the way it splodges up and oozes into every nook and cranny of whatever you are baking.

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Since this recipe contains several of my favorite things, I am an unfair judge as to how these turned out. Scott would have liked them better if the caramel was spread out a bit more, so that can be accomplished by cutting the caramel a little smaller or using caramel chips instead of the squares.

Still, I think that this one will be for the recipe books.

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

 

Samoa Brownies

Yes, you read that right.  Samoa (as in ‘Carmel Delight Girl Scout Cookies’ Brownies.  All the wonderfulness of brownies and Samoa cookies in the same delightful package.  I don’t know why they’re called Samoa, but I’m not questioning it.  All I know is, it’s a darn good thing that Scott took these to work and shared them with coworkers…because if he hadn’t, he probably would have found me sitting on the kitchen floor, surrounded by brownie crumbs and covered in coconut.

Original recipe is found here: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/07/samoa-brownies.html

What You Need:

1 standard brownie mix
3 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
(2) 14 oz. package of caramels, unwrapped
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. milk
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

And Here’s What You Do:

1. Prepare the brownie mix according to the box directions, letting the brownies cool in the pan after baking.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place shredded coconut on a cookie sheet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stir, then cook for another 2-3 minutes until toasted.  Watch it very closely.   Not all of the coconut will turn a lovely golden brown color, but it will toast.

3. In a large, microwaveable bowl, add unwrapped caramels, salt, and milk and heat on high for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally (about every 45-60 seconds). Keep stirring until all caramels are are melted and smooth.

4. Add coconut to the heated caramel and stir together. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate 4-5 hours. Remove from fridge and let sit for at least 1 hour before cutting. Cut into bars and drizzle with melted semi-sweet chocolate. Let chocolate set and enjoy. Store in fridge, but remove 20-30 minutes before serving as the caramel will be hard.

What I Did:

I followed the directions pretty much to the letter because, let’s face it, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way these bad boys are put together!  Chocolate, coconut, and caramel?  A triple C dream!  All of my vices wrapped up in one neat little package?  Yes please!!

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These brownies are everything that you would expect them to be.  Imagine how they would taste, and that is exactly how they taste…like glorious heaven on your tongue!!  I had to split mine with Scott because I needed to keep my sweet tooth in check.

Man, these things were good…still daydreaming about them!  They went so fast I didn’t even get a picture of the finished product…

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!