Caramel Blondie Bites

Caramel Blondie Bites
I’m embarrassed. Actually, maybe that’s not the right word to describe it.

I don’t know if you saw my Super Bowl Sunday post (it was a last-minute, 2 hours before kick off, mainly just pictures kind of post), but these delicious little bites were in the post. Well, not exactly these bites, cause I made more. Like the next day. The other ones were devoured.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a recipe repeater.

Caramel Blondie Bites

Can we all agree that’s perfectly acceptable? If you say no, I’ll just have to force feed you these bites until it is. Yeah, I know, I’m just the nicest.

I also liked the toothpick idea so much that I had to copy that too. Sorry I’m not sorry for that one. There is one difference though, I didn’t make these toothpicks. I bought them.You know what that means right?

More time to pop these into my mouth.

Caramel Blondie Bites

Let me just tell you, these little bites are ADDICTING. And yes, all caps and bold letters are necessary. Seriously, though, they’re like Oreos or popcorn or chips, you can’t just eat one.

I dare you to try. No, really, I triple dog dare you.

Anddd, I’ve reverted back to my five year old self with that comment.

Caramel Blondie Bites
Yeah, that was a lie. Just last week I triple dog dared someone to sing Taylor Swift songs over the loud-speaker. She didn’t do it. I, for one, was disappointed.

You know what hasn’t disappointed me? These Caramel Blondie Bites. Cause, seriously, they are little squares of utter heaven. I repeat, heaven.

This is the kind of dessert that literally melts away all will power. I’m not kidding here. You start off thinking, “I’ll just have one”, but after your sixth bite is done, the only thoughts in your head are: “How can I hoard these?”, “Why is that guy over there eating yet another bite?”, “I need another one, right now!”…those may or may not be direct thoughts of the people who ate these bites.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Caramel Blondie Bites

Why all the fuss over these little guys? Simple. They are gooey, fudgy, buttery, brown-sugary, caramel blondies. Each bite has a crisp exterior, ridiculously gooey moist center, and a sort of caramelized caramel bottom layer—the caramel bits decided to huddle at the bottom of the blondie while baking, but I didn’t mind in the slightest.

I highly doubt you’ll mind either.

Caramel Blondie Bites
Recipe adapted from these Almond Joy Blondies
Yields: 64 bites

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, melted (2 sticks)
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3 to 3 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup caramel bits

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9×13-inch pan by lining it with foil and spraying generously with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar, until no clumps of brown sugar remain.Add eggs, one at a time, and then whisk in vanilla. Whisk in flour and salt, until just combined—try not to over stir the batter or it will become tough to work with.Using a spatula, fold in the caramel bits.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top, if needed, lightly with a spatula. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick, stuck in the middle, comes out clean.Let cool completely before slicing into bites.

 

Caramel Blondie Bites

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Super Bowl Sunday

T-minus 2-ish hours until the big game.

You could say I’m a little excited. Actually scratch that. More than a little excited.

I bet you can guess why. If not, just look at the pictures that follow. I’m pretty sure that will clear it up.

Super Bowl Sunday

Cleared up for you? You see I’m kind of sort of totally into football (who knew, right?). And, I rather enjoy being apart of the 12th man. One could say that picture above is the epitome of 12th-manning it. I mean, my Hustle Like Russell Shirt, that chipped glitter blue polish, the large Seahawks helmet ring, and lets not forget the star of the picture, that cupcake.

My oh my what a good-looking cupcake. Blue and Green never looked better on something.

Super Bowl Sunday

I give you Super Bowl Sunday Chocolate Cupcakes with Blue and Green Swirl Vanilla Frosting and Football Sprinkles. Could it get any better than that?

Why yes, yes it can, with these Shortbread Chocolate Dipped Football Cookies.

Super Bowl Sunday

That right there is the bomb.com

But, don’t worry, it gets better. Much MUCH better.

Super Bowl Sunday

What are those you ask? Caramel Blondies with Seahawk flag toothpicks (courtesy of Emerald City Sisters Design). I’m dying at how yummy they are (no, seriously) and at how stickin adorbs these toothpicks are. I mean come on, tell me you don’t just love them.

Super Bowl Sunday

I’ll stop now. I just couldn’t let the day go by without you seeing the dessert spread I put out for the game. I mean, I totally maybe value your opinion. No big deal or anything.

Super Bowl Sunday

Wait, I lied. One more thing. LETS GO SEAHAWKS.

Chocolate Dipped Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Pecan Shortbread CookiesYou know what I was just thinking?

It feels like it’s been forever since I made cookies. Like, I can’t even remember the last cookie I made. Eek.

Oh God, when was the last time I ate a cookie?

I. Can’t. Even. Remember.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Is it sad that I’m sort of maybe totally kind of panicking? Cause I am. You gotta understand, it’s a pretty sad day when you realize you haven’t made or eaten a cookie in what seems like a million years.

A. Million. Years.

So, as we can see, when I panic I apparently like to over exaggerate. It hasn’t been a million years, but it has been about seven months since I shared a cookie recipe. You have to admit, that’s kind of a long time. I don’t even know how that happened. Definitely not intentional either. I wouldn’t deprive you like that on purpose. That would just be cruel.

Funny enough, the last recipe I posted was also a chocolate dipped cookie. I really don’t know how that slipped my mind considering it was the beginning of my obsession with dipping the bottoms of cookies. I find it unfair for the top of the cookie to have all the fun. Fair point, huh? The dipped bottom, to me, is like putting a big fat shiny bow on top of a present; it just makes it that much better.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

These cookies almost didn’t make it up on the blog. Why you ask? Oh, let me just tell you. For those that don’t know or don’t remember, my brother has two huskies, (Ms.) Meeka and (Mr.) Archer (look here for their picture). They are the cutest things on the planet. And, that is in no way an exaggeration. Scouts honor on that one. As a rule we don’t feed them human food, mainly because they have super sensitive stomachs and can’t seem to handle it. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t try to eat human food whenever they get a chance. Adorable troublemakers. That’s what they are.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

I’m sure you noticed these cookies require some work–I swear the end product is so totally worth it though. The dining room table became my work station, or at least half of the table did. It’s a pretty big table. Decent height. Lined with chairs on each side. I had rows of finished cookies just sitting on wax paper as I finished up with the caramel outlining. There was about five cookies left when it happened.

Meeka, my lovely little niece, came running in and quite literally face dived into a row of completed cookies. I repeat face dived. She tasted licked about two rows worth of cookies before I could pull her away. TWO. ROWS. WORTH. That’s a lot of deliciousness (and hard work, I might add) that went straight into the trash. Oh, and the kicker, in the panic I forgot to finishing filling in the trees with caramel on the cookie I had been working on when the face dive occurred. Ask me when I realized this? When I was opening the container filled with cookies to give to one of my coworkers. I was completely embarrassed. Like, blushing hardcore red. I gave someone an unfinished cookie. Poor under-decorated cookie. Poor person eating the cookie. Sad. Sad. Sad. Luckily, my coworker didn’t seem too mind at all. Thank the Baker God’s on that one.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Anyways, I should probably tell you a little about these cookies. It’s a buttery, melt in your mouth, shortbread cookie packed with chopped up pecan pieces dipped in milk chocolate and then outlined with some caramel. Oh, and it’s stamped with a Merry Christmas cookie stamp to make it festively beautiful. This is probably the first cookie I’ve made that I received equal amounts of compliments on taste and looks. Seriously, people love these cookies. I ate more than half of love these cookies. And, clearly, dogs love them too.

You know what that all adds up to, right?

Winning.

And, the fact, that I absolutely insist that you go make them. If you don’t, I may or may not have to force feed you to eat them. You don’t want that. You just don’t.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Yields: about 30 large cookies

Utensils:
Merry Christmas Cookie Stamp
Large circle cookie cutter

Ingredients:
2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans
3 cups milk chocolate candy melts
1/2 cup of caramel

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in powdered sugar until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add salt and cornstarch. Mix until incorporated. Gradually beat in the flour until combined.
Using a spatula, fold in the chopped pecans.
Gather the dough as best you can into a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper. Cover the top of the dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll to ½ inch thick. Slide the parchment-covered dough onto a cutting board and place in the fridge. Let chill for about 50-60 minutes.
After the dough is finished chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a large circular cookie cutter (or, cup that is slightly larger than the stamp), cut your cookies into circles. Firmly press the cookie stamp into each cookie-if the dough becomes too sticky or tough to work with place back in the fridge until it’s easier to handle.
Bake for 6 minutes, reverse tray (this will ensure an even color on the cookies!), and bake for another 5 more minutes or until lightly brown.
Let cookies cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Once cookies have completely cooled, melt the milk chocolate candy melts in a microwave safe bowl, in 15 second intervals, until of drizzling consistency. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Place cookie upside down on parchment paper until the chocolate has hardened.
Once chocolate has hardened, flip the cookie around. Using a piping bag with a very small tip or simply dipping a toothpick in the caramel (I used the toothpick method, it takes more time, but it ensures that the ‘Merry Christmas’ stays legible), fill in the stamped part of each cookie with caramel.

 

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Caramel Pecan Croissants

Caramel Pecan Croissants

Let me tell you about the time I tried to make monkey bread.

I’ve always wanted to make monkey bread. Always. I mean, come on, ooey gooey pull-apart bread smothered and covered in cinnamon and caramel. Umm, yes please, sign me up for that. Am I right? Yeah, I totally am.

I should mention one itty bitty detail that may not be so obvious. In addition to never having made monkey bread, I’ve never actually eaten it. I know, the horror. It’s actually kind of embarrassing. Please don’t judge me too hard. It’s not like I’ve never had pull-apart bread, because I have…but, it was the savory kind, a cheddar bacon ranch loaf, and, I bought the bread at the market. So, no homemade dough. No caramel. No cinnamon. And really, no way to mess it up.

I decided enough was enough. It was time. I needed to cross off baking and devouring eating monkey bread from the bucket list.

Caramel Pecan Croissants

I had an idea for a pecan pie monkey bread. So, I went with it. I started playing with ingredients and came up with a solid recipe.

Or, so I thought.

There’s one more minor detail I forgot to mention. You see, Matt, my brother, is a huge pecan pie fan. Why does that matter, you ask? Because, this pecan pie monkey bread was intended to be his birthday cake. He was turning 25, and I wanted to make him something less traditional. I’ve done cheesecakes, regular cakes, cookie cakes, but this year I wanted something fun. Something a little different, but still something we could put a candle in.

Caramel Pecan Croissants

Alright, back to the kitchen. I made the dough the night before, I had the pecans chopped up, the caramel filling ready to go, and the bundt pan eagerly waiting. The bread went into the oven and I not so patiently waited for it to bake and brown on top. It was a long 45 minutes for me. Finallllllyyyy, it was done. All I had to do was let it cool.

The moment of truth came. I went to invert the monkey bread onto the cake plate and it came out super easily. I lifted the bundt pan up and half of the dough balls started rolling off the cake plate in a caramel pecan slide. Only half of my monkey bread had stuck together. The other half looked like cinnamon caramel donut holes sitting in a sticky pool on the counter. Ughh. The crushing disappointment.

Caramel Pecan Croissants

Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I cried a little bit. I don’t know what went wrong. Did I add too much caramel? Was the homemade caramel too runny? Did I not let it bake enough? Did I not let it cool enough? Was the yeast bad? Did I just mess up my brother’s birthday? As you can see, it wasn’t a great day for me in the kitchen. But, I had to shake it off (yes, that is a T-Swift reference). It was Matt’s birthday, there had to be needed to be some dessert.

And, that’s exactly what I did. I found a can of the Pillsbury crescent rolls in the fridge and came up with the idea of making Caramel Pecan Croissants. I quickly made the caramel, chopped some more pecans, stuffed the rolls, and popped in the oven. In less than an hour, I had a dessert. And you know what, it was actually a pretty darn good tasting dessert too. These croissants are soft, flaky, buttery, and oozing with a caramel pecan filling that is equal amounts sweet and crunchy. The tops are drizzled with caramel, because who doesn’t want extra caramel, and sprinkled lightly with pecan crumbs. Sure, it wasn’t the exact dessert I had envisioned, but it definitely fulfilled the ooey gooey, doughy, caramely, pecan-y dreams I had for Matt’s birthday treat.

Oh, and don’t worry, I’m not giving up on this whole monkey bread thing. It’ll happen soon. And when it does, you’ll be the first to know.

Caramel Pecan Croissants

 

Caramel Pecan Croissants
Yields: 8 croissants

Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped pecans, plus extra for topping
1 large egg, beaten

Directions:
To make the caramel, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted add the brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly, over medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved and no lumps remain. Allow the mixture to bubble for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla to taste.
In a small bowl combine about 1/2 of the caramel with the chopped pecans, add more caramel as needed–you’ll want it to be thick, but spreadable. Set aside.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Separate crescent roll dough into 8 triangles. Spoon about a teaspoon of caramel pecan filling on the wide end of the crescent triangle–use your judgment on how much you think the triangle can hold–and spread filling upwards. I wanted a lot of filling in my croissants so I spread the filling almost to the top of the dough triangle.
Roll up the croissants, starting from the wide end and ending at the opposite point. Place onto baking sheet and curve slightly into the croissant shape.Try to pinch the ends of the croissant together to keep as much of the filling inside as possible. Brush each croissant lightly with beaten egg–this will give them that nice golden brown color.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool for about 5 minutes. Heat the remaining caramel for 30 seconds or until of drizzling consistency in the microwave. Drizzle over croissants and lightly sprinkle with pecan crumbs, if desired.

*Caramel sauce slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Caramel Pecan Croissants

Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies
That’s a pretty flavorful title, huh?

Caramel.

Toffee.

And chocolate.

All packed into a single soft and chewy cookie. Please excuse me as I wipe the drool off my keyboard. Oh, would you like a napkin too? Here, borrow mine.

Would you believe that this tasty title wasn’t actually my first choice? It’s true, it totally wasn’t. The original title was much too long, and if we are being completely honest, there wouldn’t have been a napkin big enough to clean up the drool spill that would have ensued.

I see that look in your eyes. You want to know the title don’t you? Luckily for you, I’m in the business of giving the people what they want. So, here goes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Caramel & Milk Chocolate Toffee Swirled Ooey Gooey Soft & Chewy Cookies Dipped in Milk Chocolate.
Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies
Pretty delicious sounding, right? Okay, maybe you didn’t drool, but you can definitely see what I mean about the length. And, I’m betting you are (or, at least highly considering) moving this recipe to the top of your To Bake List. Do yourself a favor, move it to the top. There will be no regret.

In fact, Matt (my brother) claims these are the best cookies I have ever made. Well, his exact words were: “These are probably the best things you’ve ever made. Seriously, the amount of flavor and softness in this cookie, much better than some of that cardboard sh*t you’ve made.” Yeah, I live with some hard critics. And, no, I don’t think anything I’ve ever made tastes like cardboard. Definitely an exaggeration on his part, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Feel free to stop by for a taste testing of my baking skills any time you’d like. You’re always welcome.

Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies
I want to tell you about this cookie recipe. I dreamed up the flavor combination about two weeks ago. So, why did I wait so long to actually make them, you ask? Two reasons. Weirdly, they both start with an h. The first is hockey.

I have become a hockey fan. Like, a pretty big hockey fan. And no, it’s not just because the Stanley Cup Playoffs are happening right now. Or, because my best friend since the fourth grade is the biggest hockey fan I know and has been trying to get me to like hockey for years. And, it’s not even because I went to a playoff game a few weeks ago and fell completely in love with a hockey player (seriously, go look up Tyler Seguin. Isn’t he just beautiful? Yes, he is at the top of my celebrity crush list. Don’t judge me.). It’s because I like the sport. It’s fast paced, it’s exciting to watch, and even though I’m not a violent person, I think it’s pretty awesome that hockey players can just start fighting in the middle of the game. It takes talent to throw a punch while wearing ice skates. I, for one, am impressed.

The second reason is the heat. I’m all in for some sun, occasionally. Honest. I’m coming around to the whole warm weather situation. I like being able to wear sundresses and sandals, eat popsicles, and leave the house without a jacket. I really do. But, when I can’t turn on my oven because it’s simply too hot, I don’t like it. At all. Thankfully, the weather finalllllly cooled down. Hence, these beauties making their way into the oven to be baked into absolute deliciousness.

Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies
I know I’m raving on and on about these cookies, and I’m sure you’re thinking “Yeah, okay Meggan”, but in all seriousness, these cookies do deserve all the hoopla. The flavor combination of the caramel, toffee, and chocolate, on its own, is heavenly, but to pair it with literally the best cookie dough base recipe ever, pushes these cookies over the top. I’m in absolute love with this cookie dough recipe, and I plan on using it as the base for all future cookies I make. That’s how good it is. Which is why I need to take a moment to thank Sally from the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction. Thank you for creating this cookie dough recipe! You truly are a baking goddess.

Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies
Yields: 24 Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup golden brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup caramel bits
½ cup milk chocolate toffee bits
1 1/3 cup milk chocolate candy melts

Directions:
In a large bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together melted butter and sugars until no clumps of brown sugar remain.
Whisk in the egg, and then the egg yolk. Add vanilla. Whisk until combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix together with a rubber spatula until combined. The dough will be soft, but very thick to work with.
Using a spatula fold in the caramel and milk chocolate toffee bits—because of the melted butter, they may not stick to the dough, but do your best to evenly spread them throughout.
Cover the dough and let chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days—I let mine sit overnight. Chilling is mandatory for this recipe though—trust me, it’s worth it!
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Roll the dough into about tablespoon sized balls. The dough will be crumbly and tough to work with, but the warmth from your hands will allow the balls to stay intact.
Bake for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look underbaked and very soft. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, to continue baking, before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cookies have completely cooled, melt the milk chocolate candy melts in a microwave safe bowl, in 15 second intervals, until of drizzling consistency. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate or spoon chocolate on the bottom of the cookies and spread evenly until covered (I preferred this method!). Place chocolate dipped cookies upside down on wax paper until chocolate has completely hardened.

*Cookie Dough recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Caramel Toffee Chocolate Dipped Cookies