Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I tend to judge a recipe by it's name. The more adjectives in a sweet treat, the better in my opinion. I was hoping to put this up sooner, but my laziness kicked in. But at least I was consistent these last two posts. This one and the last one were both posted on the 21st of the month. Maybe that should be my goal for now. I wanted to post weekly, but that's not working so well. Although a month from now all my time will be spent packing because we are moving into a house! We are pretty excited. But for now, back to my sweet treat full of adjectives.

Think of a thick chocolate chip cookie stuffed with salted make this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod because that is essentially what you get. These rich bars keep well and are perfect for potluck desserts, parties, or just taking the pan to the couch and digging in.

Yield: 9x13 pan, cut however you'd like
Time: 45ish minutes

12 Tbs melted butter, cooled
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla 
2 1/8 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
 2 cups chocolate chips
10 oz caramel candies, unwrapped (it's not quite a whole  bag)
3 Tbsp heavy cream
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 325 and prepare a 9x13 glass pan with a bit of cooking spray or butter.

In a large bowl use a mixer or beater to combine cooled melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

Slowly add in the flour, salt, and soda. People always say to mix the dry ingredients and then add them in to the wet, but I almost never do that. I add in 1 cup of flour to the wet and mix it up. Then I measure out the 1/8 cup flour with the salt and baking soda and add that in. Finish up with the last cup of flour.

When the dry ingredients are mixed in, time to stir in the best part, the chocolate chips!

Once the batter is ready, press about half the dough into your prepared pan; cover the whole bottom.

Now get those caramels and add in the heavy cream. Microwave that gooeyness until they are melted. It normally takes about 2 minutes on high, stopping to stir every 20-30 seconds. As soon as the caramels are all melted and the cream is absorbed, it's ready.

Pour the melted caramel all over the dough pressed in the pan. Use all that gooey goodness to cover the dough.

Once that's done, sprinkle as much sea salt as you want on top of the caramel. I tend to put more than I think is necessary, because there is a lot of flavor in these bars and I want the salt to be tasted and not hidden.

Once it's covered with your desired amount of salt, press the rest of the cookie dough on top of the caramel. I like to take chunks of the dough and flatten it with my fingers before placing it on top of the caramel. You won't completely cover the caramel, just cover what you can.

Finally, sprinkle some more salt on top and stick that pan in the oven!

Let the bars bake for about 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are golden and the edges pull away from the pan. Sadly, you have to let these bars cool to room temperature on a cooling rack before you can cut them, otherwise they become a ridiculous mess.

Cut at your own risk.

Watch how fast these bars disappear and enjoy!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

I have been meaning to post again, and it just hadn't happened. But today is a snow day for many in NE Kansas so I figured I had no excuse!

I don't make much pork, but it always seems to be delicious when I finally do. This recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, like many of my recipes. They do amazing things over there.

This pork recipe is for the crock pot and it doesn't take a whole lot of prep. Give yourself a few minutes in the morning and a few when you get home and this meal is as good as done. It's got a sweet, herby, and tangy flavor with a yummy glaze that is delicious over rice. So if you want something easy to do with pork, give this a try.

Time: 6-8 hours
2 lb boneless pork loin roast
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (or more if you love garlic as much as we do)
1/2 cup water

Glaze ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Start off by mixing the sage, salt, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.

Not get a little dirty and rub that mixture all over the meat. (By the way, it's totally ok to do this with frozen pork...I do it all the time.) With the seasoned pork in the crock pot, pour in the water.

Cook that yummyness on whatever time-frame you need. I normally let mine cook while I'm at school for 9ish hours on low or med-low, but that is almost too long, so use your judgement.

Once the meat is about ready, whip up that glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over med-high heat, whisking until it comes to a boil.

 Reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thicken up.

While the glaze simmers, shred up the pork, and give it a little taste-test of course.

Delicious now...

...even better.

 You can either drizzle glaze over it now, or you can dish up the pork on top of some rice and then smother it. Either way, make sure you use that glaze! It's delicious on the pork. Some times I wish I had made a double recipe. Enjoy!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

I haven't posted since November! I have no excuse for not posting...just laziness. Also, the husband and I have been looking for a new place to live. That is turning out to be way more time consuming than it should be. We have been searching for about a month now and hopefully we are getting close. So back to food...

I have been obsessed with this dip from Yahoo Lifestyle lately. I made it once in the fall and loved it, but never made it again until this weekend. I have made it twice now and it's so delicious. It even gets my husband to eat fruit. It's super simple and even fairly healthy. If you have apples, you should probably try it. I apologize for unattractive photos...I'm experimenting with a new camera and I was too excited to eat the dip to really take good photos.

Time: not long at all
1 small container vanilla greek yogurt (whatever brand you like, I like Oikos)
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 Tbsp honey
dash of cinnamon
Apple - any kind, we like Gala

Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.

Eat with apples! Told you it was easy.

This dip makes enough for 2-3 apples depending on how much you dip.

If you have leftovers, it keeps well for a few days.

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