Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies

It's hard to improve upon a chocolate chip cookie but I was looking for a way to jazz it up a bit. I was thinking caramel so after plugging "chocolate chip caramel cookie" into Google I came up with the following recipe from Gourmet.

The most labor-intensive part of this recipe is first unwrapping all of the caramels, then chopping them up. It gave my rather pathetic knife skills quite a workout. These cookies were gobbled up eagerly by Dennis and my co-workers. I recommend heating them up before eating, only because the caramel does harden a bit so it might be hard to chew. Plus warm chocolate chip cookies always taste better, don't they?

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies (From Gourmet)

Makes about 50 cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 25 caramels such as Kraft, chopped coarse (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix caramels with about 1 T of measured flour and then chop caramel into small pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in flour mixture.

Stir chocolate and caramels into dough and drop rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Cool cookies on baking sheets on racks until firm. Cookies keep in airtight containers 5 days.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Marshmallow Crunch Brownies

So at this point it's fairly obvious that Dennis loves chocolate and marshmallows. So a recipe that combines those flavors with brownies and peanut butter gives you (in my opinion) a pretty perfect dessert.

This is another recipe that called for espresso powder to make the chocolate flavor just a bit more intense. It also originally called for bittersweet chocolate in the brownies and milk chocolate for the crispy topping. I just subbed in semi-sweet chocolate for both. Pretty much anytime a recipe calls for milk chocolate I'll use a darker chocolate in its place.

Everyone loved these. The contrasting textures (chewy brownie base, crunchy Rice Krispie topping) and chocolate/peanut butter flavor combination makes them hard to beat.

Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars (Adapted from Culinary in the Desert)

For the brownie layer

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
11 tablespoons (about 2/3 cup) unsalted butter
7.5 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) chopped semi-sweet chocolate, divided
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the topping

10.5 ounces miniature marshmallows
9 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup smooth peanut butter (to measure the peanut butter you can spray the measuring cup with cooking spray and the peanut butter will slide right out)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

To prepare the brownies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, add unsweetened chocolate, butter and 4.5 ounces (about 3/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate - melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in espresso powder and set aside to cool for 5 minutes

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl , whisk together eggs. Whisk in sugar and vanilla until well combined. Gradually add melted chocolate mixture, stirring until combined and smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined - fold in remaining 3 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate.

Scoop batter into a 9" x 13" baking pan coated with nonstick spray, smoothing the top with a spatula. Place into the oven and bake until a toothpick placed near the corner of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately scatter the marshmallows evenly over the top. Place pan back into the oven to soften the marshmallows, about 3 more minutes.

To prepare the topping

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add semi-sweet chocolate, peanut butter and butter - heat over low heat, stirring, until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in Rice Krispies until thoroughly coated. Set aside and allow to cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Spread mixture evenly over the marshmallow layer on top of the brownies. Place pan into the refrigerator and chill until firm before cutting.

Makes about 24 bars.