Desserts

Gooey Pretzel Caramel Bars

I’ve already given away dozens of the cookies and treats I’ve featured this week but I still have so many left in my house. It’s killing me. I’m trying sooooooo hard not to eat them and for the most part, I’m doing pretty good. Or at least I was. But these Gooey Pretzel Caramel Bars are evil little magic waves of sweetness and they are torturing me. They appear in my dreams, whisper my name when I’m standing strong, and wrap their sweet scent around me everywhere I go. My knees are getting weak.

Inspired by traditional Hello Dollys, I changed things up by using pretzel crumbs in place of graham crackers, caramel topping instead of butterscotch, peanut butter filled morsels in place of plain chocolate, and almonds instead of pecans. The result is basically…well…crack. I was doing so good on watching my sugar and this week it’s all down hill. I know that’s what happens during the holidays but I thought I could keep it under control. This is the problem with working from home. I no longer have an office to take all these leftover cookies to so instead they sit in my kitchen. They taunt me. Make fun of me. Call me names. This weekend may turn into a real battle. Me against them. I have a feeling these layer bars will be the victor.

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Gooey Pretzel Caramel Bars (adapted from Hello Dollys)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 ground pretzels
  • 1 9-oz package Nestlé Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels with Peanut Butter Filled DelightFulls(or 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 3/4 cup peanut butter chips)
  • 1 12.25-oz jar caramel topping
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place butter in 13 x 9 inch pan and melt in oven. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with butter. Spread pretzel crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer morsels over pretzels crumbs followed by caramel topping and almonds. 

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Pour condensed milk over almonds. Sprinkle coconut over condensed milk.

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Bake 25 minutes until edges are golden brown and bubbly.

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Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Chocolate-Pistachio-Cherry Biscotti

I didn’t grow up familiar with biscotti. I’ve only ever made it once and each time I make it, it seems daunting. But even though there are a few steps, it really is easy. I took some of this Chocolate-Pistachio-Cherry Biscotti to the Philadelphia Eagles tailgate I went to on Sunday and saw someone eat one, then walk over and grab another one. I hadn’t even tasted one yet so I tapped him on the arm and asked him how they were. “The best biscotti I’ve ever had,” he said. His wife agreed and said she’d never seen him eat TWO biscotti. I was thrilled!

With a chocolate dough base, these biscotti have dried cherries (my fave!) and pistachios mixed into the dough giving little flecks of red and green that seem so appropriate for the holidays. Dried fruit and nuts are such an amazing combination and putting them in a cookie is a great way to enjoy them without having to cut into a fruitcake. With one end dipped in a little semi-sweet chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate, these will sure to satisfy your chocolate sweet tooth.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

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Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating until blended.

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Stir in pistachios and cherries.

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Place half of dough on each prepared baking sheet. Shape each half into a slightly rounded log about 10 x 3 inches using floured hands. (Dough will be very sticky.)

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Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until dough is firm to the touch. Let cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack.

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Transfer logs to a cutting board, and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-wide slices with a serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake 4 minutes on each side or until crisp. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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Dip ends of biscotti in dark chocolate, and drizzle with white chocolate, if desired.

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Place on wax paper to set.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

Chewy Molasses Cookies

This really is my favorite time of the year. And I’m not just talking about Christmas time. I’m talking about cookie time! I know I can make cookies at any time during the year but the truth is I don’t. So I get giddy like I a little kid when I can carve out a weekend day to spend hours in my kitchen covered in flour baking batch after batch of cookies and treats. I had a lot going on this past weekend but I didn’t let anything get in my way when it came to baking on Saturday morning. The first cookie I decided to make were these Chewy Molasses Cookies.

Similar in flavor to gingerbread, these molasses cookies are soft, chewy, and mouthwatering. With warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, and ground cloves, these treats scream happy holidays and belong in anyone’s cookie jar. Ginger and spice and everything nice? Check! As much as I love baking cookies, I don’t like having cookies in my house so I bake for my family instead. We all live far apart and I love nothing more than filling up a tin of cookies, shipping them away, and having my family thankfully appreciate them. It makes me warm and fuzzy. Kind of like these cookies.

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Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place butter, 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 5 minutes or until fluffy. Add egg; beat 30 seconds.

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Add molasses; beat just until combined.

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Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed or just until combined. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 24 balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each. Roll balls in remaining 3 tablespoons sugar; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes or just until set.

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Cool 3 minutes on pan; remove to a wire rack.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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