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Pretzels and caramel…what a great combination!

They are the ingredients for this months Behind the Curtain dessert challenge! As soon as I saw the ingredients, I knew what I wanted to make…homemade Take 5 candy bars! Layers of pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and peanuts, all covered in chocolate. YUM!

I ended up making 2 batches of these, as I wasn’t completely happy with the first batch- the peanuts didn’t stick to the caramel. I knew what I did wrong right away (I let the caramel cool too much), so it was an easy fix. The funny thing is that the first batch was gone before I made the second batch (5 days later)! Yeah, they are that good (even without the peanuts!). I have a feeling the second batch won’t last much longer!

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Mini pretzels (I needed 77 + a few broken pieces)

Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Layer:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
5 oz (just shy of 2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped

Milk chocolate for dipping

Line an 10 x 15 inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the peanut butter layer:
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then stir. Repeat this again. Spread the mixture evenly on the aluminum foil of your prepared pan. Place your pretzels onto the peanut butter mixture, leaving a very small space between each one (enough for a knife to go through). Note: Mine was 7 pretzels across and 11 pretzels down. This left me with a space along the bottom that wasn’t wide enough for another row of pretzels, so I filled it with broken pretzels. Place the tray in the freezer while you are making the caramel layer.

To make the caramel layer:
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the peanuts. Place this over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil (continue stirring- the caramel will burn if you stop stirring) until the mixture reaches 236 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir until it stops bubbling. Add in the chopped peanuts. Set aside for a moment.
Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer. Carefully flip the peanut butter layer onto a cutting board (or another large cookie sheet). Peel off the aluminum foil and place it back onto the original cookie sheet. Your peanut butter layer should now be facing up. Transfer this onto the aluminum foil (if it breaks, that’s ok, just press it back together).* Pour the caramel layer over the peanut butter in an even layer. Note: I only used 3/4 of the caramel and poured the rest into a greased ramekin.** Set the cookie sheet aside to cool completely (about an hour).

After an hour, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an hour.

To finish the candy bars:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside. Melt the milk chocolate according to your favorite melting method. Remove the candy from the refrigerator and flip it out onto a cutting board. Remove the aluminum foil. Cut the candy, following the spaces between the pretzels, making 11 rows. Then cut after every 2nd pretzel (see picture below). Flip the candy over (this is the last time, I promise!), and using a fork, dip each piece into the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off for a second, then place it onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all the candy has been dipped (or you run out of room on the cookie sheet). Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. Peel the candy off the wax paper, and if needed, finish dipping the rest of the candy. Enjoy!

Notes:
*The process I just described- I am having you invert the candy. I did this as the peanut butter mixture is a little too thick to spread it on top of the pretzels (and to keep the pretzels in nice, neat rows).
**I only used 3/4 of the caramel in order to keep all the layers even in thickness. If you like more caramel, go ahead and use all of it for your candy bars.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

This is showing the peanut butter/pretzel layer inverted. Now it’s ready for the caramel.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Made with love, not calories!

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I’m linked at: Frugal Girls, Craftionary, The Busy B Hive, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, Cornerstone Confessions, Dysfunction Junction, My Turn For Us.

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Most quick bread recipes that I have tried are made with bananas. While they are very good (especially once you add chocolate!), I wanted something different. The theme for this months #TwelveLoaves challenge is berries, so I decided to make a raspberry coconut quick bread. No bananas!

I was delighted with the taste of this. The raspberries give a nice burst of flavor and the coconut provides a subtle undertone. While I used coconut and coconut oil in the batter, I think it is the coconut on the top of the bread that you really notice. It gets all nice and toasted and crunchy!

Raspberry Coconut Quick Bread

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Crescents and Chocolate Almond Coconut Biscotti

Raspberry Coconut Quick Bread
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut*
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup coconut. Add in the Greek yogurt, water, coconut oil, and eggs and stir until combined. Gently add in the frozen raspberries. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake in a preheat oven for 48-52 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Note: If the top looks like it is getting too brown, cover it with another piece of aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and let cool. Enjoy!

*Note: Desiccated coconut is unsweetened dried coconut and is usually found in health stores, bulk bins, or on-line. You can substitute sweetened shredded coconut, however, your batter will be a little sweeter.

Raspberry Coconut Quick Bread

Raspberry Coconut Quick Bread

Made with love, not calories!

Brownie Pie

A little slice goes a long way!

Remember this warning when you serve this pie!

I served this for Easter dessert, and 3 of us (out of 5) couldn’t finish our slices. Of course, I also served it with scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, so I am sure that didn’t help. Oh, and we ate dessert like 5 minutes after finishing dinner. Yeah, we didn’t plan that very well! Next holiday, I’m wearing pants that have an elastic waistband! :)

This deliciously rich pie, has a flakey crust that holds a deep dark brownie batter that  is studded with chocolate chips. While I love ice cream with brownies, I really think a tall glass of milk would have been perfect with this pie…ice cream wasn’t needed. Yes, I actually just said that!

Brownie Pie

One Year Ago: Potato Soup, Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodles

Brownie Pie
Makes 1- 9 inch pie

Pie crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cold
4 tablespoons shortening
4 1/2 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Pie filling:
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make the pie crust:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the cold butter and shortening, and with a pastry cutter or a fork, combine the mixture until it resembles small pebbles. Add in the cold water and mix until the dough comes together. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough a few times, then roll it out into a 10 inch circle. Place the dough into a pie pan, trim any extra dough (if needed), and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom of the pie crust a few times with a fork. Place the pie pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, line the pie dough with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice*. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pie cut from the oven (it will not be completely baked) and carefully remove the beans (or rice) and parchment paper. Set aside until filling is ready.

To make the pie filling:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt, eggs, and vanilla until there are no lumps (the batter will be thick). Slowly whisk in the melted butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pie crust (if it’s cold in your house or you have the batter ready and are waiting on the pie crust, the batter may get thick. That’s fine, just spoon it into the pie crust and smooth the top) and bake in a preheated oven for 40-42 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool. Enjoy!

*Notes: If you do not normally blind bake pie crusts (which is what we are doing in this recipe), please be aware that while you can re-use the dried beans or rice for future pie crusts, you can not use it to eat. Once the beans (or rice) has cooled, put it in a zip-lock bag and write on the bag “For pie weights only”.

Brownie Pie

Made with love, not calories!

I’m linked at: The Chicken Chick, The Tumbleweed Contessa, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, The Better Baker, Sweet 2 Eat Baking, The Girl Creative, The Self Sufficient HomeAcre , The Foley Fam, Flamingo Toes, I Heart Nap Time.

A few weeks ago I made 2 flavors of granola bars. I already shared the cinnamon raisin recipe, so here is the 2nd recipe. This time, I added peanut butter and some mini chocolate chips! The texture is the same as the previous batch- soft and chewy! These were the favorite of the 2 flavors, and I can’t wait to make them again. I have a bag of mini Reese’s pieces that would be wonderful used in place of the mini chocolate chips!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip No-Bake Granola Bars

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip No-Bake Granola Bars
Makes 12 bars

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats and cereal. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, peanut butter, and honey. Once the butter has melted, add in the salt. Bring this mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and immediately pour over the oat mixture. Stir this until everything is well combined and the oats all look coated in the sugar mixture, then add in 2 tablespoons of the mini chocolate chips. Transfer the granola to the prepared pan and press evenly and firmly. Note: the mixture may be warm, so be careful. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips over the top and press them into the granola bars. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, to allow the granola bars to firm up. Remove the pan from the refrigerator, lift the aluminum foil from the pan, and cut the bars using a sharp knife. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip No-Bake Granola Bars

Made with love, not calories!

I’m linked at: Cornerstone Confessions, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, With a Blast, The Shady Porch, DJ’s Sugar Shack, Back for Seconds, Wednesday Whatsits, Lady Behind the Curtain, The Busy B Hive.

It’s hard for me to believe it is already April 1st!

We have lots of family and friends’ birthdays, and also “other” special occasions to celebrate this month! That means April will be busy and I am sure it will seem to pass by all too quickly.

I’m not very inventive when it comes to April Fools Day, so your safe with me! The recipe I am sharing with you today is anything but a joke. It’s a really delicious cookie. Have you ever toasted oats? This was my first time trying it, and I love the flavor it added to the cookies. The toasted oats take on a nutty taste, which help to balance out the sweetness from the toffee pieces and the chocolate chips.

Toasted Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups quick oats, toasted*
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup toffee pieces
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

*To toast the oats:
Place the oats in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the cookies:
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and stir until well combined. Add in the salt and baking soda. Stir in the toasted oats. Note: if the oats are still warm, refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Stir in the flour, then add in the toffee pieces and chocolate chips.

Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop the dough out onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Leave at least 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the edges are golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes, move the cookies onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Toasted Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made with love, not calories!

I’m linked at: Addicted to Recipes, Create With Joy, Tumbleweed Contessa, Flour Me With Love, Call Me PMc, The Frugal Girls, Craftionary, The Busy B Hive, Chocolate, Chocolate & More, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

007 Easter sugar cookies

 

 

 (Source)

 

Lemon Doughnuts

The other day I needed to make some lemon bars for a friend. I ended up having some lemons leftover. I could have cut them up to use in my water bottle (I don’t like plain water), but I really wanted to bake with them. You know how much I love doughnuts, so that is what I decided to make. Lemon doughnuts!

These will get you going in the morning! I wanted the lemon to shine, so I added lemon zest into the doughnut batter. Once they were baked I made a lemon syrup to drizzle over them. And if that wasn’t enough, I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar and lemon syrup. Wow! Your tastebuds will be dancing!

Lemon Doughnuts

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sauce

Lemon Doughnuts

Batter:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
Zest of 2 lemons

Lemon Syrup:
Juice of 2 lemons
Equal amount sugar*

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
Leftover lemon syrup
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the doughnut pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Fill each doughnut cavity about 3/4 full. Note: for easier filling, you can use a pastry bag or a zip-lock bag and snip off a corner. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the doughnuts from the pan and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Note: if the doughnuts stick a little, run a small silicon spatula along the doughnut cavities. 

To make the lemon syrup:
Measure the lemon juice. Pour this into a microwave safe container and add in an equal amount sugar (example: you have 1/4 cup lemon juice, add in 1/4 cup sugar). Microwave this for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the doughnuts have been baked, and while they are still warm, drizzle on 1/2 teaspoon on the lemon syrup onto each doughnut.

To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar and just enough lemon syrup (starting with 1 tablespoon), until it is well combined and smooth. After the doughnuts  have cooled for 10 minutes, dip the tops into the glaze and add sprinkles (if using). Return to the cooling rack to let the glaze set, or eat immediately! Enjoy!

Lemon Doughnuts

Made with love, not calories!

I’m linked at: Craftionary, The Frugal Girls, All Things With Purpose, Petals to Picots, Seven Alive, The Shabby Creek Cottage, What’s Cooking, Love, My Turn for Us, Cheerios and Lattes, Spatulas on Parade.

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