Cosmic Brownies

Cosmic Brownies ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

I’m so sorry for the lack of posts lately. This winter has been a doozy and the never-ending cold and snow have completely zapped me of my motivation to cook. Then on the few times I have tried something new and delicious it has been too dark and cloudy to get decent pictures. So, Boomer and I have basically been hibernating and hoping that spring might eventually show up bringing daylight and warmth.

Until that happens, I’ve decided that copious quantities of chocolate will have to be the solution. I’ve actually made these Cosmic Brownies several times before and had to go looking through the archives to see if I had already posted them. I feel like I’ve been holding out on you all because these brownies are so good- they’re chewy and fudgy and topped off with a rich chocolate ganache. Apparently these brownies are very similar to the Cosmic Brownies from Little Debbie. I haven’t had one of those in ages so I can’t compare, but I can say these brownies have quickly become one of my favorites!

Cosmic Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 tbl. water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Lightly grease foil/paper then set aside.
  2. Stir together the sugars, butter, and water with a whisk. Add the  the eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients with the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 18 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
  4. When the brownies are finished baking, you can prepare the ganache. Over a double boiler, combine the cream and bittersweet chocolate. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool for several minutes, then pour evenly over the brownies. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Adapted from Fake Ginger

Cauliflower Lentil Soup

Cauliflower Lentil Soup ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

One of my goals this year is to start cooking with ingredients I haven’t used in the past. I’ve only eaten lentils a few times before, and I’ve never cooked with them, so I was excited to try them out. All the other ingredients in this soup are things I use frequently, so I thought this would be a good place to test the lentils.

The verdict? I didn’t love the lentils’ texture, but I certainly didn’t mind them and the flavor in the soup was great, it’s definitely one I’ll make again. Plus there is broiled cheese on top, and that’s always a good thing.

In addition to trying out new ingredients, my other goal is to survive this crazy cold winter we’re stuck in. A hot bowl of soup will definitely help accomplish that!

Cauliflower Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. Gruyere, or other cheese of choice, shredded
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and broth, bring to a boil then cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the cauliflower and simmer for about 3 minutes until the cauliflower is beginning to soften. Remove the thyme, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the soup between 4 oven-safe ramekins or soup bowls. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the soup, then place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with additional thyme.
Makes: 4 servings
Source: Martha Stewart

Cranberry Orange Sauce for Oatmeal

Cranberry Orange Sauce for Oatmeal ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

I’ve been in a pretty major cooking rut lately. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of motivation or what’s going on, but I’ve tried a couple of new soup recipes in the last few weeks and they’ve been very ‘meh’ which resulted in me having no ambition to try anything new. Fortunately I have a good selection of soup recipes saved so I’ve been eating lots of Tomato, Basil, and Parmesan Soup and Corn and Cheese Chowder.

When I was browsing through blogs last weekend trying to get inspired to cook something, I was so happy to find this cranberry-orange sauce for oatmeal from The Curvy Carrot. I remember bookmarking it while I was traveling over Christmas and then forgot to make it when I got home. I’m so glad I finally ended up making it though, this is a great addition to oatmeal and certainly brightens up a cold winter morning.

Cranberry Orange Sauce for Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • zest from 1 orange
  • oatmeal prepared the way you like
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange juice and honey. Turn the heat on to medium and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Once the cranberries have popped, reduce the head to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cook for another minute.
  2. Remove from heat and serve on your oatmeal. This will also re-heat well.
Makes: About 4 servings
Source: The Curvy Carrot

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been baking like crazy the last few weeks. We had our office holiday party last week and I decided to use that occasion as an excuse to bake up a batch of cupcakes. I didn’t anticipate quite how much difficulty I’d have in creating a delicious gingerbread cupcake but it wasn’t until the third batch that I got one I was happy with- moist and flavorful with just the right blend of spices. Fortunately it was worth the effort and the final round of cupcakes was very well received at the holiday party.

I like the current level of spice in these cupcakes, but if you wanted to increase the spices I think these would be excellent with some chopped candied ginger folded into the batter. As written the recipe makes 12 cupcakes but feel free to double it if you need to feed a larger crowd.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. sat
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 oz. cream cheese, chilled
  • 3 tbl. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • zest from 1 orange
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. Combine the melted butter, brown sugar and molasses and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add the egg to the melted butter mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup of the water followed by half the dry mixture. Add the remaining water and dry ingredients, stir until smooth and well combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the cupcake tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar. Once combined, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and orange zest. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with additional orange zest, coarse sugar, or candied ginger. Store the cupcakes in the fridge; bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes: 12 cupcakes
Adapted from Taste of Home and Annie’s Eats

Ginger Spice Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

This past week has been filled with the typical pre-Christmas craziness. I finished up all my shopping last weekend and got my last box of gifts wrapped and in the mail this morning. I ‘adopted’ a kid off the Angel Tree at work this year and had so much fun shopping for him last weekend. Boomer’s Christmas present also arrived last week- I got him a new dog bed and he loves it!

Wrapping presents ~ Boom lounging on his new bed

In addition to shopping I’ve done quite a bit of baking lately- and most of it has been ginger and molasses flavored! I debating making these amazing Cranberry Bliss Bars for a cookie exchange but at the last minute I decided to try out a new recipe. It’s always a little risky doing a new recipe for an exchange, especially when I was making some adaptations to the recipe, but it turned out great and the cookies were a huge hit at the cookie exchange. The cookies have a slightly crispy edge and a soft, chewy center. I loved the combination of the ginger cookie and the cream cheese filling. If you have trouble finding the candied ginger try looking in the supplements section of your grocery store. The candied, or crystallized, ginger adds great texture to the cookies but if you can’t find it the cookies will still turn out really well.

Ginger Spice Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (9 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup chopped crystallized (or candied) ginger
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar for rolling
  • 5 oz. cream cheese, chilled
  • 3 1/2 tbl. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 lemon
Directions
  1. Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Mix in the molasses, egg and vanilla and stir until well combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the candied ginger. Mix until just incorporated.
  3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Pour the coarse sugar into a shallow bowl. Scoop out cookies into 1-inch balls and slightly flatten the ball between your hands. Roll the cookie disk in the sugar then place on the pan. Repeat with the remaining cookies then bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies are just set on the edges. The center of the cookies should still be soft. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Prepare the cream cheese frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Decrease the speed and add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Then, increase the speed again to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Frost half of the cookies and top with the remaining cookies to make a sandwich.
Makes: About 22 sandwiches
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures and Annie’s Eats

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

The Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks are always one of my favorite holiday treats. There is a Starbucks where I live (sad!) so I decided I needed to make these for myself this year! If you haven’t tried these bars before, it’s a brown sugar flavored blondie with cranberries and white chocolate mixed in. On top is a cream cheese frosting  with a few more cranberries, a drizzle of white chocolate and a hint of orange zest. The white chocolate, tart cranberries and creamy frosting are a perfect combination.

Cranberry Bliss Bars ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

This recipe came together in no time and tastes very similar to the bars from Starbucks. I loved the soft and chewy blondie portion of this recipe, I think it would make a great base for a variety of different mix-ins and frostings. I definitely plan to experiment with it more in the future. I made the full recipes in a 9 x 13 inch pan but you could certainly cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8 x 8 inch pan if you’d like a smaller size.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, chopped (or white chocolate chips)
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbl. heavy cream, warm
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • zest from 1 orange
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray
  2. Stir together the melted butter and brown sugar then set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. While the butter is cooling, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. When the butter and brown sugar mixture has cooled, whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, the batter will be thick. Add the cranberries and white chocolate.
  4. Press the batter into an even layer in the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. While it cools, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixer. Beat until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add approximately half of the melted white chocolate and mix until combined. Spread the frosting in an even layer over the cooled bars. Sprinkle with the chopped cranberries and orange zest. Mix the warm cream with the remaining white chocolate to thin the chocolate, then drizzle over the bars.
  6. Store the bars in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Apple Cream Cheese Danish Braid

Apple Cream Cheese Danish

Ever since trying the croissants last spring, I’ve been wanting to take a shot at making a Danish. It’s hard to even compare this homemade version to the one you purchase from a store. The dough is time consuming, but it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight before baking for breakfast. The spiced apples and cream cheese filling are delicious for fall, other fruits could easily be substituted for some variation. I think a cranberry-orange combination would be amazing on Christmas morning!

Apple Cream Cheese Danish

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the counter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (or rapid rise yeast)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Butter Square

  • 12 tbl. cold unsalted butter, cut in 1 tbl. pieces
  • 1 tbl. all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbl. sugar

Apple Filling

  • 1 tbl. butter
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2 tbl. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tsp. milk, plus additional if needed

Drizzle

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbl. milk, plus additional if needed
Directions
  1. Make the dough by combining 1 1/4 cups of flour in a small bowl with the yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk together then set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk and egg. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and knead until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 7-8 minutes. The dough should be sticky, but if more than half of the dough is sticking to the bowl of the mixer then add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tbl at a time, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. To make the butter square, combine the butter and flour in a mixer and mix just until smooth and combined. Place the butter mixture in a plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form the butter into a 5 inch square. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour, lay the dough on the work surface and roll into a 9-inch square. Unwrap the butter square and place the butter diagonally on top of the dough. Fold in the corners of the dough over the butter so they meet in the middle. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. Tap the dough with a rolling pin from the center moving outwards until the butter begins to soften and become malleable. Roll the dough into an 11-inch square, flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. Fold the outer thirds of the dough towards the middle with one overlapping the other, similar to folding a business letter. Repeat this the other direction to make a square (this completes two turn). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Roll the dough into an 11-inch square and repeat the process above, first folding like a business letter, then into a square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight)
  5. Make the cream cheese filling by mixing the cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Prepare the apple filling by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15-18 minutes. Set aside to cool before using.
  7. When you’re ready to bake the Danish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Roll out the dough on a large piece of well floured parchment paper until it is a 14-inch square- be liberal with your use of flour, you can always dust the extra off but it’s very frustrating to have your dough stick! Spread the cream cheese filling down the center third of the dough, top with the apples.
  9. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut 3/4-inch strips diagonally along the outer thirds of the dough. Cross the strips over the dough, alternating sides to make a braided patter. Continue until the whole Danish is braided. Transfer the parchment paper and Danish to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
  10. Bake for 22-26 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Combine the glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth. Transfer the parchment paper and Danish to a cooling rack and brush with the glaze while the Danish is still hot. Then let sit and cool to room temperature. Combine the drizzle ingredients and drizzle over the Danish. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Source: Annie’s Eats

Roasted Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits

Tomato Cobbler ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes, so I was a bit skeptical of this recipe, but after seeing it posted on so many blogs with nothing but rave reviews I had to give it a try and I’m so glad I did. The tomatoes are baked with caramelized onions and thyme until some of the tomatoes burst and release their juices. On top is a quick and easy drop biscuit with gruyere cheese in the biscuit and baked on top. The ingredients are fairly simple, but the end result is delicious. Definitely my favorite way to eat tomatoes!

Tomato Cobbler ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

Roasted Tomato Cobbler

Ingredients

  • 2 tbl. olive oil
  • 2 tbl. unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 3 lbs. cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbl. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 1/3 cup grated gruyere cheese, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Directions
  1. Add the oil and butter to a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, flour, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir in the caramelized onions and spread the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a pastry cutter to add the butter and mix until it resembles coarse meal. Add 1 cup of cheese and the heavy cream and mix until it comes together.
  5. Use about 1/2 cup of dough in each biscuit. Drop them across the tomato mixture then top with the remaining 1/3 cup of shredded cheese.
  6. Bake for about 60-70 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown and the tomatoes are bubbling. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Makes: About 6-8 servings
Adapted from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

Southern Comfort Apple Pie

Southern Comfort Apple Pie ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

We had an apple pie contest at work a few weeks ago. I tried a couple of different recipes that were good but not great before I remembered bookmarking this recipe last year. I did a couple of test runs and made a few minor modifications to the original recipe and ended up with a pretty amazing pie all thanks to a caramel sauce made from Southern Comfort. This is a little more time-consuming than your average pie, but it also doesn’t taste like your average pie, so I think it’s time well spent!

The crust is flaky and buttery, just like a good crust should be, the apples retain their texture and have that amazing spiced caramel sauce and the topping bakes into something that is like a mix between a streusel and a praline. I’d highly recommend serving the pie warm with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream or some whipped cream. Despite being served to the judges without whipped cream or ice cream, this pie was still awarded the best apple pie made with a homemade crust!

Southern Comfort Apple Pie

Pie Crust*

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbl. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbl. cold, unsalted butter cut into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 3 tbl. very cold water

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment. Stir briefly to blend the ingredients. Add in the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Mix in the cold water until the dough just comes together.

Shape the dough into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the pie.

Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbl. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chilled, unsalted butter, cut in tablespoon sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves, chopped

Use a food processor or a pastry cutter to combine the sugars, cinnamon, salt and flour. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Stir in the chopped pecans and refrigerate until ready to use.

Apple Filling

  • 5-6 apples ( I used 3 Granny Smith and 2 Honeycrisp), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tbl. apple pie spice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Southern Comfort liqueur
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and started to foam, add the apples and sauté for 5-8 minutes until the apples are slightly softened and have released some of their juices. Add the sugar and apple pie spice and cook for another minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apples to a baking sheet or cutting board, leave as much of the liquid in the pan as possible. Arrange the apples in a single layer so they won’t get soggy.

Pour the Southern Comfort into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet and simmer over medium heat until all the alcohol burns off, around 5-10 minutes (smell the mixture at a close range, if it burns your nostrils the alcohols is still cooking off). Add the cream and simmer until the mixture is very thick, but still pourable, about 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Roll out your pie crust on a floured surface and place it in a deep dish 9-inch pie pan. Add the apples back into the skillet with the sauce and stir to coat. Pour the apples and sauce into the pie pan (do not fill more than 1/2 inch below the top of the crust). Sprinkle evenly with the topping. Place a cookie sheet under the pie pan to catch any liquid that bubbles over and bake for 50-60 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Cool before slicing.

*Ideally this pie should be made in a deep dish pie pan, if you don’t have a deep dish pan it can be made in a regular pie pan, just make sure you don’t fill it too full. I ended up having some leftover apples at the end, but,I certainly didn’t let them go to waste. Leftover caramel-y apples are delicious warmed up and served over ice cream!

Adapted from: Williams Sonoma and 20 Something Cupcakes

S’Mores Bars

S'mores Bars ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

Making homemade marshmallows was on the list of things I wanted to try this summer, I can’t imagine how amazing s’mores would be with some homemade marshmallows, but the summer passed before I got around to it. I’m thinking the marshmallows might happen this winter when it’s cold enough for hot cocoa, but until hot cocoa season comes around, these S’mores Bars were an excellent fix for my need to try making marshmallow! It’s a surprisingly easy process and it tastes so much better than the store-bought ones.

These bars combine all the good things from a s’more made around the campfire into a bar cookie. A thick, slightly salty graham cracker bar on the bottom is a great balance to the chocolate filling and marshmallow topping. I used a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate in the middle to help cut the sweetness. If you’re going for the true campfire s’more flavor feel free to use some Hersey’s bars instead!

S’Mores Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet or bittersweet)
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 9 pan with foil and set aside.
  2. Mix all the crust ingredients (graham cracker crumbs through salt) together and press evenly into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and set aside. Turn off the oven.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk over medium-low heat. Stir until melted and combined, then pour over the crust.
  4. Make the marshmallow by combing the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Boil until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees.
  5. While the syrup is heating up, beat 2 egg whites and the cream of tarter together until stiff peaks form.
  6. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on low and drizzle the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg white mixture. When all the syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat one more minute. Spread about 1 1/2-2 cups of the fluff over the chocolate layer. Store the remaining marshmallow fluff in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  7. Plan the pan under the broiler for around 1 minute until the marshmallow layer is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.
Makes: About 9-12 bars
Adapted from Cookies & Cups