Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Looking for a little something extra for your Halloween Party?  This one is easy to make and offers a different approach to caramel apples.

For some people, apple cider, apple pie, and caramel apples are some of the essential fall things, conjuring up memories of trips to the orchard, fall festivals, and such.  I have never been one to go out of my way for a caramel apple, finding them sticky and messy to eat.  But anything with caramel piques my interest, and this recipe for a dip really intrigued me.

In addition to the savory appetizers I served at Mr.D’s birthday party, I wanted something cold and fruit based, that children would like.  Let me tell you, this was definitely it.  Apples cut into thin wedges, arranged on a platter with this dip, some chunks of cheddar cheese, and some grapes made a perfect counterpoint to the hot and savory Salsa Wings and Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

This sweet smooth and fluffy dip is really a crowd-pleaser.  Be careful it’s so good that you won’t want to stop eating it.

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In my haste to set it out for everyone to enjoy, I forgot to take a photo of the final platter arrangement of fruit, dip, and cheese.  But what I did was set the bowl of dip in the center of a square serving platter.  In the two diagonal corners were piles of apple wedges, in another corner were the chunks of cheese, and in the fourth corner was a bunch of red grapes.  This was a pretty arrangement, with all the cool foods grouped together.

The recipe calls for 3 apples, but I cut up 6 apples, and still there was some dip leftover.  The next day, I put a small container of it and an apple in Mr. D’s lunch.  He really liked having it as a mid-day snack at work.  So this would also be good in lunch boxes for school, or as an after school snack, if you are someone looking for such ideas.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP

Yield:   2-3 cups of dipIMG_8360

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8-ounces) low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 3 medium eating apples
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. water

Directions:

1.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar,

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

add caramel topping and vanilla and beat until smooth;

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Fold in the marshmallow creme.  This can be really sticky so I used my beater on low speed to get the marshmallow mixed in evenly.

 

Fold in marshmallow creme.

Fold in marshmallow creme.

2.  Cut apples vertically into thin wedges.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and water;  toss apples in the lemon juice mixture.  Drain.

3.  Serve apples with dip, and enjoy.

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Happy Halloween, everyone, and have a great weekend!

 

SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

So many celebrations this month!  May is one of the busiest months around here.  Beginning today with Cinco de Mayo and continuing right on through Memorial Day, I have something on my calendar every weekend, sometimes more than one event, and they all involve preparation of food on my part. I just hope I can keep up with it.  If I drop out of sight for a day or two you’ll know what happened…..I fell off the edge.

So,  today Mr. D. has an office pot-luck lunch in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  His co-workers have special dishes they prepare around that theme so I’m not going to compete with them,  I’ll tackle the dessert.   What I decided on are these Dulce de Leche Brownies.  Who doesn’t like brownies?   When you add toppings like Marshmallow Creme and Dulce de Leche plus chopped pecans…..swoon!!….If I were there, I’d start with dessert, thank you.

Imagine a fudgy brownie underneath all this gooey-ness.

Imagine a fudgy brownie underneath all this gooey-ness.

I just know these are fabulous brownies, I’ve made them before this.   I couldn’t taste them, however, because  when you bake for an event, you really can’t send a pan of brownies with one corner missing….. or can you?    Anyway I hope my photos get you salivating and anxious to try these wonderful brownies.  I omitted the chopped pecans on top because of possible nut allergies among the group of people who will be eating these.

DULCE DE LECHE FLUFF BROWNIES

Yield:    42 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 0unces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

    A pan of brownies, + marshmallow creme, + dulce de leche=heaven.

    A pan of brownies, + marshmallow creme, + dulce de leche=heaven.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1  13.4- ounce can dulce de leche
  • 1  7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan cook and stir unsweetened chocolate and butter over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of pan.  Grease foil; set pan aside. I omitted this step because my brownies are going to travel in the baking pan which has a cover—-much safer for Mr. D. to carry to work.

2.  Stir sugar into chocolate mixture.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined.  Stir in vanilla.  In a small bowl stir together flour an baking soda.  Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined.  Stir in semisweet chocolate pieces.  Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until ages are set and center is almost set.

3.  Meanwhile transfer dulce de leche to a small microwave-safe bowl (or leave it in its jar if that is microwaveable).  Microwave on 100 percent power about 1 minute or until softened, stirring once.

4.  Remove brownies from oven and set pan on a wire rack.  Immediately spoon marshmallow creme in mounds on top of hot brownies. (Having a glass of water handy to dip knife blade into, makes dealing with the sticky marshmallow creme a whole lot easier.)

Drop mounds of marshmallow fluff on top of warm brownies.

Drop mounds of marshmallow fluff on top of warm brownies.

Drop spoonfuls of dulce de leche between mounds of marshmallow creme.  Let stand for a few minutes to soften.  Using a table knife or narrow metal spatula, gently swirl marshmallow creme and dulce de leche together to marble.  Sprinkle with pecans,  Cool in pan on rack.

Fill in the open spaces with dulce de leche, and swirl together.

Fill in the open spaces with dulce de leche, and swirl together.

5.  Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut brownies out of pan.  Cut into brownies, wiping knife as needed between cuts.

These brownies are oowey, gooey good!

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SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens

No More Burned Marshmallows

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like S’mores, do you?  I was first introduced to them when I was a young girl at Girl Scout Camp where we roasted the marshmallows on a stick over a camp fire.  It seemed like mine always caught fire, and I ended up with a charred, blackened marshmallow while everyone else’s marshmallow was golden and perfectly toasted.  I usually insisted that I made it that way on purpose because I loved them burned.  😦

roasting a marshmallow

roasting a marshmallow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now-a- days, I’ll gladly eat a S’more if someone else will toast my marshmallow, because I still can’t seem to get it right!   That’s probably why I think these bars are so fabulous.  There is no toasting of marshmallows involved—what’s used here is marshmallow fluff out of a jar.  While it’s a little sticky to spread, I’m better with that than I am with an open fire.

S'mores Bars

S’mores Bars

I found this recipe hidden away at the bottom of an ad from my Mazda dealer.  Sneaky little devil, thought I wouldn’t see it!      Well, I did see it, and I made it for us all to enjoy.  People,  you will be so happy that I’m sharing it with you.  No longer will you need to go camping, or build a fire to toast marshmallows,  just make these ooey, gooey, chocolatey, bars and you will have the best without the mess.  🙂

Decadent!

Decadent!

SWEET AND SPICY S’MORES BARS

Yield:   Makes 16 bars

Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow fluff.

Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow fluff.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2   (3.5 oz.) bars dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment  paper, leaving an overhang at the sides.

2.  In a mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla together until light and fluffy.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham crumbs, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir into the creamed mixture until well combined.  Batter will be crumbly.

Batter will be crumbly.

Batter will be crumbly.

4.  Spread 2/3 of the batter onto the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Lay the two chocolate bars in an even layer across the dough.

5.  Spread the marshmallow fluff over the chocolate, and crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

6.  Bake until puffed and set, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely.  Remove the square from the pan using the paper overhang and place on a cutting board.  Cut into 16 squares.

So good.  After one you will want s'more!

So good. After one you will want s’more!

Makin’ Whoopie—-Pies, that is.

Did you know that June is Dessert for Dudes month?  Yes, the third annual!  What is Dessert for Dudes month you ask?  In honor of Father’s Day a fellow food blogger  (Bake at 350 ), is  highlighting desserts that are especially dude-worthy.  She has invited other bloggers to join in.  I think  this is a marvelous idea and so I too will be honoring the men in my life with desserts that they particularly like.  Last week (June 7) I presented the recipe for Rhubarb Pie which is my husband’s favorite kind of pie.  Today’s recipe is in honor of my dance partner, who loves all kinds of sweets, and chocolate in particular.

Last week we were dancing to the tune “Makin’ Whoopee” when he said “there’s a title for your blog,  what can you do with Whoopee”?  My reply:  “make Whoopie Pies”.  Now, I’m not sure how familiar you all might be with Whoopie Pies.  They began as a regional favorite that has been attributed to the Amish people, and the states of Maine and Pennsylvania, both of which had large populations of Amish, claim to be the birth place of the Whoopie Pie.  Here in the Northeast they can still be found in small convenience stores and country markets, usually located up front near the checkout.  The classic whoopie pie consists of two large discs of chocolate cake enclosing a mega-dollop of cream filling.

The recipe I have for you today is for the classic style whoopie pie, although they can be made in other flavors with complimentary fillings.   Individually packaged, they make a nice take-along for a hike, a picnic, or whenever the need arises for a sweet treat.  OK, enough background information,  let’s get started.  Whoopie Pies here we come!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Creme Filling.

This recipe calls for cocoa.  I like to use Dutch Process cocoa for its nice dark color but any cocoa will work.  I would recommend Hershey’s Extra Dark, if you can’t find Dutch Process cocoa.  Also I add a little espresso powder because I feel it deepens the chocolate flavor and adds a special little nuance.

Put all of the following in a large mixer bowl, and beat together, scraping down the bowl several times as you go:

  • Butter, 1/2 cup, softened
  • Brown sugar, 1 cup
  • baking powder, 1 teaspoon
  • baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt, 3/4 teaspoon
  • vanilla, 1 teaspoon
  • espresso powder, 1 teaspoon
2.  1 large egg.  Add to above mixture, and beat again, scraping down the bowl well.
3.  1/2 cup  Dutch Process cocoa, whisked together with 2 2/3 cups flour.  Add to the creamed mixture alternately with 1 cup milk.
4.  Prepare 2  baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.  Now you need to decide on cookie size:  Standard pies are about 5 inches in diameter.  To get this size use a muffin scoop to measure batter;  i.e.,about 1/4 cup .  Yield will be 8-9 large pies.  For a smaller pie about 2 3/4 ” diameter, measure batter out with a cookie scoop, about 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter, for a yield of 16 pies.
5.  Drop batter onto prepared baking sheets leaving plenty of space between mounds as they will spread.  Bake 14-16 minutes. (start checking at 14 minutes)  They should look set, dull not shiny, and feel firm to touch.  Cool completely on baking pans.  When they are luke warm lift gently with a spatula if they are stuck.  Wait till completely cooled to fill.
      
Before baking (left), shiny, moist chocolate blobs.  After baking (right), puffed, dull, set,  firm to touch.
Creme Filling
Aaaaah, the filling!  These are the ingredients:
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup Marshmallow Fluff or Marshmallow creme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Beat shortening, sugar and Fluff till well combined.  I’m anticipating your question:  “Can I substitute butter for shortening”?  Well, if you do you will be making a soft butter creme filling..  “Real” whoopie filling was made of lots of shortening, sugar and raw egg whites.  These days the egg whites are replaced by the Marshmallow Fluff.  This has a stiffer consistency than Marshmallow Creme, so if using Creme, you may need to add a little more sugar.  Remember if you don’t use shortening, you’re not making a true whoopie. Most shortening sold today is free of trans fats, if that’s your worry.

2.  Continuing:  Beat everything till smooth.  Now add the vanilla, and salt dissolved in water.  Beat again till smooth

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3.  To fill the pies,  scoop about 1 Tablespoon filling (for smaller pies) and place on flat side of a chocolate cake.  Place another cake on top and gently squeeze together to push the filling to the edges.  To fill the larger size cakes, use 2-3 tablespoons of filling, and do the same thing;  put it on one cake, top with another cake and squeeze.

4.  Do these look like snack cake heaven, or what?

Try one and say,  WHOOPEE!

SOURCE:  adapted from One Girl Cookies