Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nutella Blondies w/Nutella Caramel

IF YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR SUGAR INTAKE, STOP... These bars are not for you. Holy Diabetic Coma. O my goodness. But if you want a blondie that does not became a brick after one day, with a delightful homemade caramel sauce on it.... These are it. Heaven help you. These were made on Friday afternoon for a party, they still were moist and delicious on Monday. How often can you say that about Blondies. Pretty close to never. This is why I almost never make them. As good as they taste, one or two days later, in the garbage can.

I am having some alignment problem with my website.. I started to frost these bars, cut them and added the remaining frosting. Almost all the sides were covered. Ooey Gooey mess of finger licking goodness. These bars could be included in some decadent FUN... (Just saying)

OK, Nutella in the blondie and and the caramel sauce.. Totally elevated something regular to a whole new level. Think about this when you are baking and cooking. Bump it up a notch. Food does not have to be boring. Enjoy your food and your life.

There are a lot of ingredients here. Do not let this dissuade you, Just the blondie bake, add the caramel sauce when done. Just a different type of frosting. Actually, this bar calls for a glaze on top, absolutely unnecessary. There is no need.

Nutella Blondies w/Nutella Caramel
loosely adapted from
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Nutella Caramel 
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with tin foil. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, add the 2 sticks of butter. Cook over medium low heat. Stirring occasionally. The butter will foam and then start to cook. You will smell a wonderful nutty aroma. Please keep an eye, so that the butter does not burn. Once the butter turns, remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the brown butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Add in vanilla and mix. Gently mix in flour, salt and baking soda. DO NOT OVER MIX. Gently fold in white chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth out the top

In a small bowl, mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the blondies in an even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes. They will puff slightly. When done baking, remove from oven and let cool.

While the blondies are cooling, prepare the Nutella caramel. In a heavy bottom saucepan, add the granulated sugar and heat over medium heat. Regularly stir the sugar. The sugar will turn this beautiful amber brown color. Once all the clumps have melted, add the butter and continue to stir until melted. VERY slowly, add the cream into the sugar butter mixture. It will bubble, this is OK. Boil for 1-2 minutes. Then remove from heat. Immediately stir in the Nutella, vanilla extract and sea salt. Set aside and let cool.

Once the caramel is cooled, pour a thin layer over the blondies. Cut the blondies and spread out slightly. Pour the remaining caramel over the blondies the coat most of the sides. It will make each piece special.

This batter comes together quickly. If you were out of white chocolate chips, it would not be a tragedy.

All ready for the oven.

Once out of the oven, the blondies are puffed.

Plain old white sugar... nothing special

Starting to melt and form clumps

Almost totally melted. A few clumps still left. Do you see that beautiful brown color

Added the butter and then the cream to the mixture

ONE WORD ~~ Nutella

Nutella Caramel Sauce.. This could be used for so many different things..
Ice cream, plain old brownies, out of the pan...

Pouring the thin layer before I cut them

Most of the sides are covered

I took these to a party. They look a bit intimidating. 
Once the first person tried one, they were devoured. 
Everyone raved about these.
I saved a few for my Husband, 
WHOA, I got his approval. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pecan Cheesecake Squares

Holy rock and roll, I have found Heaven. These bars are amazing... I know, I know, how many times have I said this. I guess because I only post excellent tasting food. WHY would I post a sub par recipe. There really in no point.

So last Friday was my Mother's 70th birthday.

We actually started her extravaganza on Thursday. All of her daughters took her to Chicago for Dinner and a Show.

This was the end of dinner. We went to this wonderful restaurant in Chicago named Balena. Delicious food. From there, we took a cab and went to see the Million Dollar Quartet. It was a wonderful show featuring the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Perkins. Just up my mothers alley. Her toe was a tapping and she was clapping.

It was a wonderful evening. On Friday was her actual birthday, we also had a birthday party for her then. My Mother loves cake without a lot of Frosting. So, I made her this delightful Citrus Almond Cake. (the only picture is above). I will post the recipe sometime when I take more photos. (the brain was not functioning) I also made these delicious mouth watering Pecan Cheesecake Squares. They were totally consumed. Everyone LOVED them and wanted the recipe. IF you really want to ask a question, WHY does someone really need to bring 2 desserts to the second day birthday extravaganza. Because I love to bake, or just crazy.. Hmmm definitely the second one....

They are not a hard bar to make, There is cooling time between each layer. That is why they take a bit longer to make. They also need to chill and set up before serving. This bar is easy, but just takes some time.

This tray was devoured. Remember, there was also 
a small lovely cake also. 

Pecan Cheesecake Squares
Adapted by
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, DIVIDED
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups finely chopped pecans, DIVIDED
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, DIVIDED
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pans with tin foil and spray.

For the shortbread layer. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, combine flour, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and butter. Mix until course crumbs. DO NOT WALK AWAY from the mixer. Unless you want a lump of dough. Stir in 1/2 cup of pecans. Press mixture into your prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool for 5 - 10 minutes.

For the cheesecake layer. Please the cream cheese in your mixing bowl. (SAME One from above) Add in sugar and beat until smooth. Add in milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and mix until combined. Pour cream cheese mixture over the shortbread layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

For the pecan layer. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of brown sugar, corn syrup and melted butter. Gently stir in eggs, salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Once mix, add the 1 1/2 cups of pecans. Mix completely. Slowly pour the pecan mixture over the cooled cheesecake layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Or until the center is a rich brown color.

Pecan.. I could eat the bag of these. 
When buying nuts, store bags in containers
in your freezer. They will not go rancid over time

Find pebbles. 
I did this in the mixer, Please watch. YOU do not
want it to became a lump of dough.

Patting into pan. I sprayed my hands with Pam
so that the batter would not stick

The slightly baked short bread crust cooling and 
waiting for the cheesecake layer

Ready for the oven

This layer needed to cool for 10  minutes to firm up

Pecan Pie on top of the cheesecake layer

This pan was a bubbling when it came out of the oven

This bar cut so nice. 
Do you hear, EAT ME PLEASE

layers of shortbread, cream cheese and pecans

This is the next day. Totally chilled and set up. 
I may have eaten all of these on this tray.
Worth the price of pecans.


Chocolate layer on bottom and banana cake on top.
The banana cake is my Florida sisters' recipe.
I will post that also someday. Delicious