I’ve been on a chocolate and caramel kick recently so I jumped at the opportunity to make Emily’s, of Life on Food, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. I had a huge block of chocolate and an extra jar of fleur de sel caramel sauce that was itching to be used up so it was just meant to be.
The hardest part about these bars is pressing the cookie dough-like filling into all of the crevices of the pan. I found that if I took balls of dough and didn’t press too hard, I was able to fill most of the spots in one round. That being said, this was a super easy and great recipe. Everyone in my office loved them, marketed as Salted Caramel Blondies.
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Back in April last year, I checked a big item off my to-do list and finally made my own caramels. I took these caramels one step further and chopped them into chip-sized pieces and added them to a new chocolate chip cookie recipe.
I am always a fan of salty and sweet combined, and the mixture of the small chips and chunks of high quality chocolate mixed with the gooey-ness of my handmade caramels made these the perfect snack. The hidden nuts in the mix add another layer of dimension that most people won’t be able to put their finger on.
I like St. Patrick’s day because it gives me an excuse to make and eat green food. Other than that, I don’t really celebrate it — in fact I’ve never even seen a green beer! These cookies are naturally colored with some beautiful sencha green tea powder gifted to me by Sugimoto America. This sencha powder had a nice strong earthy taste that paired naturally with the honey cream cheese filling.
The recipe for these cookies came from my co-worker who had brought them into the office but I never got to try them. I usually avoid making sandwich cookies since they’re twice the amount of work for one cookie, but these just might be worth it. Not as much work as linzer cookies, but a little more work than whoopie pies. I also got to try out my new rolling pin so that I could make sure the dough was uniform in thickness.
If you’re in the mood for a seasonal treat that isn’t tooth-achingly sweet, these are right up your alley. I’ve stuck a few in the freezer to give to my friend this weekend when we meet up for the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival; I’ll report back on how they fared.
This recipe is very easy and has a limited number of ingredients. I added heaping tablespoons of green tea powder because I had only a little left in my container (total amount = 227 grams). The cookie is a little dense, but lighter than shortbread. When eaten fresh, the filling will ooze out a bit. I stuck them in the fridge overnight and the filling firmed up for easier chomping.
Nothing reminds me of the holidays more than spiced cookies. For this special Secret Recipe Club Cookie Carnival round-up for the winter, I was paired up with Cindy from Hun… What’s for Dinner?, a stay at home to 2 children. It was pretty much a no brainer when I saw her recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies, a perfect way to take the edge off on a chilly day. My favorite way to eat these cookies are after they’ve been warmed over the a cup of tea — soft and chewy center with crispier outer edges.
These cookies bake uniformly and are pretty to look at with the crackly tops. Since we like our cookies on the softer side, we baked them for only 10 minutes and set them to cool on parchment paper. The molasses in these cookies keeps them soft for days after baking. My husband baked these for me one evening and I brought them into work 4 or 5 days later and they were still very soft and flavorful. This is also the first cookie I’ve heard of that used oil instead of butter; how these would bake into cookies seemed like a mystery to me.
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Macaroons are light, almost meringue-like cookies that originated in Italy, France, and Belgium. They were originally comprised of mainly almonds, similar to the Italian cookie amaretti. But once North America got its hands on the cookie, by way of Scotland, we swapped the nuts for coconut and made it our own. The coconut macaroon is popular in Australia, the United States, The Netherlands, and Germany.
Macaroons are a favorite treat in my parent’s household because they are on the lighter end of the sweet scale, especially when homemade. Made this way, they are also highly customize-able. You can choose different fillings (chocolate & almond spread for my in-laws, lemon curd for my side), to dip or drizzle with chocolate, or to eat them plain (my Dad’s favorite way). The shredded coconut I use is a little bit drier than the common “blue bag” (Baker’s Angel Flake) brand, and I also supplemented it with a little unsweetened shredded coconut to tamper the sugar level even more.
Besides decorating these to be cute nests, the best part was getting to snack on the leftover sweetened condensed milk, a tradition in my family. And since I was making these at my condo, I didn’t have to beat anyone at rock-paper-scissors for the rights to do so.
Cocoa Almond “Nutella” & Peanut Butter M&Ms
Lemon Curd & Gourmet Jelly Beans
I saw this recipe linked to in an Easter Dessert Recipe Round-up at Rachel Cooks, which led me to two different variations on Two Peas and Their Pod: Coconut Lemon Macaroon Nests & Nutella Macaroon Nests. My personal favorite was eating them plain, followed by the chocolate ones. It may have been the lemon curd I used, but the lemon versions were a bit too sweet. And, I almost killed my sister because I forgot that these were tropical jellybeans that had “strawberry” as one of the flavors! (She’s allergic to strawberries).
If you want an even easier version, you can look at Danny’s Macaroons, or a quick white-chocolate dipped version I made a while back for my Dad.