The Occasional Sweet...
Tis' the season for graduation open houses, wedding showers, and garden parties! This month it has been our delightful dilemma to have our weekends booked with plenty of social things to do. Each celebration provided the opportunity to sample all kinds of wonderful fare. There seem to be some noticeable trends going on in the dessert world! Things that were "salted caramel", "chocolate bacon", and "red velvet" kept making appearances. These little goodies were also very portable and could be eaten in just a bite or two. Even though I try to stay away from sweets, I couldn't resist trying to replicate some of the treats I sampled! I got the chance when I helped host a shower for the bride-to-be of one of Caroline's childhood friends, Brad. Since the shower was going to include lots of ladies our family doesn't see very often but we have a strong history with, I wanted to make the desserts very special. For the shower, I found the salted caramel brownies and the whoppie pie recipe from http;//www.bettycrocker.com. Cake pop recipes are all over the internet, so I used a basic one and added real bacon pieces on top just for fun.
Berry Filled Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
In a bowl, beat the first five ingredients with an electric mixer. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use foil covered with cooking spray. Drop two tablespoons of the batter at a time and with a the back of a spoon, spread it out into a circle. The batter does spread while cooking, so leave some room between each circle. Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until set. Take out of the oven and after 2 minutes, carefully remove the "cookies" to a cooling rack. They must be completely cooled before you fill them. While they are cooling, whip the rest of the ingredients - except the berries - with the electric mixer. To assemble, liberally spread the filling on the bottom of a "cookie", top with some of the berries, and cover with another "cookie". Best if stored covered, in the refrigerator.
Salted Caramel Brownies
Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter
1 (14 oz.) bag of caramels
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For garnish: 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix the first 4 ingredients together and spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with half of the pecans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 18 minutes or until set and edges are just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely before putting the caramel topping on. Then, heat the 1/4 cup butter, caramels, and cream over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Take the caramel mixture off the heat and stir in the vanilla and the 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Spread the caramel mixture over the cooled brownies and sprinkle the the top with the rest of the pecans. Cool completely and cut into individual brownies. Just before serving sprinkle each one with a bit of kosher salt.
Bacon Chocolate Maple Cake Pops
2 teasspoons maple flavoring
1 3/4 cup prepared vanilla frosting
1 bag chocolate candy melts
A couple pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
Bake the cake according to the package directions, except add the maple flavoring. When the cake is cool, food process (or use hands) it into crumbs. Add the frosting, shape into balls, and put in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then take them out of the freezer and insert a lollipop stick which has been dipped into some of the melted chocolate. Return them to the freezer for 20 more minutes. Next, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until the chocolate is smooth. (Be careful not to microwave it too much - the melts will hold their shape until you stir them.) Dip the cake pops in the melted chocolate and decorate them with - in this case bacon - or whatever you wish!