When it comes to chocolate preference I am a milk chocolate girl.  In my opinion, you either appreciate bitter flavors such as dry red wine, strong coffee and extra dark chocolate or you don’t.  I don’t.  With one exception.  If dark chocolate is balanced with nutty caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt to balance the bitter notes, I start to sing a different tune.  Most desserts in general need the right amount of salt to balance their sweetness and there is no better example of that balance of flavors than dark chocolate and salt.  When I saw these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies in Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook, I ran to the store to buy a bag of Rolos and got baking immediately.

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

You usually have to choose whether you want chewy, gooey brownies or the crispy corner pieces of the batch, but with these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies, you don’t have to choose, you get both.  Imagine a richly dark chocolate brownie-like consistency cookie bursting with semisweet chocolate chips and oozing with soft caramel when you bite into it and that is what you get with these cookies.  If you aren’t salivating yet, you might want to consult someone about that.

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

A light sprinkle of sea salt to balance out the chocolatey richness, and these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies go down in the record book as one of my all-time favorite decadent treats.  These mouthwateringly delicious cookies are just one of the 75 irresistible recipes that you will find in Sally McKenney’s book Sally’s Baking Addiction:  Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes & Desserts for your Sweet Tooth Fix.

Sally began her blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction, not long ago, in 2011.  I have continued to be impressed by the rapid growth and success that she has had.  And let me tell you, she is as sweet as her desserts!  I feel like I have gotten to know Sally just through correspondence we have shared between blog comments and emails and I am so happy when good things happens to good people.  Sally’s beautifully photographed cookbook has chapters covering Breads & Muffins, Breakfast, Brownies & Bars, Cakes, Pies & Crisps, Candy & Sweet Snacks, Cookies, Cupcakes and Healthier Choices.  Each recipe is accompanied by a full page color photo so you know exactly what you are going to be enjoying when you begin making one of Sally’s recipes.  This Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bread is high on my list of what to make next.

Sally works hard testing her recipes to get them just right and so many of her recipes offer helpful tips that she has discovered that will help you to have success when recreating one of her treats.  For example, she has discovered that rolling cookie dough taller than it is wide results in cookies that have some substance and stay more puffy rather than becoming totally flat when they are baking.  Who doesn’t love a thicker cookie?

Sally’s book has a dessert for any occasion you may be celebrating and one of the nicest aspects of her book is that there are no fancy, special ingredients that are difficult to find.  The book is filled with approachable treats that will bring a smile to any face you present them to.

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 18 cookies

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies: The perfect blend of rich chocolate, sweet caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt that will keep you reaching for one more

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 18 chocolate-coated caramel candies, such as Rolos
  • coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and use a mixer on low speed until combined. Add the milk. With a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the dough. The dough will be heavy and sticky. Cover and chill for at least 1-2 hours.
  4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to soften slightly at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  6. Take 2 tablespoons of chilled dough, split it in half and roll each piece into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball of dough. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside. Repeat with the rest of the dough and caramel candies. Place balls 3 inches apart onto each cookie sheet. Sprinkle each with sea salt before putting into the oven.
  7. Bake each batch for 12-13 minutes. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.
  8. Recipe source: Sally's Baking Addiction cookbook
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*Race Point Publishing provided me with a review copy of Sally’s Baking Addiction:  Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes & Desserts for Your Sweet Tooth Fix but all opinions are, as always, my own.

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Finally.  I am finally beginning to believe that spring is around the corner.  I have been going stir crazy with the rest of you which has led me to pick up a new hobby.

I have a problem with new hobbies in that I instantly want and expect that I will be able to do a very advanced thing as soon as I begin.  For example, what inspired me to start crocheting is that my friend makes these adorable crocheted animals

 (source)

and so I thought, “oh those would be so cute to give as baby gifts, I want to make those!”.  Well I have learned that I can’t run before I walk, that is, baby steps walk.  Also, I find it ironic that I found this new hobby that involves wanting to make scarves for everyone I know just as we are finally able to shed the down jackets and can feel the warmth of the sun again.  Oh well, we will be prepared for next winter I guess.

Spring and summer are my favorite cooking and baking seasons because of the fresh, flavorful ingredients that are in season.  This Brown Butter Shortbread is the perfect way to ring in spring.  I paired the shortbread with a simple raspberry sauce, but it would be equally as delicious with salted caramel, melted chocolate or all on it’s own.

Brown Butter Shortbread {satisfymysweettooth.com}

This Brown Butter Shortbread is so slightly crunchy and crumbly enough that it seems to just melt in your mouth.  The nuttiness of the browned butter really puts the shortbread over the edge and makes it just rich enough.

Brown Butter Shortbread {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Brown Butter Shortbread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Brown Butter Shortbread is nutty and rich and pairs perfectly with a simply berry or salted caramel sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, browned and cooled [see video here for how to brown butter|https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCRHweDa_uo[/youtube]
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fully, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add salt and flour and mix to incorporate.
  5. Using your hands, press dough into a ball and knead gently until smooth.
  6. Press dough evenly into a 9-inch tart pan pressing gently about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.
  7. Prick dough all over with a fork and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Lightly score the dough into wedges with a pizza cutter or sharp knife so that it is easier to cut after it bakes. Place tart pan onto the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake 1 hour until lightly golden brown.
  9. Cool 15 minutes, then remove the shortbread from the tart pan and cut into wedges.
  10. Serve alone or with berry or caramel sauce.
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Oh my goodness sweet teeth, it has been awhile!  I travelled to San Antonio for work last week and then my family was in town for the weekend and I have hardly even looked at a computer, which has been nice, but I miss you!  Just in time for spring, I have a sweet, fruity treat for you today!  I just couldn’t get enough of that Strawberry Buttercream that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago, so I had to find another way to incorporate it.  I bring you Strawberry Cookie Cups with Strawberry Buttercream.

Strawberry Cookie Cups {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Strawberry Cookie Cups {satisfymysweettooth.com}

These Strawberry Cookie Cups just scream spring time.  Even if the weather won’t cooperate quite yet, the vibrant strawberry flavor that is incorporated into each component of this treat will get you excited for the days of farmers’ market and leisurely walks on those perfect summer nights.

Strawberry Cookie Cups {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I used a mini muffin pan for the Strawberry Cookie Cups because I wanted them to be 2-bites of self-contained goodness.  They would also be adorable garnished with a slice of fresh strawberry.

Strawberry Cookie Cups {satisfymysweettooth.com}

 

Strawberry Cookie Cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 40 cookies

Strawberry Cookie Cups with Strawberry Buttercream are the perfect sweet treat to celebrate spring's arrival

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Mix in vanilla, egg and strawberry jam.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
  6. Scoop dough in to greased mini muffin pan filling each cavity 2/3 full with dough.
  7. Bake 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown and centers feel set.
  8. Cool completely before frosting with Strawberry Buttercream.
  9. *See below recipe box for link to Strawberry Buttercream frosting (make 1/2 of amount listed in recipe)
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**CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE FOR THE STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM AND ONLY MAKE 1/2 THE RECIPE TO TOP THESE STRAWBERRY COOKIE CUPS

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Anytime I can incorporate my favorite dessert flavors into something for breakfast, I feel like I’ve won.  I eat yogurt for breakfast every single weekday and topping my yogurt with different items such as fruit and/or granola helps me never get sick of it.  One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate with coconut and when you add the almond that you get in an Almond Joy candy bar, I’m in heaven.  I bought a large container of rolled oats last week with this Almond Joy Granola in mind.

Almond Joy Granola {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Almond Joy Granola begins as any classic granola does with wholesome rolled oats.  Then I added sliced almonds, coconut flakes (you could use shredded coconut if you cannot find the flakes) and a combination of coconut oil and chocolate.  I tried to keep the added sugar to a minimum with just a bit of brown sugar and honey so you will not be overwhelmed with sweetness when you eat this granola.

Almond Joy Granola {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Almond Joy Granola {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I also love customizable recipes, which desctibes this Almond Joy Granola exactly.  Don’t care for almonds?  Swap for peanuts, pecans or skip the nuts all together.  Not a fan of coconut?  Leave it out or substiture rice krispies or corn flakes.

Almond Joy Granola {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Another reason I love this Almond Joy Granola on my breakfast yogurt is that I am crazy for crunch.  Whether it is yogurt or ice cream, I always enjoy it more if there is something crunchy mixed in.

Almond Joy Granola {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Perhaps the most unique addition to my Almond Joy Granola is chia seeds.  Bob’s Red Mill was kind enough to send me some chia seeds because I have been intriqued by the new super seed that is all the rage these days.  While they do not alter or enhance the flavor of this granola at all, in the research I have done, I am excited about the idea that chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for heart health and are also a good source of fiber, protein and calcium.  No you will not start sprouting green “fur” like the beloved chia pets, you may just feel more full and enjoy a pleasant extra crunch the this Almond Joy Granola!

Almond Joy Granola {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Almond Joy Granola

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3.5 cups

1/4 cup

Almond Joy Granola will bring all of the flavors of the popular candy bar to your breakfast bowl!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp coconut oil (divided)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes (or shredded coconut)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil in microwave until liquified.
  3. Spread rolled oats onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pour melted coconut oil over oats and toss to coat.
  4. Bake 20 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes.
  5. Add almonds and coconut and cook 10 minutes more.
  6. Add brown sugar and honey, toss to coat and cook 5 more minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, melt together chocolate chips and remaining tsp coconut oil in microwave in 30 second increments until smooth.
  8. Toss melted chocolate mixture with oat mixture and bake 5 minutes more.
  9. Cool completely. Store covered for up to 1 week.
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I took the week off last week to celebrate my birthday with friends and family.  My mom was here for a week which was so nice.  Also, I got to share my birthday week with my favorite baby friend.

Lydia’s mom and I have become good friends and it has been so much fun to watch Lydia grow over this past year.  I volunteered to make her birthday cake, cupcakes and pink ombre pancakes for her first birthday party and I love the way everything turned out.

cak

 

The party was gorgeous and baby Lydia was adorable in her party dress.

IMG_2784

The party was the second time I had made these cupcakes and let me tell you, they are the best Strawberry Cupcakes I have ever tasted!

The Best Strawberry Cupcakes {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The cupcakes are loaded with strawberry goodness.  The cakes themselves have strawberry jam and chopped real strawberries and the buttercream frosting is also infused with strawberry jam.  Often strawberry cakes are made by using strawberry Jello mix or some other fake form of strawberry flavor, but the Best Strawberry Cupcakes get their fresh, sweet berry flavor from the real deal.  The jam I used was all natural and you could either use fresh or thawed frozen strawberries for the chopped berries that are mixed into the batter.

The Best Strawberry Cupcakes {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Later this week, I will be sharing a review of the book that I adapted this fabulous recipe from, you won’t want to miss it!

The Best Strawberry Cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 60 miniature cupcakes (24 regular-sized cupcakes)

The Best Strawberry Cupcakes: These cupcakes are bursting with real strawberry goodness

Ingredients

    For the strawberry cupcakes!
  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup natural strawberry jam
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • For the strawberry buttercream!
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural strawberry jam
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

    For the strawberry cupcakes!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line miniature (or regular-sized) cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  3. Add eggs and jam and mix well.
  4. Combine flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  5. Combine milk, half-and-half and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture followed by 1/3 of the liquid mixture and mix. Repeat with half of remaining flour mixture followed by half of the remaining liquid mixture and mix. Repeat one more time with remaining flour and liquid mixtures and mix well to combine.
  7. Mix in chopped strawberries.
  8. Fill pans 2/3 full of batter and bake 14-16 minutes for miniature cupcakes (about 20 minutes for regular cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
  9. Cool completely before frosting.
  10. For the strawberry buttercream!
  11. Combine all ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until well-blended.
  12. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.
  13. Recipe adapted from Trophy Cupcakes and Parties
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