Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Some nights you just need a cookie.  I mean right now.  Immediately.  And that is why I am so happy that I recently discovered cookie bars.  Because on those nights that you just need a cookie right away, you didn’t think ahead to soften butter to room temperature, nor do you have time to let dough chill.  Enter the amazing cookie bar.  Specifically a chocolate chip cookie bar with salted caramel sauce swirled inside and sprinkled with sea salt.  Sounds complicated, right? It is not at all!!  Especially if you have some caramel sauce leftover from making these brownies.  Just melt some butter (no waiting for butter to soften in this recipe!) and mix it with sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips, and you are ready to go!  There is no chilling this dough, just plop it right into the pan. Well there is one little extra step, but I promise it is worth the time because it involves caramel!  Press half the dough into the pan and then pour caramel sauce all over it.  Then you dollop the cookie dough in little scoops over the top (it looks so cute!) and lightly press it down.  Sprinkle everything with some fleur de sel, and that’s it!  In about 30 minutes, warm gooey cookie bars are ready for almost immediate consumption! Now I will say that the texture changes a lot as these sit.  The bars firm up and become like actual cookies. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with sneaking a square (or two) of the warm bars when they are still doughy and gooey! … 

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Raspberry Dark Chocolate Scones

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Let’s talk about scones.  Buttery, tender, delicious scones.  I’ve eaten my fair share of them, but I had never actually made scones.  So I decided to change that this past weekend.  I had some gorgeous raspberries just begging to be made into a delicious breakfast, and this recipe seemed like the perfect way to use them up and try out a new pastry!  I did not have white chocolate on hand, so I decided to use dark chocolate instead.  A little chocolate with breakfast is always a good thing – my grandfather taught me that!

So back to scones. I’ve seen them made on TV a thousand times. They always make it look so pretty and neat.  Let me tell you, my prebaked scones were pretty (because when is butter and sugar and flour not pretty?), but they sure weren’t neat!  This dough is really wet!   The recipe warned that the dough would be “slightly unmanageable” and it wasn’t kidding.  I felt like I was working with slightly dry muffin batter rather than dough!  But the recipe also mentions that “not adding additional flour results in tender scones”, and I certainly wanted my scones to be tender.  So when it was time to form the dough into a circle and cut it into scones, I turned my dough out onto a floured silicone mat, which really helps with the dough not sticking.  I also floured my hands very well, and just tried to to work the dough as little as possible. It was a bit messy getting these scones onto the cookie sheet, but once I did it was totally worth it!  The baked scones are so light and tender.  There is chocolate and raspberry in every bite, with just a hint of sweetness. So I’d say my first venture into scones was a success, although I can’t wait to practice more with other recipes!  I see pumpkin scones in my future…… 

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Salted Caramel Brownies

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This week calls for brownies.  The holiday weekend is over.  Summer is over.  The streets of NYC are packed again with everyone back to school and back to work. Yep, definitely need some brownies this week.  And while we’re at it, might as well add a salted caramel drizzle on top.  Just because.  The week is looking up already.

This recipe is from the one and only Ina Garten.  I’ve been dying to make these since I saw them on her show.  The brownie is rich and fudgy, the caramel swirl is so sweet and buttery, and the flaked sea salt on top just ties the whole thing together.  They are nothing short of amazing! I’m not sure why she calls specifically for Hershey’s chocolate chips in the recipe, but who am I to argue with Ina?  I made TheBetterHalf go buy that exact brand for me, and in true NYC fashion it took him 3 grocery stores to find them.  All in the name of brownies.  The only change I made to the recipe is adding 2 teaspoons of instant coffee instead of the 1 ½ tablespoons that Ina calls for.  Coffee brings out the chocolate flavor in baked goods but I didn’t want to actually taste coffee in my brownies, so I reduced the amount.  Everything else was perfect – these brownies so good!  … 

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Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies

These Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies have no flour, no butter, and no oil – but they still taste absolutely amazing!! Chocolate peanut butter lovers will go crazy for them!

Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies | chezcateylou.com

After the not-so-light recipe I posted earlier this week, I have something a little bit healthier for you today.   But I promise, these skinny brownies taste amazing!!  I was skeptical when I first saw this recipe  – I mean how can you make a brownie without oil or butter?  But I was intrigued so decided to try it out.  And wow, am I glad I did.  These brownies are amazing!!  They are so moist and fudgy – and the peanut butter swirl just puts them over the top!  As a bonus, they are so pretty!  I felt like a kid in art class making the marble swirl of PB on top of the batter.  … 

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Gooey Butter Cake

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I spent this past weekend visiting my family in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  I always like to bake something when I am there (more people to eat my food!) so I decided to make a St. Louis original  – Gooey Butter Cake!  This cake is usually eaten as a breakfast coffee cake, and as the name indicates, it is rich!!  The legend of the Gooey Butter Cake is that it was first made in the 1930s by accident.  A German American baker in South St. Louis reversed the proportions of sugar and flour while trying to make regular cake batter, and the rest is history. (Read more about it here).  There are several different recipes out there for this cake. The version that I grew up eating has a thin layer of dense, moist cake on the bottom and then is topped with a gooey, buttery filling.  Yes, it is made with cake mix which some people might think is cheating.  But I say why not take a little help when you can get it!  This recipe came from my mom’s cousin, although it is very similar to Paula Dean’s recipe   … 

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