Saturday, December 21, 2013

heath bar cake

I know, I know...  It's a SUPER-close shot, but I really wanted you to seeee it, so you could fully appreciate it.  Mark my words.  This is the easiest thing you'll ever make and will quickly become a favorite go-to.  

I've heard it called ten different things, but I first came to know it as "Heath Bar Cake."  A newly-wed just a few short months into marriage, I was given the recipe by a dear friend (and my boss at the time).  John fell in love with it, and so it quickly became the cake of choice.

I've since become more adventuresome in my baking, but I love coming back to this one.  It's easy to remember if you find yourself at the store and in need of a quick dessert idea, and "the longer it sits..." come on, you know my motto by now... "the better it gets!"  

I'm really looking forward to sharing my next couple of posts with you, highlighting the goodies I gave this year as gifts.  I have a new butter I think you'll really enjoy, and a terrific unique bread that has given me the best toast every morning for the last several days.  I am also THRILLED to say that our internet is finally back up and going stronger than ever.  I appreciate you putting up with a post every couple of weeks.  

Enjoy the last weekend before the big hurrah on Wednesday.  I'm terribly excited to have some time with my sweet family.  I hope you are too!

Heath Bar Cake
makes one 9x13 pan
  • German chocolate cake mix (preferably Duncan Hines)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 small jar caramel sauce
  • 1 8 oz frozen whipped topping (plus more, if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup Bits O' Brickle (usually found in baking aisle)
~ Heat oven to 350 degrees.

~ Add vanilla to cake mix and cook cake according to package directions.

~ Remove cake from oven and randomly poke holes in the cake using a straw (I've also used 
    the end of a beater).

~ Pour milk and 1/2 of the caramel over the holes.  Cover and refrigerate for at least four
    hours or overnight.

~ Top cake with whipping topping and sprinkle with brickle.  Drizzle with remaining 
   caramel until desired amount is reached.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

peppermint meltaways

From the moment I woke up my computer, it has officially taken me ten minutes to get to a point where I can type this line.  I don't know why we're having the connection issues we are.  We have tried to fix them, but alas... nothing.  So as much as I've wanted to post over the last two weeks, it's just been impossible.  I'm crossing my fingers this one makes it!

The whole "late Thanksgiving" really threw me this year.  Surely, I'm not the only one!  The baking and holiday kitchen time got a late start, and to be quite honest, most of it will happen over this weekend... along with the Christmas shopping, preparing to travel in just a week for family Christmases, attempting to buy a house, and I guess I have to work somewhere in there too. :)

One of my absolute favorite treats over the holidays is Peppermint Ice Cream.  I buy a carton, think about it all day, and scarf down supper so I can scoop a bowl to enjoy at night.  Recently, I was planning  to gather with some dear friends for a cookie exchange and was craving peppermint.  I stumbled on this recipe and fell in love.  Seeing them all cozied up on the white platter, delicate, buttery, and sprinkled with crushed peppermint... I think they might just be the prettiest cookies I've ever seen.  

The dough of this cookie is not very sweet, but it's balanced by a rich, smooth buttercream icing.  If you prefer them a bit sweeter, you could certainly add some powdered sugar to the dough at the front-end.  But I encourage you to try them just as the recipe reads.  They are delightful to look at and a pleasure to eat!  

Peppermint Meltaways
makes approx. 30 cookies
  •  1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (add 1/4 cup if sweeter dough is preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
For the frosting
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermints/candy canes
~ Heat oven to 350 degrees.

~ In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in extract.

~ In separate bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch until fully combined.

~ Gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar and mix well.

~ Use small cookie scoop (mine is one inch) to scoop dough and place on ungreased cookie

~ Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned.  Remove cookies
    and place on racks to cool

~ Meanwhile, cream butter until fluffy.  Add sugar, milk, and extract to butter, mixing until

~ Spread frosting on cooled cookies and garnish with crushed mints.

Recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home.