Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

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Caramel apples are the best…I love the combination of gooey, buttery caramel and crisp, slightly sweet and tart apples. Yum! What could be better? Maybe nothing. Or maybe this Caramel Apple Coffee Cake! It has yummy bits of caramel and chopped apple, and a sweet, crunchy, brown sugar/oatmeal topping. There’s also some Greek yogurt mixed in the cake batter to make it extra moist. It’s a great combination, and it tastes best served warm, while the caramel bits are still soft and gooey. It makes a sweet autumn breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or tea!

This recipe also gave me a chance to try some samples of butter I had received from Président® Premium Butter–they had sent me a Butter Bar, a tub of Spreadable Butter, and a container of their Sea Salt Butter. It definitely is a premium butter–made from cultured cream–and is so good, whether you use it in baking, cooking, or just as a spread on crackers or bread. It’s actually the #1 butter in France. I used some butter from their unsalted butter bar for this recipe.

CARAMEL APPLE COFFEE CAKE by NancyC

Makes an 8 x 8″ coffee cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup chopped, peeled tart apple (I used a Granny Smith apple)
  • 2/3 cup Kraft Caramel bits

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8″ baking pan; set aside (if you use a 9 x 9″ pan, your cake will be thinner and baking time will be a little less; I think this works best with an 8 x 8″ pan).

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla, blending well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple and caramel bits.

Pour or spoon batter (batter will be thick) into prepared baking pan. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake at 350˚F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

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I had to do quite a bit of experimenting with this coffee cake before it came out right and my taste-testing friend Rick helped me refine it. I really appreciate those friends who taste-test for me and fortunately, they never seem to get tired of it! :) Have you been baking any caramel-apple flavored desserts?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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Peanut Caramel Crispy Treats

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I recently made some Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Crispy Treats and still had quite a bit of rice cereal left over, so I decided to try another kind of crispy treat. I love peanuts and caramel, especially together…so I tried a version using these ingredients. What can I say but “Yum”? If you like peanuts and caramel too, you’ll have to try these out!

PEANUT CARAMEL CRISPY TREATS by NancyCreative

Makes a 9×13″ pan

  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) package marshmallows
  • 5 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
  • 1 (11-ounce bag) Kraft® Caramel Bits

Grease a 13 x 9″ pan; set aside.

Melt butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows, tossing to coat. Microwave marshmallows 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 seconds.

Add crispy cereal to melted marshmallow mixture, then stir in nuts and caramel bits. The mixture will get sticky quickly, so you have to work fast!

Press mixture onto bottom of greased 13 x 9″ pan. (Because the mixture is so sticky, you may want to use some waxed paper to help press the mixture in the pan. I used the waxed paper wrapper from a stick of butter that still had a smidgen of butter on it, and that worked great!) Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Stovetop Directions: Melt butter in a 3-qt. saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Then follow the rest of the directions above, adding in the rice cereal, peanuts, and caramel bits.

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Have you tried any unique add-ins for crispy treats?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Caramel Toffee Banana Bread with Caramel Glaze

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Like many of you, when I have bananas that are getting too ripe, I like to make banana bread–especially during the cooler months of fall and winter (in the summer I put the bananas in the freezer and use them for smoothies). A few days ago, I had some bananas that were really getting ripe. I’ve been having fun lately trying out different kinds of banana bread recipes, like Pumpkin Banana Bread, for example. So I thought I’d try another flavor and found a recipe for Caramel Toffee Banana Bread on a blog called Baking Junkie, which I modified by adding extra toffee bits, a caramel glaze, and even more toffee bits sprinkled on top (I also used caramel topping instead of caramel syrup). It was really yummy! Caramel and toffee are such great fall flavors, and it’s a delicious combination with bananas. This bread is very dense and moist, too. It’s great for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, or even as a dessert at lunch or dinnertime. This recipe makes one 9×5″ loaf.

CARAMEL TOFFEE BANANA BREAD WITH CARAMEL GLAZE by NancyCreative, adapted from Baking Junkie

Makes a 9 x 5″ loaf

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated (white) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup caramel topping (I used Smucker’s®; Hershey’s® is another good brand)
  • 3/4 cup Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan (I forgot to flour my pan, and I did have some sticking on the bottom when taking the baked loaf out, so be sure to grease and flour your pan!).

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs, mixing well. Add in sour cream or plain yogurt and blend well; set aside.

In medium bowl, blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add this dry mixture to the egg mixture and blend until ingredients are combined. Add in mashed bananas, caramel topping, and toffee chips and mix until well-blended.

Pour or spoon batter into your prepared 9×5″ loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (Note: the recipe I adapted had a baking time of 60 minutes, but mine took 70 minutes to bake). Let loaf cool in pan for 10-15 minutes; then remove from pan and cool completely before adding glaze.

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup caramel topping, heated
  • 1/2 Tablespoon half & half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee Bits (for sprinkling on top)

In small microwavable bowl, heat 1/4 cup caramel topping for about 20-30 seconds so it has a thinner consistency. Remove from microwave and stir in half & half, blending well. Add in powdered sugar and blend well. If you have lumps, put mixture back in microwave and heat 15-30 seconds more, then stir until lumps are gone. If you’d like the glaze to have a thinner consistency, add a little more caramel topping (heated up) to the mixture. Drizzle glaze with a spoon over your completely cooled loaf, then sprinkle with brickle bits. Let glaze set 10-15 minutes, or longer, before slicing.

Note: this glaze is “gooier” than the typical glaze, so if you are taking this to a potluck or meal outside of your home, consider adding the glaze on the bread when you get there or carry it in a container that won’t touch the glaze; if you try to wrap the glazed bread with plastic wrap, it will get sticky and messy. But the bread and glaze are so good, it’s worth the trouble! :)

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Hope you get to try this out! Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe you like to make?

Linked to Sweets for a Saturday, Strut Your Stuff.

Chocolate-Caramel Layered Brownies

I hadn’t made brownies in awhile, and I wanted to make something different from the typical brownie. I pretty much love any kind of brownie, but it’s always nice to try something different. :)  So when I saw this recipe over at VeryBestBaking.com, I just had to try it! It was a finalist in the 2000 Share The Very Best Recipe Contest, and for good reason. This rich, decadent brownie has 3 yummy layers…(1) a brownie base, (2) a middle layer of vanilla-flavored chips, pecans, and caramel, and (3) a top brownie layer that also has semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed in. If that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth or any chocolate craving you may have, I don’t know what will!

So here’s the recipe, along with some suggestions of mine on how you can modify it. This recipe calls for an 8″ square baking pan. I actually made it twice–the first time, in a 9×9″ pan (thinking it was an 8″ pan by mistake!) and then in an actual 8×8″ pan, to see if there was much difference in the appearance. With the 9×9″ pan, the brownies are thinner and the layers are not as apparent, but I actually liked the thinner brownies better. They are good either way, though, so you’ll just have to try them for yourself! The first two photos I’ve posted are of the thinner brownies, and the last photo is of the thicker version.

CHOCOLATE-CARAMEL LAYERED BROWNIES (Layers of Love Chocolate Brownies) slightly adapted from VeryBestBaking.com

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs (you’ll be using 2 for the first part of the recipe and 1 later)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (or substitute walnuts)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla-flavored chips (or substitute butterscotch or peanut butter chips)
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (or substitute butterscotch or hot fudge topping)
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking cocoa, and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add in 2 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and blend well. Gradually beat in flour mixture from small bowl. You’ll have a pretty thick batter. Reserve 3/4 cup of this batter for your top layer. Spread the remaining batter on the bottom of your prepared 8″ baking pan. Sprinkle the pecans and vanilla chips over the batter, then drizzle the caramel topping over everything.

Beat the third egg into the remaining 3/4 cup batter until well blended. Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spread this mixture evenly over the caramel/pecan/vanilla chip layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, then cut into bars.

Take a look at look at those vanilla chips and chocolate chips…yummm…

Here’s part of the batch I made in the 8×8″ pan…you can see that they’re a little thicker and the middle layer is thicker, too…

My friend and taste-tester Ann had a great idea for serving these as a fancy dessert–serve each brownie on an individual dessert plate and sprinkle additional chopped pecans and vanilla chips on top. Then lightly drizzle additional caramel topping over everything–doesn’t that sound great? Something else you could do is serve each brownie with a scoop of ice cream on top, sprinkle with chopped pecans and drizzle with caramel topping…there are so many ways you can enjoy these brownies! :)

Linked to Sunday Showcase, Sundae Scoop, Motivate Me Mondays, Made by You Mondays, Just Something I Whipped Up, Mouthwatering Mondays, Tasty Tuesday, Make It Yours Day, We Did It! Wednesday, Show and Tell, Strut Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Favorite Things Friday, Favorite Things Saturday.

UndertheTableandDreaming


Caramel-Banana Muffins

This is one of those recipes that I’ve had in my “stack of recipes to try” for some time now, meaning to try it and just never getting around to it. But the good news is, I finally got around to it, and I’m glad I did–this is a really good muffin recipe! It’s from Midwest Living. I only tweaked a few tiny little things in the recipe, which I’ve noted below. The recipe makes 12 regular muffins or 6 jumbo muffins. The only thing the recipe was missing was the baking time for the jumbo muffins, but I just added about 8 minutes to the baking time for the regular-size muffins, and they turned out great! My friend Ann sampled one and said the caramel in the muffin was a nice touch–and added that you could almost call it a “Bananas Foster Muffin.” Isn’t that a great name for a muffin? It sounds so gourmet! :) Whatever you call it, it’s good!

CARAMEL–BANANA MUFFINS

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 3-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium banana, peeled and mashed (1/2 cup) NOTE: I just had some small bananas, so I used 1 1/2 small ones which came to almost 2/3 of a cup, mashed.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. caramel-flavored ice cream topping
  • 1 medium banana, peeled and thinly sliced (if you’re making the 6 jumbo muffins, 1/2 banana will be enough)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Caramel-flavored ice cream topping for drizzle

Line 12 regular-size or 6 jumbo-size muffin cups with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix pecans, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, blend softened cream cheese, softened butter and 2/3 cup sugar until well combined. Add egg and mix well. Add in the mashed banana and vanilla until combined.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the banana mixture and blend well, but don’t overmix. Then stir 1/4 cup of the pecan mixture from the small bowl into the batter.

Spoon half the batter into prepared muffin cups (1 rounded Tbsp. for each regular muffin cup or 2 rounded Tbsp. for each jumbo muffin cup). Drizzle 1/2 tsp. caramel topping over batter in each cup (you can drizzle a little more if you’re making the jumbo muffins). Top with remaining batter. Then top each muffin with 2 thin banana slices. Drizzle each with a little melted butter and sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes for regular muffins, or 25-28 minutes for jumbo muffins, or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. If you want to eat the muffins while they’re warm, drizzle with more caramel topping and serve. If you’ll be serving the muffins later, you can let them cool completely and then add the caramel topping; that way the topping won’t all soak into the muffin. They taste good either way!

You can find more recipes at Cupcake Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!