Friday, July 23, 2010

Birthday Cake

It was my little monkey's 2nd birthday on Wednesday.  This is her cake.  She isn't really into anything, like Dora, or kitties or anything, so I just went with the colorful celebratory look.  I think she liked it!  It was a four layer chocolate cake with truffle filling and chocolate frosting.  (FYI- dont put M&Ms on a cake until the day you eat it.  If you look closely you may see that they started to lose their color because I had put them on the day before.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grand Prize Coconut and Caramel Bars

Chewy, chocolatey, caramely, yummy!  These are a bar version of the girl scout samoa cookie and they are delicious.  They got two big thumbs up from my hubby and he NEVER gets excited about anything.  These are definitely going on my 'make again' list and they should definitely go on your 'to make' list.

Grand Prize Coconut and Caramel Bars (from king arthur flour)

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups coconut, toasted (instructions below)
1 cup caramel (or about 36 of the individually wrapped, or 10 oz. of caramel sauce), divided
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 T. milk

Toast the coconut:
Spread teh coconut in a 9x13 pan and bake at 300 degrees for 18-22 min., stirring halfway through the cooking time.  Bake until light golden brown, watching carefully towards the end.

*Beat together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg.  Then mix in the flour, salt, baking powder and 1 1/2 cups of the coconut.  Spread into an ungreased 9x13 pan. (I lined my pan with parchment paper.  It was tricky to spread the batter around initially, but it made it so easy to get them out of the pan and cut them neatly with a butcher knife.)
*Bake for 15 min at 350 degrees

*Just before the 15 min. are up melt half of the caramel (1/2 cup) briefly in the microwave.  Drizzle it over the hot bottom layer of bars and pop the pan back into the oven for another 10-12 min. until the caramel is bubbly. 

**If you did not use the parchement paper- Immediately cut the bars while still hot and drag a knife around the whole edge, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bars and after letting them sit for about 5 min. spread them evenly over the top  (If you used parchment paper there is no need to cut the bars until after they have cooled)

*After they have cooled, melt the rest of the caramel mixed with the milk.  Drizzle over the top and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.