Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving was a complete success!! I enjoyed the sights of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and successfully fulfilled my goal of stuffing myself to the gills.

My contribution to our Thanksgiving feast was one of my all-time favorites, S'mores Bars! And unfortunately, these ended up being my biggest pitfall. If I had to count, I would guess I ate between 7 to 9 small S'mores bars between Thursday and Friday. (That's a lot!)

And things didn't get any better. Today, my boyfriends mother and I had plans to bake cookies for her work event. We made two different kinds to see what was best. First, we started with Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies and second, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Since the goal was to pick he best cookie to make, I had to step up and be the taste-tester (no that she had to twist my arm.)
My vote was on the Salted Caramel Chunk cookies. They were amazingly great! We baked them in a muffin top pan to get perfect crispy edges. I could have eaten like 5 of these, but I contained myself.

The dueling cookies

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe:
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup caramel sauce
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
12 oz bag mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped good quality chocolate

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a stand mixer, beat the sugars and butter until well combined.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Lastly, beat in the caramel sauce until well combined.
2) Place flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl; mix.  Slowly add to wet ingredients then fold in the chocolate chips.  (Save chunks for later.)
3) Place about 1/4 cup of cookie dough and place into muffin top cups.  Press down then sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt, press chocolate chunks over top, then drizzle with additional caramel sauce.
4) Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just golden around edges.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:
1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tbsp all--purpose flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp coarse salt 
1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

2 cups coarsely chopped peanut butter cups, divided
1) preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. Blend until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. 
3) Add in 1 1/2 cups of chopped peanut butter cups and fold in gently.
4) Using an ice cream scoop (about 3 tablespoons), drop balls of dough onto the baking sheets about 2 to 3 inches apart. Gently press a few pieces of the reserved peanut butter cups on the top of each dough ball.
5) Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

*Here are a few of my favorite floats and balloons from the parade, for obvious reasons! ;)

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