Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

The time has come when mangoes and peaches have made their final descent and hot sweaty days of slaving in the kitchen are officially a distant memory.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

 I may have found it hard saying goodbye to my summer desserts but I am loving fall and everything it has bought with it.

The cool crisp air. The warm brown orange hues. The piles of beautiful autumn leaves on the pavement.  The early sunsets. Halloween!

Pumpkin muffins. Warm tea. And apples. Lots and lots of beautiful apples and with it an endless list of things to make.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.  Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

I can’t think of a better way to welcome fall with open arms than with these warm cinnamon-ny apple pie bars.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.

The perfect fall dessert!

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

These bars struck me in the middle of a caramel cinnamon autumnal daydream.

I was craving apple pie but had neither the patience nor an audience to feed an entire pie. This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction proved to be a Godsend!

A quick version of the classic apple pie without all the hassle.

These apple pie bars taste even better than the original and they’re much easier to make.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.  Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

They richness from the shortbread crust, the sweetness of the apples, the nuttiness from the crumble and the saltiness of the caramel together create magic in your mouth.

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

These nutty apple pie bars consist of 4 delicious components:

  1. The shortbread crust is flaky and buttery and takes literally seconds to put together

  2. The apples are warm and gooey and they make your entire house smell of cinnamon a smell so deliriously good, it makes me want to bottle it up and wear it as perfume.

  3. The crumble is made up of oats, brown sugar, walnuts and more cinnamon. It has to be my favorite part of these bars. This crumble topping has infact been featured on the blog before. Remember this beautiful peach pie from last summer? Yup that’s the same crumble on top. The same bits of crumbly buttery deliciousness.

  4. The salted caramel to balance the richness and sweetness. You can skip it out completely but I mean why would you? Its salted caramel!! Edible molten gold! *swoooon*

You may think that all these layers and components would take a lot of time to put together but trust me when I tell you, this recipe is super quick. There’s no chilling or blind baking involved. It takes no more than 20 minutes to put the whole dish together and bang it into the oven.

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

A note about the original recipe:

Sally‘s version calls for 115g of butter and ¼ cup of sugar for the crust. I found the crust too greasy and sweet the first time I made this recipe and so I used less butter and also reduced the sugar the second time around. This ratio works out perfectly.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

 

Have it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and I guarantee they’ll become one of your favorite fall treats as soon as you take the first bite!

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

See you soon with some spooky treats. 😉

 

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

 

Ingredients:
Shortbread Crust
90g (6 Tablespoons) butter, melted
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Apple Filling
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick, makes 3-4 cups)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Crumble
1/2 cup quick cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped *optional
60g butter, cold and cubed
Salted Caramel
I use this recipe.
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
For the crust: In a bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and stir until everything is well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes while you prepare the rest of the components.
For the apple filling: Combine everything in a large bowl, and mix until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
For the crumble: In a bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and flour. Cut in the chilled butter using two forks or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Assembling: Remove the crust from the oven. Evenly and tightly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Press them down to make them fit. Sprinkle with the crumble topping and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown. Meanwhile prepare the salted caramel using this recipe.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20-30 minutes at room temperature before slicing. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I cut them into 8 large bars for the pictures but usually cut them into bite size pieces since they are quite rich. Once cut, salted caramel sauce. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
These apple pie bars are best served warm but they taste amazing cold too. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

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KULFA: The Cheat’s Version

This past week has been all about surviving the heat of summer.

Despite the short outbursts of rain here and there, it’s been SO hot.

The kind of hot where all you feel like doing is blasting on the air conditioner, putting Netflix on, and devouring mint chocolate chip ice cream (recipe coming soon!).

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

It was on one particularly hot day that I was craving something cold, something creamy when I decided to hunt down a recipe that didn’t require much of my energy or time. Going through my huge recipe stash, I found this magical recipe. A Shireen Anwer classic I remember jotting down in my journal years ago.

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

 

Kulfa or kulfi is a popular street food here in Pakistan. Its a frozen milk based dessert, perfect for a hot summer day. The authentic recipe calls for cooking down milk and sugar for hours and hours till its reduced to half. It’s a slow and tiresome process. The cheat version, however, is so much quicker and so much better!

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

It’s rich, creamy, and sweet…not to mention delicious. And it is SOOO Easy to make. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

Try this cheats version, you won’t be disappointed.

Kulfa

Ingredients:
2 slices of white bread, soaked in some milk
1 teaspoon cardamom powder1, leveled
2 Tablespoon almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoon pistachios, roughly chopped
1 pack (200 ml) heavy cream, chilled
½ a tin (200 g) of condensed milk, chilled
1 small tin (210 g) evaporated milk, chilled
Directions:
Blend all the ingredients in a blender till well combined. Pour the contents into an airtight container.2 Seal the top and place in the freezer overnight.
When ready to serve, wrap a warm kitchen towel around the container for a few seconds. Run a knife around the sides. Overturn the container onto your serving platter. Cut into slices. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios and almonds on top and enjoy.
Notes
1.       I made my own cardamom powder by grinding just the seeds of some cardamom pods. Wasn’t very fine, but I liked that it was a bit coarse.
2.      You can use ice cream or ‘kulfi’ molds.
Recipe source: Shireen Anwer

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

Death by Chocolate Cake + World Chocolate Day!

4 years of college. Over and done with.
More on that later…

LET’S HAVE CAKE TO CELEBRATE.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

It is World Chocolate Day after all. And it’d be rude not to indulge in chocolate (not that I do it everyday? Those last 4 jars of Nutella. Nop. Not me.)

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

This is hands down the best chocolate cake you will ever taste.

It is super easy to make; no fancy equipment, no complicated ingredients needed. Just two bowls and a whisk (a mixer, if you’re me).

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

I went for the naked cake look because my family isn’t too big on frosting. Also, I think naked cakes look prettier.

I used my rusty 6-inch cake pan for a taller cake. And topped it all off with some of these beautiful flowers from the garden.

Some tips to make sure your cake turns out perfect every single time:

  • Make sure the eggs and milk are at room temperature. Makes a world of difference! Trust me

  • DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

  • Butter at room temperature for a smooth, cream frosting is a MUST. It should be soft but not too soft that’s its melting and has an oily sheen to it

  • No, sugar crushed in a grinder will not work for the frosting

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Try this cake for the next birthday party, anniversary, World Chocolate Day — it’s a show-stopper!

Death by Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake
·         1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         1 tsp baking powder
·         2 tsp baking soda
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
·         1/2 cup vegetable oil
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 cup freshly made strong hot coffee2
 
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
·         3-4 cups icing sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         3 Tbsp. heavy cream
·         3-5 Tbsp. whole milk
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache for the drip
·         1/2 cup  cream
·         1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fresh flowers for the top

 

Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease & flour three 6 inch round cake pans3, and line them with parchment paper.
2.      For the cake: In a bowl, whisk together hot coffee and cocoa till a thick mix forms. Set aside to cool.
3.      Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
4.      In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar till a bit pale in color. Mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.
5.      Divide the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
6.      For the frosting: In a large bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
7.      In another bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and pale in color. With the speed on low, add in half of the sugar and the cocoa powder. Beat till combined. Then add in the rest of the sugar/cocoa mix. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla, cream and milk tablespoon by tablespoon. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add more icing sugar if too lose or add more milk if too thick.
8.     For the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer (or microwave till hot). Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Allow ganache to cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.
9.      Assemble the cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate. With a palette knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, spread with frosting. Place the third layer on top, plain side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Scrape off the excess frosting for the ‘naked cake’ look I went for. Place cake in the fridge till cool to the touch. Then, pour over the top the chocolate ganache, let it drip round the edges. Top with fresh flowers, and enjoy!
Notes
1.       DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
2.      I use 1 cup boiling water + 1 tsp instant coffee
3.      You can use two 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans instead too

 

 

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Meringue Ghosts [Halloween Special]

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

It’s finally Hallow’s eve!

This post is quite accidental to be honest. I hadn’t planned on doing a Halloween special this year what with being swamped with college stuff, cake orders, and buddy nonsense.

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

I had an ignored Chocolate Cake lying in my fridge; plain top, frosted with chocolate buttercream, and chocolate drips on the sides. If you have ever tried my classic chocolate cake, you’d know that you end up with one lone egg white because the recipe calls for 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk.

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

 

And that one egg white is the reason why we have a Halloween post this year!  😀 It’s nothing like last year’s grand spectacle where we murdered a Red Velvet Cake and loved every minute of it. :3 But its awesome nonetheless!!

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

That one egg white has been used to make ghosts to adorn the cake with. Cute little meringue blobs together with their chocolate ball eyes made for adorable ghost toppers. The whole idea came out exactly as I had pictured.

The meringue ghosts were super easy to make; just three ingredients, four if you want to stretch it. The only thing I’d impress upon is ‘patience’. Patience when:

-beating the meringue to make it stiff and glossy, takes 3-5 minutes.

-baking the meringue till it easily peels off the parchment paper, round 60-90 minutes

-letting the meringues dry, round 2-3 hours

Other than that, they’re a breeze to make. This recipe only makes 10-12 meringue ghosts, just enough to top a cake with. But you can easily double the recipe to make more. Just remember the meringue code; for each egg white, use 1/4 cup caster sugar.

That is, if you’re using:

  • 1 egg white: ¼ cup sugar

  • 2 egg whites: ½ cup sugar

  • 3 egg whites: ¾ cup sugar

  • 4 egg whites: 1 cup sugar

And so on…

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

 

Do give these tiny ghost buddies a try. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

Happy Halloween!

Meringue Ghosts

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                                        Yields: 10-12 cookies
Cook Time: 60-90 minutes
Ingredients:
·         1 large egg white
·         Pinch of cream of tartar, optional
·         1/4 cup caster sugar
·         1/4 tsp vanilla extract
·         Mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 105°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg white, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium speed until frothy.
  3. Gradually add in sugar and increase mixer to medium-high speed. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; about 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  Pipe a blob on blob of meringue onto prepared baking sheet (three blobs in total). Add mini chocolate chips for eyes.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 1.5 hours or until the meringues are dry and crisp to the touch. Turn off the oven and allow the meringue ghosts to continuing drying in the oven for a few hours.
  6. Ghosts will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

Peach Crumble Pie

Pie makes everything better.

That’s what I snapped last week when I was baking this peach pie. The therapeutic value of making a pie really is just bazoom!

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

Last week wasn’t a particularly good week (refer to last post).

What kept me from going over the edge was baking. And cooking. All day long. I would start my day with pancakes, moving onto pasta, naans, pizza, and ending with iced tea.

But nothing could beat the making of this pie. It was so SO relaxing and stress relieving.  Even if it was just for a few minutes, I stopped worrying about everything else and just enjoyed the feel of the cold butter in my hands, and the wonderful aroma of the juicy peaches and the cinnamon.

Thank you Sally for this wonderful recipe!

I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without making an actual pie (these tiny things don’t count).

 

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

 

This pie involves a flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble.

It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

If that doesn’t scream summer to you, I don’t know what will.

 

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

I’ve used the same pie crust I used for the Apple Hand Pies. It’s buttery, flaky, and everything a good crust should be.

*As mentioned, the vegetable shortening in the recipe is Crisco and it’s easily available in every big supermarket.

 

A few pointers before we head straight to the recipe:

  • Use very very cold butter and shortening. Cold fat when melts in the oven causes the pastry to puff up creating little air pockets which makes the end result so tender and flaky.

  • Be gentle with the pie crust. Unlike pizza dough, it doesn’t require kneading. Just mix till it comes together.

  • Use fresh peaches that aren’t too ripe nor too hard.

  • Walnuts are optional in the crumble but highly recommended.

  • Ice cream is NOT optional >> You must serve this pie with vanilla ice cream.

A slice of fresh homemade peach pie and a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream, it might just be a slice of heaven!

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

And there you go. Peach Crumble Pie.

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

I did it. I made a pie from scratch!

Peach Crumble Pie

Yields: 1 pie
Ingredients:
FOR THE PIE CRUST
1 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon (45g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoon vegetable shortening, chilled
¼ cup ice water
FOR THE FILLING
6-8 medium sized peaches, cut into chunks
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
FOR THE CRUMBLE:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 (75g) cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly roasted *optional
Directions:
For the Pie Crust
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening. Using two forks, or with the help of your fingertips, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs, some bigger bits of butter are perfectly fine.
Drizzle in the icy cold water little by little, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the dough begins to form large clumps, do not add more water.
Flour a work surface and transfer dough on it. Using floured hands, fold dough into itself till it comes together, and the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form a ball. Flatten it and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours
For the Filling
Peel the peaches and chop them into 2 inch chunks.
In a large bowl, combine together the peach chunks, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
For the Crumble
In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Stir in the butter and chopped walnuts. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.
Assembling
On a floured work surface, roll out one of the chilled dough until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough onto a greased 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Cut off any excess dough from the edges. Prick the base using a fork.
Spoon the peach filling onto the crust, leaving any liquid behind in the bowl.  Sprinkle over the peaches the prepared crumble topping.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven, till golden brown and bubbly.
Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up and the sugars and juices to settle.
Serve with vanilla ice cream. Cover pie leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Notes:
I use and recommend Crisco as the vegetable shortening. It is easily available in all large superstores.
Cover pie leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Baked pie can be frozen for upto 3 months.
Recipe source: Sally’s baking addiction

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

Creamiest Chocolate Pudding

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

–Pablo Picasso

Have you ever wanted something so bad you think you’d die if you don’t have it? And when you think you’ve finally gotten it, its snatched away from you?

If yes, then this chocolate pudding is especially for you.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; it provides comfort like no other.

 

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Chocolate pudding is just one of those things that never fails to bring a smile on your face or warmth to your toes.

Its rich, its creamy, and it is so so SO easy to make even my fogged up brain can whip it up. Just needs a little bit of patience and whole lot of whisking!

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

To start, combine sugar, cocoa, salt and cornflour.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Whisk in 2/3 cup milk and an egg.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Heat the rest of the milk to a scalding temperature.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Then whisk in the egg cocoa mixture and cook over high heat until the pudding thickens into a luscious, silky consistency.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Then remove the pudding from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Pour the chocolate pudding into a big bowl to chill. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding, so a skin doesn’t form.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Then, chill the pudding for an hour or two in the refrigerator or eat it warm. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 4 servings
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Ingredients:
·         1/2 cup sugar
·         1/3 cup cocoa powder
·         1/4 cup cornflour (cornstartch)
·         1/4 tsp salt
·         2 2/3 cups  milk
·         1 large egg
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornflour, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg and 2/3 cup of milk. Gradually add milk mixture over the cocoa mixture and whisk to dissolve well. Set aside.
In a sauce pan bring the rest of the milk (2 cups) to a boil.
Remove from heat and gradually add the egg mixture over the hot milk whisking the whole time. Place it back over the heat and cook whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes on medium heat.
Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Pour the pudding into 4 individual or one big bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding so a skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate for an hour or two until chilled or serve warm drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Notes:
Good quality cocoa powder is paramount to this recipe otherwise you’ll end with a Milo like tasting bland pudding. For intense chocolate flavor, add in a couple tablespoons of melted dark chocolate.
Recipe source: Home Cooking Adventure

Eat it warm, eat it cold; this Chocolate Pudding provides comfort like no other.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Fudgy red velvet brownies swirled with cream cheese!

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake! Can it really get any better?

Despite all the negative connotations surrounding V-Day here in Pakistan, I love Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s is responsible for providing endless amounts of cake, strawberries, and chocolate! And that’s why I love it.

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake! Can it really get any better?

All the amazing recipes popping up on the internet.

Everyone striving to put forward the most creatively bizarre chocolate concoctions, and the best version of Red Velvet out there.

All the pretty pink treats and the beautifully captioned pictures all over Instagram.

Baskets of fresh strawberries being sold round the streets and the markets.

Rows and rows of dark chocolate truffles in the supermarkets.

And all the heart shaped cakes and customized cupcakes on sale at the bakeries.

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake! Can it really get any better?

This brings me to my favorite recipe which highlights the Valentine train of thought and combines classic Red Velvet with…BROWNIES. Plus Cheesecake! Can it really get any better?

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake! Can it really get any better?

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Yields: 16 brownies
Ingredients:
RED VELVET BROWNIES
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp liquid or gel red food coloring
  • 3/4 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
CHEESECAKE SWIRL
  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180C degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
For the brownie layer:
In a bowl, beat the 2 eggs together. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in the sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar.
Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan, leaving about 3-4 Tablespoons for the top.
For the cheesecake swirl: 
Beat the softened cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until completely smooth – about 1 minute. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter. Cover with the last few tablespoons of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern.
Bake the brownies for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake! Can it really get any better?

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

A fancy shmancy dessert, worthy of consumption only for the above-average chocolate fanatic.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Hi everybody, I’m baaaaack! NIMUN was awesome, thanks for asking!

No, but really, I had a great time.

For all of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, NIMUN is an international model UN held at my college last week. I was part of the OC and stayed on campus the entire last week, and had the time.of.my.life! And thus had been MIA. Also, because, finals. Eh. Let’s not talk about them.

Let’s, instead, talk about the gorgeousness I’m sharing with you today! Yes people>>> it’s none other than a SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE GANACHE COOKIE TART.

There, the whole dessert, each of its beautiful bold layers perfectly inundated, by the name.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganachethis Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart is sure to grab your attention! Heck anyone’s attention! Perfect for the coming Valentine’s Day. Jussayin’ 😉

aamaz-2A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

This tart is not your average chocolate dessert. It’s a fancy shmancy dessert, so rich; so indulgent; so very scrumptious, you’ll be coming back for more and more, knowing the disastrous effects its having on your waistline; totally shamrockin’ your “new-fit-me” New Year resolution.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

 

This extra decadent tart has three parts to it; the crust, caramel, and chocolate ganache, but they’re all very easy.

It’s the long never-ending wait in between the making of each layer that kills you! Other than that, it is one simple dessert to make; the varying texture of each layer creates magic in your mouth. This takes more time to prepare, but itisworth it!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

We begin at the base of this delicious dessert: the dark chocolate cookie crust!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

You start off by creaming together your butter, icing sugar, egg yolks and vanilla.

Then fold in the flour, cocoa, and salt. Mix till it all just comes together and forms a big clump. Now plop this crumbly mix into a lightly greased tart shell.

The loose bottom tart shell is the way to go but I couldn’t get hold of it. The silicone kind worked wonders, the tart easily slides from it and was much cheaper too.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Press the dough evenly with your fingers.

Let it chill in the fridge for about 15 to 30 mins, to prevent the sides from slumping.

Then bake it, and allow to cool.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Next you’re going to be making a caramel sauce by cooking together water and sugar. Once amber, add in; cream, salt, and butter.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

The caramel sauce is really easy and only takes a few minutes on the stove-top.

My only piece of advice here is to stay close while the caramel is cooking. Caramel starts out slow but when it reaches a certain level, it happens fast, and if you walk away to check your Snapchat or charge your phone, you may very well return to a pot full of burnt ingredients. And that would be a downright shame and you’ll have to start all over again.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

This caramel guysss!

I’ve made caramel before but nothing like this. It was beyond my imagination.

Reminiscent of a molten éclair candy. My sisters swooned over it. Everyone was going vavavoom over it.

Chewy and gooey and oh so melt-in-your mouth good.

You’ll find yourself sneaking it in your mouth again and again. But don’t eat all of it, ok? We need some for our tart ala magnifique!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Next up is your basic Ganache, made juuust pourable.

To do this you’ll simply place the chocolate in a bowl, pour warmed cream over top, and stir like crazy!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Pour over the caramel, and allow to set.

Then top with an extra chocolate drizzle, just because…why not?

And then sprinkle with sea salt (I might have overdone it a teeny bit), and then dig in!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate TartThat first bite though.

Rich, fudgy, and utterly decadent.

The caramel settles just the slightest bit and makes a small layer of fudge-like goodness on the bottom.

Then you have the chocolate that melts slowly in your mouth as you chew.

And the slight tinge of saltiness from the sea salt. *swoooon*

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Now get thee into the kitchen and make this. Then pour yourself a tall glass of cold milk, or green tea, and enjoy bite after decadent bite.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache Tart with Cookie Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes                                                                        Yields: 8-10 servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients:
FOR THE COOKIE CRUST:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp butter (125 g), at room temperature
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL:
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) cream1
  • 5 tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter2
  • 1 tsp salt
   FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
  • 4 oz (120 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped3
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) cream
     Coarse sea salt, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease lightly a 9 inch tart pan.
  2. For the crust, whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until combined. Little by little, add the dry ingredients until incorporated. The dough may look crumbly, but it should come together easily when you pinch the dough between two fingers.
  3. Press the dough out into your prepared tart pan. Prick all over with a fork, and pop into the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool completely.
  4. For the caramel, place the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until sugar dissolves and gets a dark amber color. DO NOT stir.4
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream. It will bubble up.
  6. Cook for about 1 or 2 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Remove from heat and add butter and salt. Stir well until smooth.
  7. Let the caramel cool slightly before pouring over the chilled cookie crust. Refrigerate for about 4-5 hours, or preferably overnight.
  8. For the chocolate ganache, Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth.
  9. Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel. Spread it evenly and refrigerate for another 2-3 hours before serving. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve.
Notes:
1.       I used Olpers Milk Cream.
2.       I used salted butter, both for the crust and the caramel, and hence reduced the salt amount to ½ tsp in the caramel.
3.       Milk, semi-sweet chocolate, or a combination can be used too. I used Lindt 90% Cocoa which proved to be a bit too dark.
4.       DO NOT STIR when the sugar and water are cooking, otherwise the mix will clump up. Mix only after adding the cream.

 

Adapted from: Home Cooking Adventure

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