Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Salted Caramel Bars

Hi blog folk!  I have been majorly slacking in the baking department (but not slacking in the baby-growing department!) My apologies!  I think this is partially a result of salty food cravings I've been having as opposed to sweet ones.  However, I thought I'd bake something fun and squeeze in one more post for the month of June.  I found a lovely looking recipe for these delectable bars on pinterest, and I thought I'd give them a shot (with a few of my own tweaks.) I'm totally loving the salted caramel craze going on right now, and it certainly appeals to my undeniable desire for salty goodness.  Here's my version :)

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
about 30 caramel candies
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
sea salt

First things first, mix up your dough.  As always start by creaming together the butter with both sugars, then add in your vanilla and ifnally the flour.  Because this is an eggless "shortbread" dough, it will be very rich and flakey, and will not rise much due to the lack of baking powder or soda.

Spread one third of the dough in a buttered 8x8 baking pan.  Put the remaining dough in the refridgerator to chill.  Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.  make sure the dough is starting to brown before you pull it out.  I think I under cooked this part a little bit, which made it difficult to get the bars out of the pan.

While the crust bakes, melt the caramel candies in a small saucepan with the half and half and a pad of butter, stir until nice and smooth, like so.

Once the crust is baked, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes, so it's set well.  Then pour the caramel over the shortbread, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Crumble the remaining chilled dough on top of the caramel....

Then it's into the oven for about 30 minutes!

Now, it is very very very VERY important that you let these cool completely before trying to cut them.  I learned this the hard way by trying to dig in while they were still warm.  I honestly would have been better off diggin in with a spoon.  I would also suggest cutting these small, as they are gooey and not super sturdy.  By my oh my, do they melt in your mouth.

Witha few changes, these could be a new favortie.  Give them a shot!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Baby Shower Cookies!

Hey blog people!  Today I attended my darling cousin Jennifer's baby shower, her little munchkin will be joining us on or around August 10th!  I was in charge of making cookie-favors, so I thought I'd share some of the photos with you....

I started out with my standard sugar cookie recipe.

Then it was time to decorate with royal icing....

Meanwhile, Joe worked on painting the whole entire house (our current house project, since there's always something.)  The cat helped.

A little bit of wrapping and we're ready for the shower!

Congrats to Jenn and AJ!