Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars

Hey all!  Hope everyone had a great summer!  It’s been a while since I made anything worth blogging about.  A business law class (whose dumb idea was it to take THAT in a 5 week condensed summer session???) left me pretty burnt out  and uninspired.  I have spent the last few weeks hiding out in the air conditioned glory of my living room and watching Naked and Afraid XL on the Discovery Channel.

Leave it to my favorite season to bring me out of my baking funk… About two weeks ago all kinds of fall themed goodies started popping up in my Pinterest feed, and then I saw an article about the newest seasonal flavor of M&Ms – Pecan Pie!  I managed to get my hands on a bag last week and then these Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars were born!

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars
Adapted from Samoa Magic Bars by The Domestic Rebel

Ingredients

Cake Base
1 box of Butter Recipe cake mix from Betty Crocker
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Brown Sugar Crumble
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Topping
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Pecan Pie M&Ms
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.  (I used a metal, nonstick pan.  The baking times may vary if you use glass.)
  2. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter until a soft dough forms.  Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. While the dough is baking, make the brown sugar crumble by combining the melted butter, flour and brown sugar with a fork until crumbs form.
  4. When the 10 minutes is up, remove the pan from the oven and pour about 1/2 cup of the sweetened condensed milk on top of the cake.  Next, evenly cover the cake with the dried cranberries, chopped pecans and Pecan Pie M&Ms.  Drizzle on the remaining sweetened condensed milk and then top everything with the brown sugar crumble.
  5. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the crumble begins to brown.
  6. Remove from the oven.  Allow the bars to set at room temperature until cool before cutting into bars.

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

These bars would be perfect for a fall bake sale, or a Thanksgiving dessert table – not that you need a specific reason to make them.  Sometimes you just want something to stuff in your face snack on while you watch Fear the Walking Dead (why is it so stressful?  We KNOW what happens!!).

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

Whatever your reason for making them, you will find these magic bars an easy treat to whip up.  If you can’t find the Pecan Pie M&Ms the Harvest Blend M&Ms would make an excellent substitute.  I just love the fall color palette!

Now, I just need Mother Nature to get on board with my seasonal obsession.  Today’s forecast high is 94 degrees!  Not quite pumpkin picking weather just yet…

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

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Pumpkin Pie Soda Float

I’m just surrounded by people with good ideas lately.  Last week a friend provided the inspiration for my Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos (you heard me right – go check ’em out if you haven’t already) and then over the weekend my mom and brother gave me the idea for this:

Pupmkin Pie Soda Float | Shake Bake and Party

My brother had picked up some Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda from Wegmans a few weeks ago and he brought me two bottles.  I had them in the fridge, waiting for a day that felt a bit like fall (it was almost 90 in Jersey just last week) and Sunday turned out to be the day.

I had plans to just drink the soda while daydreaming about Halloween until my mom mentioned a conversation she had with my brother about adding some vanilla ice cream to it and turning it into a float.  So then I had to go to the grocery store in the middle of Sunday afternoon, which I usually try to avoid (you know how mobbed the grocery store gets the few days before Christmas?  That’s how our Wegmans is EVERY WEEKEND) to buy some vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Pie Soda Float | Shake Bake and Party

I have sadly developed some kind of adult onset lactose intolerance (seriously, I couldn’t have developed an allergy to cauliflower or something?) so I got vanilla almond milk ice cream.  You can obviously use any kind of vanilla ice cream – the creamier the better!  I didn’t have any on hand, but you could top this off with a drizzle of caramel sauce if you like things to be fantastic.

This was really good, and makes an easy fun treat for the kiddos if you have them.  You could also make an adult version by adding a splash of Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka which, of course, I did.  Either way you’ll end up with a glass of cold, creamy, pumpkin-y deliciousness.

Pumpkin Pie Soda Float

Ingredients

Pumpkin Pie Soda
Vanilla Ice Cream (or other flavor of your choosing)
Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka (optional)
Caramel Sauce (optional for garnish)

Directions

1. Pour chilled Pumpkin Pie Soda into a glass.  If using the vodka add a splash and give it a stir.
2. Add as many scoops of ice cream as your little heart desires
3. Top with caramel sauce (optional)

Spiked Pumpkin Pie Soda Float |Shake Bake and Party

Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos

I have a problem with Nabisco and all these new Oreo flavors they keep coming out with.  Cookie dough, banana split, Reese’s, fruit punch… Don’t they know I have a hard enough time not eating an entire package of regular Oreos?!  I managed to survive the summer without going completely hog wild but then they had to go and make caramel apple flavored Oreos.

CARAMEL. APPLE. OREOS.

I love caramel apple.  Please enter exhibits A, B and C into evidence:

A. The BEST freaking drink I have ever made – the Caramel Apple Pie Cocktail.
B. Super yummy and super easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cookies.
C. My “disgustingly good” Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars.

I started seeing these new fall flavored Oreos all over Instagram about two weeks ago.  I heard they would be available at “select” Target stores.  I had to have them.  I couldn’t find them.

So I did what any normal person would do in such a situation.  Last Friday, I asked all my coworkers before we went home to look for them if they ended up at a Target over the weekend.  That is how I scored a package.  Then they popped up in my Target so I bought two more.

I tried one and they were pretty good but they weren’t quite caramel-y enough for me.  I mentioned this to a very wise friend who immediately suggested dipping them in caramel (thanks Greg!).  I loved the idea but was worried about the stickiness factor so I decided that not only would I cover the cookies in caramel, I would also cover them in chocolate!

                                              Caramel Covered Oreos

Chocolate Dipped Oreos

You’re welcome.

Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos - An easy fall treat from Shake Bake and Party

These were really easy to make!  They took me about an hour and a half start to finish – no baking necessary! – and they were a HUGE hit at work.  I love it when you get such a big payoff for minimal effort!

Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos

Ingredients

2 packages of Caramel Apple Oreos
1 (14 oz) package of caramels, unwrapped
2 Tbsp water
2 (12 oz) packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips (melting chocolate or chocolate bars would also work)

Directions

1. Line two baking sheets with wax paper and lay out 3 dozen of the Caramel Apple Oreos.

2. Melt the unwrapped caramels and 2 Tbsp of water (you could also use heavy cream instead) in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.

3. Spoon the melted caramel on top of the Oreos.  I just kept the caramel on the burner and worked on the counter next to it.  Keeping the caramel warm prevented it from starting to harden back up while I was working with it.  Once the Oreos are topped with the caramel put them in the refrigerator until the caramel is set – about 15 minutes.

4. While the cookies are chilling in the fridge melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or in the microwave.

5. After the caramel has set dip the Oreos into the melted chocolate, making sure all sides are covered.  I dropped the Oreo caramel side down into the chocolate, and using two forks made sure the sides were covered before flipping it over to cover the bottom. Lift the cookie out with one of the forks and place back on the wax paper lined cookie sheets.

6. Once all the Oreos have been dipped let them sit until the chocolate has hardened.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place and they should keep for a few weeks.  Not that they will last that long!

Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos - Simple yet decadent fall flavored treats!

Full disclosure: For some reason, on only some of the Oreos, the caramel oozed through the chocolate.  I’m not sure why this happened, so if you are an expert in candy making and can provide some kind of explanation or tips on preventing this, please leave me a comment!

wpid-20140911_073129.jpg

The leaky caramel didn’t really matter though because these cookies are FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!  The caramel and chocolate combined with the golden Oreo cookie are reminiscent of a Twix bar.  Add in the caramel apple flavor of the cookie filling and you have a decadent treat inspired by the flavors of fall!

Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos

Of course, after I finished making these I saw a new Instagram post with a picture of Pumpkin Spice Oreos! Oh Nabisco, why do you do these things to me?!

Oh, right.  So I can make stuff like this!!

Decadent Chocolate Dipped Double Caramel Apple Oreos from Shake Bake and Party

If you’d like to see MY picture of the Pumpkin Spice Oreos when I get my hands on them be sure to follow me on Instagram!

 

Disgustingly Good – Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars

It’s time for another

SPIKEDRECIPECHALLENGE_zps72efc014This is a funtastic recipe challenge from Julie at This Gal Cooks and Carrie at Frugal Foodie Mama.  The challenge is to use the chosen booze to make anything other than a drink, and the for this go-round we had to use a fall beer!  This challenge was very, well, challenging to me because I really don’t like beer.  Here is a picture of me the last time I actually consumed an entire glass of the stuff:

Me, with a beer

That was almost 4 years ago, on my 30th birthday.  I’m going to be 34 in a little less than a month.  Ugh.  Anyway, the birthday was awesome, the beer was raspberry wheat and it was… tolerable.  Most times, when my boyfriend insists that I try a sip of whatever beer he is drinking I end up having to gargle with a chocolate cupcake just to get the taste out of my mouth.  This beer didn’t make me run for the nearest bakery, but I didn’t ENJOY drinking it.

So, to create an awesome tasting recipe with a seasonal beer sounded like a daunting task.  However, I think I got lucky when I stumbled upon Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat beer in the liquor store.  It still tastes like beer, but it also tastes a lot like apple.  I might actually slightly like it.  Maybe.  It still does taste like beer, after all.

Regardless, it doesn’t really matter what it tastes like straight from the bottle because when it’s mixed together with a can of sweetened condensed milk and drizzled over top of yummy things like pumpkin cake and Caramel Apple Milky Way bars you end up with a magic bar fittingly described as “disgustingly good.”

Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars | Shake Bake and Party

Other reviews:

“This is the best thing I’ve ever had!”

“I don’t normally like sweets but those magic bars are really good.”

“Oh My God!  This smells delicious!”

Many thanks to my coworkers for being my guinea pigs, although in this case I get the feeling I was the one doing them a favor.  Everyone was raving about these bars.

Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars | Shake Bake and Party

These bars were inspired by a recipe that I had pinned from The Domestic Rebel for Samoa Magic Bars.  I have yet to try the original recipe but Hayley’s stuff is always awesome, and how can anything soaked in sweetened condensed milk be bad?  There are quite a few magic bar recipes out there any everyone seems to go nuts over them, so I took the basic concept and ran with it.

Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars | Shake Bake and Party

Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars
Adapted from Samoa Magic Bars by The Domestic Rebel

Ingredients

1 box of Perfectly Pumpkin Cake Mix from Pillsbury
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup Kraft Caramel Bits
1 and 1/2 cups Harvest Blend M&M’s, divided
1 cup chopped Caramel Apple Milky Way Miniatures (about 20 wrapped pieces)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat Beer

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil, spray the foil lightly with cooking spray and set aside.  (I used a metal, nonstick pan.  The baking times may vary if you use glass.)

2.  In a large bowl combine the cake mix, egg and butter until a soft dough forms.  Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.

3.  While the dough is baking, mix the 2 tablespoons of beer and the can of sweetened condensed milk together in a small bowl.  If you haven’t done so already, now is also the time to chop your Milky Way bars into small chunks.

4.  Remove the pan from the oven and pour about 3/4 of the sweetened condensed milk/beer mixture on top of the cake.  Next, evenly cover the cake with the caramel bits, chopped Milky Way bars and 1 cup of the M&M’s.  Drizzle the remaining sweetened condensed milk on top.

5.  Return to the oven and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.   I’m not sure you can tell that it’s done just by looking at it since it’s covered in melted candy.  I took mine out at 15 minutes and it was done.  You can leave it in a bit longer if you like,  just keep an eye on the condensed milk to make sure it doesn’t start to brown too much.

6.  Remove from the oven.  Let cool for about five minutes and then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of M&M’s on top.  Allow the bars to set at room temperature until cool before cutting into bars.  I stored mine overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator before taking them in to work the next day, but according to the original recipe these will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for several days.  They won’t last that long though, so you don’t need to worry about it!

Pumpkin Caramel Apple Magic Bars | Shake Bake and Party

These bars are fantastic.  The apple beer brings a wonderful flavor to the sweetened condensed milk, and the pumpkin and caramel apple – each a great fall flavor in its own right – combine to make on hell of a sweet treat.  The recipe can also be made without the beer for those not old enough to imbibe and it would still taste fantastic!  This is definitely something to make to feed a crowd.  If I hadn’t taken this in to work to share I’d probably still be in a sugar coma on my couch.  It would have been worth it though… : )