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… : )

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I Did A Bad, Bad Thing – Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake Cookies

I recently discovered cake mix cookies.  I think I am obsessed.

I am in big trouble people.  Four, maybe five ingredients, mix it up in a bowl with just a spoon, bake and you have the most delicious, soft and chewy cookies in endless flavor combinations?  Like I said, BIG trouble, and it’s all because of Pinterest, Ashley at Kitchen Meets Girl and this recipe for Funfetti Cheesecake Cookies.

I pinned this recipe a while back and then a few weeks ago I decided to try it out and made a batch.  The next day I made two more batches to take into work.  These cookies are addictive, and while I sat stuffing them into my face my mind was going wild with all the possibilities.  Take any cake mix, and box of pudding, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and  some kind of chocolate chip type add-in and you have the easiest, yummiest cookies ever!

I knew I wanted to use the Pillsbury Perfectly Pumpkin cake mix I picked up at the grocery store.  I also had a bag of Heath Toffee Bits, and after my first taste of the aforementioned Funfetti Cheesecake Cookies I bought out Acme’s supply of JELL-O cheesecake pudding mix so I had tons of that.

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies

Pumpkin.  Toffee.  Cheesecake.  Do I really need to say anything else?

Okay, I will!

These cookies are THE BEST!!!!!  The pumpkin cake mix and cheesecake pudding go perfectly together, and combined with the bits of chewy toffee… well, it’s about as awesome as a bin full of puppies.

English: Puppies in a bin.
English: Puppies in a bin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you haven’t tried them yet, you MUST make a batch of cake mix cookies.  They come together so fast and disappear even faster!  You just mix up a few ingredients in a bowl, roll the dough into balls, and bake!

cake mix cookies

After 8-10 minutes you have this:

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookie

And then once they’ve cooled you will eat them all a few and be transported to cookie heaven.  From zero to two batches of insanely good cookies in less than an hour?  Hell yeah.

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake Cookies

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake Cookies
(adapted from Funfetti Cheesecake Cookies by Kitchen Meets Girl)

Ingredients

1 box Pillsbury Perfectly Pumpkin cake mix
1 small box instant cheesecake pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup Hershey’s Heath Toffee Bits, divided

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake Cookies

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs in a medium bowl until a dough forms.  Mix in 3/4 cup of the Heath Toffee Bits.
3.  I just grabbed blobs of dough and rolled them into balls, but you can use a cookie scoop if you prefer.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Use the remaining Toffee Bits to press some into the top of each cookie.
4.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown slightly.  Remove from oven, cool for 2 minutes and then move to a wire rack.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake Cookies

The only thing I don’t like about these cake mix cookie recipes is that you can only squeeze 24 cookies out of a batch, but they are so easy to make that doubling up on the recipe is no problem at all!

I’ll be back soon with another cake mix cookie recipe.  Did I mention I was obsessed?

The Great Pumpkin (Loaf)

I’ve been feeling a bit like Charlie Brown lately; like I have gone out trick-or-treating and ended up with a bag full of rocks.  When life hands you rocks, what do you do?

You make pumpkin cranberry bread!!

This is my FAVORITE bread to make.  It is soooooooo good that I could eat a whole loaf all by myself.  I would be sick afterward, but it’s worth it.  It’s a good thing this recipe makes 2 loaves!

The recipe is from Libby’s and you can see the original here.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or water
  • 1 cup sweetened dried, fresh or frozen cranberries

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe makes two loaves.

OR, you can do what I did and make one big loaf, and then a bunch of mini ones.  I only baked the minis for 30 minutes.  If you put them in little cellophane bags and tie them with ribbons, these make perfect little gifts for the holidays!

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go start building a fort with my rocks…

I Got A Rock
I Got A Rock (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

A Taste of Things to Come

I am impatient.

I am tired of summer.  Tired of 90 degree days with 70% humidity.  Tired of stepping out the door in the morning to go to work and watching my hair expand from the corner of my eye.  Tired of getting all sweaty just from breathing.  Oh, and I’m REALLY tired of mosquitoes.  Seriously, what purpose to those damn things serve?!  West Nile Virus freaks.

Anyway, I cannot wait for fall to start!!  Cooler days, chilly nights, fall foliage, Halloween, fall festivals, my birthday (hint hint!), apple cider and all kinds of pumpkin flavored goodies!!!!

Fall tree branch leaves along river
Fall tree branch leaves along river (Photo credit: Nature Pictures by ForestWander)

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin scones, pumpkin bread, and now this…

It exists, and tonight I found it.  I am beyond excited about this.  Last fall I tried numerous times to make a yummy pumpkin pie drink using a pumpkin spice liqueur that shall remain nameless because it was SO gross.  I was dejected all the way through Christmas.

I LOVE Pinnacle flavors so when I saw that they were coming out with Pumpkin Pie I knew it would be good.  Of course, as soon as I got home with the bottle I had to try it.  So I’ve mixed up a test drink and it is just slightly shy of awesome.  Since I want to tweak it just a bit, I won’t be sharing the recipe today but the Perfect Pumpkin Pietini is just one of the many wonderful things that will be heading your way this fall…(provided I don’t get laid up with West Nile Virus).

Come on September 22nd!!