Coconut caramel macchiato bars

Standard
Gone in a flash! Coconut caramel macchiato bars

Gone in a flash! Coconut caramel macchiato bars

I found a very simple recipe for coconut caramel macchiato bar cookies a few months ago – and the recipe, seriously, was so dead simple that I thought I would try it out immediately to thrust upon my hungry co-workers. But weeks, even months passed, and I never tried it. Never mind that the “recipe”, if you could even call it that, is an easily whipped-up concoction of pre-made ingredients, so it’s barely even what I would call baking.

Grab a packet of Oreo cookies or some other chocolate cookie you can pulverize into dust and make that into your crust. Get your hands on some dulce de leche – you can make this yourself from a can of sweetened condensed milk, but most brands are available pre-made as dulce de leche caramel. Get some espresso powder (I used Starbucks Via Italian roast). Get some coconut. And you are more or less ready to make these.

I finally got around to making these recently when Mr Firewall visited – a kind of late birthday “cake-like” thing along with thousands of dollars worth (in Oslo or Reykjavik cafe prices anyway) of cranberry pistachio biscotti. He ate one rich little square and took them back to Glasgow with him (and promptly put them in the freezer – supposedly, these bars will freeze well if need be – if you manage to keep them on hand long enough). I did not have nearly enough Oreos to make a thick crust like the original recipe calls for, but it turns out fine because these are very rich.

When I made these again this past weekend, I had more than enough Oreos – but the crust really did not work out very well. I think the thin-crust variant is actually preferable in terms of how they handled/turned out.

Either way, this is an easy and quick coffee-tinged caramel cookie that probably goes well with a coffee. If the rate at which these disappeared from my office this morning is any indication, they are luscious. I am only guessing – this is not a scientific fact. It could be that people took them because they were small – and then chucked them in the bin!

Coconut Caramel Macchiato Bars
2½ cups (or more) chocolate cookie crumbs
½ cup melted butter (maybe even a bit less)
1 can dulce de leche (or sweetened condensed milk made into dulce de leche)
2 tablespoons espresso powder (I used
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I did this the first time I baked these, and then not the second. Easier to deal with without the chips – and I don’t think the chocolate chips really added anything)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F/175C. Line a rectangular 9”x13” pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray (such as Pam http://www.pamcookingspray.com/non-stick-spray-products/original-spray-oil/ or the Norwegian equivalent whose name escapes me now)

On low heat on the stovetop, melt the butter. Stir in the chocolate cookie crumbs until moistened. Press gently into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a bowl, mix dulce de leche and the espresso powder until completely combined. Spread over the cookie-crumb crust.

Sprinkle with the coconut. Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned.

Allow to cool completely (at least two hours). Cut, store in an airtight container – freeze if you want to.

Baked Goods in B2B: Mini cappuccino cupcakes

Standard

No story to tell here. Simply that these are perfect for small bites and as an alternative to chocolate or something really sweet. (I added a picture later, unfrosted; I do not think they look very impressive!)

MINI CAPPUCCINO CUPCAKES
Preheat oven to 400F/200C

¾ cup cake flour
½ cup soft unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso
3 tablespoons milk

WHITE CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM FROSTING

5 ½ ounces (170g) white chocolate
¼ cup butter
½ cup sour cream (+1 tablespoon or so more, to achieve desired consistency)
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
Garnish with a sifted scant teaspoon of cocoa powder, if desired

Prepare a muffin tin (either with paper liners or by buttering/flouring the cups—I do this with a mini-muffin tin). Mix all cupcake ingredients minus the milk. When well-mixed, add the milk to form a smooth batter. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.

After cupcakes are completely cool, prepare the frosting. Melt the white chocolate and butter in the microwave or a double boiler, and after it slightly cools, stir in the sour cream. Gradually beat in the sifted powdered sugar. Spread roughly over each cupcake, and then dust sparingly with cocoa, through a small sieve, so that they look like little cups of cappuccino.

Baked Goods in B2B: Espresso meringue kisses

Standard

What to do with leftover egg whites or yolks? I actually have a collection of recipes I use for just such dilemmas. With egg whites, one of the great standby recipes is some kind of meringue. When I decided to make these cookies, I actually only had one egg white in need of use, so had to use another one, creating a spare egg yolk (hence making the key lime cookie recipe I posted earlier).

I am not the biggest fan of meringue (no more so than any other cookie or baked concoction). Nevertheless, I practice on rare occasions making this (and other meringue) recipe(s) because it seems like something I should be able to do. I never make the ganache for these, mostly because if I make them, I am transporting them and not serving immediately. In fact I tend to be lazy in the ganache/glaze/frosting department. If I feel that a cookie or cake is sufficient without further embellishment, I don’t bother. The lemon cake I frequently make, for example, is so simple and delicious on its own, it seems a shame to make a glaze (while others who have made it say the glaze is their favorite part).

ESPRESSO MERINGUE KISSES

Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C

Meringues:
2 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Ganache, if desired:
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons butter
3/4 cup chopped chocolate

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Separate eggs and leave egg whites out to come to room temperature (30 minutes). Stir sugar and espresso powder together and set aside. Add vanilla to the egg whites. Beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture at a time to the egg whites. Beat on high until stiff peaks form and sugar is almost dissolved. Drop onto prepared baking sheets, bake until light brown, about 15-20 minutes.

For ganache: Stir together cream, sugar, butter. Cook on stove over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Place chocolate in a bowl and pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the baked, cooled meringues with the ganache just before serving.