Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars

These Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars have a buttery shortbread crust & crumble, a thick layer of fudgy Nutella, a layer of gooey caramel, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Sweet, salty, buttery goodness and SO EASY!Today’s recipe is so easy, you’ll flip.

There are a lot of things on my blog that I’ve only made once or twice. Not that I didn’t like them in the first place, just that I found I liked other things better. This recipe, however, I’ve made multiple times. Usually once a month. Sometimes twice a month, if I’m feeling frisky. And every. single. time it tastes even better than the last time.

Well, let me clarify a smidge.

I’ve made my Salted Caramel Butter Bars multiple times. This instance was the first time I’ve made Nutella Caramel Butter Bars, but it will not be the last!

There’s something so incredibly heavenly about combining thick, rich, decadent Nutella and sweet, buttery salted caramel together. Combine them with a buttery shortbread base and some chocolate chips for good measure, and voila – you have these glorious bars!

In fact, I can think back to the exact moment I first tried Nutella. I was a sophomore in high school and sitting in my French class. We did well on a test so we got to have a French food party – which we can all agree is ten times better than conjugating verbs.

My teacher made homemade crepes which I’d never had before, either. Then she broke out the jar of Nutella and everyone kind of said, “Nut-what?” At that time, no one had really heard of Nutella, so we were all intrigued by this chocolate spread.

Now when it comes to food at parties, I’m kind of obnoxious. And by ‘kind of’, I mean very. I hate being in the middle or last in line to get food. Inevitably I get behind the slowest people ever, or the people who take more than two helpings of anything, leaving crumbs behind before everyone’s gotten some. In fact, I have to be first or second in line in order to avoid having a mild panic attack.

Weird, I know.

These Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars have a buttery shortbread crust & crumble, a thick layer of fudgy Nutella, a layer of gooey caramel, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Sweet, salty, buttery goodness and SO EASY!So I hovered over my seat waiting impatiently while madamoiselle made crepes and finally said we could form a line. I lept out of my seat to stand in line before anyone else had even registered what she said. And that’s how I was the first person in French class to try Nutella.

Well. Maybe.

ANYWAY. Now I love the stuff in moderation and enjoy using it in my desserts. It fits perfectly in these buttery bars, and I think you’ll agree!

These Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars have a buttery shortbread crust & crumble, a thick layer of fudgy Nutella, a layer of gooey caramel, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Sweet, salty, buttery goodness and SO EASY!*adapted from my Salted Caramel Butter Bars recipe

Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
These Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars are a wonder! Layers of buttery shortbread sandwiches a thick layer of fudgy Nutella and rich caramel. Then the whole shebang is sprinkled with sea salt for a perfectly salty finish. You'll love these bars!
Ingredients
  • 4 sticks butter (1 pound), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 & ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 jar caramel sauce (like you'd buy for a sundae)
  • 1 jar Nutella (or any other chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Lastly, add in the flour, one cup at a time, until combined and soft. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spread HALF of the mixture into the bottom of the pan, pressing into an even layer. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven, but keep oven on.
  4. Once the crust is golden, pour the salted caramel sauce evenly over the crust. In a small microwaveable bowl, add the Nutella and microwave for about 20 seconds or until pourable. Pour the Nutella over the caramel layer evenly. Using your fingers, break apart the remaining dough over the top of the Nutella layer, trying to cover as much of the Nutella and caramel as you can. Sprinkle the top liberally with sea salt. (NOTE: if you're using a salted caramel sauce, use less sea salt on top).
  5. Bake for approx. 25-35 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the center is just about set - a slight jiggle is okay. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into squares. I highly recommend letting them set overnight.

These Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars have a buttery shortbread crust & crumble, a thick layer of fudgy Nutella, a layer of gooey caramel, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Sweet, salty, buttery goodness and SO EASY!Buttery, gooey, chocolaty and layered with decadent caramel, these bars are so heavenly & sweet!

These Salted Nutella Caramel Butter Bars have a buttery shortbread crust & crumble, a thick layer of fudgy Nutella, a layer of gooey caramel, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Sweet, salty, buttery goodness and SO EASY! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Homemade Milk Jam {Dulce de Leche}

This Homemade Dulce de Leche (or Milk Jam) is SO EASY and made with only ONE ingredient! Rich, buttery, creamy and gooey, it works in a variety of recipes or on its own as a gift! I’m so excited to bring you this recipe today for Homemade Milk Jam, aka Dulce de Leche!

So remember when I made my Strawberry Pretzel Salad Parfaits and spoke about my experience with Best Food Facts for the TASTE15 program? Well Best Food Facts ended up taking me to Bentonville, Arkansas and Chicago last year to learn more about food and where it comes from.

The best part of the trip (besides visiting some really cool cities) was making new friends with some other bloggers and farm bloggers. I had no idea all the work that goes into farming, be it dairy farming or corn farming. One farmer even grew canola oil, which, stupid me, I had no idea you could farm.

Since I work with dairy ALL the time, I took the time to interview one of the farm bloggers on our trip, Krista Stauffer. Krista runs a dairy farm with her husband in Washington and knows everything there is to know about all things dairy. Can you imagine how delicious and fresh their milk must be? I asked her if she’d ship me my own cow but she was like “you’re crazy and I’m putting you on a cow-buying list for suspicious people.” So it was a no-go.

ANYWAY. Krista answered a lot of questions for me about the process of milking a cow and what happens after milking the cows, which I found so interesting. Krista says, “After the cow is milked, the milk is stored in a stainless steel tank where it is immediately cooled. The milk truck arrives, takes a milk sample to be tested later for quality, components and antibiotics. The milk is loaded on the truck to be transported to the processing facility. At the plant, the entire tanker of milk is tested for antibiotics. At this point any milk with a positive test would require all the milk to be disposed of. All milk that passes the test, is unloaded at the plant. It is then filtered & pasteurized. It depends on the processing plant as well as the milk from the farm which products it is made into. For example, milk with a higher butterfat could become cottage cheese, buttermilk, etc.”

Krista and her family ship all of their milk to the Northwest Dairy Association, also known as Darigold. I became excited because I’ll sometimes buy Darigold butter! Knowing I may be eating a product made with milk from Krista’s farm is so cool!

And since today’s recipe used sweetened condensed milk, I figured we’d all want to know what the process of making sweetened condensed milk was. Krista and Best Food Facts’ resident nutritionist Sarah Downs explain: “Sweetened condensed milk, also known as condensed milk is created when some water is evaporated from the milk and sugar is added until a 9:11 (nearly half) ratio of sugar to milk is reached. The sugar added to sweetened condensed milk of course give it that sweet and gooey awesomeness but also helps to extend the shelf life.” That thick, sugary, gooey consistency is perfect for making magic bars, which I have a ton of recipes for on my blog, and what makes it one of my favorite ingredients!

BUT, don’t confuse sweetened condensed milk with evaporated milk. Sarah says they’re very different (and they are!) For one, there’s a consistency difference. Evaporated milk has a thinner, runnier consistency much like skim milk. Sweetened condensed milk is thick, almost like a syrup or gravy. According to Sarah, “both are forms of concentrated milk in which 60% of water is removed. The major difference is the sugar content. Sweetened condensed milk (as the name implies) is always sweetened and evaporated milk is unsweet.” Evaporated milk is great for pumpkin pie and fudge!

And probably the most important thing I asked Krista: Chocolate or regular milk? Krista says she enjoys regular milk with warm cookies, and chocolate milk with dinner. I think I like this girl 🙂

So now that we know all about dairy and sweetened condensed milk, it’s high time I explained to you that this homemade milk jam is made exclusively with sweetened condensed milk. That’s it. ONE ingredient. You probably don’t believe me, but you should!

This Homemade Dulce de Leche (or Milk Jam) is SO EASY and made with only ONE ingredient! Rich, buttery, creamy and gooey, it works in a variety of recipes or on its own as a gift! And by the way, wondering why I’m calling it “milk jam”? Well because it is! ‘Dulce de Leche’ and ‘Confiture de Lait’ both translate to ‘sugar of milk’, and milk jam/dulce de leche/confiture de lait all are made by simmering milk and sugar together. Instead of making it with whole milk and sugar and boiling it, I took a shortcut route and made it using sweetened condensed milk. Easy peasy! And so delish!

I meaaaaaaan…

This Homemade Dulce de Leche (or Milk Jam) is SO EASY and made with only ONE ingredient! Rich, buttery, creamy and gooey, it works in a variety of recipes or on its own as a gift!

4.5 from 2 reviews
Homemade Milk Jam {Dulce de Leche}
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This Homemade Milk Jam (Dulce de Leche) is DELICIOUS. Thick, creamy, and utterly perfect - and made with only ONE ingredient!
Ingredients
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 (4 oz) mason jars
Instructions
  1. Open up the cans of sweetened condensed milk and pour the contents evenly among the four mason jars. Seal the lids on all the jars.
  2. Place the mason jars into a large slow cooker and cover completely with hot water, making sure there's at least an inch of water covering the tops of the mason jars. Cook on LOW for 10-11 hours (I cooked mine for 11 for deeper flavor/color).
  3. CAREFULLY remove the jars with tongs, as they will be scalding hot. Allow to cool and dry on a dish towel, about 2 hours. Rust may have formed on the tops of the mason jars during their bath; simply wipe it off. Store milk jam in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

This Homemade Dulce de Leche (or Milk Jam) is SO EASY and made with only ONE ingredient! Rich, buttery, creamy and gooey, it works in a variety of recipes or on its own as a gift! Rich, deep, buttery, gooey goodness. This tastes AMAZING on top of ice cream!

For more info about Krista Stauffer, be sure to visit her blog: The Farmer’s Wifee. And for more info on Best Food Facts, be sure to visit their website.

Want more Dulce de Leche goodness? Check out these recipes!

These Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars are a sweet and salty lover's dream come true! You'll love this easy, foolproof cheesecake recipe!Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

DULCE DE LECHE BARSDulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars

This Homemade Dulce de Leche (or Milk Jam) is SO EASY and made with only ONE ingredient! Rich, buttery, creamy and gooey, it works in a variety of recipes or on its own as a gift!

Have a super sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a brand ambassador for Best Food Facts in their TASTE 15 program. I was sponsored and compensated to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Caramel Apple Spice Cake

This Caramel Apple Spice Cake is sure to please everyone! You won't believe that this cake takes only THREE simple ingredients to make!Pretty pleeeeease tell me it isn’t too late for caramel apples, because if it were up to me, caramel apples would be seasonless.

CARAMEL APPLES FOR LIFE.

But seriously, fall’s coming to a close is sad for many reasons. The pretty red leaves will soon be non-existent (and by non-existent, I mean they’ll be all attached to my car like some kind of leaf plague) and in places where it snows, there’ll be white powder all up in everyone’s business.

Oh, and because caramel apples will soon be out of style. HOW and WHY, I’m not sure – again, caramel apples. Why is there an expiration date for this magical concoction?

However, I do like winter, and everytime I say this someone from Illinois or Missouri groans and secretly shoots daggers my way because California winters are extremely mild in temperature and we don’t have to shovel snow ten times a day.

But to that I say, come to California? It’s warm and we have caramel apples forever.

ANYWAY. This cake is in partnership with Lucky Leaf, who I’m proud to be working with for the year. If you don’t know, Lucky Leaf has an amazing line of fruit toppings and pie fillings with amazing flavors like Strawberry Rhubarb, Blueberry, and Caramel Apple. When I spotted the Caramel Apple, I knew I had to make a cake with it… and thus this cake was born!

Very similar to my Peach Snack Cake, this cake uses only a can of pie filling and three eggs to make it. Yep, you read that right: only a can of pie filling and three eggs. Total. That’s it. You with me still?

You beat it together until it’s nice and combined and then spread it in a 13×9″ pan, bake it until it’s purty, and then top it with a generous dollop (or swirl) of whipped cream and caramel sauce… you know, to drive the point home. You could also get super apple on it and serve it with some more apple pie filling on the side – delicious!

But whatever you do, make it! Because this cake is super cozy and will be perfect for the upcoming holiday season. It easily feeds a crowd and it’s a cinch to make. Hello, Thanksgiving dessert alert!

This Caramel Apple Spice Cake is sure to please everyone! You won't believe that this cake takes only THREE simple ingredients to make!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Caramel Apple Spice Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-24
 
This Caramel Apple Spice Cake is a cinch to make and feeds a crowd. You don't wanna miss this easy cake recipe!
Ingredients
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can Lucky Leaf Premium Caramel Apple Fruit Topping
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, fruit topping, eggs and cinnamon until blended, about 2 minutes. Batter will be thick. Spread into the prepared pan in an even layer.
  3. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cake completely. Serve with whipped cream and caramel drizzle if you'd like!

This Caramel Apple Spice Cake is sure to please everyone! You won't believe that this cake takes only THREE simple ingredients to make!Bursting with tender apples, a sweet cinnamon-y caramel flavor and topped with a mountain of fresh whipped cream, this cake is the perfect ending to any meal!

For more recipes, tips & tricks and ideas for deliciousness, be sure to visit the Lucky Leaf website. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest!

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Candy Cookie Bars

These Candy Cookie Bars couldn't be easier to whip up! Chewy chocolate chunk cookies are sandwiched between gooey chopped candy bars in these delightful, foolproof cookie bars!You guys – this recipe is so easy, you won’t know what to do with yourself.

It starts with a mix – Krusteaz Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix, to be precise – and then you totally customize it to your own preferences. So fast, so easy, so delicious!

With Halloween approaching, it’s likely that you’re already stocking up on candy for trick-or-treaters. Or candy for yourself. #nojudgments. Whereas Christmas is completely cookie season, Halloween is candy season for sure. Nothing beats Halloween candy, am I right?

So this recipe is totally perf for Halloween baking or apres-Halloween baking because it uses Halloween candy inside of it. Do I have your attention yet? 🙂 Good.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s completely customizable to your preferences. Don’t like Snickers? Kick ’em to the curb and leave them out. Love caramel candies? Throw a little extra in there – no one ever turned down an extra caramely treat. Obsessed with Reese’s Pumpkins? I won’t tell if you sneak a couple while you add them in. See? Totally custom.

For this, I used a simple mix of Snickers, Milky Way Simply Caramel, and Twix bars, but again, use whatever you have on hand or prefer. This would be ultra delish with Rolos and Reese’s cups, methinks … or try filling it with Cadbury Scream Eggs for a gooey treat.

Next up, you bake this glorious, candy-filled concoction until it’s nice and golden. The worst part about these bars is that I recommend you wait until they’re fully cooled & set before cutting into bars… it helps with the whole setting process so everything is settled before you slice. But if you absolutely can’t wait, I won’t blame you for cutting into each gooey piece of heaven.

Now who’s ready to make these bars!?

These Candy Cookie Bars couldn't be easier to whip up! Chewy chocolate chunk cookies are sandwiched between gooey chopped candy bars in these delightful, foolproof cookie bars!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Candy Cookie Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These Candy Cookie Bars are packed to the brim with delicious Halloween candy sandwiched between two layers of chewy chocolate chunk cookies. You don't want to miss this foolproof recipe!
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg Krusteaz Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 heaping cup chopped assorted candy bar pieces (I used Twix, Snickers, and Milky Way Caramels, but use what you prefer or have on hand)
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Stir together cookie mix, egg and butter until dough forms, hand kneading if necessary. Spread half of the cookie dough evenly into prepared pan. Top with assorted chopped candy bars.
  3. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Top with the remainder of cookie dough.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the top is set. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

These Candy Cookie Bars couldn't be easier to whip up! Chewy chocolate chunk cookies are sandwiched between gooey chopped candy bars in these delightful, foolproof cookie bars!Thick, chewy, and packed with gooey, chocolate-y Halloween candy, these Candy Cookie Bars will be such a wonderful way to use up extra candy and to satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth!

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

These Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars are a sweet and salty lover's dream come true! You'll love this easy, foolproof cheesecake recipe!This week was a very important week for me: it’s OCD Awareness Week.

I’ve talked about my struggles with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in the past (click HERE to read about it) and I kinda wanted to update everyone as to how I’m doing and get this all off my chest.

First of all, this week. It’s important because OCD is a very real, very tangible disorder that affects millions of people across the US. It’s often misdiagnosed or swept under the rug, but it’s very real and very painful.

I was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as a teenager, but I’ve had it my entire life. As a child, I had very strict bedtime routines my parents would have to follow, and should the routine go awry or in a different direction, I’d beg them to start all over again. This meant singing lullabies in a particular order, tucking me in a certain way, and doing things in a proper order. As a child, I also had certain anxieties about smells. I’d even have my parents wash my toys because sometimes the smells of them made me uneasy.

As a teen, it was all about the obsessive thoughts and, well, obsessions. Thoughts about death and dying. Thoughts about sex and strange, peculiar, embarrassing fantasies. Obsessions with boys, people, routines. And a small-scale case of hoarding. Hoarding clothes, old makeup, magazines. To this day, I still hoard magazines – I have them saved in my closet for reasons unknown, but the thought of parting with them breaks my heart.

And as an adult, it’s the same story. Obsessed with routine, clinging to it desperately with a significant fear of change. Some days, it manifests itself as something more “minor”, like vacuuming the house until something inside of me clicks and feels better, or surrounding myself with magazines to feel more comfortable. Other times, it manifests as something far more sinister, and that’s when I begin picking. Nit-picking at myself and my flaws mentally, and physically ripping open my flesh and scalp with my fingers until I bleed. Those are the days where I feel completely overwhelmed by this disease; days where I feel like I’m stuck in a dark hole with the tunnel of light so far out of reach.

People often misunderstand OCD. OCD isn’t necessarily about being clean and tidy, though that’s most common. My OCD fluctuates. Some days, I’m obsessed with order and tidiness. I like my kitchen to be spotless and obsess over crumbs and counter stains until I can rid them. Other times, I have so much anxiety building up that piles of things build up, too. Books, magazines, receipts, pens, wrappers, clothes, garbage. I’ll be surrounded by it all without really noticing it. It isn’t until my mom comments on how my room is so dirty or someone complains that our kitchen table (where I work from) isn’t even visible under the piles of stuff. Then I get embarrassed. How did I let this get so bad? How did I let myself go?

It pains me when people make comments about being “so OCD” or joke about the disease. Just because you load your dishwasher a certain way or like to color coordinate your closet doesn’t mean you’re OCD. OCD is much more than that, it’s so much deeper and darker. It’s an insidious monster that affects the person’s every waking thought and action. In fact, each action we make, we’ve likely already obsessed about making it for hours, if not days before hand. We’ve already fantasized these elaborate scenarios of what could happen – what could go wrong – that when the scenario happens, we’re exhausted from dreading it and probing it for so long. It isn’t about wanting clean hands; it’s the intense, very real fear that something terrible will happen if we don’t clean them repeatedly. That sense of doom, like a dark cloud of dread and depression, looming over us, ready to open its arms and surround us any second. The very tangible feeling of panic coursing through our veins, our minds replaying everything in painstaking detail on repeat. That is what it’s like living with OCD. It’s no joke. It’s not funny. It’s very painful, very real.

And I understand that people joke. It’s not like I’ll start crying or slap you across the face if you make a joke like that. But personally, I liken it to the dreaded word “retarded.” I’d never make fun of someone and call them retarded because that hurts those who do have mental and/or physical disabilities. So why would you call yourself OCD when you don’t live your life suffering with it?

All I want is for people to be more aware of what they’re saying and how they say it. That’s all. And to have some compassion for those afflicted with this disorder. There’s such a gross, unnecessary stigma against mental illness in this country, making it often impossible to get the help people desperately need. We need to be more understanding and compassionate toward those suffering and offer an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and a heart to help them heal.

I hope, if nothing else, that you are more aware of OCD after this post, and will make the changes in your life to end the stigma of mental illness and raise awareness about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder if you know someone who may be suffering. And please, don’t blame them for the pile of magazines everywhere – sometimes, that’s the only shred of reality they have left.

Now, let’s talk about something far less sad, shall we? Liiiike these Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars, for example. They’re loaded with amazing caramel flavor and topped with a sprinkling of sea salt for that intoxicating sweet-and-salty goodness. And they’re a cinch to make!

Let’s just say Iatethewholepan. Because I’m not a liar and had no shame when devouring every last crumb. You will want to devour every last crumb, too!

These Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars are a sweet and salty lover's dream come true! You'll love this easy, foolproof cheesecake recipe!*adapted from my Perfect Cheesecake Bars recipe 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars are a dream come true! Rich, creamy and loaded with buttery caramel and sea salt, they're a sweet and salty lover's perfect food!
Ingredients
  • 1 & ½ cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 pkg cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 can prepared dulce de leche
  • Sea salt, for sprinking
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8" pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter and stir until moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and press into a compact, even layer. Bake for approx. 12 minutes.
  3. While crust bakes, prepare your filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar for about 2 minutes or until fluffy and light. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Lastly, add in the vanilla, sour cream, and two Tablespoons of the dulce de leche sauce.
  4. Pour the filling over the crust and return to the oven to bake for approx. 35-40 minutes or until the center appears just about set and isn't super jiggly. Tent with foil if the top begins to brown too fast. Cool completely, then spread with the remaining dulce de leche in an even layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

These Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars are a sweet and salty lover's dream come true! You'll love this easy, foolproof cheesecake recipe!Caramely, buttery, smooth and creamy, that’s what these cheesecake bars are all about! You don’t want to miss this recipe!

Have a sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Quick & Easy Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

This Homemade Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Sauce is to die for! Rich, creamy, sweet and buttery, it comes together in minutes and is totally foolproof!If you were looking for the best, easiest and quickest homemade caramel sauce, look no further!

A long time ago there was a girl who believed she didn’t like caramel.

That girl was seriously deranged and deeply disturbed.

That girl was ME.

Because now, I can’t live without the stuff. It’s my favorite on apples, in gooey brownies, atop ice cream and by the spoonful. In fact, eating it by the spoonful is exactly how I consumed this caramel immediately upon making it. It’s that good.

But for the longest time I was so petrified about how to make caramel at home. I figured it involved wizardry, candy thermometers and prayers for a successful outcome… all things I didn’t have or couldn’t do. But then I realized it probably wasn’t so bad, so I set out to experiment and boy, was I happy with the results.

This Homemade Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Sauce is to die for! Rich, creamy, sweet and buttery, it comes together in minutes and is totally foolproof!This caramel has a couple special things that makes it shine. First, it’s made with real salted butter, which adds to that salty caramel goodness. Next, it’s finished with heavy cream for a thick, rich, utterly divine final product. And it all starts with some white sugar, a litttttle touch of water, and corn syrup. Yes, I know, but the corn syrup helps prevent the sugar from crystallizing when it’s melting. It’s an important little tidbit that helps the final product become so special and rich and delicious. Feel free to omit it at your own risk, but just be reminded of the fact that you’re making homemade caramel for fun… a little corn syrup won’t kill you.

So who’s ready to take this caramel to the next level with me!?

This Homemade Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Sauce is to die for! Rich, creamy, sweet and buttery, it comes together in minutes and is totally foolproof!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quick & Easy Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
This homemade salted caramel is utterly DIVINE! It comes together in minutes and tastes amazing alone, with apples, atop ice cream, or paired with another dessert like brownies. Make it now!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 10 Tbsp salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream/heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp (more or less, depending on your tastes) kosher salt
Instructions
  1. First, make sure you're free of distractions. Caramel needs some alone time with you.
  2. In a large pot (make sure it's larger than you think you'll need), bring together the sugar, water and corn syrup over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is moistened, then continue stirring constantly until sugar melts, about 5-7 minutes. Sugar may melt into a liquid, then clump up - this is normal and you should continue stirring, trying to break up the clumps with your rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Eventually the sugar will liquefy again and within seconds begin turning a caramel color. Cook, stirring constantly, until a dark amber color is achieved. BE CAREFUL because this color comes and goes pretty quickly, and you want to make sure you pull it before it burns.
  3. Once the deep amber color is reached (or desired color is reached), immediately add in the butter and stand back briefly as the mixture will bubble considerably. Continue stirring until butter has melted and mixture becomes creamier. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, being wary of the mixture bubbling aggressively. Stir until the cream is incorporated, then sprinkle in the salt and stir to combine.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes before pouring into mason jars with lids or another heat-proof container with a lid. Mixture will be very hot. Allow to cool to room temperature for the mixture to adequately thicken and settle. Store in the fridge for up to a month.

This Homemade Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Sauce is to die for! Rich, creamy, sweet and buttery, it comes together in minutes and is totally foolproof!Buttery, sweet, salty, rich and utterly creamy & delicious, this salted caramel is my new favorite thing ever. I highly recommend you make it immediately!

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes

These Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes are to-die for! Use store bought caramel cupcakes for the ultimate treat! Cupcakes you don’t have to bake!? Say whaaaaaat!?

You read that right.

For this post, I teamed up with Hostess to bring you these Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes. They’re super simple to whip together, don’t require an oven, and are the perfect union between sweet and salty. Plus, they’re crowned with a huge mountain of freshly whipped chocolate buttercream and garnished with a caramel candy. What’s not to love?!

They start with the base: Hostess’ new Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes, which is a limited edition flavor that I know you’ll adore. It starts with a golden vanilla cupcake filled with a caramel creme and topped with velvety caramel icing and a signature squiggle everyone knows and loves. Hostess also unveiled Sea Salt Caramel Zingers, too: sponge cake with their signature creme filling, topped with a ribbon of caramel and covered in smooth milk chocolate. Both are garnished with fresh sea salt too, creating that perfect symphony of sweet and salty flavors.

These Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes are to-die for! Use store bought caramel cupcakes for the ultimate treat! Riiiiight?! They are so good, you guys.

And then I went the extra mile and topped these cupcakes with buttercream. I know, I know – but it had to be done. Chocolate and salted caramel just go hand-in-hand. This buttercream is light, fluffy and ultra luscious – you’ll love it, especially paired on top of these moist and soft cupcakes.

Both the Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes and Zingers are only available through 7/31, so be sure to make up for lost time and make these cupcakes ASAP!

These Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes are to-die for! Use store bought caramel cupcakes for the ultimate treat!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quicky & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes are topped with an ultra rich and incredibly delicious chocolate buttercream everyone will love!
Ingredients
  • About 12 Hostess Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes, unwrapped (or any flavor cupcake)
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • About 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, if needed
  • Chocolate-caramel candies, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla and cocoa powder with the paddle attachment until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add in the milk only if the frosting is too thick and pasty.
  2. Pipe the frosting high onto the Hostess Cupcakes. Garnish with a chocolate-caramel candy. Serve immediately.

These Quick & Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes are to-die for! Use store bought caramel cupcakes for the ultimate treat! Piled high with luscious chocolate buttercream, these Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes are to-die for! Be sure to look for them in your grocery store before July 31 🙂

To connect with Hostess for more product information and recipes, be sure to visit them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where they regularly share fun recipes, tips and tricks and sweet news!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Hostess sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.

Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas

These Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas consist of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base loaded with buttery caramel and sweet & salty peanut butter cups for an outrageous dessert you'll love!You guys. These carmelitas. I could cry, they’re so good.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an irrational fear of having something stuck in my teeth. I mean, I’m petrified to find something. Spinach, pepper, bits and pieces of god-knows what… anything and everything is a mortal embarrassment.

When I had braces for a few years of my adolescence, it raised the possibility even higher which was always lovely when you had a mouth full of metal to look into. What’s the deal with braces, anyway? Like, why do they think these metal contraptions are a good idea? I understand the reasoning behind braces – straight teeth, good oral health, etc – but I mean, why do they have to look like they do? Painful steel wiring poking your cheek every time you talk, brackets rolling around when one snaps off after you secretly take a bite of taffy. And ugh, those rubber bands. Those came from the devil’s underbelly.

But then to add insult to injury, they allow you to choose random colors for your brackets and those, in theory, sound cool. You can do your school colors, your favorite colors, the rainbow, whatever. But what they don’t tell you is that it’ll look like your mouth is filled with tiny bits of candy stuck in between your teeth.

AKA, my worst nightmare.

These Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas consist of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base loaded with buttery caramel and sweet & salty peanut butter cups for an outrageous dessert you'll love!My fear is to the point where I eat everything as gingerly as possible to ensure the possibility of accruing bits and pieces are slim to none. I’m anti-bits and pieces.

Anywho. These bars have no bits and no pieces. They do, however, have chocolate and caramel and peanut butter which does have a tendency to get everywhere, but even I can proudly say they’re so worth it. And if nothing else, you’ll just have a special surprise to show people any time you smile. You’re welcome?

These Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas consist of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base loaded with buttery caramel and sweet & salty peanut butter cups for an outrageous dessert you'll love!So yeah – these carmelitas. Traditionally, carmelitas are an oatmeal cookie bar base filled with caramel and chocolate chips. They’re gooey, rich and sweet, and have great texture thanks to the oats. But my version has added peanut butter cups to the mix, lending an even sweeter bite and a wonderful saltiness from the peanut buttah. These are basically my dream come true in bar form, and if they had a full-time job, smelled like cologne and were thoughtful, sincere and sensitive, I’d probably marry them.

Try them puhleeeeease. You won’t be disappointed!

These Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas consist of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base loaded with buttery caramel and sweet & salty peanut butter cups for an outrageous dessert you'll love!*adapted from my Nutella-Filled Monster Cookie Bars recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
These chewy and GOOEY bars will become a family favorite in no time! They boast great texture from the oats, lots of gooieness from the caramel and melty peanut butter cups, and plenty of sweetness!
Ingredients
  • 2 & ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar'
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 jar caramel sundae sauce
  • About 25 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (standard or mini size, but not the minis in the resealable package)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking dish with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Lastly, add in the flour, salt, oats, baking powder and baking soda until a soft dough forms.
  3. Chop the Reese's PB Cups in half or quarters. Spread ½ of the dough into the prepared baking pan in an even layer; top evenly with the caramel sauce and top with the reserved PB cups. Crumble the remaining dough or "puzzle piece it" (flatten dough in your hands and gently kind of puzzle-it together) on top of the caramel and PB cups.
  4. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the center appears just about set. It's okay if it jiggles a little; it will set up as it cools and you don't want to over bake. Cool completely before lifting the bars out of the pan and cutting into bars.

These Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas consist of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base loaded with buttery caramel and sweet & salty peanut butter cups for an outrageous dessert you'll love!These bars are so impossibly gooey, packed with sweet and salty flavor from the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the gobs of buttery caramel. You’ll love the texture from the hearty oats and substantially thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base, too. Overall, these are a bar to be reckoned with – you’ll freak for them!

Like these? Be sure to PIN THEM to your favorite board to save the recipe for later! 

These Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas consist of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie base loaded with buttery caramel and sweet & salty peanut butter cups for an outrageous dessert you'll love!Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

 

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars are rich chocolate brownies filled with caramel cups and topped with a thick & creamy dulce de leche. The perfect sweet & salty bar recipe!adore caramel. But can you believe there was a time when – *gasp* I thought I didn’t like it?

(I know, I was seriously deranged).

I was insistent on my hatred of caramel. I would only do hot fudge and would make a face at my dad who would promptly douse his sundae in caramel sauce. He would goad me into trying it and I’d wrinkle my nose as if he were offering me pickled pigs feet to pair with my rocky road.

But then something in me clicked and I tried it one day. And lo and behold, I’m a completely convert. In fact, now I overlook the hot fudge and always go straight to the heart of the good stuff – caramel, caramel, caramel.

Is there anything this golden, sweet, buttery syrup can’t do? (Well, actually, yeah. It can’t get me a tax return. It can’t buy me flowers on a bad day. And it certainly can’t pay my car payment.) … but hopefully it can convince you guys to make these bars, because they are SO unbelievably tasty and rich.

The secret to these guys? Dulce de leche. Trust me on this one – it’s a doozy.

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars are rich chocolate brownies filled with caramel cups and topped with a thick & creamy dulce de leche. The perfect sweet & salty bar recipe!Dulce de leche is different than caramel in that it’s primarily milk based – specifically using sweetened condensed milk for a richer, thicker, creamier flavor and consistency than your standard sugar-based caramel sauce. And did I mention how amazing it is? For realsies, it’s the best, and it’s the reason these bars are oh-so magical.

Because how can you say no to this?

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars are rich chocolate brownies filled with caramel cups and topped with a thick & creamy dulce de leche. The perfect sweet & salty bar recipe!

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These Dulce de Leche Gooey Chocolate Bars are the ultimate treat for a chocolate and caramel lover! Gooey, thick dulce de leche makes these bars over-the-top amazing.
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup Rolos, unwrapped and cut in half
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can/jar (7-8 oz) prepared dulce de leche (I LOVE & highly recommend Trader Joe's version)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter with a spatula until a thick but soft dough forms. Press ¾ of the dough into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Top with the chopped Rolo candies evenly.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and HALF of the can of dulce de leche until combined. Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the Rolo candies. You may not use all of it; that's okay. Crumble the remaining dough on top of the bars, covering it as much as possible.
  4. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until the edges of the bars are set and golden and the middle is just about set. It may be slightly jiggly still, and that's okay; you don't want to over-bake it as it will continue to set up as it cools. Cool completely.
  5. Before cutting into squares, drizzle with remaining dulce de leche. Serve immediately or store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. *NOTE: I recommend letting the bars set overnight so they're more solid when you cut into them. This helps them from completely falling apart.*

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars are rich chocolate brownies filled with caramel cups and topped with a thick & creamy dulce de leche. The perfect sweet & salty bar recipe!Rich, buttery, and jam-packed with caramel, these ooey gooey treats will be your new favorite in no time! And if you’ve never tried dulce de leche, be prepared to convert to the creamy side of caramel.

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Gooey Bars are rich chocolate brownies filled with caramel cups and topped with a thick & creamy dulce de leche. The perfect sweet & salty bar recipe!Have a sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

The Best One-Hour Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns

The BEST One-Hour Sticky Buns! Fluffy, homemade rolls swirled with cinnamon & brown sugar, baked in a sweet and sticky homemade caramel, and baked with nutty pecans. So heavenly, and ready in 60 minutes!So, against my better judgment, I recently re-joined the dating site, OkCupid.

Within my first day of signing up, I had already encountered more fedoras and puca-shell necklaces than should ever exist, a man who self-identifies as a platypus, more topless bathroom-mirror selfies than necessary (about half of which were of torsos that should not be without cover), a man posing with his new bride, aaaaand a man who said he’s still trying to figure out how to “self-narrate”, whatever that means.

I figured there had to be a diamond in the rough in there somewhere. Surely this site wasn’t filled with only guys with neckbeards and people who don’t understand the power of periods and commas. But alas, I was yet again at the same crossroads as I was before I quit the site: tons of boys, none of ’em men. That sounds like it should be a bumper sticker. Can someone make this happen? Tons of boys, none of ’em men. Featured with like, a rattle under the ‘boys’ and a rifle under the ‘men.’ We could charge like, $10 for these in car wash lobbies, people.

ANYWHO. Back to these buns. They’re awesome. Total dreamboats. The whole package. Sweet, soft, sticky… wait. Um. Well. This is awkward.

The BEST One-Hour Sticky Buns! Fluffy, homemade rolls swirled with cinnamon & brown sugar, baked in a sweet and sticky homemade caramel, and baked with nutty pecans. So heavenly, and ready in 60 minutes!But forreals, these sticky buns are one awesome treat. For one, they are made from start-to-finish in just one hour. Sixty minutes! You’re 60 minutes away from having soft, chewy, sticky-sweet cinnamon buns. That ain’t half bad.

And for two, they’re delicious! Homemade sweet rolls loaded with cinnamon and brown sugar, and coated in a thick, syrupy caramel and nutty pecans. Absolute heaven on a plate.

The BEST One-Hour Sticky Buns! Fluffy, homemade rolls swirled with cinnamon & brown sugar, baked in a sweet and sticky homemade caramel, and baked with nutty pecans. So heavenly, and ready in 60 minutes!And if you ask me, they’re the perfect companion for all those lonely nights surfing OkCupid. Or just any night. Or just all the time.

The BEST One-Hour Sticky Buns! Fluffy, homemade rolls swirled with cinnamon & brown sugar, baked in a sweet and sticky homemade caramel, and baked with nutty pecans. So heavenly, and ready in 60 minutes!*adapted from my One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Best One-Hour Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Sticky and sweet, these caramel-y pecan rolls are bursting with brown sugar and cinnamon. The best part is they're made start-to-finish in just one hour!
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 3 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • FOR FILLING:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • FOR CARAMEL SAUCE:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • About 2 cups chopped pecans (I like using Diamond of California)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350* degrees F. In a small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, microwave the butter and milk on high heat for one minute. Stir, then heat for another 30 seconds. Stir again, and heat for another 30 seconds or until butter is mostly melted and liquid is hot to the touch. Set aside briefly, for about a minute or two to cool or until it's warm but not hot.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the milk mixture and the yeast until combined. Add in the sugar, egg, and THREE (3) cups of the flour with the dough hook on medium speed. Turn the speed to medium-high and gradually add in the remaining ½ cup of flour or until the dough begins to form a ball at the center of the mixer bowl. Beat for 5 minutes, then remove the dough hook and cover the bowl with a damp cloth for 10 minutes.
  3. While the dough rises, make your sticky caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, then stir in the pecans. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Lightly dust a flat work space with flour. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. I don't have dimensions as I just eyeballed it, but you want it to be at least ½" to ¾" thick. Spread the softened butter over the plane of dough, then evenly top with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, patting it gently into the dough.
  5. Beginning with the left side, begin tightly rolling the dough into a log. Move the log toward you so you're facing it horizontally. Using flavorless dental floss, begin cutting the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces. Spray a 13x9" baking dish liberally with cooking spray and spread the sticky caramel sauce all over the bottom, evenly spacing the pecans if needed. Top the sauce with the cinnamon rolls in 4 rows of 3 rolls. Cover with a damp cloth and place on top of the oven to rise for 25 minutes.
  6. Once rolls have risen, bake for approx. 15-20 minutes or until rolls are puffy, lightly golden and bubbly. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes - no longer - before carefully and quickly inverting the rolls onto a plate or dish. Rolls are best when they're hot or warm. To eat later, reheat briefly to help loosen the sticky caramel sauce. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

The BEST One-Hour Sticky Buns! Fluffy, homemade rolls swirled with cinnamon & brown sugar, baked in a sweet and sticky homemade caramel, and baked with nutty pecans. So heavenly, and ready in 60 minutes!So remember that part when I said these were heaven? Yeah. About that…

Hope you guys enjoyed! I know you’ll enjoy them even more in 60 minutes, am I right?

The BEST One-Hour Sticky Buns! Fluffy, homemade rolls swirled with cinnamon & brown sugar, baked in a sweet and sticky homemade caramel, and baked with nutty pecans. So heavenly, and ready in 60 minutes!Have a sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

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