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Bake-along: Paradise Pie for Pi Day 3.14

This is a fun, quick, and easy recipe and turns out a dessert in perfect portions for small to medium groups or individuals! For a shopping list of ingredients and tools, jump over to the previous post.

Paradise Pie (via KeyIngredient)

Crust:
3 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips

FILLING:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl (15 second increments). Mix together graham cracker crumbs and sugar, then add in melted butter. Combine well.

Put mixture into a one-quart casserole dish. Spread evenly. Press firmly into bottom of dish. Top evenly with chocolate chips.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until chocolate is melted. With rubber spatula, spread melted chocolate out smoothly. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, oil, and vanilla and mix on low, until smooth. With mixer still on low, add chocolate chips, coconut, and walnuts. When thoroughly mixed, pour filling over crust. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean.

(Optional) Toppings:
Spoon 2 tablespoons butter on ovenproof plate and place in oven until butter melts. Remove plate from oven and place large piece of warm pie right on top of the melted butter. Top pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Top with hot fudge & caramel toppings. Sprinkle with walnuts.

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Upcoming Bake-along: Paradise Pie March 14

Pi Day is coming up and I have a small-portion dessert to help us celebrate! Gather these ingredients and tools and get ready to bake up a tasty treat! Video link for bake-along will be posted later this week.

Copycat Recipe Chili’s Paradise Pie

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (separated into 2 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Optional toppings:
Vanilla ice cream
Hot fudge
Caramel sauce
1/4 cup chopped or crushed walnuts

Tools (Amazon affiliate links):
Measuring spoons
Measuring cups (liquid and dry)

Stand mixer/hand mixer/spoon or rubber spatula
1 quart casserole dish
Toothpick
Rubber spatula
Oven

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Cutting a Recipe in Half

The latest video on the Casual Confections YouTube channel walks you through cutting a recipe in half. We work through a box of cake mix and a cookie recipe.

Amazon Affiliate Links:
Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake: https://amzn.to/3kv9dPV
Duncan Hines White Cake: https://amzn.to/3bI8sip
Nestle chocolate chips: https://amzn.to/2ZZvegd

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Collab: Let’s Learn About Science

LetsLearnAboutScience is an Instagram page focused on young kids and science education. It includes lots of science activities you can do at home! Let’s Learn About Science is currently doing a series on learning about jobs. This week is baking/cooking week and Casual Confections was more than happy to lend a hand!

Charlie designed his own version of the cookie experiment! Head on over to Instagram to see his work and results and then head to our YouTube channel to learn how you can run your own edible experiment!

Looking for other activities to do with kids? Check out our Casual Confections Kids (CCK) posts: Chocolate Chip Cookie Halloween Cake and Cakesicles!

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New Video: Experimenting with Cookie Ingredients

Check out the latest video on the Casual Confections YouTube channel.

Do your own experiment! Try it with the Tollhouse recipe or grab a recipe off this blog! Let me know what you did and how it turned out! Comment here or shoot me an email.

Pair this write up with the video to run your own experiments!

NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Notes: I left out the salt (personal choice) and nuts (better visuals for the trials I selected) for my experiments.

  • Determine what trials you’re going to run. For example, if you’re going to test how different amounts of flour change your cookies, then you won’t want to add the full amount of flour right away. Planning ahead will help you determine how you will modify the recipe.
    • I had a control and three changes: baking powder instead of baking soda, no baking soda or baking powder, and too much sugar.
    • Prepare labels that you can attach to your bowls and your cookie sheet so that you can keep track of your batches.
    • I broke my experiments out using two batches of cookies for a quick and easy breakdown but you can break down a single batch.
      • 2 ¼ cups of flour split into two is 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour
      • 1 tsp of baking soda split into two is ½ tsp of baking soda
        • I had four bowls of dry ingredients:
          • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour + ½ tsp of baking soda (control)
          • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour + ½ tsp of baking soda (too much sugar)
          • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour + ½ tsp of baking powder (baking powder instead of baking soda)
          • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour (no baking soda or baking powder)
        • I added the butter, sugars, vanilla extract, and eggs as instructed. I then separated out the wet dough into even batches, one part for each bowl of dry ingredients. One section of wet dough was kept in the mixer and had another 1/4 cup of granulated sugar added to it before moving on. (too much sugar)
        • Slowly add one bowl of dry ingredients to one bowl of wet ingredients. Once the two bowls are combined, mix in the chocolate chips and, if using them, nuts.
        • Section your cookie sheet(s) and be sure to label them so you can track which recipe baked up in which way. Scoop your dough onto the cookie sheet. Try to keep the size of the dough balls as similar in size as possible for a better comparison of how they baked up.
  • Science notebook: record what you notice during the experiment
    • Do your dry ingredients look different from each other once combined?
    • Do your wet ingredients look different from each other once mixed?
    • When your wet and dry ingredients are combined, do your doughs look different? What is the texture of each dough?
    • When you scooped out the dough, did your dough change texture?
    • What did each cookie look like before it was baked?
    • What did each cookie look like after it was baked? (please wait for cookies to cool to room temperature before examining with touch and taste)
      • Color
      • Texture
      • Shape
      • Spread
      • Smell
      • Taste
      • Mouth-feel (how it feels in your mouth while eating)
    • Why other experiments can you try based on your results? What do you think will happen based on what you saw in these trials?
    • Why did the changes happen? Investigate the chemistry of how ingredients combine and react to different conditions.

Nestle’s recipe:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon (I use a 1 ½ Tbsp sized ice cream scoop) onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes (start at 9 mins and then increase time if needed in small increments) or until golden brown (the golden-brown color may not be achieved depending on the trial you’re running. Be sure to run all trials at the same temperature and time). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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YouTube Channel!

Hey, everyone!

The combination of COVID-19 and pregnancy has kept me out of the bakery since March 2020. Now that the baby is here, it’s time to pivot to keep this baking train going while we work together to get some control over the spread of COVID-19.

This morning, Casual Confections’s channel went live on YouTube! The videos will evolve as time goes on and I play with style and approach. The first four videos are part of a series titled Nibbles of Knowledge. These are very short videos providing tidbits for baking. The channel will also include videos of baking experiments whose recipes will later be posted to the blog, some longer form videos that expand on the Nibbles, and more!

Be sure to subscribe and set notifications so you don’t miss a video. I look forward to you baking along with me!

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Peaches and Cream Bars

When a neighbor extends an offer to you to grab some fruit off of their tree before they start pruning it back, you do not hesitate and say “Thank you!” I don’t eat peaches (or any kind of baked fruit) myself, but how could I say no to an offering of fresh free goodness and a new challenge?

What was the new challenge? Learning how to prep and peel peaches. I had no idea there was a processes due to the fruit being so soft.

Peaches and Cream Bars - crust and filling prep
Peaches and Cream Bars – crust and filling prep

Seeing as only one of us in the house was going to be eating whatever I made with these fresh peaches, I opted for bars instead of a cobbler or pie. They’re more versatile for snacks and desserts instead of just a large dessert. I was not surprised to find myself leaning toward a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, as her recipes have turned out great in my experiments before. This time was no different.

Let’s dive in.

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Preparing Peaches
Score a small X at the bottom of each peach. Don’t cut too deep.
Prepare a pot of boiling water and a separate bowl with an ice bath (ice cubes and water).
Once the water is boiling, lower each peach into the water using a slotted spoon. Turn the peaches occasionally. Let sit in the water for 30 secs – 1 min until skin loosens (time will vary by ripeness).
Using the slotted spoon, move each peach into the ice water bath and let sit for 1 min to stop the cooking process.
Take a peach out of the path one at a time. Starting at the X, begin peeling the skin off in strips, pulling up toward the top of the peach.
Toss out skin strips. Cut or slice peach as desired.

Peaches and Cream Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Crust/Topping
1 cup (125 g) All purpose flour
1/2 cup (42 g) Old Fashion or quick cook oats
1/3 cup (67 g) packed brown sugar (light or brown, your choice)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup (70 g) chopped pecans (optional)

Prepare an 8″ or 9″ square pan by lining it with parchment paper with overhangs on all sides (for easy pull out after baking). Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two forks, until coarse, pea-sized crumbs form (see Sally’s Baking Addiction post for reference photo).
Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and put it into a small bowl. Add the pecans. Set aside as the topping.
Evenly press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 mins.

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp (8g) All purpose flour
2 medium peaches, pealed and chopped (about 1.5 cups)

Whisk the egg and the sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add flour. Whisk until combined.
Fold in the peaches.
Remove the crust from the oven after 15 mins and pour filling over the hot crust. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top.
Bake for 30-32 mins or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 mins. Move to fridge and chill for 2 hrs. Once chilled, life out of the pan and cut into squares.

Icing
1/2 cup (60 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together. Add more milk to thin it if needed. Drizzle over each square.

Squares can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days if tightly wrapped or in a sealed container.

Peaches and Cream Bars
Peaches and Cream Bars
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Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Chocolate, hazelnut, more chocolate…sounds like a yummy treat! Earlier this year, I tried this double chocolate hazelnut cookies with sea salt recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. I enjoyed it so much that a version of these were included in February’s cookie care packages and were sold at Muggles Market Too.

Feb2020_CookieCarePackages
February 2020’s cookie care package theme was chocolate and included brownie sugar cookies, chocolate hazelnut, and chocolate chip raspberry.

These cookies are easy to make and come together in no time. Give the recipe a go and treat yourself to a special treat.

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Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies with Sea Salt from Two Peas & Their Pod

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional. I always make recipes without salt)
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa*
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
sea salt for sprinkling on cookies
(*Dutch cocoa replacement: use the same amount of regular baking cocoa, like Hershey’s, as the recipe calls for (3/4 cup) and add and extra 1/2 tsp for baking soda. So, for this recipe, instead of 1 tsp baking soda and 3/4 cups Dutch cocoa, use 1 1/2 tsp baking soda and 3/4 cups baking cocoa.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons (or use a scoop) and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are set, but are still soft in the center. Don’t over-bake. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.

 

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Butterbeer Cookies

One of the flavors in November 2019’s geek-themed cookie care packages was a butterbeer cookie! If you love a good butterbeer flavored treat, try these cookies and then try the infamous butterbeer fudge!

The first time I made a version of these cookies was using a recipe from Sugar & Soul. It utilizes pudding mixes, extracts, and chips for a blend of flavors resulting in a tasty cookie. Check out the original post for tips and notes on variations for the recipe.

 

ButterbeerCookies_post02
Butterbeer cookies, one of the three flavors in November 2019’s geek-themed cookie care packages

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Butterbeer Cookies via Sugar & Soul

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix, dry
1/4 cup instant butterscotch pudding mix, dry
2 large eggs
1 additional egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits, straight toffee, not the chocolate toffee mix

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed.

Add the pudding, eggs, additional yolk, vanilla, and butter extract. Beat for about one minute on medium speed.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time and mix until combined.

Mix in the toffee chips.

Form the dough into a giant ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least two hours. Remove the dough a little while before baking so the dough can soften a bit and be easier to work with.

Scoop the dough using a medium cooking scoop and roll the dough between your hands to form round balls of dough and place onto a nonstick baking sheet about two inches apart.

Bake at 350°F for 10-13 minutes.

Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

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Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Turtles are a delicious treat of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. I can never eat just one! When the opportunity to try a turtle cookie recipe presented itself, I had to jump on it!

This recipe by Live Well Bake Often makes a very chocolaty cookie stuffed with caramel. That’s right – a caramel center! These babies are best fresh from the oven or reheated in the microwave for 15 seconds to remelt the caramel. Yum!

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Chocolate Turtle Cookies by Live Well Bake Often

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I always omit salt as a personal preference)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
9-10 soft caramel candies, unwrapped and cut in half (or could use whole depending on the size of the cookies you’re making)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes; mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined. Slowly ad the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Cover the cookie dough tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and set aside.

Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out two Tbsp-sized pieces of cookie dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Flatten each piece of cookie dough, place half of a soft caramel candy in the center, then wrap the dough back around the caramel, and roll the dough into a ball. Roll the top and sides of each ball of cookie dough into the chopped pecans.

(My notes on this segment: Used a 1 1/2 Tbsp scoop for my cookies and used only one half of a caramel in each one. While this was tasty, I will add a whole caramel next time to get a better filled center. The amount of a caramel to add will vary depending on the size of the caramels you have. Rolling the dough in the pecans did not go as easily as I expected to. I ended up pressing the pecans into the top and sides as much as I could and many still fell off. I still ended up with enough pecans on the cookies but not nearly the coverage I was expecting based on the photos.)

Place each piece of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Bake in two separate batches at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (You’ll be tempted to try one fresh from the oven, but remember, the caramel is hot! Let the cookies become warm before trying them.)

Cookies may be stored on the counter in an air-tight container for up to five days. Cookies may also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature before serving. (and remember, microwave for 15 seconds to get that gooey center back).