candy corn upside down cake

The internet is a beautiful thing.

It introduces us to wonderful things like adorable animals, outrageous comics, useless knick-knacks, and amazing recipes that, without the internet, I would never know existed.

I wouldn’t know they were missing from my life, but they would be. I’m sure there would be an emptiness somewhere inside me.

One of these things was on Serious Eats last week. It got planted in my brain and I couldn’t get it to go away. I wouldn’t even know that I was thinking of it but I was… all the time… There would be moments that it would just randomly pop into my head all, “Hey there, remember me?” “Don’t you want to make me?”

What was this magical thing? Candy corn upside down cake.

Mind = Blown.  I know.

Of course we all know about pineapple upside down cake, but CANDY CORN upside down cake? That’s just madness. MADNESS!

Since I’m one of two people in the world who actually happens to love candy corn, I was immediately excited over this concept. A lot of you don’t love candy corn. I know this. BF is one of you.  So when I came home from the store, dumped my groceries out onto the counter, and starting rambling on about this magical “candy corn upside down cake” he got a disgusted look on his face, “Candy Corn?? Gross.”

Joke was on him in the end though, because guess what!

HE. LOVED. IT.

Like, eating-crumbs-from-the-bottom-of-the-cake-plate loved it.

What happens is this: the candy corn, already made of sugar, melts and mixes with the brown sugar and butter, and forms a super-caramelized candy coating on top of the cake…It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but I’ve definitely seen worse.  And sure I felt a little silly melting butter and then sprinkling it with brown sugar… and then sprinkling that with candy corn.  Over the top?  Maybe a little.

So those of you who love candy corn, prepare yourself for pure sugary bliss.

Those of you who hate candy corn, PREPARE YOURSELF FOR PURE SUGARY BLISS.  Please give it a try.  At the very least, I definitely found my new cake base for upside down cake.  It’s so light and delicate and … well, just make it.  You’ll see.

Candy Corn Upside Down Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the Glaze:

  • ⅓ cup (about 5 tablespoons) butter
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups candy corn

For the Cake:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment (I used a 9-by-2” round cake pan)

Melt ⅓ cup butter and pour into the pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter.  Sprinkle candy corn evenly on top.

In a medium bowl, sift or stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each until just incorporated.  Add vanilla extract and stir just to combine.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, in 2 to 3 additions (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour), scraping the sides as necessary. Beat on low speed until fully incorporated.  Carefully pour the batter into the pan (If you try to pour it all in at once, it will push all of your candy corn to the side).

Set a cookie tray under the cake in the oven, in case the candy bubbles or drips. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Let cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then VERY CAREFULLY invert the cake onto a plate.  Leave the pan in place for several minutes so the gooey mixture can drip down over the cake. After the dripping is done, lift off the pan (I had to pry mine with a fork). Serve while warm.

[ Adapted from Serious Eats ]

gooey butter cake

gooey-butter-cake

WARNING: THIS STUFF IS RICH.

I mean, really rich. And it takes a lot for me to say something is “rich”. Of course, what else could you expect from something out of the Momofuku recipe collection?

WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

Don’t believe me? Ingredients include: A stick of butter. A package of cream cheese. Oh, and  pound of powdered sugar. No big deal.

WARNING: ADDICTIVE

Baked in an 8 x 8 pan, this recipe claims to make 64 servings. 64 1-inch squares. Trust me, you’ll only need one square… but you’ll probably be back for more.

gooey butter cake

Yield: 64 1-inch squares

Ingredients

  • 'For the base:
  • 1 pound yellow cake mix (usually one box)
  • 4 ounces butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 'For the gooey butter topping:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, make the base by mixing together the dry cake mix, butter and 1 egg. Pat it into a parchment-lined 8-by-8-inch pan.
  2. 2. Make the gooey butter topping by creaming together the cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour it over the base cake mixture, spreading all the way to the edges. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden brown, and the center still tender, but cooked. (think: cheesecake)
  3. 3. Allow to cool completely in pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch-squares.

Notes

* For easier slicing, place in the freezer until firm, cut while cold, and transfer to mini-muffin papers.

*It is also helpful to have a warm, damp, clean rag to wipe your knife on in between slicing.

http://wee-eats.com/2012/01/01/gooey-butter-cake/

[ recipe courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar ]

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Peppermint Crack

peppermint crack 1

This wonderful little concoction is called, simply, “crack”. And, if you sprinkle peppermint on top, it becomes immediately festive “holiday crack” or “peppermint crack” or… something equally addictive but slightly more festive, it doesn’t really matter what you call it.

Sorry it’s too late for Christmas, but I’m sure you can make it for your New Year’s party as well. Or maybe for someone you fought with over the holidays and need to make up with? One bite of this and they won’t be able to stay mad… It’s so simple, and you wouldn’t believe what the actual ingredients are… the flavors, though, my god… salty, crunchy, chewy, sweet…. addictive. I guess that’s why they call it “crack”.

“Crack”

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 51 saltine crackers (or less, if you want to use the larger matzo crackers)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces high quality dark chocolate (70% or greater)
  • 2/3 cup crushed candy canes or peppermints (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 x 17 inch jelly roll pan with foil. Place saltine crackers salt side up and side-by-side in the pan as tightly as possible without overlapping. Use saltine pieces to fill any gaps at the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Chop chocolate so pieces are about the size of standard chocolate chips and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat stirring frequently with a spatula. Once butter has melted, add brown sugar and vanilla stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes or until mixture is an even dark brown color and has begun to bubble. Remove from heat and pour over saltines using spatula to spread sauce.
  3. Bake crackers for 5 minutes or until butter mixture begins to bubble. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate allowing the heat to melt the chocolate. Spread chocolate evenly with the spatula so all of the crackers are completely covered. (I had to pop mine back into the oven for a minute to encourage my chocolate to melt)
  4. Let the chocolate cool to the touch, but not harden. Sprinkle crushed candy canes or peppermints (if using) evenly on top and refrigerate until chocolate sets and hardens. Break apart and serve..

 

[ adapted from serious eats ]

s’more cookies, please

dsc_4973-21

So I don’t think this is what the BF meant when he asked for “s’more cookies” BUT…

Yeah, sorry. I’m horrible. Can’t stop myself from making s’more jokes. I’m so sorry. Please don’t hold it against me. Or these cookies.

While these aren’t traditional “Christmas” cookies, for some reason when it’s all cold out, I want things like chocolate, and marshmallows, whether it’s in cocoa or s’more form. Problem is, not everyone has the option of making s’mores in the winter… I mean, I’m not too good to “roast” marshmallows over the stove (not that I have to in AZ, we can roast marshmallows all year long), but these are a delightful alternative.

With graham crackers baked right into the cookie, and how cute are those little Hershey and marshmallow pieces sticking out? I swear I could die. I think these will be a new addition to my cookie boxes this year (hope none of you guys are reading this one…)

S’more Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (7-8 crackers)
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 Hershey bars, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

1. If necessary, crumble 8 graham crackers in a food processor. Measure 1 cup of crumbs and set aside.

2. Whisk graham crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and quickly push a few marshmallows and pieces of Hershey bar into the top of each cookie.

5. Return cookies to the oven to finish baking, about 2 t0 3 more minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

[ adapted from cookie madness ]

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soft baked sugar cookies

soft-sugar-cookieI can’t believe it’s December already. Where did the year go? Also, what happened to my plans to save up this year so that I would be ready for Christmas? This year, like so many others, my friends and family will be receiving my annual cookie boxes in lieu of real gifts. Sorry, guys, find me a job that makes more money, and I will buy you better gifts. Not that anyone’s complained…

Last year’s lineup was: snickerdoodle blondies, TKOs, palmiers, peppermint graham crackers, marshmallows, and friendship bread. This year, I’m still narrowing down my list, but I think that I want to include a sugar cookie. But then there is the issue of what KIND of sugar cookie… I’m trying to narrow my options down… Problem being that I don’t generally make sugar cookies. Not during the other 11 months out of the year, at least.

                  

So this is option 1 – soft baked sugar cookies. Just like you get from the grocery store. You know the ones – they come loaded with frosting and sprinkles, not a speck of brown in sight. Just pure, soft, melt-in-your-mouth pillows of sugar. I thinned my frosting a bit too much, but was already disheartened from not getting it as red as i wanted, so I gave up and just went ahead frosting them. Plus, I thought it looked pretty that way.

I’m not sure if they will make the cut for this year’s Christmas cookie boxes, but I think I can make these again… during one of the other 11 months of the year…

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the cookies:
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 sticks butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups powdered sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7-8 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; line sheets with parchment.

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla until blended. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

3. When ready to bake, scoop into 1-ounce balls (about 1 tablespoon) and gently press down center to flatten a little bit. Bake 10 – 12 minutes until set, they should not be browned at all. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. To frost the cookies, sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl, whisking until smooth. If frosting is too thick, whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar.

* To save for later, scoop into 1-ounce balls, flatten slightly, then freeze to bake at a later date. Add a couple extra minutes to the baking time if baking from frozen.

*Baking in 1-ounce balls, this batter will make up to 4 dozen cookies

[ Adapted from Annie’s Eats ]