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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Upside Down Pineapple Cakes

I've been wanting to make mini upside down pineapple cakes for a while, but I haven't been able to find the mini bundt pan anywhere! Luckily, a dear friend found and bought it for me as a gift, and this was the first recipe I wanted to try out.

Typical pineapple cakes don't have the poppy seed and coconut, but you guys know me...I can't stick to traditional recipes :)  I love the way this turned out because they're SO cute and pretty to serve, plus they're incredibly moist and flavorful.

If you don't have the 12 mini bundt pan, you can use a 9x13 inch cake pan or the 6 serving 1-cup bundt pan.

Makes 24 mini bundt cakes or 1 large cake.

-20 ounce can chopped pinapple (drain and reserve juice)
-2 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup brown sugar

-18.25 ounce yellow cake mix
-1 1/4 cup pineapple juice (from the reserved juice)
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-3 eggs
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
-1/4 cup poppy seeds
-1/2 cup shredded coconut

To make:
-Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
-Puree the drained pineapple in a food processor until finely chopped. Combine with butter and brown sugar and cook on medium heat for about ten minutes until the mixture is slightly browned. Spread about 1 tablespoon of pineapple mixture into the bottom of each bundt pan.
-Combine the cake ingredients and blend with a mixer for 2 minutes. Divide evenly among the bundt pans.
-Bake for 18-20 minutes or until fork comes out clean. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the pan and flip onto a large sheet pan. Leave the pan flipped over for 1 hour before removing to insure that the pineapple topping comes off the pan.
-Enjoy :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

I've been baking a lot of desserts lately, and these bars still reign up there as one of the best things I make. Consider yourselves lucky to get this recipe; its easy and delicious, which makes it super special :)

These cookie bars are LOADED with goodness. Caramel, coconut, chocolate chips, nuts......mmmmmmmm!  They are rich and gooey, and a little bit goes a long way, but since they have nuts they are semi-healthy ;) Customizing options are limitless, I like to vary the types of chocolate chips I add, frequently using peanut butter chips or toffee bits. Cover these well and they will stay fresh for about a week.

Makes 24 squares

-3 cups raw cookie dough (make your own or use store bought refrigerated)
-1 1/2 cups quick-cook oats
-dash of salt
-5 tablespoons flour
-2/3 cup caramel sauce
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-3/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
-1 1/2 cups TOTAL chocolate chips (I use a variety of milk chocolate, white chocolate and peanut butter chips)
-1 cup shredded coconut

To make:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add oats and salt, mixing until well blended. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture and press the rest into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, until dough puffs up and appears dry.
-In a small bowl, combine flour, caramel sauce and vanilla. Stir until mixture is combined.
-Remove pan from oven and sprinkle walnuts, chocolate chips and shredded coconut.
-Drizzle caramel mixture evenly over the toppings, then crumble reserved cookie dough.
-Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
-Remove from oven and cool completely.
-Cut into squares and enjoy :)

*Note: This will take its shape after cooling completely, otherwise it will appear to be too soft. Don't over bake otherwise it will harden.

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