Caramel Crisp Brownies

Y’all, you know that I have to give credit where credit is due and boy does Donna Hay know what she’s doing!

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I saw this recipe on Pinterest and immediately knew I had to replicate the Australian best-seller’s recipe The Dessert Project way. If you love to make treats from scratch, though, please check out the original recipe here, it’s truly divine!

Caramel Crisp Brownies
Ingredients
– 1 8×8 brownie mix, prepared per directions
– 1 bag caramel bits
– 2 cups crisp rice cereal
– 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chip
– 1 cup heavy cream

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare and bake brownie mix per package directions, but be sure to line your baking pan with parchment paper with overlapping panels. This is necessary to getting the sticky bars out when finished!

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3. Once brownies are done baking, set off to the side to cool and melt you your caramel per package directions.
4. Stir in crisp rice cereal until fully coated, then pour caramel crisp mixture over brownie and smooth into an even layer.
5. Heat heavy cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until hot and small bubbles form.
6. Pour chocolate chips into a mixing bowl and top with hot cream. Let sit one minute, then stir until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
7. Pour molten chocolate onto caramel layer, then place the whole pan into the refrigerator to set. This should take at least 1 hour, but can be left over night to develop flavors.
8. Once set and ready to serve, lift Caramel Crisp Brownies out of the pan by the parchment “flaps”. Carefully peel off all parchment.
9. Using a sharp knife dipped into hot water, slice brownies into squares. I chose to cut into 16 squares, but you can go larger or smaller depending on your crowd.

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These brownies are sure to please everyone at your next event or just knock the socks off your loved ones as a delicious surprise!

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If you love caramel and chocolate combinations, “like” this post and don’t forget to make them at home and send me a comment with how they turned out; or better yet, snap a pic and post it on Instagram with #thedessertproject caption!

Tiramisu Melted Ice Cream Cake

I looooove ice cream.

It’s my favorite dessert of all time.

I also love a good, moist slice of cake. Who doesn’t, right?

So imagine my surprise when pinning one night, I found out that you can make rich, light, crumbly cake with melted ice cream! Score!

It sounds a little funny, but with just 3 ingredients (plus some imagination in the flavor department), you can create a rustic masterpiece like this!

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The combinations are truly endless, but I opted to make a Tiramisu version since I’ve been craving a dessert that is just slightly sweet, and pairs well with a steaming hot cup of coffee. The cake texture also reminds me of the ladyfingers used in the best Italian Tiramisu.

Tiramisu Melted Ice Cream Cake
Ingredients
– 1 white cake mix
– 3 eggs
– 1 pint OR 2 cups (coffee) ice cream, melted – use a high quality like Haagen Daz or Ben&Jerry’s for best results

Extra Ingredients used for Tiramisu Version:
– 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped fine
– 1 small container Marscarpone cheese
– 1/4 cup powdered sugar
– High quality cocoa, for dusting

Directions
1. Combine cake mix, eggs, and melted ice cream and mix until combined thoroughly. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped chocolate pieces.
2. Pour into a greased, floured, and parchment lined jelly roll pan (the baking pan that has the 1 inch sides)
3. Bake cake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine marscarpone and powdered sugar and mix well. Refrigerate until using.
5. Let cake cool completely, then de-pan and cut into 3 equal sections.
6. Top first layer with half of marscarpone mixture. Spread evenly then sprinkle with half of remaining chocolate pieces.
7. Top with another layer of cake and repeat step 6.
8. Top with last layer of cake, then using a fine sieve, dust top with cocoa powder.

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Pour yourself an espresso, black coffee, or cappuccino. Sit on your front porch with a slice or two of your Tiramisu Melted Ice Cream Cake and watch the sun rise.

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What a perfect start to your day, right?!

And I know what you’re thinking….Dessert can totally be breakfast when you’re an adult 😉

If you love tiramisu or starting your morning off with a little something sweet, “like” this post and leave me a comment below with the combo you’re going to try!

Buckeyes

Hey y’all! How was your week? I hope filled with scrumptious sweets!

Don’t you just love eating treats that remind you of your home and childhood? I was asked by a wonderful friend of mine to make these Buckeyes for another Ohio friend of ours who is having her birthday this week.

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I normally make these for the start of Ohio State University’s football season, but who can resist when asked so nicely! All being born-and-bred Ohians, it’s a right of passage to make these delectable little candies. They are rich, peanut-buttery, and sweet; not to mention they represent everything holy in my world 😉

Try these out even if you’re not an Ohio native or Buckeye Football fan like me and mine are. Think Reese’s, but creamier…drool…

Buckeyes
Ingredients
– 1.5 cups creamy peanut butter
– 2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter
– 1 Tablespoon vanilla
– 5-6 cups powdered sugar
– 1-1.5 bags chocolate chips

Directions
1. In a mixer, combine peanut butter, softened butter, and vanilla. Mix well.
2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until dough looks slightly crumbly, but forms a solid (but not sticky) dough when pinched with your fingers.
3. Form into one inch balls and place on a wax paper or foil lined baking sheet.

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4. Insert a toothpick into the center of each peanut butter ball.

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5. Freeze for 30 minutes. This is imperative for easy dipping!!
6. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe glass or measuring cup.
7. Carefully dip peanut butter balls until 2/3 covered.
8. Place back on baking sheet and freeze until chocolate sets.
9. Carefully remove toothpicks. You can try to smooth out the PB, but I just leave the holes. They add character.
10. Store in freezer for safe keeping (and slower devouring to save your waistline 😉 )

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If you are from Ohio or love the Buckeyes (even just these candy ones!) “like” this post and share your photos by tagging them with #vcdessertproject on Instagram or posting in the comments below!

Salted Chocolate Cake Pops

Boy oh boy…you’d think I’d learn, but noooo! I hop on Pinterest or YouTube, see adorably decorated cake pops and go, “I can make those! Cake pops are easy!”

And then reality hits, I’m covered in chocolate, and there’s the poor clumps of cake pop that didn’t make it through the war process.

For now, though, here are the few cake pops that made it to photographing!

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Now, I know that this time around, my problem was that I used too much frosting in my pops (a whole can…) They were too soggy for dipping despite me trying to freeze them overnight. Don’t make the same mistake I did. It’s tempting, but it’ll make the process so much more difficult!!

Albeit this week being a little more…interesting…these cake pops still turned out deliciously sweet and salty!

Salted Chocolate Cake Pops
Ingredients
– 1 box white cake mix, prepared per directions
– 1/2 can Chocolate frosting (I used the new chocolate caramel frosting from Hershey’s and I think it gives great depth of flavor to this recipe)
– 1 package dark chocolate candy melts
– lollipop sticks
– Sea salt

Directions
1. Crumble baked and cooled cake and combine with frosting until well mixed.
2. Using a small scoop, form 1 inch touch balls of dough.
3. Place balls onto wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze for one hour.
4. Re-roll balls in hands to form smooth round pops.
5. Melt a bit of chocolate and use to insert sticks into pops. Chill for 10 minutes.
6. In a tall glass microwave-safe container, melt Candy Melts. Submerge pops and tap off excess.
7. Place back on wax paper or in styrofoam to set. While chocolate is still went, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
8. Cool in refrigerator until chocolate hardens.

Keep in mind, you’ll want a glass of milk or coffee with these. They are rich, chocolatey, and dense.

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Y’all, if you’ve got a secret on how to make foolproof cake pops I’d love to hear ’em in the comments below and make sure to “like” this post if you want to see more like it!

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Warning: if you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight, stop reading now. You will not want to put yourself through the agony of reading this post and seeing the pictures fully well knowing that if you ate this, it would set you back 3 months progress….

So call me Paula Deen this week. I have made these rich, sweet squares before for a school event and everyone went NUTS for them. I mean, “Can I have the secret recipe?! Those were DIVINE!” (Said in the best Louisianan accent you can muster in your head) Little did they know that there’s a whole stick of melted butter as one of the ingredients….shhh…don’t tell or pretend you didn’t just read that….

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Now, while unhealthy, I can just about guarantee that if you love cheesecake, these Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares will be one of your new faves. Although they aren’t thick and dense like the best 8-hour cheesecake, they will fill a craving in a pinch.

To give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into….my house smells like a Cinnabon had a baby with The Cheesecake Factory. Heavenly, but deadly in high amounts.

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares
from the Pillsbury Website
Ingredients
– 2 cans original crescent rolls
– 2, 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese
– 1.5 cups sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a glass 9×13 pan, press one can of crescent rolls in to the bottom, crimping the seams.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and ONE cup of sugar. Blend in vanilla and mix until smooth.
4. Spread “cheesecake” layer onto crescent roll sheet in pan.
5. Top carefully with second can of unrolled crescent rolls.
Note: do this on a cutting board instead of in the pan like I did. The crescent gods did not work in my favor…

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6. Pour melted butter over the top.
7. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly across surface.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until center is just barely set.

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9. Cool on counter for 20 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for complete cooling. Cut when cool.

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I love these served with a honey drizzle. Not that it needs any more sweetness, but it sure does make for a pretty presentation.

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if you love cheesecake, like this post and don’t forget to tag your Instagram pics with #thedessertproject or post them in the comments!