Tag Archives: Salted Caramel

Fifth Birthday for the Twins

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This year, I was told that the boys wanted chocolate cake, and the theme should be Star Wars. Now I am somewhat at a loss when it comes to Star Wars; I am certain that at some time I saw at least one of the movies, but I remember nothing in particular except there was Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia. Wow, that probably was the 1977 movie!!

So, I came up with three ideas. First, I know the kids like the pull-apart cupcakes and my first thought was to make something that would be mostly a shape formed from cupcakes. The most obvious shape to me seemed to be the space ship- Millenium Falcon. I also found some cake toppers of Luke and Darth battling it out with their light sabers. I decided to give the cake some third dimension by making it from a combination of regular size and mini cupcakes.

I tried to make all my cake batter this year from a “semi-home-made” recipe. I had gotten the ideas for adding/changing ingredients of a standard boxed cake mix from the Decorette Shop which were to make the cake tastier and fuller. I had some problems and need to run some further experiments before I publish all the directions for making “semi-home-made” cakes. Needless to say, for most of the cake I made for this year’s birthdays, I use triple chocolate cake mix in a box.
To keep from killing the chocolate taste of the cake, I chose to use almost exclusively a white chocolate butter cream frosting. I wanted the lighter color of the white chocolate rather than a brown chocolate. I then colored small amounts of the frosting for the black and blue piping on the figures. I also colored some of the frosting into a blue-grey color to represent metal. That shows up on the Death Star.
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If the cupcakes of the Millennium Falcon were primarily for the kids, then the Death Star was primarily for taste, and for the adults. I started by making two dome cakes- again with the semi-home-made triple chocolate batter. Then I split each dome horizontally into fourths and filled it. I took the ideas for filling from the cookies that Mindy made on my last trip to Seattle- Salted Caramel & Nutella Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip. So the top layer is filled with Nutella, the middle layer is chocolate- make that white chocolate ganache with a touch of strawberry jam- and the bottom layer is the salted caramel ganache. Finally, I had to frost the cake somewhat like a death star might appear. The photo I found showed it as a metal egg with lots of black “windows”. I had a bunch of engineering to do to get the cake put together. First there was getting the windows on it. I decided to try to stencil the black onto the gun metal gray. I thought I had the stencils all figured out, but I didn’t account for the contour of the egg not being constant, but instead having some points that had different radii because my frosting wasn’t exactly the same thickness all over. I also had a stenciling problem, primarily on the bottom rows, where I didn’t get the gray smooth enough; the stencils allowed the black to creep under their edge and make a mess where the frosting should have stayed gray.

Perhaps the bigger engineering problems was to make the lower dome stand on its small end, and support the upper dome. I used some of the ideas from Cake Decorating Level 1 for stacked cakes- the final lesson in that class.

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Finally, I felt the boys needed something on the order of a standard birthday cake with candles to blow out, and so I made two 10 inch round cake layers as a starting point; I was devoting one of the layers to each of the boys. Again, I split the layers and filled them with white chocolate ganache, and then frosted the sides of the cakes in white chocolate butter cream. Here is where I changed courses slightly. I frosted the tops of the cakes in chocolate butter cream. I actually did two layers on top; the first layer is a standard frosting, and then I thinned the frosting to near liquid form so that it would run and re-frosted the top of the cake pushing the extra frosting over the sides to run down the white sides of the cake. I had seen something like this done and wanted to try it.

The reason for going brown on the top of the cakes was so the Storm Troopers would stand out. They are all white, and they hold the candles for the birthday cakes.
The Storm Troopers are white cupcakes, cored and filled with white chocolate ganache, frosted with white chocolate butter cream with a marshmallow as a head stuck on top. I used a special food marking pen to draw the face mask on the marshmallow. I have to give credit for the technique to a blogger with the name Maija.

Having delivered the cakes, and tasted some of them, I think the Storm Trooper cupcakes were the most tasty; they were light, and moist because of the ganache in the center. I was disappointed with the Death Star for several reasons. I had added chocolate chips to the batter, and that made it very dense; it was not light and moist. The fillings did not do the trick. Because the Nutella was on the top layer, there was not much of it. The middle ganache layer seemed to lose its body- perhaps any moisture in it was absorbed by the cake. And I didn’t think the salted caramel really was strong enough for the amount of cake and frosting there was. We did not cut into the platform cakes, but I believe they should be better than the Death Star, but probably still too dense.
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I have updated the article on Icings, Glazes and Frostings to include the directions for making white chocolate ganache and crusting white chocolate buttercream frosting.

Rolo filled Bon Bon Cookies

Ever since I made the salted caramel filled Bon Bon cookies, I have wanted to make the filling a Rolo rather than the chips I had used; Rolos seem to be the desired source for caramel because they are available at all types of markets. It took me several attempts before I came to what I felt was a success.

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My early attempts would find the cooked cookie cracked and leaking caramel- not something I would want to serve. I had started my attempts by only replacing the chocolate Kiss with the Rolo; then I even tried cutting the Rolo in half since the weight of the Rolo is almost twice the weight of the Kiss.

Finally, I decided I had to see how others were keeping the Rolo embedded in their cookies. The place I focused was a website where the author – Sally- was making a caramel embedded chocolate chip cookie. I started by following her recipe and making a batch of the cookies. I must say, they answered the question about how to embed a Rolo in a chocolate chip cookie. If you like that idea for a cookie, then head on over to the website and check it out –Sally’s Baking Addiction.
These salted-caramel chocolate chip cookies are really big- about 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter!

I have a couple notes from making Sally’s recipe. She reserves a half cup of chocolate chips for pressing onto the top of the cookie just before baking; I found that probably 1/4 cup of chocolate chips was enough to reserve, but I would not put the rest into the dough- the 1/2 cup there is enough. Making the dough does not need a mixer; a whisk and spatula are enough as the dough is quite soft at this point. It hardens in the refrigerator, and then is almost too hard to scoop; you may want to wait more than 10 minutes for it to soften after it comes out of the refrigerator. Because the cookies are so large, I found it safest to move them from the cookie sheet to the wire racks using a pan cake turner.

From making that recipe, I learned three things that I needed to change in the Bon Bon recipe to use it with the Rolos.

  • The amount of dough surrounding the Rolo has to be increased.
  • The cooking temperature needs to be decreased.
  • The cookies need to be cooled on a flat surface, not a wire rack.

In making the chocolate chip cookies, Sally uses a total of 3 Tablespoons of dough. Now her dough has chocolate chips in it, so the 3 Tablespoons doesn’t translate directly to Bon Bon dough. I tried both 1 Tablespoon and 1.5 Tablespoons and I think the answer is at least 1 Tablespoon and maybe a bit less than 1.5 Tablespoons. Okay, the original chocolate filled Bon Bon I was measuring the dough with a #110 scoop; since a #64 is 1 Tablespoon, the #110 is more like 60% of a Tablespoon, or just under 2 teaspoons. For my experiments, I used a #50 and a #60 scoop. The #60 is just more than 1 Tablespoon (#64) and the #50 is just less than 1.5 Tablespoons (#48).

The Chocolate filled Bon Bon recipe uses an oven temperature of 350 degrees; I noted that Sally uses the temperature at 325 degrees with about the same cooking time. So I lowered the temperature for the Rolo filled Bon Bon by 25 degrees to 325 degrees.

Finally, the above steps stopped the cracking of the cookie and the obvious leaking of the caramel but there is still a soft spot on the bottom of the cookie. (I noticed that Sally’s salted caramel chocolate chip cookies also had this soft spot). If I cool the cookie on a wire rack, the hot caramel sometimes would leak through the soft spot and drop through the holes in the wire rack. If the cookie is cooled all the way on the cooking sheet, then the caramel can’t escape and the cooled cookie looks perfect. Sally cools her cookies for a full 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them, so I suggest the same treatment for the Rolo filled Bon Bon cookies.

Update: I have just made a new batch of these cookies, and found a couple pieces of advice to give you. First, I used the new Mini Rolos instead of the regular Rolos. One advantage is that you do not need to unwrap them; they come without individual wrappings. The second advantage is that you can now use less dough to cover the rolo; I was able to get nearly 100% perfect cookies using my 1 Tablespoon scoop. (Actually it is a #60). I am not changing the recipe below because it still reads correctly. Previously, when I was using the regular Rolos, I had to use my #50 scoop which is more dough (about 1.28 Tablespoons) and thus, a bigger cookie.

I also found that the Rolo wasn’t picking up the salt as much as I desired. To solve that problem, I moistened a paper towel, and placed a few Rolos at a time on it. I placed about a dozen Rolos on the moist towel while I was working on a cookie sheet; by the time I used them, they were picking up the salt nicely.

Rolo Filled Bon Bons

  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very finely ground nuts (pecans or almonds)
  • 2 Tablespoons course Salt (Sea Salt?)
  • 1/2 bag Rolos

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove foil from about 36 Rolo candies. You may need a few more or less depending upon how big you scoop the balls of dough; I measured the total dough at 48 Tablespoons.

Cream together Crisco and both sugars. Add egg, vanilla and extract. Beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and nuts.

Roll at least 1 Tablespoon of dough into a ball. Press a thumb-print into the ball. Pick up a Rolo, press it into the course salt, and then place it into the thumb-print in the dough ball. Press the ball around the Rolo so that the candy is completely enclosed. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue making Rolo filled balls and placing them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 minutes—do not overbake. Allow cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before moving them to wire racks to completely cool.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Salted Caramel Cookies

A few weeks ago, I was at my favorite bake shop – Blake’s Decorette Shop– looking for chocolate and molds in order to make Easter bunnies. I mean, what is Easter without a chocolate rabbit from which to bite the ears? Anyway, in looking at the various types of chocolate, I happened to see a bin that said “Sea Salt Caramel Wafers”. I know how great Salted Caramel tastes; when Mindy and I go to Molly Moons for ice cream, we often have some salted caramel. So, I bought a package. At that time, I didn’t have any idea about how I would use it.

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So, this week I decided to put the salted caramel into cookies. I decided it should go into two different kinds of cookies- Bon Bons, and Chocolate Chip cookies. And I have just finished that exercise and have to say that it really puts a new flavor pallet on those cookies.

The Bon Bon cookies were quite simple to change to use the wafers instead of the candy kiss. I put two wafers in each ball, and the operation was no different than wrapping the dough around the candy kiss. Because the dough has so much nut flour in it, it is easy to handle.

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I can’t say the same for the chocolate chip cookies; I think I have said before that the Toll House cookie recipe is my favorite, and that is what I used this time. The dough is quite sticky, and you need to work around the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. I increased the size of the scoop/disher I was using to try to add more dough and help me seal the two salted caramel wafers inside the cookie. I tried to do an operation similar to wrapping the Bon Bon dough around the wafers. I have since read that you might make two small balls of the dough – about 1 Tablespoon each- and then squeeze the wafers between the two balls. I have also had a suggestion that refrigerating the dough for a while before working with it might make it less sticky. Again, I did not try that this time.