Monday, February 11, 2013

Nutty Nougat Caramel Bites


This recipe was SO good. It tastes like a specialty candy bar. I am not that big of a candy fan because I like baked goods much more but these were DELICIOUS! Might even be one of my new favorite desserts. I even think the butterscotch brownie base would be amazing by itself or with some sort of frosting. Heaven! Note: The measurements might seem somewhat weird but I only made a half batch and this is the recipe halved.

It may seem like there are tons of ingredients and lots of steps but it is SO easy. And you won't be sorry you spent a little extra time making this delicious dessert.

Ingredients for the Cookie Base 
1 c + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 pkg butterscotch pudding mix ( about 1,5 oz. )
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c + 1 Tbsp NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch flavored morsels

Ingredients for the Nougat
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp NESTLÉ® CARNATION Evaporated Milk
1/2 jar ( 3,5 oz. ) marshmallow fluff
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c + 1 Tbsp peanuts, chopped (optional)

Ingredients for the Caramel Layer
1/2 pkg caramels ( 7 oz. )
2 Tbsp heavy cream (or evaporated milk)

Ingredients for the Frosting
1/2 c NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels
2 Tbsp NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

Directions for the Cookie Base
1. Line 8" square baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and both sugars until creamy.
4. Add pudding mix, egg, vanilla and mix well. With the speed on low, gradually add the dry ingredients.
5. Stir in butterscotch morsels.
6. Pat the dough into prepared pan.
7. Bake 13 - 18 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. The center might be still soft, but it will set as it cools.
8. Lay a kitchen towel on the floor and drop the pan with cookie dough from 2 - 3 inches (supposedly this makes the base chewier, who knows if it works but I did it).
9. Cool the cookie dough completely in the pan, on wire rack.

Directions for the Nougat
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar and evaporated milk and stir. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Immediately, stir in marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, vanilla and peanuts ( if using ). Mix until smooth. Spread over the cookie base.
2. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until set.

Directions for the caramel:
1. Melt caramels with heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Stir until smooth. Spread over nougat layer. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Directions for the Frosting
1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt together butterscotch morsels, milk chocolate morsels and peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Spread over the caramel. Smooth out the top.
2. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until the frosting is set.
3. Let stand it room temperature for 10 minutes. 
4. Store airtight in refrigerator. Cut into 1-inch squares.

Note: I even froze some of mine for a sweet snack when I don't want to bake anything.

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