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Enjoy a plate of freshly baked chewy chocolate chip cookies with a hint of caramel.

The flavor of brown sugar is silky and sweet. With a perfect hint of caramel, brown sugar enhances the flavor and texture of cookies and breads. 

The rich flavor of brown sugar, whether it is the light or dark brown variety, comes from the amount of molasses found in the sugar. The molasses syrup in brown sugar gives it the trademark coloring but also adds moisture. 

To keep brown sugar fresh, you need to store the sugar in an airtight container. If the sugar becomes hardened, place the amount of sugar you need on a microwave-safe plate and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. 

 

Simply sweet oat muffins

Because these muffins go with just about anything, these are definitely one of my favorite muffins to make for a dinner party or for a family meal. 

1 cup buttermilk (no substitutions)

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

Soak the oats in the buttermilk for 15 minutes. Stir in the egg, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the oat and egg mixture until moistened. 

Fill a well-greased muffin pan with the batter (makes about 8 muffins) and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-18 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. 

 

Brown sugar and caramel banana bread

A unique banana bread that is perfect for a ladies’ brunch or warmed up with a scoop of ice cream for a quick dessert.

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3-4 medium bananas, mashed

¼ cup sour cream

2 large eggs

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Glaze:

3 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons half-and-half

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoons honey

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. 

In another bowl, mix together the mashed banana, sour cream, eggs, vanilla extract, and melted butter. 

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until blended. 

Pour the batter into a well-greased 9x5 loaf pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. 

In a saucepan, combine the butter, half-and-half, sugar, and honey; bring to a boil and then boil for 2 minutes. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 5-6 minutes. Pour glaze over the banana bread. Store in an airtight container.

 

Salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

These are Amazing! A delicious, soft cookie that is lightly crisped around the edges.

2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup salted butter, softened

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon caramel extract

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling

2 large eggs

1 (12 oz.) package semisweet chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, butter, and vanilla extract until light and creamy. 

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and one teaspoon of kosher salt. 

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. 

Add the eggs and caramel extract and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Use a scoop and place rounded tablespoons of the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes or just until lightly browned. Makes about 40-48 cookies. 

Remove cookies from the oven and sprinkle immediately with a very small amount of kosher salt.

 

Mud hen bars

A Southern cookie bar dessert with marshmallows and meringue.

First layer:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup salted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg and 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites)

1 ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Second layer:

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Top layer:

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (can use light or dark)

2 egg whites

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the whole egg, the egg yolks, and vanilla until combined. 

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder; add to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. 

Spread the dough in a well-greased 9x13 pan; press down the batter if necessary. 

Sprinkle this bottom layer evenly with the nuts, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows. 

In a metal mixing bowl, beat the two egg whites until stiff peaks appear. 

Fold in the brown sugar until well combined. Spread the brown sugar meringue evenly over the marshmallow layer, making sure to cover all the way to the pan’s edges. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cool completely.

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