Tag: Big E Fair

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Candy Bar Cookies

These Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Candy Bar Cookies were so fun to make. My elation came from experimenting and making them in a variety of ways…and of course tasting and sharing them with others.

In their previous form, these hailed from the Big E Fair, where Francis, a local “contester” won a blue ribbon with her Grandma’s Favorite Cookies. As an aside here: the Big E is not a state fair technically, but it is a huge and highly regarded fair in the Northeast, and we love great fairs! Anyway. I digress. Back to the cookie!

Salted caramel is pretty much a “sure thing” as a crowd pleaser…and we all loved this one. I’ve adapted the recipe some, but it’s inspired by what the winner Francis made. I also renamed it to Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Candy Bar Cookies. Originally they were titled: Grandma’s Favorite Cookies. The delicious cookie dough has both chocolate chips and chunks of chocolate-caramel candy bars (think Cadbury Caramello).

Cadbury Carmello

You top each cookie with a sprinkling of sea salt before you bake it. I finished these with a caramel drizzle. I will never tire of the salty/sweet combo. And when I say never, I mean never!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Candy Bar Cookies – Step by Step

See the full recipe below, but for some inspiration, here are the main steps. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Separately, mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) and add them to the wet ingredients.

cookie dough

Then add the chocolate chips and candy bar chunks.

I used a knife to incorporate the candy bar chunks more evenly throughout the dough. It worked great. About now it looks like this.

chocolate chip cookie dough

Spoon out the dough and roll into balls. I did mine about 1 1/2 inch round in size.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Candy Bar Cookies Step 4

Place them on your prepped baking sheet, flatten them slightly with the bottom of a glass. Then add a sprinkling of salt. As a result, all the flavors will really “pop.”


Bake at 350 degrees F for about 12-14 minutes, or until a slight brown shows up around the edges. I like a crispier cookie, at least on the outside, so the first time around I put mine in on the longer side. I experimented with another batch and did smaller cookies that ended up tasting like an amped up Chips Ahoy.

Another time I took them out on the early side for my peeps who like their cookies more tender. My final batch I baked the dough into mini muffin tins. Perfect for topping with ice cream.

Cookie ala mode

This was how I served them as dessert to friends who gave them a huge thumbs up. They have already asked when they can come by again for “seconds.” And that pleases me to no end.



p.s. If you love variations on the classic chocolate chip cookie, be sure to also try this Oreo-infused version, here.



Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

This Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart is colorful, scrumptious and extraordinarily simple to make.

Aromatic crushed fennel seeds in the crust deliver a delicious dimension you smell and taste with every bite. As a result, the tart’s flavor is distinct and unforgettable.

Fontina, an Italian cheese known for its smooth texture, gives the tart a richness that pairs perfectly with fresh tomatoes. The onions, olives and fresh thyme sprigs  add to the tart’s gourmet taste and vibrant appearance.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

This Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart is hearty but not heavy, which makes it perfect for brunch or dinner. It also reheats well. Add it to your meal-planning today. You are going to love it!

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

Recipe credit goes to Anne Crouss who won at the Big E Fair (2013), first place in a contest General Mills’ baking division sponsored for family-favorite meals. We simply made it with a thicker crust. We’ve made the crust both with Bisquick, and a flour version (Fennel Seed Pie Crust). Both are delicious!

Baking Tips

  • Follow the step by step images below to take a tour through this blue ribbon winning recipe.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

  • Don’t skip placing the tomato slices on paper towels stage as it dries them out just enough to prevent too much juice draining into the pie and making the crust soggy.
  • Can’t find Fontina? Go with a Gouda, Gruyere, or provolone as substitutes. They have comparable texture and richness.
  • If you prefer thinner crusts, use an oversize 12-inch pie pan (which is how Anne, the recipe creator, made it originally).
  • Want to use Bisquick for the crust? Use 1 1/2 cups of the mix and 6 tablespoons butter instead of the flour and butter amounts listed.

If you love savory pies, be sure to also try this Savory Butternut Squash Pie or these Spicy Chicken Hand Pies.

Step by Step Images

First, prepare your crust. Use the Bisquick version the winner did (in recipe below), or if you prefer flour instead, use the Fennel Seed Pie Crust recipe we tested and approved.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

Second – once the crust is parbaked and cooled…begin the layering. Start with the Italian Fontina Cheese.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

Third, load up most of the tomatoes.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

Next, combine the chopped olives, onion, fresh thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add them on top of the tomatoes.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

After adding the olive/onion mixture, as the last step, add the remaining tomatoes. Now it is ready to go into the oven.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart

Finally, bake, then let it cool a bit before adding fresh thyme sprigs, slicing. and serving.

Fresh Tomato & Fontina Cheese Tart




Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

These loaded Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies are packed with deliciousness. They have Oreos and Golden Grahams cereal, both finely chopped, granulated in fact, in a food processor. They also have sea salt which makes each bite pop with tastiness. While we need no excuse to bake, THIS weekend is THE ideal weekend to make these. Not only is Saturday is National Oreo Cookie Day (March 6), but Sunday is also National Cereal Day (March 7). These cookies are super easy to bake also, as in, a prep time of 15 minutes. And you’re going to love their taste and texture.

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Stacked

Marvelous Mix Ins

In addition to Oreos and Golden Grahams, they have chopped caramels, toffee bits, and two different sized chocolate chips. And they are another blue ribbon winning recipe. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with these cookies. I’ve skipped the caramel and upped the toffee bits. I’ve also done the reverse, skipping the toffee and increasing the caramel. I’ve also done versions with chocolate chunks instead of chips. All of them, completely delicious.

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Close Up

Blue Ribbon Bragging Rights

Recipe credit for these Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies goes to Michelle Pontbriant. She won her blue ribbon and bragging rights at the Big E Fair in Springfield, Massachusetts. She won a Gold Medal Flour cookie contest with this creation back in 2016. I recall her being a runner and having an “aha moment” when on a run one day, to puree the cookies and cereal together. They give the cookie a terrific tasting texture. You get a bit of caramel, toffee, and chocolate in every bite.

These are such a tasty twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie. Bake these soon my fellow blue ribbon foodies!


p.s. If you’re a fan of Golden Grahams, you should also try these Peanut Butter S’more No-Bake Cookies. They have the same cereal in them.