Orange Gingerbread Fudge Bars


Growing up in South Florida, this was the time of year where we went in to our backyard and picked all the fresh oranges off our trees. We’d take them inside, juice them, and be drinking fresh orange juice for the next couple months.

Now, I’ve never been a huge gingerbread fan, but I don’t think there’s a holiday flavor that pairs better with orange, so I figured it was worth my toying with.

This week, things got a little experimental. I’ve been toying with substituting milk-based liquids for each other in a lot of my recipes with the hope that I might find some combo that I really enjoyed. What I’ve learned is that the mother nature doings involved with baking care less about the liquid involved and much more about the fat. With that in mind, I decided to use mascarpone cheese instead of heavy whipping cream. The result….a phenomenal texture that goes really well with the orange and gingerbread spices. 

Disclaimer: I’ve got two different recipes in here. The first, at least to my palate, was a little too heavy on the white chocolate with not enough gingerbread flavor. The second tasted spot on to me. But, the first was still a crowd pleaser, so I figure I’ll include both versions in here.



  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 10 graham crackers (can also use gingersnaps)
  • Zest from 1/2 orange


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses (1/3 cup for second recipe)
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese (just do it)
  • 6 ounces marshmallow cream
  • 1 12 oz bag white chocolate chips (8 oz for second recipe)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 orange
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare your baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. I’m not going to tell you what size to use because it doesn’t matter much. Set aside.
  3. Making the crust: Melt your butter. In a food processor, begin to grind together your graham crackers. Start to pour in melted butter, followed by orange zest, and grind until combined.
  4. Pour crust in to your baking dish. Bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Add marshmallow cream, white chocolate chips, orange zest + squeezed orange, and spices to a large mixing bowl. Set aside. We’re going to essentially make a ganache with this (pouring hot liquid over something to make it melt).
  6. In a large saucepan, add butter, sugars, molasses, and mascarpone. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring consistently, for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and pour over ingredients in mixing bowl. Blend until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.
  8. Pour over crust.
  9. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  10. Enjoy.


Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

Alright, this was my ultimate creation of my Thanksgiving pies. If you want a real crowd pleaser, this pie looks and tastes great. Not to mention, the bourbon caramel sauce can be used to make anything fantastic.

A couple key tips before we start: DON’T take the skin off the apples. The texture of having the whole apple really adds a nice crunch. DO use 2 different types of apples – one that is sweeter and one that’s a little more bitter.


  •  Pie Dough (bourbon included)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 4-6 apples
    • half Granny Smith
    • half Golden Delicious
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

Start with the dough we’ve made. On a floured surface, roll the dough in to an 11-12 inch disk. If you did the frisbee trick, your dough is probably already in this shape. Toss in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cut your apples in to 1/4 inch slices. Toss them in to a bowl and pour the lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and bourbon. You can use ground cinnamon, but I preferred grating cinnamon sticks over a microplane.

We’re going to do the apples in two waves, because one heap is going to be too much to cook evenly in the pan. In a medium saucepan on high heat, start to melt half of the butter. Pour half of the apples in to the pan, then toss in half of the sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves, then lower heat to medium temp until the apples become soft, about 5-7 minutes.

Pour all contents in to a bowl, then repeat process with the rest of the butter, apples and sugar. Strain the apples of the liquid, but keep that liquid.

Take your crust out of the fridge and place in pan. Brush the crust with your strained apple/bourbon/spices liquid. This will keep the crust moist and soft after baking.

Start to layer the apples in a circular formation around the crust. Slowly work your way towards the middle of the dough, then start again making a second layer. Your apple formation will look like this:


Drizzle the apples with any of your strained liquid that’s left, and dust a small amount of sugar on top.

Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

Now it’s bourbon caramel time. I’m telling you: this is by far the best thing I’ve made. It’s addicting. Beyond addicting.

Use my caramel recipe found here. Pour 1/4 cup of bourbon in to the heavy cream before adding it in. If the caramel is a little bit too liquid-y, put in freezer for about 15 minutes before starting to drizzle it all over the pie.


And now you’ve got yourself a Thanksgiving pie stunner.

Home Made Whipped Cream

My wife brought home whipped cream for Thanksgiving pies. So, I made some anyway. It’s really easy. And tastes fresher than what you’ll get in a can.

Here’s all you need:

  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • (Like the pie dough, add 1/4 tsp bourbon if making bourbon apple pie)

Tip courtesy of Alton Brown: place a metal bowl and hand mixer whisk attachment into the freezer for 15 minutes. It’ll help with how the cream stiffens.

Place the sugar in to the bowl, then add the whipping cream. Either hand whisking or using a hand mixer, whisk until the cream starts to peak.

I used this on top of this pumpkin pie recipe from Paula Deen. I didn’t even give any one an option to have it – put a nice helping of this whipped cream on top of your pie before you even bring it to the party.


Salted Caramel Brownies


It’s Monday, which means it’s a baking day. Fort Worth is starting to feel like fall, and I’ve been in a mood for pumpkin and/or salted caramel. I made pumpkin bread last week, so today was a caramel type of day. This recipe is pretty darn easy, but I do have a couple caveats:

-Make the caramel first. It can be tempting to just make it while the brownies are baking, but making it first gives the sugars time to rest and thicken. It’ll work either way, but I think it’s better with a firmer caramel.

-I’m a double the recipe type of guy, so if you aren’t in to sharing, cut the brownie recipe in half. The caramel can just be put in a container for more fun later (like dipping apples in), so I’d still make the same amount.

The Caramel Sauce

Don’t buy this in the store. It’s so easy to make. Here’s what you need:

-1/4 cup water
-1 cup sugar
-2/3 or 3/4 cup heavy cream (depending on how much you want to make)
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp sea salt
  1. Whisk together the water and sugar on medium heat. Keep whisking until the sugar dissolves and you start to see some bubbles.
  2. When you see bubbles, turn to high heat and stop stirring. Just stand there and look at it. Sounds dumb, but it’s cool to watch.
  3. When you see your mixture turn amber, take off heat. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION, because if you let it go too long, it’ll burn real quick. Eyes on the prize people. Whisk in heavy cream, vanilla, and sea salt one at a time, and stir until your hand gets tired (or it looks like caramel).
  4. Eat with spoon, then repeat steps to make sauce for brownies 😀.

The Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray baking pan(s).

Here what you need (remember, this is enough for two pans of these bad boys):

-3 sticks of butter (1 1/2 cups)
-8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (2 Ghirardelli chocolate bars)
-3 cups sugar
-6 eggs
-2 1/2 cups of flour
-1/2 cup cocoa powder (not dark chocolate; just normal chocolate – don’t get too crazy)
-1 tsp salt
-1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-Caramel sauce

Melt together your butter, semi-sweet chocolate, and half of your chocolate chips. For a little bit softer brownies, also add 1/4 cup of heavy cream (you should do this, but you do do).

Combine sugar and eggs in mixing bowl, then start to pour in your chocolate mixture. Once they’ve co-mingled enough, add in the flour and cocoa powder. Wait until you can’t see any more white, then add the salt and fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test – for a deeper pan, you will need to bake for 5 more minutes.

Take the goodies out the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour on your nice thick caramel sauce, let sit for 5 minutes, then stick in the fridge to cool (not totally necessary, but if you’ve got the time, let that caramel sauce seep in to the brownies).

Invite friends over, or don’t and eat them all yourself. Look at the pretty gloss. My wife just got a new mirror, but I’ll just stare in to this glass instead.