Treat Yourself!

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We all look for and crave love. We feel special when we’re loved. We feel supported and happy. But the truth is that the love that we have for one another will never complete us. We are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory. So how can we possibly complete one another? The good news, however, is that our Savior, Jesus Christ, does complete that love. When He died on the cross to save us from our sins, He completed that love and allowed us to be complete in Him. His love surpasses anything that we could ever imagine.

1 John 4:12-16 says, “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

What a wonderful passage to reflect on this month of April! We are loved by a Creator who wants to be near to us, to have a personal relationship with us. That is a love that completes us. If Christ is in the center of any relationship you have, He will complete it. We don’t have to. We are full of imperfections, but our Savior is flawless. All we need is His love.

On that note of love, I think it’s time to treat ourselves to something decadent, gooey, chewy and chocolate! The first recipe is for Salted Caramel Brownie Sundaes, an indulgent, mouth-watering treat. The second is a creamy marshmallow dip that can be served with an assortment of fruits, and the last is Rice Krispy Treat Hearts with White Chocolate drizzle, a fun one for the kids or the kids at heart!

Salted Caramel Brownie Sundaes

Ingredients:

¾ Cup Cocoa Powder

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

2/3 Cups Butter, melted

½ Cup Boiling Water

2 Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 1/3 Cups Flour

1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Sea Salt Caramel Gelato (I use Talenti brand)

For the Salted Caramel:

1 Cup Sugar

6 Tablespoons Butter, cut into tablespoons

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ Cup Heavy Cream

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and baking soda. Stir in half of the melted butter until smooth. Whisk in the boiling water until fully combined. Mix in the sugar, eggs, remaining melted butter, vanilla and salt. Lastly, add the flour and chocolate chips until just combined, being sure not to over-stir.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread the top to even it out and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before assembling sundaes.

While the brownies are baking, take out a medium saucepan to make the salted caramel. Pour in the sugar and cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. The sugar will get lumpy and then start to melt and turn brown. Once it is fully melted and a dark amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. The mixture will come to a rapid boil. Once that is fully combined, pour in the heavy cream and sea salt. Stir until smooth and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.

To assemble the sundaes, cut one or two brownies. Stack them on top of each other. Scoop a generous helping of gelato on top of the brownie, and drizzle the caramel over the top. Dive in with a spoon and enjoy!

Tip: If you aren’t a salted caramel fan, simply omit it from the salted caramel recipe. You can also use a different kind of gelato like vanilla or coffee flavored.

Marshmallow Dip

Ingredients:

8 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened

7 oz. Jar Marshmallow Crème

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with an assortment of fruits.

Rice Krispy Treat Hearts with White Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients:

¼ Cup Butter, plus more for baking sheet and handling

10 oz. Mini Marshmallows

1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

5 Cups Rice Krispy Cereal

12 oz. White Chocolate Chips

Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter

Assorted Sprinkles

Grease a baking sheet with softened butter, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the ¼ cup butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and vanilla, and stir continually until almost all of the marshmallows are melted. Stir in the Rice Krispy Cereal until it’s all melted together. Remove from heat.

Working quickly, scoop the Rice Krispy mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using plastic disposable gloves or plastic bags coated with butter, smooth it out into a single, flat layer. Be careful. It will be very hot. I always use my hands with plastic gloves. If it’s too hot for you, grease a rolling pin with butter. Roll it out, being sure not to press down too hard. Let it cool for ten minutes before cutting with a cookie cutter.

Meanwhile, temper the chocolate by filling a saucepan with one to two quarts of water to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and put a stainless steel or microwaveable bowl on top, creating a double boiler. Pour your white chocolate chips inside the bowl and stir continuously until it melts. It may take some time to melt. Do not add any liquid to the chocolate chips. If you do, it will seize up. Once it’s melted, set the bowl aside.

Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter cut hearts out of the Rice Krispy treats. Then, drizzle or dip them in the white chocolate. Decorate them with sprinkles.