Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

Merry Christmas in July! It’s probably hard to think about Christmas during this time of the year, especially with everything going on in the world. I am longing for those cooler days though. I totally get that summer is supposed to be warm and some days hot, but, I just feel that this summer has had more days of unbearable heat and humidity than in recent years. Even the days that haven’t been that hot have been too humid for my liking. If it’s 83 degrees, I want it to feel like 83 and not 93 because of other factors. In my post for last year’s Christmas in July recipe, Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies, I discussed the origins of the “holiday.” This year I am sharing a tidbit of information I recently learned, people actually have Christmas in July parties! Sorry, if this comes across as a shocker to me. I have heard of Christmas in July for years, but, never knew that people actually had parties to celebrate. Sounds like a fun idea, but, I definitely wouldn’t put up my Christmas Tree this early in the year regardless of how much I love Christmas. Instead, to celebrate Christmas in July I am sharing with you a Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcake recipe.

To amp the peppermint flavor in the cupcakes not only did I add peppermint extract to the batter, but, I infused peppermint into the milk by crushing peppermint candies and adding them to the milk while heating it so they could dissolve into it. And while the frosting also called for milk, I opted to just use peppermint extract to give it a peppermint flavor. The final product, a cupcake that’s making me long for all the sweet treats that are to come with the holidays!

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

4 starlight peppermint candies, crushed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate (I used 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Sprinkles or additional crushed peppermint candies to decorate.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes: Start by making the peppermint milk. In a small saucepan over medium hear (or using a glass measuring cup in a microwave) heat the milk and crushed candies together until the milk is hot but not boiling. Stir to melt the candies in the heated milk. Pour the heated milk over the cocoa powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. 

In a medium whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, whisk in the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts until the mixture is smooth. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cool make the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts and pulse the ingredients together until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes using your desired method and then top with sprinkles and/or crushed candies.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Red White & Blue Roll Cake

Are you looking for something fun to bake for the 4th of July? A lot of the fun desserts you may come across may involve using berries to create a flag design, which is always delicious and inventive, but why not try something a little different. How about a Red White & Blue Roll Cake?

All you’ll need is a white cake mix, eggs, water, oil and sour cream. It’s pretty much just like making a box cake except you’ll need more eggs and the sour cream. You’ll also need something for the filling. I made a marshmallow whipped cream for my filling, but, you could use store bought vanilla frosting or any other flavor you choose. You could also do a fruit compote.

 After making the batter I divided it in three (about 1 1/3 cups each) and tinted two of them blue and red respectively and left the third one untinted.

Next, I transferred the batters to pastry bags – I used 16-inch ones –   and snipped off the ends of each. I didn’t cut the holes too big so I could control the amount of batter I piped. If your hole is too big you might end up with a big mess while piping. I then started piping the batter into a 12×18 inch baking sheet I lined with parchment paper and sprayed with baking spray. You could also use two smaller baking sheets as well. I was concerned that I would run out of batter before I was done piping, so I made my stripes a bit thin. Once I was done though, I still had some batter left over so I went back and filled in any gaps I had.

I then baked the cake in a 350 preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

While the cake was baking I laid out a clean kitchen towel on my counter and dusted it with confectioners’ sugar. Once the cake was done, I immediately flipped it onto the towel. I removed the parchment paper and using the towel I rolled the cake from short end to short end. I placed it on a wire rack and let it cool for 30 minutes. And as the cake was cooled I made the marshmallow whipped cream for the filling.

Once the cake was cooled I unrolled it (and yes it did break a little), frosted it and then rerolled it again. I refrigerated it for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Red White & Blue Roll Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 box white cake mix

6 large eggs

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup water

1/4 vegetable oil

Red & Blue food coloring

For the Filling:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 7oz. jar marshmallow crème

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 12×18 baking sheet with baking spray, line with parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the eggs on medium until thick and pale (about 6 minutes). Add in the cake mix, sour cream, water and oil and beat on low for 30 seconds and then medium for 1-2 minutes until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter in three, about 1 1/3 cups each. Leave one untinted and tint the other two blue and red respectively. Transfer the batter to pastry bags or resealable plastic bags. Cut a small opening in the bags and pipe the batter diagonally into the prepared pan.

Once done piping tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. If you have batter left-over you can use it to fill any gaps.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

While the cake is in the oven, lay out a clean dish towel and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Once the cake is done, flip it out on the prepared towel. Remove the parchment paper and roll the cake from short end to short end. Roll the towel up with the cake. This will prevent the cake from sticking to itself. Place on a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling make the filling. In a chilled bowl beat the heavy whipping cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in the marshmallow crème and vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Carefully unroll the cake and spread the filling on top. Re-roll the cake, this time without the towel. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing and serving.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is one of those desserts that looks like it’s difficult to make, but in fact is quite easy. It doesn’t require many ingredients and you can customize the flavor easily. While I used passion fruit for this recipe you could easily swap it out for a different fruit.

To start, I added a 1/2 cup of passion fruit juice to a measuring cup and sprinkled unflavored gelatin on top. I let it sit for 15 minutes and then whisked it together.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat I whisked milk, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until the sugar dissolved and the mixture began to simmer. I them removed it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Letting the mixture cool is key. If it’s too hot when you add the passion fruit/gelatin mixture in the next step the gelatin will lose its ability to thicken and your panna cotta will not firm up.

Next, I whisked the passion fruit mixture into the milk mixture until it dissolved.

Once the panna cotta mixture was ready it was time to divide it among four ramekins. To make it easy to divide the mixture among the ramekins I transferred it to a measuring cup…

And then poured 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of the ramekins.

After letting it cool to room temperature, I covered the ramekins and refrigerated the panna cotta for at least three hours so it could firm up.

Now, this is the nerve wrecking part… Will it firm up? I ended up checking it after an hour and was happy to see that it was already firming up. And after letting it sit in the refrigerator a bit longer it was the perfect consistency. You could top the panna cotta with a raspberry sauce or some whipped cream, but I was fine eating it as is.

Looking for some more passion fruit recipes, try making a passion fruit pie, ice cream or a curd that could be used as a filling for cookies.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Ingredients:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I defrosted in the refrigerator overnight.

Directions:

Add passion fruit juice to a small bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a bare simmer. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the passion fruit juice and the gelatin and then whisk into the milk mixture to dissolve.

Divide the mixture among 4 ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover each and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours until the panna cotta has set.

Malted Brownies

My favorite chocolate chip cookie is a Malted Chocolate Chip cookie. The malted milk powder produces a cookie that is both chewy (in the center) and crispy (along the edges) and gives it a flavor that is just extra yummy. So, when I came across a recipe for Malted Brownies, I knew I had to try it.

One thing that was slightly different about these brownies is that they are frosted. Which might make you think that they are going to be like a snack cake, but I can assure you they are not. The consistency is all brownie! And the frosting also has malted milk powder in it, so you are getting double dose of it. It’s made with marshmallow crème (or fluff) and while it was delicious on these brownies, it would make a great filling for a chocolate cake.

Surprisingly these brownies weren’t overtly sweet considering the frosting. I think that was due to the fact that bittersweet chocolate is used to make the brownies. They are rich though, so I would suggest cutting them into 24 pieces as opposed to 12 like I did.

Malted Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips*

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup vanilla malted milk powder

2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

7oz. jar marshmallow crème

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons vanilla malted milk powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

*The original recipe called for 8oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13 x 9 – inch baking pan and line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate together in 35 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. Let cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate mixture and continue whisking until combined. Add the flour, milk powder, cocoa powder and salt and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the brownie mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack before spreading frosting on top.

While the brownies are cooling make the frosting. In a large bowl beat the butter using a handheld mixer until creamy. Add in the marshmallow crème and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add in the malted milk powder and cocoa powder and continue beating. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.

Spread frosting over cooled brownies. To make slicing the brownies easier refrigerate for about 10 minutes so the frosting can set.

Slice into 12 large brownies or 24 small brownies.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

One of my favorite cheesecake flavors is White Chocolate Raspberry. One day I got to thinking what about a cupcake that incorporated those flavors, just without the cheesecake part. I knew I wanted the frosting to be white chocolate, but I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to incorporate raspberry into the cupcakes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fold fresh raspberries into the batter or make the cupcakes with a raspberry swirl. Ultimately, I decided to make a true raspberry cupcake by incorporating a fresh raspberry puree and raspberry powder – made from freeze-dried raspberries – into my batter. 

To make the raspberry puree and the raspberry powder I used my food processor to process the fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberries and then used a fine mesh sieve to sift the seeds out of the raspberry powder and pressed the raspberry puree through the sieve to separate it from the seeds. A quick tip, I processed the freeze-dried raspberries first and then the fresh raspberries afterwards so I wouldn’t have to clean my food processor in between. If you are wondering where you can get freeze dried raspberries from, I found mine at my local Target. And while you could make these cupcakes without the raspberry powder, adding it really enhances the raspberry flavor, especially if you end up with a batch of raspberries that aren’t incredibly sweet. The powder also intensifies the color of the cupcakes without having to use food coloring to get a nice pink color reminiscent of raspberries.

Once the raspberry powder and puree was ready, I incorporated the puree into my wet ingredients and the powder into my dry ingredients and then mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with milk. When filling my cupcake liners, I erred on the side of caution when filling them since I wasn’t sure how much they would rise. As you can see, I filled them about 3/4 quarters of the way…

Once they were baked though I noticed that they didn’t rise that much and I could have filled them just about to the top. And I have to mention that the smell of these cupcakes is pure raspberries. There was no doubt what the flavor was going to be.

After letting them cool in the pan for 15 minutes I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they were cooled it was time to make the frosting.   

Now, for the white chocolate frosting you may be tempted to and they are easier to come by, but don’t use white chips for it. With most brands, white chips do not contain cocoa butter and thus cannot be called chocolate. If you do use them, your frosting will not be smooth, but instead will have chunks of the chips in it even after melting and beating it into your frosting (I speak from experience). It’s best to buy white chocolate in bar form and check the ingredient list to make sure it does contain cocoa butter. For this recipe I used two Lindt White Chocolate bars that you can find in the candy aisle or you can use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars that are normally found in the baking aisle.

I started by melting and cooling the chocolate and then I gradually beat it into butter that I had already beaten. I opted to make the frosting in my stand mixer so I could keep it running constantly while adding in the ingredients. Once the chocolate was incorporated, I then gradually added in confectioners’ sugar and finally vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Adding the whipping cream helps to make the frosting light and fluffy. And in case you are wondering, even with the chocolate and confectioners’ sugar the frosting is not overly sweet. I transferred the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and piped swirls on each of the cupcakes and topped some with a fresh raspberry for a final touch.

Raspberry Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

6oz. (1 1/4 cups) fresh raspberries

1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries,

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor add the freeze-dried raspberries. Pulse a few times until they become a powder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate the seeds. Set aside.

Add the fresh raspberries to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the raspberries until they have broken down. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the seeds from the puree. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and raspberry powder and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter on medium speed until cream. Add the sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla extract and finally the raspberry puree until just incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk on low speed. Raise the speed to medium until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: About 2 cups
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Ingredients:

8oz. white chocolate

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Chop the white chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to love and gradually add in the cooled melted chocolate.

Still on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

Add in the vanilla extract and salt increase the speed to medium and then finally add in the heavy cream and beat for another minute or so.

Marbled Pound Cake

If you can’t choose between a vanilla or chocolate cake, then a marbled cake is for you! And if you are thinking that it might be double the work because you have to make to separate batters that’s not the case at all. With today’s recipe I started off by making the vanilla batter and then dividing it in half and adding cocoa powder to one of them.

Once I had the two batters ready it was time to fill my prepared pan. I used a cookie scoop and a 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop alternating scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batter in the pan to get the marble effect.

After tapping the pan a few times on my counter to release any air bubbles I used a small off-set spatula to smooth the top of the cake. I then placed it on baking sheet and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven for 70 minutes.

After letting the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, I transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.  

And then it was time to slice it. And as cheesy as it sounds, I get a slight tinge of excitement when I bake a cake that is supposed to have a surprise inside or look a certain way and it works. The joys of baking! As you can see, the marble look was just about perfect with this loaf cake. Even more exciting though, was how delicious the cake was. I used to love the Marble Loaf Cake from Entenmann’s, but I feel like they changed their recipe because it doesn’t take like how I remember. Thankfully I have a replacement now that I can make myself.

I actually ended up baking two loaves and decided to slice the second one and freeze it. This is the perfect type of cake to freeze, it has no frosting and is moist but dense enough to withstand being frozen and thawed. I wrapped each of the slices in plastic wrap and then placed all of them in a resealable bag in my freezer. When I am ready to eat a slice, I will leave it out on my counter for a few hours so it can defrost.

Marbled Pound Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature*

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

*To make your own combine 1/4 cup whole milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then stir to combine.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray, or, lightly grease with butter and then coat with flour.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cake flour and salt, set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter of medium-high speed until creamy.

With the mixer on low add in the sugar. Continue mixing on low until the butter and sugar are incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the mixture has become light and fluffy (about 5 minutes.) Scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the buttermilk.

Divide the batter in half and add in the cocoa powder to one half. Mixing well to incorporate it evenly among the batter.

Using a 2 ice cream scoops (or 2 1/4 cup measuring cups, or 1 of each) alternate scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and using a small off-set spatula or butter knife smooth the top of the cake.

Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and baked in the preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 70 minutes.

Let the cake cook in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe from Zoe Francois

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Feliz Cinco De Mayo! I was planning on making a different version of these crumble bars last year for Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up making a Key Lime Bundt Cake instead. And truth be told, these crumble bars are not the exact recipe from the ones I saw. I decided to tweak the recipe to use ingredients I had on hand and I thought the filling from the original recipe sounded too sweet since it listed two cans of condensed milk (and one is sweet enough) so I used the filling recipe for my Key Lime Pie. What I ended up with was a delicious crumble bar with hints of coconut in the crust and topping and a filling that was perfectly sweet and tangy.

I began by making the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I combined all of the ingredients – flour, shredded coconut, oats, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, Kosher salt and coconut extract (which is completely optional, but, will up the coconut flavor) – and pulsed it until it started to clump together but was still crumbly. I reserved a cup of the mixture and pressed the remaining amount into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan I lined with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it was beginning to brown. I actually took it out of the oven at the 15-minute mark but since it still looked a bit undercooked, I decided to leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. You don’t want to leave it in too long though as you will be baking it again with the filling and you don’t want the crust to get hard during the second bake.

While the crust was cooling, I made the filling. In a large bowl I beat egg yolks until they were pale and fluffy and then added in condensed milk, key lime juice and lime zest. Now, I used key lime juice, but you could easily just use freshly squeezed lime juice. I prefer the flavor of key limes over regular limes and while I would love to use freshly squeezed key lime juice, key limes are a rarity at my local supermarket.

Once the crust had cooled, I poured the filling on top.

And then sprinkled the reserved flour mixture over it.

I then baked it in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling had set and the crumble topping was beginning to brown.

After letting it cool completely on a wire rack, I refrigerated it for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1 cup old-fashioned oats*

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons coconut extract (optional)

For the filling:

1 14oz. can condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup lime juice**

Zest of 1 lime

*can substitute quick oats

**I used key lime juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients for the crust. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together but is still crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and press the remaining amount into the prepared baking pan, just on the bottom. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Cool for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a hand mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in the condensed milk and then the lime juice and lime zest.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust and sprinkle the top with the reserved crust mixture.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the filling is just set and the crumble topping is golden.

Let cool completely on wire rack and then refrigerate for at least hour before slicing into 12 bars.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Quick & Easy Cheese Danish

After finishing the Blackberry Lemon Cake I made for Easter last month I had about 2 cups of cream cheese frosting left. I didn’t want to toss it or put it in the refrigerator, since that meant I would have to use it within a few days and I had no clue what I would use it for, so I decided to freeze it. I know a lot of people freeze anything and everything, but I always have reservations when it comes to freezing baked goods and frosting. Slowly but surely though those reservations are going away.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to use the frosting for at first. It crossed my mind that I could make a mini carrot cake. But then I remembered that I had puff pastry in my freezer as well so I decided that I would try to make Cheese Danishes with it.

To defrost the frosting I put it in the refrigerator overnight. Since it only consisted of cream cheese, butter and sugar I decided to stir in an egg yolk to help thicken the mixture.

After defrosting a sheet of puff pastry I sliced it into 4 squares and brushed the outer edges of each with an egg wash.

I then folded the corners of each square and then folded the sides to form an octagon.

Next I placed two tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each square. I brushed the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash and sprinkled sugar on each.

I baked them in a 400 F preheated oven for 14 minutes. Right out of the oven the cream cheese mixture was quite puffy…

But, within 30 seconds the pastries had deflated. Considering that the cream cheese mixture browned considerably in the oven I could have probably taken them out a minute or so sooner, or, lowered the oven temperature. Regardless though, they were quite good and a good way to use the leftover frosting. I had enough frosting that I could have made 8 of these, but I decided to stick with 4 since I was testing the recipe out. The recipe below is for 8 Danishes, but, if you only have a cup of frosting left you can make 4 like I did.  

Quick & Easy Cheese Danishes

Ingredients:

2 sheets frozen puff pastry

2 cups cream cheese frosting

1 egg yolk

1 egg whisked with a teaspoon of water, for egg wash

Sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Defrost the puff pastry per the instructions on the package. Slice each sheet into 4 squares and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the outer edges with the egg wash. Fold the corners of each square and then the sides to form an octagon.

When the puff pastry is just about defrosted stir together the frosting and egg yolk.

Place 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the formed puff pastry.

Brush the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the cream cheese is set and the puff pastry is a golden brown.

Let rest for a few minutes before enjoying.

Mascarpone Cake

After making the Tiramisu Cheesecake I posted two weeks ago I still had about a cup of mascarpone cheese left. While I could have used it to spread on toast or crackers, I decided to bake something else with it. I came across a recipe for a Mascarpone Cake that sounded simple and delicious, so I decided to give it a try.

This is one of those recipes that most people love… It comes together in one bowl. No need for sifting or mixing your dry ingredients in one bowl and then combining them with your wet ones in another. You simply mix all of your wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones at the end. And after baking and cooling it’s time to enjoy.

This cake tasted just as the recipe sounded… delicious. It was reminiscent of a pound cake for me, just not as a dense. And not sweet at all. If you do you need a bit for sweetness to it, you can follow the original recipe and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar once it has completely cooled.

Mascarpone Cake

Ingredients:

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray (or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour) and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese and oil and continue beating until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared ban and 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen

Tiramisu Cheesecake

I attempted to make Tiramisu Cheesecake before but the recipe I had just wasn’t a good one. The cheesecake filling didn’t have that classic coffee flavor that traditional Tiramisu has and with the two times I tried making it, neither time produced a cheesecake that firmed up. I was determined though. I had a tub of mascarpone cheese in my refrigerator that was quickly approaching its expiration date and I wanted to make something with it besides a traditional Tiramisu. So, I did a Google search for “desserts using mascarpone cheese” and what came up was nothing too exciting. Then I did a search for Tiramisu Cheesecake and came across a recipe that I decided to slightly tweak in hopes of finally making a cheesecake that sliced well and had the coffee flavor I am used to when it comes to Tiramisu.

I began by making the crust. In my food processor I processed about 20 ladyfingers into fine crumbs and then added in melted butter and Kahlua and processed it for a few more seconds to combine everything. I then transferred the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I baked it on a baking sheet in a 350 F preheated oven for 6 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack while I made the cheesecake filling.

One thing I like about making cheesecakes is that it is a one-bowl dessert. Which means it’s quick and there’s not a lot of clean-up afterwards. In a large bowl I beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, flour and salt with a hand mixer on medium speed until it was combined and smooth. I then added in sugar, Kahlua, vanilla extract and espresso granules. Finally, I added 4 eggs, one at a time, and beat everything until it was just combined.

I then poured the cheesecake filling into the cooled crust and placed it on a baking sheet and baked at 325 F for about an hour.

After letting it cool completely on a wire rack, I refrigerated it overnight. Unfortunately, it did end up with a small crack in it.

Using a fine mesh sieve, I dusted the top of the cheesecake with cocoa powder. I then carefully removed the ring from the pan.

I made a small batch of whipped cream which I used as a “glue” to place ladyfingers I cut in half around the cheesecake. I used 13 ladyfingers.

I filled a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining whipped cream and pipped dollops of it around the cheesecake. I thought about dusting the top of the whipped cream with more cocoa powder, but I decided that what was already on the cheesecake was enough. I didn’t want the cheesecake to be overpowered by it.

And while the ladyfingers around the cheesecake gave it a pretty look, they were a bit of a pain when it came to slicing it. I ended up removing them as I sliced. And while the decorative ladyfingers may have been a bit of a fail the flavor wasn’t. It had the perfect amount of coffee flavor. If you want to reduce the coffee flavor in your cheesecake, I suggest omitting the instant espresso and/or reducing the amount of Kahlua you use in the cheesecake filling.

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

18 ladyfingers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur*

 

For the Cheesecake:

3 8oz. bricks cream cheese, at room temperature

8oz mascarpone cheese (1 cup)

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons coffee liqueur*

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons instant espresso**

4 large eggs, at room temperature

 

For Topping:

Cocoa Powder

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

13 ladyfingers, cut in half

 

*I used Kahlua

**I used Café Bustelo

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

To Make the Crust: In a food processor, process the ladyfingers into fine crumbs. Add in the melted butter and coffee liqueur until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while making the cheesecake filling and lower the oven temperature to 325 F.

For the Cheesecake: In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, flour and salt with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until incorporated. Add in the coffee liqueur, vanilla extract and espresso granules and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until just blended. Pour into the prepared crust.

Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes, until the sides of the cheesecake are set but the center is still jiggly.

Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate overnight.

To decorate: Make whipped cream by beating together the whipping cream, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form.

Using a fine mesh sieve, dust the top of the cheesecake with the cocoa powder. Carefully remove the ring from the pan and using some of whipped cream place the halved ladyfingers around the cheesecake. Transfer the remaining whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe dollops of the whipped cream around the cheesecake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe for Tiramisu Cheesecake filling slightly modified from Spruce Eats