Chocolate & Banana Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

While these cookies may sound like they have a lot going on they are essentially just a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. And we all know that peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven. I honestly didn’t get any banana flavor from the banana chips (nor did anyone else who tried them). What the banana chips did offer was an extra crunch to the cookie, which you also get from the peanuts added. If you are looking for that banana flavor though you could add a mashed banana to the dough. Next time I make these though I will be omitting the banana altogether. I honestly don’t think they need that extra layer of flavor.

Chocolate & Banana Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 12 Large Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup roasted & lightly salted peanuts, chopped (plus more for topping)

1/3 cup banana chips, chopped or 1 banana cut into 1/4-inch pieces*

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (plus more for topping)

*Can omit to make a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the peanut butter, both sugars and the butter until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beat until well combined. With the mixer on low add in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda until just combined. Add in the peanuts, banana chips / banana (if using) and chocolate chips and beat on low until combined.

Using an ice cream scoop (or 1/4 cup measuring cup) drop the dough on the prepared cookie sheets. Pat down the cookies to create 2-inch disks. The dough may be a little sticky. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with additional chopped peanuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Bake for 10-11, or until the edges are golden but the centers still soft. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Christina Tosi

Semi-Homemade Almond Croissants

One of my favorite pastries are Almond Croissants. I also love just a plain old croissant as well. I’ve looked at recipes to make both and while they don’t seem complicated, it’s just so much easier to buy them. Well, plain croissants that is. You can pretty much get them at any supermarket that has a bakery. Granted, some are better than others. Whereas I find that Almond Croissants can only be found at certain bakeries or cafés and unfortunately, they aren’t always that good. I have tried to make pseudo Almond Croissants with crescent rolls and almond paste and it was a total fail. Well, a fail in the taste department. They did look good. Recently though I came across a recipe for Almond Croissants that started off by using store-bought (or homemade if you are so inclined) croissants and were doctored with a delicious almond filling. I had high hopes for them. They were starting off with an actual croissant and filled with an almond filling that included almonds and almond paste – the more almond flavor the better. And I must say, they didn’t disappoint. These would be a great addition to your Easter brunch this weekend and could really impress your guests!

After getting a good batch of croissants…

I started off by making the filling for them. In the bowl of my food processor I pulsed toasted sliced almonds until they were finely ground. I then added in almond paste and sugar and processed the mixture until it resembled fine meal. Finally, I added in an egg, Amaretto, vanilla extract and salt and processed everything until it was smooth and creamy. As it was the mixture is too loose to spread on the croissants, so, I transferred the mixture to an airtight container, covered and refrigerated it overnight. The following day I let it sit at room temperature uncovered so it could get to the right consistency.

Once the almond filling was ready it was time to prep the croissants. I sliced each of them horizontally and spread a few tablespoons of the almond filling on the bottom of each cut half and arranged them on a large baking sheet.

Next, I topped them with the top half of the croissants and spread about a tablespoon of the remaining almond filling on top of each. I then pressed about a tablespoon of sliced almonds on each.

I baked them in a 375F preheated oven for about 8 minutes. After letting them cool for about 15 minutes I sifted confectioners’ sugar on top of them.

These were delicious, just as good and possibly better than any decent Almond Croissant I have gotten at a bakery or café.

Semi-Homemade Almond Croissants

Ingredients:

8 large store-bought croissants

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided

7 ounces almond paste*, broken into small pieces

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon Amaretto**

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

*Depending on the brand you purchase, you could also use 8 ounces.

**The original recipe called for brandy

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread 1 cup of the sliced almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Tossing the almonds at the halfway point. Let them cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor add the toasted almonds and pulse until finely ground, about 12 pulses. Add the almond paste and sugar and process the mixture until it resembles fine meal, about 15 seconds. Add the egg, butter, brandy, vanilla extract and salt and process the mixture until it is smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 days. If you opt to refrigerate the mixture for more than 30 minutes, let it sit at room temperature uncovered for 15 to 30 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice each of the croissants in half horizontally. Spread 2 tablespoons of the almond paste mixture on the cut side of each bottom. Top with the top half of the croissant and place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining croissants. Spread about a tablespoon of the remaining almond paste mixture on each croissant top and then gently press the remaining sliced almonds onto it (about a tablespoon per croissant). Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the almonds turn a light golden brown. Let the croissants cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

The croissants are best eaten the day they are made, but, can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

Recipe from Food & Wine

Almond Tiramisu

If you love the flavor of a Good Humor Toasted Almond Bar you are going to love this dessert. The recipe calls it a Toasted Almond Cream Cake but I am calling it an Almond Tiramisu since the ingredients and assembly are quite similar. Where it differs is that instead of dipping the ladyfingers in a coffee mixture you dip them in a milk mixture that contains Amaretto. You can use any type of milk that you like as well. As with your traditional Tiramisu this one also has a layer of mascarpone cream, it’s just given an extra almond flavor kick with almond extract and some more Amaretto. There’s also a layer of coarsely chopped almond slices and Amaretti cookies, that also get used for the topping.

When you slice into it, you can see those perfect layers of deliciousness that you get from any Tiramisu… The layers of ladyfingers and cream.

Looking for more variations on Tiramisu. Check out these recipes:

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu

White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Almond Tiramisu

Ingredients:

7oz. package of Ladyfingers – about 24 cookies

Mascarpone Cream:

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

Amaretti Topping:

20 Amaretti cookies*

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Dipping Mixture:

1 1/2 cups milk**

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

*If you can’t find Amaretti cookies, you can substitute with almond cookies or biscotti

**I used whole milk, but you can substitute with the milk of your choice

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor add the Amaretti cookies and the sliced almonds and pulse until both are coarsely chopped. Set aside.

Mascarpone Cream: In a medium bowl stir together the mascarpone and almond extract until well combined. In another bowl beat the heavy cream along with the sugar, vanilla extract and Amaretto with hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold a quarter of the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture until incorporated. Continue to fold in the whipped cream mixture in batches until the two are well combined and no streaks remain. Set aside.

Dipping Mixture: In a shallow bowl combine the ingredients for the dipping mixture and whisk together.

To Assemble: Dip the rounded side of half of the ladyfingers in the dipping mixture and then arrange them in the bottom of an 8 x 8 – inch square baking dish. Top with half of the mascarpone cream and then sprinkle with Amaretti / almond mixture. Repeat the layers once more, ending the remaining Amaretti / almond mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Slice into squares to serve.

Recipe from Mangia Bene Pasta

Cannoli Cake

Happy Holidays! Are you in the throes of holiday baking and eating your way through more sweets than you would like to admit? Well, today I am bringing you a cake that you would be a nice addition to your holiday dessert table and to be honest is my favorite cake flavor… A Cannoli Cake! And it doesn’t skimp on the flavors and ingredients of the delicious handheld dessert… Ricotta and chocolate chips.

The cake itself is made with a French Vanilla box mix (I used a Duncan Hines mix) and the cannoli flavors comes from the filling made with ricotta cheese, cinnamon, three different extracts, confectioners’ sugar and of course chocolate chips. It’s all topped off with a mascarpone cheese frosting and sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips are used to decorate it. It sounds like a lot, but, trust me it’s not. All of the flavors/ingredients work well together and you won’t feel guilty for enjoying a slice because it’s just so good!

Cannoli Cake

Ingredients:

1 package French Vanilla Cake Mix, plus additional ingredients to prepare per packaging

Filling:

2 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon rum extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:

2 8oz. packages mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup sliced almonds

mini chocolate chips, for top of cake

Directions:

Prepare and bake cake mix per package directions using two 8-inch round baking pans sprayed with baking spray. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Make the filling: In a large bowl fold together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and all extracts until well incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the frosting: In another large bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar, almond & vanilla extracts and milk until creamy.

Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving plate and spread 1 cup of the filling over it. Top with the other cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake within 1inch of the edge. Frost the sides and top edge of the cake with the frosting.

Press the almonds on the sides of the cake and the chocolate chips around the edge of the top of the cake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Brookies – Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies are probably among the top desserts that people eat. Both can have a slew of variations and add-ins but when it comes down to it they are comforting and familiar. So, what happens when you combine the two? Well you get the best of both worlds in what is perfectly termed a “Brookie.” A brownie layer with a chocolate chip cookie topping.

I came across this recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection cookbook. I made a few slight changes though. I opted to use dark chocolate chips instead of bittersweet chocolate and since unbleached and all-purpose flour are interchangeable I went with all-purpose flour. I bought a bag of unbleached flour for a few recipes last year and ended up never finishing it so I didn’t want to buy another one.  And, I opted to make my brownie batter a bit differently. The original recipe called for melting the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler, but, I decided to melt the two together in the microwave in :30 intervals, stirring between each. I figured I had done before with success so why wouldn’t it be okay this time as well.

I started by making the chocolate chip cookie dough and then set it aside while I made the brownie batter. As I mentioned, I melted the chocolate and butter together in the microwave. I then whisked in the remaining ingredients and then spread the batter in a 9×13-inch pan I lined with parchment paper. I then crumbled the cookie dough over the batter making sure it was evenly spread out. After baking it, I let the Brookies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. I ended up baking this in the evening so I let them cool overnight on my counter. In case you are wondering, when I leave things to cool on my counter overnight I normally lightly cover them with a paper towel or piece of aluminum foil.

I waited until the following afternoon to slice them. Thanks to the parchment paper they easily came out of my pan and I then sliced them into 16 squares. I ended up with a lot of crumbs and some of the brownie layer didn’t really stick to the cookie dough. I think I should have pressed the cookie dough into the batter as well. And, I also forgot to heat my knife in hot water between each slice.

But, it was all the good. The main thing, they were delicious! Next time though I might slice them into smaller pieces, maybe 24 or 32. They are a bit decadent.

Now, if you want to make your own Brookies but don’t want to go through all the work of making the separate dough and batter, you could always use a brownie box mix and pre-made cookie dough found in most refrigerated sections of the supermarket.  With the holidays coming up these would be a nice addition to your dessert table.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Dough:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips

For the Brownie Batter:  

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long sides of the pan, and spray with additional non-stick spray.

For the Cookie Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a larger bow, using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Then beat in the flour mixture until just incorporate. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

For the Brownie Batter: In a microwave-safe bowl add the butter and chocolate chips and microwave on :30 second intervals, stirring between each. Continue to do this until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the sugar. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt. Finally, fold in the flour until combined.

Spread the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan and then crumble the cookie dough on top. Lightly press the cookie dough into the batter.

Cover the pan with a parchment paper and then aluminum foil and then bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes remove the parchment paper and foil and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out moist with a few crumbs.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Lift the Brookies from the pan using the parchment paper and slice into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Cookie Perfection

Peach Crisp

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I wanted to try it before peaches where nowhere to be found at my local supermarket. Truth be told though, I’ve had more bad peaches this summer than good ones. What’s up with that? I found that while I brought them home from the supermarket rock hard so I could eat them over the course of a week, within a few days the skin was wrinkling on some of them and others were completely rotten. To make sure the peaches I used for this Peach Crisp were good I opted to buy tree ripe peaches that were quite enormous but thankfully perfectly ripe (hence the name) without being overly sweet.

To start I made the crisp topping by mixing together old-fashioned oats, almond flour, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred everything together with a fork until the mixture began to form clumps. Now, I used almond flour, as that is what the recipe called for and I had some because I want to try my hand at making macarons, but, you easily swap the almond flour out for all-purpose flour. I placed this in the freezer as I worked on the peach portion of the dessert.

I sliced the peaches in half and then sliced each of the halves into halves (basically I quartered the peach) and then sliced each piece into thirds. In the end, each peach should give you 12 slices. The peaches I used were so large that I probably could have gotten away with just using 3.

I transferred the slices to a large bowl and added in brown sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla extract and nutmeg. The original recipe called for lemon juice, brandy (optional) and orange zest. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use orange zest in the recipe. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like buying an orange for a teaspoon of zest, but, I ended up completely forgetting to get a lemon when I went food shopping. And while I did have brandy on hand, it was apple flavored and I just didn’t think the flavors would go well together. Thankfully though I did have orange juice which is a good substitute for lemon juice and gave me some of the orange flavor the zest would have. I decided to use 3 tablespoons of the orange juice since the original recipe call for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brandy and since I had so many peach slices I figured the extra liquid wouldn’t hurt.

Once the peaches and other ingredients were mixed together well – I made sure that the peaches were coated by the mixture – I transferred them to my dish along with any juices that remained.

I then topped the peaches with chopped pecans and the crisp topping. I used my hands to break up the slightly frozen topping into small pieces that I scattered on top of the peaches.  

After baking it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour I let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it. To enjoy, I heated it up a spoonful or two and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond flour*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peach Filling:

4 large peaches or 5 medium peaches (about 2.5 pounds)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons orange juice**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans***

* Could use all-purpose flour

** Original recipe called for 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

*** Could use walnuts instead

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crisp topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar and Kosher salt. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to stir everything together. Once the mixture begins to clump place in the freezer while working on the peach filling.

For the peach filling: Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half in half and then slice each half into thirds. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla and ground nutmeg. Give everything a few good stirs to make sure each peach slice is evenly coated.

Transfer the peaches to a 9-inch pie dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

Remove the crisp topping from the freezer and using your hands break the topping into small pieces and scatter on top of the peaches in an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Until the crisp topping is lightly browned and you can easily slice into one of the peach slices.

Remove from the oven and enjoy right out of the oven or place on a cooling rack to cool. If you are planning on refrigerating it for later, cool to room temperature and cover with aluminum foil to refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Serve on its own or enjoy with ice cream!

Recipe from Vallery Lomas

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No bake cheesecakes can either be a hit or a total miss. It all depends on whether the filling firms up enough while refrigerated. Unfortunately, they don’t sometimes and instead turn into a total mess when slicing into them. It’s happened to me! But since I am not one to give up, I am always willing try something again, just not the same recipe if it failed the first time, I decided to try my hands at a no bake cheesecake again. And I’m happy to say this recipe I tried for a No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake was a winner in all regards. The strawberry flavor was spot on, the texture was perfect and the crust was a combination of pretzels and graham crackers.

First up, I made the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I processed mini pretzels and graham crackers into crumbs. I then transferred the mixture to a medium bowl and stirred in sugar and melted butter. Once it was well incorporated I pressed the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You could opt to use a 9-inch baking dish instead. I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes. And then placed it on a wire rack to cool completely.  

While the crust was in the oven and then cooling I prepped the strawberry puree. In the bowl of my food processor I added in 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries that I rinsed, hulled and sliced in half. Quick tip, I processed the pretzels and graham crackers first so I could give my bowl a quick rinse before using it for the strawberries.

I processed them for about a minute or so to turn the strawberries into a puree.

Next, I transferred the puree to a medium saucepan and simmered it on medium-low heat until it was reduced to about a 1/2 cup. I initially started this in a small saucepan, but, once it started to simmer I was scared that it was going to turn into a complete mess on my stovetop so I transferred it to a larger saucepan. This step took the longest, about a half hour. At one point, I thought I had reduced the mixture enough but when I transferred it to a measuring cup I had about 3/4 of a cup so I returned it to the saucepan for a few more minutes and it was finally reduced to a 1/2 cup. I then let it cool to room temperature.

Once the crust and puree was cooled it was time to make the filling. In a medium bowl I beat heavy cream using a hand mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks formed. In a large bowl I beat room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until it was smooth and creamy. I then added in the strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat it on medium-high speed until everything was well incorporated and the mixture was once again smooth and creamy.

Using a rubber spatula, I folded the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. I was careful to do this slowly as I didn’t want to deflate the air in the whipped cream. Once the two were mixed together I then spread the filling into the crust and smoothed the top with a small offset spatula. I then covered it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day I sliced up strawberries and tossed them with sugar and whipped up another batch of whipped cream, this time sweetened with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract, and topped the cheesecake. Since I opted to make mine in a springform pan I carefully removed the ring from it before spreading the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then piped dollops of whipped cream around the edge using a Wilton 1M tip. Since I was taking this cheesecake over to a friends’ house for dessert I carefully placed the ring back on the cake before covering again.

Final verdict… It was delicious. The strawberry flavor was spot on without being overly sweet. Also, the texture was perfect. Sometimes with cheesecakes they can be a bit dense, but the texture of this cheesecake was more smooth and fluffy. This was definitely attributed to gently folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 cup salted mini pretzels crumbs (from 1/2 cup whole mini pretzels)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (6 full sheets of graham crackers)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioner’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup heavy whupping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the Crust:

Combine the ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and mix together until well combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch pie dish. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan/dish you use. Make sure it’s in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before filling.

For the Filling:

Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. You should have between 1 1/2 – 2 cups of puree. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until you are left with a 1/2 cup (or slightly more) of puree. This can take between 25-35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Using a hand mixer beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese using a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the cooled strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Make sure the mixture is creamy and smooth, if there are any lumps in the mixture continue to beat until they incorporate into the mixture.

Using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Do this slowly as you don’t want to deflate the air from the whipped cream.

Spread the filling into the cooled crust and use a small offset spatula to smooth the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. The longer it stays in the refrigerator the better it will firm up.

For the Topping:

Before serving, prep the toppings and decorate. In a medium bowl stir the sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside. In another medium bowl combine the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M). Remove the cheesecake from the fridge. If you made it in a springform pan, carefully remove the ring. Spread the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then pipe dollops of the whipped cream around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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
  • Print

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.

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

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.

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