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

Small Batch Bread Pudding

This week I am bringing you two different types of bread puddings. A traditional sweet small batch today and a savory one later this week. Both of these came about due to leftover bread after ordering Italian food.

Truthfully, I made this small batch bread pudding twice. The first batch with half of a rustic loaf and then to tweak the recipe I used regular sliced white bread.

First, I sliced the bread into cubes. Now, bread pudding is best made with thick crusty bread to absorb the custard, when I used the rustic bread that was the perfect consistency. With the sliced white bread, it was a few days past its expiration date, and I had it in the refrigerator, so it was kind of stale already. It wouldn’t have hurt to toast it in the oven for a few minutes before using it though.

Next I divided the bread among three ramekins that I lightly greased with butter and placed on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl I whisked together the contents for the custard – eggs, milk, heavy whipping cream, sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract – and then transferred it to a large measuring cup to make it easy to pour and divide among the ramekins. I let them sit for about 10 minutes so the bread could soak in the custard.

I then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. I knew they were ready when they had puffed up, were golden brown on top and most importantly a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. And while the custard did overflow a bit and they were a bit humongous on top they did “deflate” as they cooled. Most importantly though they were delicious.

Here’s a pic of the one’s I made with the rustic bread deflated and cooled.

Later this week, a savory bread pudding made with focaccia. YUM!

 

Small Batch Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

3 cups cubed bread

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon group nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter three 8oz. ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

Divide the bread among the buttered ramekins.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer to a measuring cup and divide the mixture among the ramekins. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the bread can soak in the liquid.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the bread pudding cool on the baking sheet. While cooling the bread pudding will deflate after rising considerably during baking.

Enjoy once cool or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Hidden Heart Bundt Cake

Two years ago, I made my first Hidden Heart Cake in a loaf pan. This year, I decided to make another one, but, with a small twist. Instead of a loaf pan I decided to make it in a Bundt pan. I also made it more festive for Valentine’s Day by drizzling it with chocolate ganache and topping it with Valentine’s Day themed sprinkles.

To start I had to make a pink cake for the hearts. After prepping a mix of white cake per the box directions I tinted it pink. I then poured it into a Bundt pan that I sprayed with baking spray. Once it was done, I let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. It’s easier and cleaner to cut up a cold cake. I will point out that I was a bit concerned after making this first cake. It didn’t bake up with a lot of height so I was worries that the chocolate cake wouldn’t be able to completely cover the hearts, but, after a little more thinking I realized it shouldn’t be a problem since the hearts would be taking up some of the pan so the chocolate cake would bake up higher.

The following morning, I cut the cake into slices (about 2-inches each) and then using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from those slices. If you like making cake pops, you could use the leftover cake to make some.

I then prepped a box of chocolate cake mix per the box directions. I poured some of the batter into the bottom of my Bundt pan that I once again sprayed with baking spray. I did this to ensure that the top of the hearts would be covered by the cake.

Next, I arranged the hearts in the pan upside down. Remember, Bundt cakes are baked upside down and then you invert them once they are done.

And finally, I poured the remaining cake batter into the pan making sure to cover the hearts and getting the batter on the sides of the hearts closer to the outside of the pan.

I baked the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes. And once the cake had cooled in the pan for 15 minutes, I inverted it onto a wire rack to cool completely. You can see in this close-up shot that a little bit of the pink did peek through, but I knew I would be able to cover that with the chocolate ganache I was planning on pouring over the cake.

To make the ganache, I combined chocolate chips, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it for 35-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate chips had melted, and the mixture was smooth. I wanted the ganache to be a little thicker before I poured it over the cake, so I refrigerated it for about 15-20 minutes, stirring it every five minutes.

Before pouring the ganache on the cake, I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and then placed the wire rack the cake was cooling on on top of the wax paper.

Once the ganache was thick enough, I drizzled it over the cake and sprinkled the ganache with Valentine’s Day sprinkles. I then placed the cake in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the ganache could set.

And then it was time to slice it and I happy to say that the cake came out perfectly. It tasted good and the hearts were distinguishable when the cake was sliced.

Hidden Heart Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 box white cake mix, plus the ingredient to prepare the batter

1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare the batter

Pink food coloring

 

For the Ganache:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Valentine’s Day themed sprinkles

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with baking spray, or grease with butter and dust with flour.

In a large bowl prepare the white cake mix per the directions on the box. Once prepared add in pink food coloring and stir to incorporate the color. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan and then invert on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight*.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. And prep the Bundt pan once again.

Remove the pink Bundt cake from the refrigerator and slice the cake into 2-inch thick slices. Using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter cut hearts from the slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl prep the chocolate cake mix per the box directions. Pour enough batter into the pan so there is about a 1/2-inch layer of cake batter on the bottom. Arrange the cut hearts upside down in the pan. They should fit in perfectly and be snugged next to one another. Pour the remaining batter over the hearts, and make sure to get it into the sides of the pan. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted towards the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has completely cooled make the ganache.

Combine all the ingredients for the ganache in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 35-second intervals, stirring between each internal. Once the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth let cool for a few minutes before placing in the refrigerator so the ganache can thicken up. Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Place a piece of wax paper on a large baking sheet and place the cake on the wire rack on top. Once the ganache is thick, drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle the cake with Valentine’s Day sprinkles and then place in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the ganache can set.

Slice and enjoy!

*It’s not necessary to refrigerate the cake overnight. You can slice the cake the same day you bake it once it’s cool. I just find it easier to work with the cake once it’s cold.

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

It’s Fall Y’all! And you know what that means… It’s time for some pumpkin treats. Truth be told I feel like Fall came out of nowhere this year. Between working from home and barely going anywhere due to the pandemic the days are just passing by quickly and rolling into each other. Now that September is winding down though I’m doing my best to be cognizant of the days/dates to make sure I get all of my holiday projects and goodies done. I’m kicking off Fall with a Chocolate Pumpkin Flan.

While traditional flan uses eggs as the base to make the custard, this flan uses a combination of cream cheese, eggs and pumpkin. One thing that does remain the same though is the delicious caramel sauce. And I am happy to say that I was finally successful in making caramel sauce. I have tried in the past and all I have ended up with is burnt sugar. I was determined this time to get it right. One thing that helped, besides having patience, was using a smaller saucepan. I normally use a medium sized one and I think that was preventing the caramel from coming together. By using a smaller one it was easier for the sugar to melt into the water and begin the caramelization process. I also resisted the urge to stir it and instead swirled the pan every few minutes to ensure it wouldn’t burn.  As with a traditional flan, once the caramel was done I poured it into the pan I was using and then poured the batter for the flan over it. Oh, one other thing this flan has that a traditional flan doesn’t have… melted chocolate. If you didn’t know, chocolate and pumpkin go together really well. After baking in a water bath, initially I was thinking that I could bake a 9-inch pan inside of a 10-inch springform pan, but, after I added the water it seeped right out so I ended up baking it in a water bath inside of my roasting pan, I let it cool and then refrigerated it overnight before unmolding it. It didn’t come out easily, but, once it did it thankfully didn’t break apart.

Final verdict… It was delicious. It had the exact consistency of an egg custard flan but the flavor of pumpkin and chocolate with a hint of spice thanks to pumpkin spice. Which is just a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.

So, even with all the craziness going on are you looking forward to the holidays? Me and a friend were saying the other day how when the summer started, we had no clue how the summer would be and what we would be able to do. And now here we are, the summer is over, and we made it through without doing anything really. With the extra time on the weekends I was able to get some projects done in my backyard and I am in the middle of remodeling my living room. All in all, I am sure most people are looking to put this year to bed. For now though, bring on the pumpkins, the mums and the scarves!

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

Ingredients:

2oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened and cubed

4 eggs

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high for 1 minute, or until almost melted. Stir until completely melted, set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan add 3/4 cups of the sugar and the water. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is golden brown and a syrup-like consistency. This will take 10-15 minutes. Do not stir the contents, instead swirl the pan every few minutes. Pour into a 9-inch round pan.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, combine the evaporated milk and cream cheese and mix together until smooth.  Add the remaining sugar, the eggs, pumpkin, pumpkin spice and melted chocolate and continue mixing until well incorporated. Pour the mixture over the syrup in the pan.

Place the 9-inch pan inside of a larger pan, a roasting pan is ideal, and fill the larger pan with enough water that it comes halfway up the sides of the small pan.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before inverting and unmolding. Drizzle any remaining caramel sauce left in pan over flan. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe from Kraft Foods

Applesauce Brownies

Earlier this week I posted a recipe that used applesauce and whole wheat flour as two of its ingredients and today I am sharing another recipe with those two ingredients… A brownie recipe. Granted these brownies were more like snack cakes, but, were delicious nonetheless. And truth be told, that’s all that really matters.

After making the batter I poured it into an 8×8-inch pan I sprayed with baking spray. I’ve come to realize that greasing your pan isn’t enough when it comes to making brownies. The addition of flour in the baking spray ensure that the brownies will not stick the pan when removing them. I then sprinkled the top of the batter with a walnut, chocolate chip and sugar mixture.

Next, I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes and after letting the brownies cool in the pan for a few minutes…

I removed them from the pan so they could cool completely on a wire rack…

Before slicing and enjoying them. As I mentioned, the texture is definitely more cake-like than brownie, and yes, I know that cake-like brownies are a thing, but, having had and made cake-like brownies, these definitely were not reminiscent of that. The brownies themselves aren’t overly sweet so the chocolate chips in the topping is a welcomed sweetness as is the crunch from the walnuts.

Applesauce Brownies

  • Servings: 12 Brownies
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Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tablespoons cocoa powder*

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 chopped walnuts

1/4 chocolate chips (any type)

 

*I used a 50/50 combination of Hershey’s 100% Cacao / Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. The original recipe called for King Arthur’s Triple Cocoa Powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8 inch pan and set aside.

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

In a large bowl combine the butter, cocoa powder, oil, sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla and using a hand mixer on medium speed beat the ingredients until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared ban.

In a small bowl combined the ingredients for the topping and then sprinkle over the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted about 1-inch from the sides comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan before slicing them.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

These cookies have a little bit of everything. A nice light lemon flavor, a tad bit of oatmeal and the soft chewiness of a sugar cookie. While they are perfect for the warmer months ahead, they would also be a nice addition to your holiday cookie baking. Since I wasn’t sure how they were going to taste, I halved the recipe and ended up baking only 24 cookies. Big mistake! These cookies were such a hit I should have baked the full amount. But just in case you don’t need 48 cookies, you can easily halve the recipe below.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 4 Dozen Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 3/4 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookies

*Can also use old-fashion oats

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lines two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

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

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Pour additional sugar into a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll in the sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass flatten the cookie about halfway down.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe slightly modified from Taste of Home

A Bake ‘n Fill Fail

Recently while doing a little cleaning and organizing I came across something I purchased years ago and never used… A Betty Crocker Bake ‘n Fill Cake Pan. The pans were still in their plastic wrapping. Not really sure why I never used it, but having come across it I figured there was no time like the present to try it out. And obviously from the title of this blog post I wasn’t that successful! The cake part was fine, the fail was the filling… So, we’ll say it was a Bake ‘n Fail!

In case you have no clue what I am talking about. These pans were sold in a set by Better Crocker years ago. They first came out in the early 2000’s. Below is a link to the infomercial if you are curious. The whole idea was that you are able to create cakes with fillings (ice cream, fruit, another cake, etc.) or make a cool design like a baseball or a lady bug.

Betty Crocker Bake ‘n Fill Pan

I decided to follow a recipe for a Chocolate Mocha Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling that was in the recipe book that came with the pans. I began by prepping two of the pans – the inside of the tall pan and bottom of the insert pan (this is the pan that makes the cavity in the cake so it can be filled). Normally I spray my pan with baking spray, but, I decided to follow the directions and greased them with shortening and then coated them with flour. Next, I prepped the batter. I added all of the ingredients for it into a large bowl and beat them with a hand mixer until they were blended together. I then poured it into the tall pan.

Next, I placed the insert pan over the tall pan and locked it into place and then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Thankfully the insert pan has small holes in it, which I am assuming is to allow the cake to “breathe” while baking, but, I used them to insert a cake tester to see when the cake was done.

After removing the pan from the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes…

And then I removed the insert pan and let the cake cool completely in the pan for about an hour.

Next I made the filling. In a saucepan I combined heavy whipping cream, sugar and coffee liqueur. I cooked it over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. After removing it from the heat I stirred in semi-sweet chocolate chips with a wire whisk until they were melted. And finally I stirred in vanilla extract before transferring the mixture to a large bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a chilled medium bowl I beat additional heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks formed. I then folded the heavy whipping cream into the cooled chocolate mixture.

And finally I spooned the whipped chocolate mixture into the cavity of the cake and then refrigerated the cake thinking that the filling would firm up. It never did! I even put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes and that did nothing to it as well. So, I gave up and decided to invert the cake out of the pan and do my best not to make a mess. Well, taking the cake out of the pan was no easy feat. I had to pry a flexible spatula between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake. I was FINALLY able to invert the cake out and surprisingly didn’t make a complete mess with the mousse filling that was definitely not mousse-consistency.

While I thought about throwing in the towel at this point I decided to go ahead and make the frosting for the cake. I added additional heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heated until it was hot. I then stirred in semi-sweet chocolate chips and stirred the mixture until the chocolate was melted. After letting the mixture cool for a few minutes it was the perfect consistency to frost the cake.

I won’t show you what happened when I sliced into the cake. As you can imagine the filling just, I hate to use the word ooze, but, that’s pretty much what it did. It did taste good though! And I was able to spoon it over the cake after slicing myself a piece so it wasn’t a total loss. So, will I attempt to use the pan again? Absolutely, but, I think the next filling will be something like whipped cream folded with some fresh berries, or, I will use the filling I normally make for my other cakes. Oh, and yeah, I will be using baking spray next time. It hasn’t left a cake stuck in a pan for me yet!

A Quick, Easy & Creamy Cheesecake

Happy Memorial Day! The unofficial kickoff to the summer. Albeit, this summer will definitely look and feel different than summer’s past. One thing remains certain though, the days will be getting warmer. And with warmer days you’ll be wanting to spend less time in the kitchen but will probably still want something sweet that’s quick and easy to make, and this cheesecake is just that. Topped with some fresh berries that are soon to be in season it’s the perfect treat for the warmer days ahead.

Instead of using a springform pan and graham crackers crumbs for the crust you simple use a store-bought graham cracker crust. For the cheesecake filling beat room temperature cream cheese with sugar, vanilla extract and sour cream until well blended. Then add two room temperature eggs to the mixture and continue beating until all the ingredients are well combined and then pour the batter into the crust and bake for 40 – 45 minutes in a 325 F preheated oven.

After removing it from the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for an hour before refrigerating it overnight. I then topped it with sliced strawberries and blueberries. And to add a little extra sweetness and to ensure that the berries wouldn’t slide off the cheesecake I brushed them with an apricot glaze. To make the glaze I warmed apricot preserves with water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the preserves had melted. I then strained the mixture through a strainer.

And after letting the glaze cool for a few minutes I gently brushed it over the berries.

An as the title says, the cheesecake was super creamy and delicious!

 

Quick Easy & Creamy Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For The Cheesecake:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

9-inch graham cracker crust

For The Topping:

1 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon water

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and continue beating until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake in the preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the center is almost set.

Let cool on a wire rack for an hour and then refrigerate for at least three hours.

To make the glaze combine the apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan and whisk together over medium heat until the preserves have melted. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and let cool for a few minutes.

Arrange the sliced strawberries and blueberries on the chilled cheesecake and then brush the warm apricot glaze over them.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Hershey’s Deep Dish Brownies

I love brownies, but, truth be told, they are not one of my favorite things to bake. Not because they are difficult to prepare, but, because I always have an issue with either removing them from the pan and/or slicing them. They always seem to stick the pan, even though I prep the pan, and/or crumble when I slice them, even though I wait until they are completely cooled before doing so. And I will point out that I have used parchment paper sometimes to make brownies, but, I still run into some issue with them, usually it’s them falling apart when I slice them.

Recently I tried a very simple recipe that resulted in perfect brownies… They didn’t stick to the pan when I flipped it over and I was able to slice them without any crumbly pieces. Who knew it was actually possible!?!? This great recipe is from Hershey’s, it’s their Deep Dish Brownie Recipe. I will tell you though that these brownies are more cake-like than fudgy, but, if you want a fudgier brownie you can reduce the egg count in the recipe from 3 to 2. I will admit I haven’t tried it with this recipe, but, I do know that eggs are one of the ingredients that changes the texture of brownies from cake-like to fudgy. One other thing I liked about these brownies was that they had some height to them as well. Great for topping them with ice cream after warming them up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Hershey’s Deep Dish Brownies

  • Servings: 12-16 Brownies (depending on how you slice them)
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Ingredients:

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8 pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt – and set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract until combined. Add in the eggs and whisk everything together until well incorporated. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and when a cake tester inserted about one inch from the edge comes out clean.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before inverting and slicing.

Recipe from Hershey’s

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Truth be told there’s nothing like a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie! It’s comforting and familiar. And if you’ve ever stayed at a DoubleTree Hotel you more than likely have been welcomed by their signature chocolate chip cookie, I know I have. Last month they finally made the recipe for their iconic cookie available so at-home bakers can bake up a batch themselves to find some comfort in these crazy & unfortunate times.

There are quite a few reasons to love these cookies. First and foremost they are delicious. They only require 1 bowl (no need for mixing the dry ingredients separately and then incorporating it into the dough) and they have walnuts! I love chocolate chip cookies with walnuts!

As I mentioned they only require 1 bowl. So, I began by creaming together the butter with the sugars and then adding in the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Yes, you read that right. Lemon juice in a chocolate chip cookie. Don’t worry, the cookies will not have a lemon flavor whatsoever, what the lemon does do is brighten the flavor of the cookie. I continued mixing until the dough was light and fluffy. Next, I added in the dry ingredients – flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. After mixing the dough on low to incorporate these ingredients I then used a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Now, these cookies aren’t your typical chocolate chip cookies that use about a tablespoon of dough, these require about 3 tablespoons of dough. I ended up using an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough. Since my ice cream scoop is slightly more than 3 tablespoons I ended up with less cookies than the recipe indicated; 20 as opposed to 26. I placed the mounds of cookie dough on parchment lined baking sheets 2 inches apart.

I then baked them for 20 minutes in a 300 F preheated oven and once I removed them from the oven I placed the baking sheet on a wire rack for an hour so the cookies could cool right on the sheets. The cookies were golden brown around the edges and quite soft in the middle when I removed them from the oven, but, as they cooled they firmed up nicely.

Once cooled it was time to enjoy them. And they definitely did not disappoint. I know I will be baking these cookies up for years to come. Also, they are sturdy and large enough that they could be the base for the perfect ice cream sandwich.

 

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 26 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup rolled oats*

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt**

Pinch of cinnamon

2 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips***

1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts

 

*These are the old-fashioned oats, not the quick-cooking ones

**I used kosher salt

***This is about 16 oz. of chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars using a handheld mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice to the butter mixture and mix on low for 30 seconds and then on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the mixture and beat on low speed for 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.

Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Portion the dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the center of the cookie is still soft.

Remove the cookies from the oven and place the sheet on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Recipe from Hilton