Monday, November 26, 2018

Candy Cane Kiss Cheesecake Cookies


It's time for Christmas cookies! Every year I like to make a few new cookies as well as making tried and true, or my favorites from past years. I've made several versions of these "kiss" cookies, and all of them are so good: triple peppermint cookies, cherry kisses, chocolate peppermint swirl cookies, chocolate kissed gingerbread, and macaroon kisses.


These have a delightful bit of cream cheese in the batter which makes them so soft and so flavorful! Like the other kiss cookies, they're a snap to make, but the dough does need time to chill, so factor that into your planning. If you want to get fancy, you can drizzle these with white chocolate or decorating sugar, but I actually thought they were fine just as is!


Happy Baking!

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Hearth and Soul.

Candy Cane Kiss Cheesecake Cookies

1/2 cup butter, soft
6 oz cream cheese, soft
1 cup sugar (plus extra for rolling cookies in)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
24 candy cane kisses, unwrapped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted or decorating sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Mix in sugar, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and peppermint extract and beat until creamy.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined well.

Chill dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Scoop into one-inch round balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Let cool for a couple of minutes then press a candy cane kiss into the center of each cookie. Let cool for a couple more minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Drizzle tops of cookies with melted white chocolate or sprinkle with decorating sugar.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting


I couldn't let November go by without posting SOMETHING made from pumpkin. And this is a very good something. I adapted a regular, old pumpkin bar recipe with cream cheese frosting (there is nothing wrong with those "regular" bars by the way!) and added browned butter. Browned butter amps up the "interesting" factor by about 100.


This makes a big pan - 11x7 - so there's plenty to share or to take to an event. They keep beautifully in the fridge for up to a week, so you can make them ahead as well.


These come together very quickly, so this is a great dessert option if you're a little short on time. And it's a perfect pumpkin alternative for those that don't care for pumpkin pie. (Something I will never understand, but I have my own dislikes, too, so I'll try to be forgiving. ha!)

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Bars:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree *not pie filling*
2 cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1 - 8oz. block cream cheese (regular or low fat)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and gradually add to pumpkin mixture. Lightly coat an 11x17 with cooking spray. Transfer batter to the pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, melt the butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Without stirring, and watching carefully, let the butter heat up until it is a golden brown color. (You can pick up the pan and swirl it once in a while, but be careful not to let it burn.) Let the butter cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

When the butter has slightly cooled, place the cream cheese in a small mixing bowl and pour the butter over. Mix with an electric mixer on low until the butter is incorporated, and then until smooth. Add the vanilla, then add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternatively with the milk, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

Frost the bars when they have cooled. Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Creamy Ground Chicken White Chili


I developed this recipe on a cold night, after having planned chicken lettuce wraps for dinner. I love chicken lettuce wraps, and my family does, too. But on this particular dreary, rainy, chilly day, I could not face eating lettuce for dinner! Ha! So I knew a soup was in order. I've made "regular" white chicken chili before, so I was sure that ground chicken would also lend itself well to this dish. And I was right. It was a big hit with my family.


You can adjust the spices based on your family's tastes...I've suggested the minimum amount here but feel free to increase it. You can also add some jalapeno slices if you need a little more kick.

Stay warm!


Creamy Ground Chicken White Chili

1 pound ground chicken
1 small white onion, diced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into small pieces (low fat works great!)
1 can corn
1 can white Northern beans or white Kidney beans (Cannellini)
4-5 green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
jalapeno slices

In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook the onion and chicken until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle the chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt over the meat and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth, milk, cream of chicken soup and cream cheese to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the beans and corn and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through. Adjust the spices to your liking, then ladle into bowls and top with cheese, green onions and sliced jalapenos, if you desire. Serves 6.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars


Well, we've had a good run of entrees here for the last few weeks, so it's time to talk desserts. And this one is one of the best. I've been reading Mel's blog for a long time, and her recipes never disappoint.

These bars are a good example. A peanut butter cookie base topped with fudge and then more cookie? Ah-mazing. Chocolate isn't my favorite dessert (shocking I know, but true) but these bars are seriously right up there in my all time favorites. I even like them better straight out of the freezer... well, maybe not straight out, but let them thaw for 5-10 minutes, and goodness me. I had to hide these in the back of the freezer so they wouldn't get devoured.


And you probably will want to freeze them - this recipe makes an 11x17 pan, so you'll have enough for a party and then some. You can halve the recipe if you like (bake in a 9x13 if you do); or you can make it in two 9x13s and give one away!


Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

Fudge:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
Pinch of salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract


For the peanut butter cookie dough, in a large bowl cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until no dry streaks remain.

Reserve about 2 1/2 cups of the dough and set aside. Press the rest of the cookie dough in the bottom and into the corners of a greased 11x17 pan.

For the fudge, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, salt, chocolate chips and vanilla. Cook for 1-minute increments on 50% power, stirring in between, until the mixture is nearly melted; then stir until creamy.

Pour the fudge filling over the cookie dough layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula or knife.

Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top in small pieces.

Bake the bars for 15 minutes – but don’t overbake! The cookie dough should be soft; resist the temptation to let them cook until browned. Let the bars cool completely before slicing and serving. The bars can be cut and stored in the refrigerator, well-covered, for several days or frozen for several months.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
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