Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2019

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars


This is a wonderful fall dessert that would make a great addition to any holiday table. Alternatively, it would make a great addition to any meal, any day of the week. Shortbread, cheesecake, apples, streusel, caramel sauce... there's a reason I adapted this recipe to a 9-inch pan from its original 9x13... I knew I would be likely to eat the WHOLE.THING.

We took these to a friend's house and they were a huge hit. And there's no question why. Everyone will love to eat them, but I also loved that I could make all the layers in my food processor, dirtying only one bowl! (Except the apples. Don't put the apples in the food processor!)

If you don't have a food processor, don't worry. You can just whip up the layers in a regular bowl using a pastry blender or your fingers. The original post that gives directions without a food processor is also linked below, if you're interested.

However, don't worry about the method of preparation here. Just go out, buy the ingredients, and get these made. And eaten.


Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Full Plate, Favorite Things, Wow Me, Wonderful Wednesday, Wine'd Down.


Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes

Apples:
3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Filling:
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup oats
4 ounces butter, cold, cut into cubes

1/2 cup your favorite caramel topping

For the crust, in the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse to mix well. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Press the crust evenly into a greased 9" pan. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges.

For the topping, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and oats in the food processor and pulse just to mix. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Set aside.

For the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until well combined. Pour over the warm crust.

For the apples, in a small bowl, stir together the chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature or refrigerate overnight for best results. Drizzle with the caramel topping.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, September 2, 2019

Peach Cobbler Bars


We have really been enjoying the fruit this summer. But sometimes I buy more than we can eat in a reasonable amount of time. Surely I'm not the only one?

So, when that happens, I gladly turn the fruit into a baked good; or a baked GREAT. This was definitely a baked GREAT.


All the goodness of peach cobbler baked into a bar form, then covered with a delectable almond icing. This was the perfect dessert for Labor Day weekend, reminding us that summer is not over til September 21, people! But even if it feels more like fall, you will love the summer flavors in this dessert.


Find more great ideas at Inspire Me Monday, Inspire Me Monday 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Twinkly Tuesday.


Peach Cobbler Bars

Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar

Filling:
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp. salt
2-3 cups peaches, peeled and finely diced

Almond Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. almond extract

For the crust, stir flour, salt and sugar together. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse sand. (Alternatively, combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. You want to see some pieces of butter in the mixture.)

Reserve 1 cup crumbs.

Pour remaining crumbs into a greased 9x13 baking dish and press down firmly. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, sour cream and salt together. Fold in the peaches.

Pour peach mixture over top of baked crust layer. Sprinkle filling layer with remaining cup of crumbs. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until set.

For the icing, combine the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract and stir with a spoon or whisk until smooth. After bars have cooled for 1/2 hour, drizzle top with the icing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe Source: Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Monday, August 19, 2019

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars


Strawberry Rhubarb is such a wonderful summer combination. I loved this treatment of the tangy and sweet fruit, layered between cream cheese and streusel.

It was a big hit at a summer picnic, with even kids requesting seconds!


Because of the several layers, this does take a little time to come together, and it's really best if you can let it sit overnight in the fridge before serving. It will be worth the wait!

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Crust and filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1 cup fresh strawberries (about 10-11 strawberries), hulled and diced
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cold and diced

For the crust, combine butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Press the dough evenly into a greased 8 or 9" baking pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, combine cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar and beat together until smooth. Add the egg and 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and mix until combined. Pour over the partially-baked crust and spread evenly. In a medium bowl, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Sprinkle evenly over cream cheese filling.

For the topping, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender until you have a pea-sized crumb-like mixture. Sprinkle topping over the fruit mixture. Bake again for 40-45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely on a wire rack. For best results, refrigerate for several hours or overnight before cutting into squares and serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Smorgaseats

Monday, February 11, 2019

Red Velvet Marble Bundt Cake


So here we have a Valentine's Day dessert obviously displayed on a Christmas plate. Hmmm. Well, the easiest explanation is that I made this at Christmas, but also think it's a wonderful cake for Valentine's, with the beautiful red swirl. It's the easiest and the most true. So don't mind the Christmas plate - just look at the cake.

This is a wonderfully rich cake with swirls of red velvet in the vanilla batter. It doesn't need a frosting or any kind of icing - it's divine just on its own.

So, whether you make it this week for Valentine's, or pin this recipe and save it for Christmas, it doesn't matter. Any holiday that needs an infusion of red and deliciousness is the right holiday for this cake.


Red Velvet Marble Bundt Cake

3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk

RED VELVET SWIRL
1/3 cup cocoa powder
5 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. red food color

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, and sour cream until well-combined. Stir in vanilla. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. On low, stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in milk.

In a separate large bowl, stir together 2 ½ cups of the batter, cocoa powder, milk, and red food coloring.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, drop two scoops of plain batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Drop one scoop of red velvet swirl batter on top of plain batter. Continue to alternate between plain and red velvet swirl batters until both batters are gone.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto wire rack, and cool completely.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Countdown to 2019: Best Desserts of 2018

Ooh la la, it's dessert day! I'm featuring my three favorite desserts of this past year today, but tomorrow there will be another in the Instant Pot category. Dessert in the Instant Pot? Yes sir (or ma'am). But first, check out these amazing creations that use your oven.


Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting



If you've never tried cookie butter before, go out and get some today. That stuff is fantastic, especially on a brownie cake. This was another one of the recipes I promised I would make in 2018, and it was wonderful. I will probably make it again and again in 2019, too!


Oatmeal Dulce DeLeche Bars



I would put dulce deleche in anything, but it is especially good between layers of oatmeal. These bars are wonderful when they are chilled, and they are very sweet, so a little goes a long way.

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars


One of my favorite bars of ALL TIME, these put two of the best ingredients together: chocolate and peanut butter, for an amazing taste sensation. This makes a big pan, too, so there's plenty to share.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the best Instant Pot recipes of 2018.



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 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

Monday, April 16, 2018

Oatmeal Dulce de Leche Bars


Here is a super sweet, super delicious bar to help get you through these last few days of winter. I loved these served chilled, so that the dulce de leche is nice and sticky in between the layers of oatmeal cookie dough. As I said, these are suh-weet. So make sure you have a big cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk (or vanilla ice cream for sugar overload factor) when you eat one (or two, or three).


I made my own dulce de leche in the instant pot. I only used about 1 1/2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, and that made plenty of dulce de leche. (of course, if you are prone to eat this out of the jar with a spoon, you might need to make the full two cans, in two separate batches. The can and a half filled my pint jar TO THE BRIM and it still worked beautifully.) There are various versions online for making dulce de leche in the crock pot or stove top, too, so feel free to do what works best for you - or just buy it at your grocery!

Whatever you do, you will love these bars. (And so you will your dentist, ha!)

Find more inspiration at Full Plate, Wonderful Wednesday, Let's Party, Whisk It, Wow Me, Wow Us, Hearth and Soul, Awesome Friday, Weekend Potluck, Sugar and Spice.

Oatmeal Dulce de Leche Bars

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups oatmeal
2 {14 oz.} cans Dulce de Leche

Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. Mix in milk and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine salt, baking soda, flour, and oats. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.

Press 2/3 of the cookie dough into a greased 9x13" prepared pan.

Transfer the Dulce de Leche to a medium, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds. Spread the Dulce de Leche over the cookie dough in the pan. Top with spoonfuls of the remaining cookie dough.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Recipe Source: Adapted from High Heels and Grills

Monday, February 26, 2018

Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting


This cake was on my list as one of the things I would make in 2018. And it's only February and I've already made it, along with Cuban Quesadillas and Instant Pot Cheesecake. I've learned this is the way to make the things on my list - make them early in the year!

And the great thing about making it early in the year? Lots of opportunities to make it AGAIN! And who wouldn't want to make this again and again? It's a brownie cake with cookie butter frosting! Do you know cookie butter? It's made out of those unique Biscoff cookies that you get, among other places, on Delta flights! It has a really distinguishable flavor that is different from anything else. It's great to use in cakes, cookies and bars.


This dessert is very sweet, as you might imagine, you can cut the pieces small, and serve with piping cups of coffee. My dinner guests loved it, and my kids' response on seeing it on the counter: "WHAT is that CAKE?" I guess I should use chocolate shavings more regularly to avoid the shock factor.

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Whisk It, Let's Party, Full Plate, Wonderful Wednesday.


Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

Cake:
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Frosting:
3/4 cup speculoos cookie butter
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. half and half

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, add the dark chocolate and coffee, and let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk it all together until smooth and glossy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, then sprinkle in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the dry ingredients gently until no flour specks remain.

Spread the brownie mixture into a greased 9" springform pan and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake has puffed slightly and the top is settled. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before removing the sides of the springform pan.

For the frosting, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix together the cookie butter and butter for a full minute so it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and half and half and beat for another minute, or until the mixture is fluffy and spreadable.

Spread the frosting on the cake, garnish with chocolate shavings, and cut into wedges to serve. Leftovers can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes 8-12 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Creme Brulee Cheesecake {Instant Pot!}


The Instant Pot is great for so many things: my favorites are risotto, mashed potatoes, short ribs, and steel cut oats. And now, cheesecake. That's right, you can make cheesecake in your pressure cooker, and it turns out wonderfully! It is so creamy! I dislike heavy, dry cheesecake, and this one is anything but! All the steam inside the pressure cooker guarantees the perfect texture.


There are so many adaptations you could make to this basic recipe. You could add a fruit topping, chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce, the possibilities are endless. I did a creme brulee topping, which you add after the cheesecake has been removed from the pressure cooker and cooled a bit. You could also make individual cheesecakes in custard cups or silicone muffin cups.


Because of the build up of steam, you probably will end up with some water on top of the cheesecake, especially where the crust meets the filling. Simply dab a paper towel around the edges, and it will soak up all the water. If you line your pan (both bottom and sides) with parchment, that may help as well.

A note about pans: I have a springform pan that is just under 8 inches and it fits in my 6 quart Instant Pot. Most recipes call for a 6" pan which would likely sit on the trivet inside the pot; mine fits snugly near the top. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly if your pan is smaller, because your cheesecake will be deeper. The great thing is, you can experiment and make this recipe several times until you get it perfect. And you can eat all the trial runs...with different toppings.

Get more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Whisk It, Full Plate, Party.

Creme Brulee Cheesecake

Crust:
8 graham crackers, finely ground
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
pinch salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup flour

Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (low fat works well too!)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Topping:
2 tsp. sugar

Combine the crushed graham crackers, salt, brown sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Pat into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a greased 7" springform pan. (Alternatively, you can line the bottom and sides with parchment.)

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the sugar, sour cream, cornstarch, vanilla and salt, and mix until well combined and very creamy.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of an electric pressure cooker and insert the trivet. Fold aluminum foil to make a "sling" for your pan - you want the foil to go under the pan and up the sides. You'll need this to get the pan out later. Use the sling to insert the pan into the pressure cooker, then fold down the foil sides.


Secure the lid, ensure the toggle knob is set to "sealing" and set for manual pressure for 26 minutes. When the cycle is completed, let the pressure release naturally.

Remove the lid, being careful not to drip any of the accumulated water from the lid onto the cheesecake. Carefully remove the cake using the foil sling and transfer to a wire rack. Use a folded up paper towel to carefully dab away any water on the cheesecake. Let cool completely.

Sprinkle with the sugar and then place under a broiler or use a hand torch to brown the top. Watch carefully if it's in your oven! Refrigerate for several hours to fully set. Serves 12.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee 7-Layer Bars


You may be thinking about roasted vegetables, winter salads, waking up early to exercise and what not now that it's the New Year. But I'm still thinking about desserts. Specifically, I needed to find a way to use a partial can of sweetened condensed milk that was languishing in the fridge, leftover from some holiday baking.

And it came to me in a lightbulb moment - why not make 7-layer bars using up stuff I have in the cupboard? It was a genius idea if I do say so myself, so I went in search of what I had on-hand that would also taste good together. I think I came up with a winning combination! The 7-layer bar starts with a graham cracker crust and is eventually topped with coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Those are 3 layers. So now you have 4 middle layers that could use some creativity. I chose chocolate chips, caramel bits, toffee bits and peanuts. Peanuts may seem like an odd addition, but personally, I'm not a huge fan of pecans, which is usually what is in 7-layer bars. And I really love how the saltiness of the peanuts offsets the incredible sweetness of all the other ingredients.


So there's my New Year's take on 7-layer bars! I hope it inspires you to come up with a new "treatment" for a great recipe sometime this year!

Find more great ideas at Weekend Potluck, Awesome Friday, Full Plate, Wonderful Wednesday.

Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee 7-Layer Bars

4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup caramel bits
1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until evenly coated. Press onto the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the crust in an even layer. Then top with caramel bits, peanuts, toffee bits and coconut. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes or until coconut is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Place in refrigerator for about 2 hours to help the bars set. Makes 12 bars.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Countdown to 2018: Best Desserts of 2017

Ooh, how do you narrow it down? It's so hard to have a label like "best." Aren't all desserts really great? But since I am forced to, for this challenge (ahem), I chose the very best from the past year. Luckily, more desserts are included on Sunday in the "most popular" category. Phew!

Again, thanks to Elena Bltheh at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes for hosting the Countdown! And without further ado, here are the best desserts:

Almond Pear Cream Cheese Tart

Oh this tart. I even ate it for breakfast one day it was that good. It DOES have fruit. AND cream cheese. So that's breakfast material, right? I loved, loved, loved the crust on this tart. The whole thing is just amazingly scrumptious.


White Chocolate Brownies

I really like finding recipes that are a little different from things I have made before. Don't get me wrong, I love the tried and true, too, but these brownies are just different enough that they will spice up your life in a new way.


S'mores Ice Cream Cake

This fun ice cream cake gave me an excuse to buy those little marshmallow bits. It was all I could do to not pour them directly in my mouth; they are so good - like miniature Lucky Charms marshmallows but just all the same shape and color! Anyway, add those to some grahams cereal, chocolate ice cream and chocolate and you have this impressive and tasty dessert!


Coconut Bundt Cake

Oftentimes, the simplest desserts can be impressive and delicious. This bundt starts with a cake mix and gets doctored up with sour cream, pudding, and plenty of coconut in the cake and in the frosting. It's enough to make you feel like you're in the tropics, even if it is 5 degrees below zero. (That's how cold it is here today, and I'm not even kidding. I guess I need to make this cake again.)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Crispy Tiger Fudge


Ooh, this fudge. I love everything about it - peanut butter and chocolate together, a creamy layer, a crispy layer... beautiful on a tray, hard to resist.


You probably have all of these ingredients on hand, so you can whip some up yet this week! (Am I the only one who still has A LOT of baking to do this year???)


Find more holiday cheer at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Inspire Me2, Show and Share.

Crispy Tiger Fudge

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 (11 ounce) package white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup crispy rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
1/2 cup peanut butter

Place semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl; heat in microwave at 50% power for 30-45 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval. Stir chocolate until smooth.

Combine white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a separate microwave-safe bowl; heat in microwave at 50% power for 30-45 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval. Stir mixture until smooth.

Stir cereal and peanut butter into white chocolate-butterscotch mixture; pour into a 9x13 baking dish lined with foil or parchment paper.

Spoon semisweet chocolate in lines across the peanut butter mixture. Run a knife in the opposite direction of the chocolate lines to achieve a swirled, tiger-stripe pattern. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 10 minutes. Cut into small squares.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake


I have said it before and I'll say it again. I love Christmas cookies, but sometimes you just need CAKE. I have a few fun Christmas cakes here on the blog to choose from, including Egg Nog Cake , Peppermint Poke Cake and Candy Cane Bundt Cake, and now I am happy to share this great recipe with you, too.


This chocolate cake starts with a mix, and then gets doctored up with extra ingredients like pudding, sour cream and peppermint extract. It's topped with a cream cheese frosting and then sprinkled with crushed candy canes. It is beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. It will look great on a Christmas buffet and be a great addition to the ubiquitous cookie tray!


Find more holiday cheer at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Create Link Inspire, Fabulous, Show and Share, Wow Me, Wow Us, Whisk It, Hearth and Soul, Wonderful Wednesday, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck, Awesome Friday.

Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake

1 box devils food cake mix
1 3.9 oz pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream (low fat is ok)
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 candy canes, crushed

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, sour cream, eggs, water, oil and peppermint extract. Mix with an electric mixer until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a well-greased bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Allow to cool in the pan for 15-20 mins. Carefully invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely. If you aren't frosting and serving immediately, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate it.

To make the frosting, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Spread or pipe onto the cake. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Serves 12-16

Recipe Source: Tastes Better From Scratch

Monday, October 16, 2017

Caramel Pear Streusel Bars


I really like pears. I think they play second fiddle to apples far too often. I love eating them, but I also like baking with them. They bake up deliciously and other textures and flavors really complement them well.


In these bars, we have a shortbread crust, topped with pears, caramel sauce and then a crunchy streusel. It's the perfect fall dessert!


Find more fall ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2.


Caramel Pear Streusel Bars

Crust:

6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour

Pear Filling:

4 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping

Streusel:

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp. butter, cold and cubed

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Lightly coat the foil with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

For the crust: Stir the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes.

For the filling: Combine the sliced pears, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the slices are evenly coated.

For the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F. Evenly layer the pears on top of the warm crust and press them down to fit. Pour the caramel sauce evenly over the pears. Sprinkle with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Makes 16 bars.

Recipe Source: Inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction

Monday, October 2, 2017

French Silk Brownie Dessert


I love watching the Great British Baking Show. It is amazing what those home bakers can do and the creations they present to the judges. I always end up feeling a little inadequate. I'm not particularly clever with my "bakes" and I certainly don't do any 3-D sculptures of baked goods. However, then I quickly remember that it doesn't have to be fancy to be delicious. And shortcuts are sometimes just as good as doing it the long way. That is particularly true for this recipe.

You start with a boxed brownie mix, which is fine on its own, but is truly decadent when topped with a french silk layer and additional cream. And there's garnish! Maybe there's hope for me on the Great British Baking Show after all.


Find more inspiration at Create Link Inspire, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck.

French Silk Brownie Dessert

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients to make the brownies (usually 2 eggs, vegetable oil and water)
4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, plus more for garnish
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (low fat is fine)
16 ounces (2 – 8 ounce tubs) Cool Whip
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Prepare brownies as box directs, but transfer them to a 11x7 pan for baking. Make sure not to overbake so that the brownies stay fudgy.

For the french silk, melt chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds, then stir, heat for 30 seconds again, then stir well, then heat on 10 second increments, stirring between each, until smooth. Let cool 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Add chocolate and mix until combined, then mix in vanilla. Fold in half of the Cool Whip (one 8 ounce container). Spread the chocolate mixture on top of the brownies, then top with second container of Cool Whip. Use a potato peeler or a microplane grater to shave some additional baking chocolate all over the top.

Chill for at least one hour before serving to allow it to set. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Crazy for Crust

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

White Chocolate Brownies


After a tumultuous August, I am glad to be back in the kitchen again, trying new recipes. These brownies seemed like the perfect thing to make after several weeks of non-stop work after a crisis. A white chocolate brownie base, drizzled with chocolate - what's not to love?


I especially appreciate recipes that can be made in one bowl; no mixer required. I really liked these after being refrigerated too, maybe just because it was summer, but I liked the texture after they were chilled. Basically, I like these on a train, in the rain, in a car both near and far. I like my white chocolate brownies, Sam I Am.


Find more inspiration at Create Link Inspire, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us.

White Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup butter
6 oz white chocolate (not candy melts or white chocolate chips)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminium foil leaving an overhang on each side. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl, melt together the butter and white chocolate in short 20 second bursts. Stir the mixture after each 20 second burst.

After both the butter and white chocolate are melted, allow to cool slightly. Then whisk in sugar, vanilla, eggs and salt. Whisk together the mixture until smooth and evenly combined, then carefully fold in the flour.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared pan and bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes, or until the top is set and the sides are starting to pull away from the pan.

Allow the brownies to cool fully in the pan. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the aluminium foil edges. Carefully peel back the sides of the foil, then cut into 12 squares.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in short 20 second bursts, stirring between each burst. Drizzle the chocolate over each square.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Just So Tasty

Monday, July 17, 2017

Double Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars


I've had this recipe pinned for a LONG time. I finally had the perfect reason to make these - raspberries that needed to get used up, and a family gathering that called for dessert. These bars are wonderful! A simple shortbread crust is the foundation for two layers of chocolate, with a sprinkling of raspberries. The raspberries add wonderful color and break up the chocolate flavor. These are rich, so you can cut them into small pieces. They also freeze well if you want to save them for another time.

I used espresso chips for the melted chocolate layer - they added a fabulous dimension of flavor. The original recipe calls for dark chocolate chips - I think any variety would work well, so use what you have!


Take advantage of summer's great raspberries and make this delicious dessert!

Double Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (espresso or dark if you like)
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup fresh raspberries, semi crushed

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until creamy. Mix in brown sugar, flour and salt. Continue mixing until crumbly.

Press 1 3/4 cups of crumb mixture into a well greased 9x13" baking pan. Set remaining crumbs aside. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk one cup of chocolate chips. Cook at 50% power at 1-minute intervals, stirring between each session. Cook just until melted; do not overcook or the chocolate will seize.

Remove crust from oven and pour chocolate mixture over warm crust.

Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly over chocolate layer. Spoon raspberries over crumb mixture and top with mini chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Deliciously Sprinkled

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

S'mores Ice Cream Cake


In my opinion, you can never have too many s'more desserts in your repertoire. This is only my third s'mores dessert, but like the other two (cookie bars and brownies), it is amazing, and it only inspires me on to make s'mores cake, cheesecake, ice cream, etc!

This is the perfect summer dessert - refreshing, delicious and impressive!

It is easy to layer up in a loaf pan,


and I loved all the textures at play - crunchy cereal, soft ice cream, squishy marshmallows, velvety chocolate pieces, and then a new discovery - marshmallow bits! They are so fun! (And they're easy to find - right by the marshmallows at my grocery.)


You'll be everyone's biggest fan when you make this ice cream cake this summer!


Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Create Link Inspire, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Full Plate, Recipe Sharing.

S'mores Ice Cream Cake

4 cups Honey Graham cereal, crushed
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 - 48 oz. container chocolate ice cream, softened
1 - 6 ounce milk chocolate bar, chopped into small chunks
1 - 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3/4 cup marshmallow bits

Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap so that there is overhang for lifting out the cake later. Spray the plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the crushed cereal and melted butter until well combined. Press 1-1/2 cups of the cereal mixture into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan.

Spread half the softened chocolate ice cream over the cereal layer. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the chopped chocolate chunks.

In a large bowl, stir together the mini marshmallows and thawed whipped topping. Spread half over the top of the chocolate chunks layer. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup marshmallow bits.

Repeat the layers with 1-1/2 cups cereal, remaining chocolate ice cream, half of the remaining chocolate chunks and remaining marshmallow whipped topping mixture. Reserve the remaining marshmallow bits for the very top of the cake.

Sprinkle the remaining cereal over the marshmallow whipped topping layer. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks over the cereal and then the remaining marshmallow bits over the chocolate chunks.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place cake in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, lift cake from the pan using the sides of the plastic wrap. Cut into slices with a large sharp knife and serve. Store leftover cake in the freezer. Serves 12.

Recipe Source: Adapted from The Baker Mama
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