Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust

I made this cheesecake for Easter (along with a plethora of other desserts).  I’d have to say this was one of the prettiest looking desserts I’ve made and I was happy with how it turned out.  I want to make it again soon.  We had some family over for dessert on Easter and the cheesecake was the first to go and it went fast. 


I had never tried to swirl all pretty like this before and I was really happy with it, especially because I made the raspberry puree on my own, instead of using preserves as the recipe I sort of followed suggested.  I added half the cheesecake mixture to the prebaked chocolate (animal crackers) crust, then swirled some puree in the middle.

DSCF4850After adding the rest of the cheesecake mixture to the top, I put the remaining puree in a piping bag with a small tip, I carefully dripped dots of puree over the top.  Most of the dots of puree were about the size of a dime.  I then took a toothpick and ran it around the puree one time, which made a fun heart-shaped swirl.  I didn’t quite use up all the puree, and next time will make sure I put more in the center.  There was probably about 1/4 cup of puree left.  I think even a swirl like what I did in the center of the cheesecake layer would be pretty on top, too.   Kevin and I both thought the chocolate crust was a little thick and next time I make this, we both agreed the traditional graham cracker crust would be good, though I’m glad I tried the chocolate crust and I wouldn’t rule it out another time. 

I made the chocolate cookie crust one other time recently with the Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie I made a few weeks ago.  I like the chocolate animal crackers as they aren’t too sweet and a big bag of them is only about $2.   

This is not your traditional, rich, (fattening) cheesecake, it’s lighter and much easier to make.  And sometimes, those kind of cheesecakes are just fine—and good!  I adapted this from a recipe I found on the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk website.


Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

8 ounces (1 pkg.)  1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened (you can use regular, too)

14 ounces (1 can) fat free Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (you can use regular, too)

1 large egg

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Prepared pie crust:

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (4-5 cups whole cookies)  I used chocolate animal crackers

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light is fine, too)

6 tablespoons Bestlife butter, melted 

Raspberry puree:

2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie crust by pulsing cookies in a food processor until they are finely ground crumbs.  Add the brown sugar and pulse again.  Pour in the melted butter and pulse until all the crumbs are wet.  Press into an 8 inch springform pan or a deep dish pie plate.  Decide on how thick you want the crust, you may not need all of the mixture.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.  Cool.  Reset the oven to 300 degrees.

While the crust is cooling, clean out the food processor bowl, pulse the cream cheese in it until smooth.  Add the condensed milk and pulse again until smooth.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add the egg and lemon juice and continue pulsing in the food processor until well combined and smooth.  Pour half the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust.  Pour the rest into another medium sized bowl and set aside.  Clean the food processor bowl again (or use a blender for the raspberry puree).

Puree the thawed raspberries with the sugar and lemon juice.  Strain them in a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.  You’ll get somewhere between 2/3 cup and 1 cup of puree.  Spoon all but 1/4 cup of puree over the cream cheese mixture that is already in the crust.  Swirl it around with a knife.  Evenly pour the remaining cream cheese mixture over the raspberry swirl.  Put the remaining 1/4 cup puree in a piping bag fitted with a small roun tip (or a plastic zip top sandwich bag with a little corner snipped off).  Dot the top of the cream cheese mixture with the puree.  Run a tooth pick around the dots of puree to swirl them.

Bake in 300 degree oven for 50 minutes until the cheesecake is set.  Cool in pan on wire rack until room temperature.  Chill the cheesecake for a couple hours.  Remove from fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving. 

DSCF4879 Little bit of Easter egg coloring last Saturday---


Little bit of the Easter loot.


And look at this fish tank!  Kevin has worked long and hard on this and it’s finally up and running.  He doesn’t have all the fish we’ll eventually get in there as well as more coral and anemone, but it’s running and the fish that are in there are happy!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TWD—Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

The recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie today was chosen by Valerie from une Gamine dans la Cuisine.  She has written up a great post (and posted some fantastic photos) for these cookies—she also has the recipe.  Check it out because she said everything I was thinking of writing about the cookies!  I made them a couple weeks ago.  Love them.

DSCF4681 These have a nice little crunch from the cornmeal and since they are shortbread they have a buttery tenderness.  The lemon zest kicked them up a notch, too.  A crunchy cookie with lots of butter that is pretty much only liked by me at our house is dangerous.  I’m glad I gave most of them away! ;)



Tuesdays With Dorie—check ‘em all out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Sno Caps Cookies

I wasn’t going to post these.  I’ve posted the Hard Boiled Egg Cookies a number of times.  Maybe you’re tired of them.  They are perfect to make during Easter when everyone has so many hard boiled eggs and I just need to tell you again that these are such a unique cookie with a great texture and really are so good.   Today I made them with chocolate chips and Sno Caps—I decided on Sno Caps in honor of the snow we’re supposed to get overnight tonight (SIGH!) and I’d recently grabbed a couple boxes at the dollar store.


Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Sno Caps Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup plus 6 tablespoons all purpose bleached flour, spooned and swept (6 1/4 ounces or 178 grams)

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 hard boiled egg, (peeled ;) and chopped

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 box (3.1 ounces) Nestle Sno Caps Chocolate Nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt, baking soda and butter in food processor. Pulse until mixture is mealy and coarse (10-15 pulses).   Add both sugars, vanilla and hard boiled egg. Pulse again until mixture is mealy looking. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together (about 12-15 longer pulses).

Dump mixture into a bowl, add chocolate chips and mix in with hands to combine.  You will probably see egg whites in dough – they’ll disappear as the cookies bake.

Measure 1  3/4 ounce balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball) and stick Sno Caps all over them and through each ball of dough until they are 2 ounces.  Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet  for 15 minutes or until cookies appear lightly browned around edges.  Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.  Makes 1 dozen.

DSCF4928I love how these came out with the Sno Capped chocolates and they make for a nice extra little crunch!

DSCF4929 Do not let those Easter eggs go to waste! ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nutty White Chocolate and Peach Oatmeal Cookies and Kid’s Candy Cookies

I subscribe to Food Network Magazine.  Every month they have a two page set up with two chefs battling it out for who makes the better ______.  The May issue has Adam Gertler’s Kid’s Candy Cookies versus Sunny Anderson’s Nutty White Chocolate and Peach Oatmeal Cookies to see who created the better ultimate chocolate chip cookie.  Of course, I had to play along and try both to form my own opinion.


I declared Sunny the winner with her Nutty White Chocolate and Peach Oatmeal Cookies!  I made some minor changes to the recipe.  I threw in a couple extra tablespoons of flour since I think sometimes our high altitude affects certain cookies.  And Sunny’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, I used a good white chocolate bar chopped and used 3 1/2 ounces, which was about 3/4 cup.  I baked them for 13 minutes (instead of the suggested 15-17 minutes).  The cookies are a perfectly chewy oatmeal cookie with a nice little zing from the dried peaches.  I also made these a year or two ago when Sunny made them on her show, Cooking For Real and I used apricots instead of peaches.  I do consider myself a true dark chocolate lover, and was pleasantly surprised to like these as much as I did with the white chocolate.  I’m actually tempted to try them with dark chocolate, just to compare.  I think my thing with dark chocolate is that if I’m going to actually just eat some chocolate, I’d always pick dark.  But white chocolate has its place in plenty of baked goods. 

Sunny Anderson's Favorite cookies 4-19-11

I did give Adam Gertler's Kid's Candy Cookies a fair try.  His cookies are full of bittersweet chocolate (take note--kids prefer milk or semi-sweet), toffee pieces, peanut butter chips and Pretzel M&Ms.  My only issue was that the recipe instructs you to add the Pretzel M&Ms before any of the dry ingredients and to beat for a few seconds to let the mixer break them up.  A few seconds did nothing.  But I followed the directions exactly.  So the M&Ms were mostly still whole, which are too big for the cookies.  I would put the M&Ms in a plastic bag and crush them slightly with a rolling pin to break them up.  The cookies also bake too flat for my liking and weren’t very nice looking.  (This is just my opinion.)

DSCF4746 That said, these were not really disliked around here and definitely got eaten up.  I didn’t even photograph how strange the ones with whole M&Ms in them looked.    

So maybe I’ll have a monthly go at Food Network Magazine’s He Made, She Made showdown.  We’ll see.  I mean, if they do something like onion soup, I won’t be doing that. lol

TWD—A Tourtely Apple Tart-Not Really (Chunky Applesauce with toppings)

TWD--Chunky Applesauce with crumble/frozen yogurt and caramel sauce 4-18-11

I wanted to make this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, I really, really did.  But with two layers of Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough, I just couldn’t afford the calories, carbs and fat.  (I’m most annoyed about that!)  Jeanette from The Whimsical Cupcake chose A Tourtely Apple Tart (She’ll have the recipe on her blog.)

Well, I decided to play along as much as I could, so I made the applesauce filling—with a few changes, mostly things I omitted from the recipe.  I left out the browned butter, almonds and raisins and forgot the vanilla, which I was going to put in.  After the apples cooked on the stove, I put them in the food processor and pulsed it a few times until they were broken up, but still chunky.  I used five large Cameo apples and half a Fuji apple to equal the 2 pounds. 


Dorie’s recipe instructs that after the apples cook with the lid on, to cook them another five minutes with the lid off, stirring constantly until all the liquid evaporates.  It took almost another 15 minutes for the liquid to be gone and I did not stir them constantly, but did still quite a bit.  I knew this was cooking the apples more than you’d want them for the tart, but since I was just making applesauce, I knew it would be okay.  I think I may not have had the heat on quite high enough.

DSCF4756I thought the applesauce turned out great.  Especially after I found some unbaked crisp in a baggie in the fridge and decided to bake it on a baking sheet and crumble it on top of some applesauce.  I overbaked some of it, but salvaged enough of it for one serving and it was really good.  I don’t even know what the crisp was for and how long it had been in the fridge (a month or two?).  Usually I label things, but I hadn’t done so with this. 

DSCF4760What a snack this was going to be!  I definitely thought a little scoop of fat free vanilla frozen yogurt was perfectly acceptable and appropriate for this!

DSCF4761Since the apples are cooked with a little brown sugar, my mind turned to caramel—and I remembered a jar of homemade caramel sauce in the fridge.  (Again, I have no idea when I made it or for what, but I know it’s homemade since it’s in an apricot preserves jar.)  It was perfect as a little drizzle on top of this.  What seems like such a decadent dessert is really just a little applesauce with some crumble on top and a little fat free yogurt and a teaspoon of caramel.  I have no idea what the calories and carbs were for this, but I know it hardly had any fat!

Thanks for the tourtely tart pick, Jeanette.  Here’s a little write up of the applesauce I made.

Chunky Applesauce, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s A Tourtely Apple Tart

2 pounds tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks (I used Cameo apples)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple juice

pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

pinch of ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

Put the apples, brown sugar, apple juice and nutmeg in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Keep it cooking at a steady boil with the lid on for about 10 minutes.  Remove the cover and stir frequently, cooking until the liquid evaporates, 10-15 minutes. 

Put the apples in the bowl of a food processor and pulse in short 5-10 second intervals until the apples are the consistency you’d like.  Cool and serve.

DSCF4763Want to see some real tourtely tarts?  Head over to the TWD site to check them out.     

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Secret Recipe Club—Hamburger Stroganoff


Here I am with a savory meal to share today. You see, some other bloggers and I got together and decided to start a new monthly recipe group called The Secret Recipe Club (this is all the brain child of our fearless leader, Amanda from Amanda's Cookin'. You can join if you have a blog full of lots of recipes to share and want to cook/bake along with us. Once a month we will be assigned another person’s blog to pick any recipe we want to make and blog about. The clincher is that throughout the month, we will not be telling anyone whose blog we have—it’s a secret—until we post about our chosen recipe. Fun, huh. You can click on the link and sign up, too, if you’d like—the more the merrier.

The blog I received was Tami's Kitchen Table Talk. I was happy to pick something from Tami’s blog. She heads up the monthly Cookie Carnival baking group that I also participate in. Though it would have been easy for me to pick a cookie or dessert from her blog, I decided to branch out and make a savory dish. Go me! ;)

I chose a Hamburger Stroganoff that Tami came up with one day when she was preparing dinner and had some ground beef to use up. The stroganoff was great! I made a few minor changes. One thing that really caught my attention when I was looking through the recipe was that she only used onion powder in this because she said her daughter hates onions. That was the recipe for me, a fellow onion hater. ;) In Tami’s recipe she used some canned mushrooms because that is what she had at the time. I used some fresh cremini mushrooms as I happened to have some on hand. Other small changes I made was that I used less ground beef than she did. I used fresh garlic cloves instead of garlic powder and didn’t add any red pepper flakes.


One of the things that I thought really made this taste great was a gravy browning and seasoning sauce that was added to the almost finished gravy. Tami used one called Gravy Master. I could not find that in any stores, but found another called Kitchen Bouquet. It really kicked up the beef flavor in the stroganoff! Thanks, Tami! Everyone here loved this and I’m sure I’ll make it again.


Hamburger Stroganoff, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Tami at Tami’s Kitchen Table Talk

1 pound lean ground beef

3.5 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (you could use more, that was how much I had)

1 teaspoon onion powder

extra virgin olive oil for sautéing the mushrooms and garlic

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cans (15 oz. each) of beef broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

2 tablespoons gravy browning and seasoning sauce (Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet)

1/2 cup light sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

fresh parsley, chopped, sprinkled over top of stroganoff

12 ounces pasta (I used Rotini) Traditional stroganoff uses a wide egg noodle, cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, add salt and onion powder. Set the browned beef aside in a bowl. Sauté’ the mushrooms for a few minutes, just before they are finished, add the garlic and cook for only about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms to the ground beef and set aside. Pour beef broth in the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small cup/bowl. Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture in to the boiling broth and whisk until it thickens. Whisk in the browning/seasoning sauce. Add the ground beef and mushrooms to the gravy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper as desired.

Add the cooked pasta and stir together well. Stir in the sour cream until heated and serve with some fresh parsley on top.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Coconut Macadamia Shortbread Cookies

I feel it my duty to tell you about these cookies I made today.  They are great!  They are buttery, coconutty, Macadamia-nutty, slightly chewy, but crisp and pretty much everything shortbread should be.


I found these cookies while flipping through Martha Stewart’s Cookies looking for ideas.  I bought some macadamia nuts a few months ago and every time I would open the freezer I would see them staring at me just begging to be used.  I adapted the recipe a little.  In the Martha Stewart’s Cookies book they are on page 148.  I didn’t use coconut milk or coconut extract as I didn’t have any, but these have plenty of coconut flavor that I don’t think it was missed

Coconut Macadamia Shortbread Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

1 cup macadamia nuts (about 3 oz.), toasted

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1  1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (divided use)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 tablespoons coconut oil (coconut milk was suggested and would have been great, but I didn’t have any)  Could also just use butter, also suggested by MS

2 teaspoons pure coconut extract (I also omitted this since I didn’t have any)

2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Toast nuts on a baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven about 10 minutes.  Let cool. 

Process nuts and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until finely ground; set aside.  Process 1 cup coconut until coarsely ground.  Set aside.

Cream butter, coconut oil, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat about 2 minutes until pale and fluffy.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Mix in extract (if using).  With mixer on low, add flour, salt, nut mixture and ground coconut.  Mix just until combined.

Halve the dough.  Shape each halve into disks, wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, about one hour.  Let dough soften before rolling, about 15 minutes.  Roll out each disk on lightly floured parchment paper to 1/4 inch thick.  (I rolled it in between sheets of plastic wrap, which worked well.  Cover with wrap, refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cut dough using any 2 inch shaped cutters you’d like.  Reroll scraps.  Space about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.  Lightly brush tops with beaten egg white.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut.  Bake about 20 minutes, until golden.  Let cool on baking sheets on wire racks.  Store cookies in airtight container.


These cookies are dangerous for me to have around.  Good thing I made them mostly to give away!  Tis the season for coconut, I’ve been seeing it all over blogland.  Most notably, these Tropical Coco-Cabana Bars that Megan at Megan’s Cookin’ just posted.  Coconut and lime—yum!

I think these shortbread cookies would be good if all you can get your hands on to try them is almonds, too.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TWD—Strawberry-(Apple) Double Crisp


This week it was chosen for Tuesdays With Dorie for us to make the Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp (pages 420-421).  Sarah at Teapots and Cake Stands chose the recipe.  Although I do like rhubarb and wish I could have found some, it is not quite in season and available here yet.  The nice thing is that crisps are very versatile, so t was easy to decide on another fruit and make this anyway.

I had just seen on Deeba’s fantastic blog, Passionate About Baking that she had made a crumble/crisp with strawberries and apples, so I decided to make life easy and use some of the apples we had.

The crisp was easy to prepare.  Of course, I made a few substitutions, just for my health’s sake.  Instead of all purpose flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour (can’t even tell).  I did not have any crystallized ginger, so I used an extra 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger in the crisp mix.  And instead of butter, I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Baking Sticks (1/2 cup as written).  The more crisp the merrier, so I liked that this recipe has a layer on the bottom and plenty on top of the fruit filling as well.

I followed the recipe for the strawberry filling (jam) almost—the recipe called for one cup of sugar for the 3 cups of strawberries and that was just too much.  I only used 1/2 cup of sugar and it tasted great!  In place of the rhubarb, I used about a pound of apples, which was two large Granny Smith apples and two small Gala apples. 

Everything went off without a hitch.  Since I made this a little healthier, I topped the crisp with some fat free frozen vanilla yogurt.

DSCF4636Sarah will have the recipe for the Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp on her blog and you can check out the other crisp creations (some found rhubarb, some didn’t) over at the TWD site.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Anzac Biscuits (Crispy Oatmeal Cookies)

Today I wanted to share with you a cookie I whipped up in a matter of minutes and ended up more impressed with than I thought I would.  They are an Australian based cookie known as Anzac Biscuits.


I will call them Crispy Oatmeal Cookies for more understanding of what they really are.  These are tasty, crispy and crunchy, economical and super easy to make! 

I found the recipe for these in a cookbook I bought a few years ago called The 50 Best Oatmeal Cookies In The World, by Honey and Larry Zisman.  Flipping through the book, which is only about 5x5 inches, I saw these anzac biscuits and because they were so simple with minimal ingredients, I decided to make half a recipe and give them a shot.  I’m not the biggest fan of crispy cookies, but these are surprisingly good!  There are no eggs in them, so I was actually concerned with how they were going to turn out, I thought they’d spread a ton, but they are perfect.

In the book the recipe says it is from Paul Keating (former) Prime Minister of Australia.  You can do research if you’d like to find it’s origin, I changed a couple small things that I don’t think affected how the cookies turned out.  I’ll give the full recipe, even though for a first time, I halved it.  No mixer is needed, these are easy to mix with a wooden spoon in a bowl!

Anzac Biscuits (aka—Crispy Oatmeal Cookies), adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup all purpose flour (I used unbleached)

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Baking Sticks)

2 tablespoons pancake syrup (that is what the recipe says—I used some pure maple syrup and have since seen other recipes use Lyle’s Golden Syrup)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine oats, flour, sugar, and coconut.  Set aside.  Combine butter and syrup over low heat until melted (I melted them together in the microwave.)  Set aside.

Mix together  baking soda and water and add to butter mixture.  Mix into oat mixture.  Place tablespoons of batter onto lightly greased cookie sheets (I used parchment paper lined sheet) about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 20 minutes (I baked them for 16 and thought they were plenty done.)  Loosen cookies from cookie sheet (they didn’t even need loosened from the parchment paper) while still warm and then let cool on sheets.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Next time I plan to try them with whole wheat flour and maybe even unsweetened coconut, since I have a 5 lb. bag of it!  It’s good to know they traditionally are made with golden syrup as I have a bottle of that, too, and just ran out of pure maple syrup.  If you like crispy cookies, give these a try!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (High Altitude Instructions)


In browsing my favorite aisle in the grocery store recently (the baking aisle!), I found that Nestle now has dark chocolate morsels.  I had to get a couple bags right then.  The chips are a little bigger than their semi sweet morsels.  I like them!  It’s nice to have other options than just milk chocolate and semi sweet.


I decided the best way to try them was with the Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe.  The recipe for the dark chocolate chips is the same as the original recipe.  I wanted to try their recommendations for high altitude baking (since here in Utah where we live, we pretty much are up high and I’ve wondered with some of the things I’ve baked here if using high altitude directions would help.  While the original chocolate chip cookie is not my usual recipe of choice, I did like the results I got with these better by using the high altitude directions and the new dark chocolate morsels.  I followed the directions on the back of the bag of morsels exactly!  I’m always so proud of myself when I do that. ;)

Well, let me clarify—the recipe just says butter (it doesn’t specify salted or unsalted).  I used unsalted butter and added a little extra salt than the recipe called for.  When I made the cookie dough, I then had to leave the house for a little while, so the dough chilled in the fridge for about an hour.  That’s the only difference in the written recipe.


The cookies are good.  Taylor had a playdate the day I made these and I sent his friend home with a big plateful. 


I’d like to thank Ruth Wakefield for making the best little mistake ever and inventing chocolate chip cookies from her Toll House Inn.  She was making cookies one day and had run out of baking chocolate, so she put some chocolate chips in the cookies thinking they’d melt into the cookie dough while baking and be chocolate cookies.  They stayed in their little morsel shape and chocolate chip cookies were born.  One of my favorite delights in life!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Last week Kevin’s sister had a bridal shower for one of their nieces who is getting married next week.  She asked me to make a few goodies for the shower.  I ever so happily obliged.  One of the things I made were these Lemon Cheesecake Bars which I found at Very Best Baking


I had been looking for recipe that called for part of a can of evaporated milk as I had some in the fridge to use up.  These turned out great and were perfect for using that milk.  I made a few adaptations to the recipe, but for the most part made it as instructed. 

Lemon Cheesecake Bars, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Very Best Baking

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces

8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

2/3 cup fat free evaporated milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

juice of one lemon

zest of one lemon

6-10 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

about half to 1 cup of whipped cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt and powdered sugar in bowl of a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse just until crumbly.  Press onto bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan (ungreased).

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Place cream cheese, evaporated milk, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, zest and food coloring in a food processor an blend until smooth.  Scrape sides of bowl, add eggs and blend again until combined and smooth.  Pour into partially baked crust.

Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes (mine took 23) or until set.  Cool in pan on wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate.  Cut into bars and pipe whipped cream on to each piece.


I served these in cupcake liners for the shower.  They are perfectly lemony and cheesecakey!


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Feta Recipe

Watermelon, Tomato & Feta Salad 4-6-11 I know it might be hard for some who read my blog to believe me, but I LOVE fruits, vegetables and salads.  Even when I was growing up and we always got to pick what we wanted for dinner, I’d always pick salad bar where my mom would just put out everything you can imagine for salads and we’d pile up on all the good stuff.  One of my favorite things on top of all the lettuce was cottage cheese, pineapple and ranch dressing.

I have really branched out over the years and this salad I had today was fantastic, just as good as I remember it when I first had it a couple years ago in one of the cooking classes I was taking in Kansas.  Most of the classes I took from my favorite chef, Paige (A Cooking Life Blog), were in a setting where the class watched her prepare and talk about each recipe (and then got to eat each of the delicious things she prepared!).  This particular one was a three coarse dinner.  My parents were in town and Kevin and I took my parents to the class.  Paige teamed up for the class with another great chef, Nancy Stark.  Nancy prepared this salad and while doing so and talking about watermelon with the tomatoes and feta with lime and mint and jalapeno, all four of us thought it sounded rather strange and we were skeptical about it being good.  Then we were served the salad and we all thought it tasted great!  I have thought about it many times since then and have wanted to make it, but never did until finally now.

The salad was super easy to prepare.  Sam talked me in to buying a watermelon at the grocery store.  I was skeptical about it being good since they aren’t really in season yet, but the mini seedless one I bought that came from Mexico is/was very good.  I’m so glad I made this salad.  I made a few minor adaptations, but it still tasted the same as I remembered it.  I know my photos isn’t the greatest, I hadn’t decided to blog about it until I took a bite or two and remembered how nice the watermelon went with the lime, mint and feta cheese.  You’ll want to make this salad soon!  I just made one quick serving of it and didn’t really measure things.  But here’s the recipe from class with my changes and the original ingredients as well.  You’ll never guess one of the things I left out-----onion.  Surprise. ;)

Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Feta, adapted by Katrina from Paige and Nancy

3 cups mixed baby greens (in the class, arugula was used)

1 cup loosely packed flat-leave parsley leaves (I chopped them)

1 cup loosely packed mint leaves (I chopped them)

2 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and julienned (I omitted this, but would have added it if I’d have had one)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed in cold water (I totally omitted this. ;)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 limes

coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the greens, parsley and mint and divide between 4 serving plates.

Put the watermelon and tomatoes into a large bowl.

Add jalapeno (and onion, if using) and toss gently.  Spoon this mixture, along with the juices, over the greens.  Sprinkle each salad with feta and drizzle with olive oil.  Squeeze half a lime over each salad, season generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


Really, you’ve got to try this.  I love all the combination of flavors together. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie—Not Really TWD

So I can’t really say I made this week’s TWD recipe, which was supposed to be Coffee Ice Cream Tart.  BUT, in Dorie’s playing around section, she says you can make this with any kind of ice cream you want and that the crust can be changed up with different nuts.  I made homemade Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and a Chocolate Cookie Crust (no nuts).  And darn it’s good!

Mint Ice Cream Pie

Just to add to the pie, I also added a layer of chocolate ice cream (not homemade).  So I really am sorry that I didn’t really make the TWD recipe this week, but if you’d like the Coffee Ice Cream Tart recipe, Jessica of Domestic Deep Thought will have it on her blog.  Here’s the recipe for my creation---

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from David Lebovitz Mint Chip Ice Cream

1  1/2 cups 2% milk

1  1/2 cups mint leaves, washed, dried and roughly chopped

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

pinch of salt

1  1/2 cups heavy cream

6-10 drops green food coloring (optional)

3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and melted

In a medium-sized saucepan combine the milk, sugar, salt and mint leaves and over medium heat, bring just to a simmer.  Remove from heat.   Let the mint seep in the milk for about an hour. 

Drain the milk into a bowl with a  fine mesh strainer.  Squeeze the milk from the leaves with your hands to get every bit of flavor you can.  Discard the leaves.  Reheat the milk mixture.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.  Pour some of the hot milk into the egg yolks while whisking.   Whisk well.  With the remaining milk in the saucepan, return it to the heat and slowly whisk in the egg mixture.  Over medium heat, continuously whisk for about 5 minutes (or until with a thermometer it reaches 170 degrees).  It will thicken slightly and the mixture will coat the back of a wooden spoon. 

In the medium-sized bowl, set over a large bowl of ice water, add the cream and whisk in the hot custard mixture.  Add the green food coloring, if desired.  Let sit in the ice water batch and stir every few minutes.  Once the custard is chilled (about 30 minutes), you can churn it in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions or you can chill it for a couple hours and churn it later. 

Just before it is finished churning, drizzle in the melted chocolate slowly.  Put the ice cream in an air tight container and freeze for a couple hours.


That is some delicious melted 70% bittersweet Scharffen Berger chocolate I used for the ice cream.



Chocolate Cookie Crust, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Food Network/David Lieberman

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used chocolate animal crackers)

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light would be fine, too)

6 tablespoons Bestlife butter for baking, melted

Preheat oven to 30 degrees.  Grind the cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs.  (It took about 5 cups of cookies to make 2 cups of crumbs.)  Pulse in the brown sugar.  Drizzle in the melted butter while pulsing and continue until the crumbs are all moist.   Spread the crumb mixture into a 9 inch pie plate and press it evenly all around the bottom and sides of the plate.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Set on wire rack to cool completely.

DSCF4448   DSCF4459

Once the crust is cooled, spread about 2 pints of softened chocolate ice cream evenly over it.

Freeze for a couple hours.  Then spread the frozen, but softened mint ice cream over the chocolate layer.  Freeze again, even overnight is fine.  Cover it with plastic wrap.  Before serving, remove from the freezer for 10-15 minutes and sprinkle some shaved dark chocolate over the top.

Fresh MInt Ice Cream PIe (TWD) 4-3-11

Oh yes, it’s that good!  The fresh mint taste is great.  I took a bite of one of the boy’s servings.  I cannot let myself eat too much of a dessert like this. (sigh)  I really liked how the chocolate animal crackers worked for the crust as I wasn’t sure how they’d be.  While I think the boys (and Kevin) prefer the extract taste of mint, I really like the fresh mint in the ice cream.  Next time I will make it lower in fat so I can have more than a taste of it. ;)


There will be lot of other ice cream pies/tarts over at the Tuesdays With Dorie site.