Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake bars

I went to a baby shower a couple weeks ago. I remember two main things about it- a Marc Jacobs bag given to the mama-to-be, and these cheesecake bars. Cheesecake with a layer of dulce de leche and chocolate on top. The maker of these goodies pointed me to Pintrest, where it looked like a few people have posted them- Brown Eyed BakerSmitten Kitchen, and some others. I used BEB's recipe and made some changes.
First, I made the dulce de leche from sweetened condensed milk in the microwave using this method (this is an amazing cake, BTW). Then I added more butter to the crust to make it more moist. I also used milk chocolate for the glaze as I don't like the bitterness of darker chocolate with the tang of cream cheese.
I made these for our little guy's baby blessing, along with these. Make them. Now. You don't even have to share them I won't tell.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Crust:1 cup graham cracker crumbs, crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk (or 1 can dulce de leche)
2 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces milk chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1. Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 325F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with non-stick spray.
2. In a bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and butter. Press mixture evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden. Set on rack to cool while you make the filling.
3. Make the Filling. Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the graham crust. Chill in the refrigerator refrigerator while you prepare the cream cheese layer.
4. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed unti light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.
5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the dulce de leche layer evenly, and bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is set. Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
6. Glaze the bars. Heat the chocolate, butter and light corn syrup in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake, tilting the pan to ensure the top is coated evenly. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
7. Lift the cheesecake from the pan using the parchment handles and slice into squares using a sharp knife, wiping it clean after each cut.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Caramel Apple Bars

Caramel and apples is an inspired combination. I always see recipes for caramel apple desserts, but have never found one that actually tastes like caramel apples. I thought caramel apple bars might be a good way to combine the two and still be caramel-y and apple-y. I took an oatmeal crumble-type topping and used it for the crust. Then I spread chopped Granny Smith apples over the crust and drizzled melted caramel over the apples (you could probably use caramel topping, too). I sprinkled more of the crumble topping on the top and baked it until golden.
I waited for them to cool to cut, but I recommend scoring them while they're still a little warm. This was exactly what I was looking for- yummy tart apples with caramel in a dessert form! they're easy and fast!
Caramel Apple Bars
yield: 36 bars
1 c brown sugar packed
3/4 c butter softened
1 1/2 c quick oats
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
3 medium tart apples finely chopped
3 T flour
1 pkg caramels, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Reserve 1 1/2 c of the mixture. Press the remaining in an ungreased 13"x9" pan. Toss apples and flour together in a bowl. Spread over oatmeal mixture. Place caramels in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on med-high for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until melted. Drizzle over apples. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool partially on rack; cut while warm. Store covered in refrigerator.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dinner Rolls

Did I mention I'm loving this cookbook my mom gave me? Every recipe I've made from it has been a hit. These dinner rolls were no exception. My friend and I started doing a dinner swap once a week and I decided to make a batch of these to go with this soup. The book says these are the world's best, and I think they are definitely in the running. I used Trader Joe's 100% White Whole Wheat flour instead on all-purpose and it was a great, healthy substitution. My husband, who tries not to eat too much bread, ate like 4 of these. They'll definitely be on our Thanksgiving table!
Get the recipe (and others!) here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wedding Cake

This cake was for my friend's mom who got married on 11-11-11. A two-tiered covered simply in cream fondant and wrapped in chocolate brown ribbon. The cakes were red velvet and carrot filled with cream cheese italian merengue buttercream.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Mmm.. pumpkin... it's so Homer Simpson, my love of pumpkin. I found yet another way to have pumpkin and cream cheese frosting- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! Yes! Little moist pumpkin cakey cookies sandwiching cream cheese frosting.
This recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker, a site full of yumminess. Her recipe uses maple cream cheese frosting. I just used plain cream cheese frosting as I have no use for maple. These are super moist- I think I may have blended them too much after the flour was in- they were a little gummy. Definitely a must-try. Even if you just eat the cream cheese frosting like my 2 year old.
The recipe is here

Monday, November 7, 2011

Toll House Pie

Have you ever been to the Dodo Restaurant in Salt Lake City? They have the BEST desserts. One of my favorites in their Tollhouse Pie. It's like chocolate chip cookie dough in a crust, topped with creamy whipped cream. It's rich and thick and yummy. I've tried to find a similar recipe, but to no avail. Any pie I've found is really just chocolate chip cookie dough baked in a crust. I had a craving for it, so I thought I'd give it a try,
I went to the source- Nestle Tollhouse for a recipe. I made my own pie shell and the filling is just butter, sugars, flour, egg and chocolate chips. It comes together easily.
1 unbaked 9" pie shell
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream


PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels. Spoon into pie shell.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. 
Not as good as the Dodo, but fairly good. If you like chocolate chip cookies, this won't disappoint!

Candy Bars

We recently added another monkey to our family- a little boy. Once he came, we had an outpouring of meals from our wonderful friends. As a thank you, I decided to make some treats to return in their dishes. I know most of you are probably hating candy right about now, but these are really worth making. A fudge layer topped with a peanut-caramel layer, topped with a layer of chocolate. I loved these right out of the fridge- the chocolate layer has a little bite that I find appealing. They're quick and easy and most importantly, yummy.
Candy Bars
adapted from

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
teaspoon vanilla
30 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1.Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil; set pan aside.
2.In a large microwave-safe bowl microwave the butter, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir in cocoa powder, brown sugar, and milk. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil, stirring once. Stir again; microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread in prepared pan.
3.In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine caramels and water. Microwave, uncovered, on 50 percent power (medium) for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring once. Stir in peanuts. Microwave, uncovered, on medium for 45 to 60 seconds more or until mixture is softened. Gently and quickly spread peanut mixture over fudge layer in pan.
4.In a 2-cup microwave-safe glass measure combine semisweet and milk chocolate pieces. Microwave, uncovered, on 50 percent power (medium) for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring once or twice. Spread over peanut layer. Score into pieces while warm. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until bottom is firm. Use foil to lift candy out of pan. Cut into pieces. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 2-3/4 pounds (64 pieces).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baked Chicken Taquitos

For my birthday, my mom bought me the cookbook Our Best Bites, from the popular blog. This cookbook is chock full of great recipes that are perfect for family and entertaining. All the recipes use ready-found ingredients and are pretty easy and delicious.
I tried this chicken taquitos recipe last week. I used leftover chicken that we had grilled the night before. 
It made for a quick and easy dinner- my kids loved it (especially dipped in ranch dressing). I did make a couple changes to the recipe (noted in red below).
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Recipe by

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese (I used sour cream)
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder (I omitted)
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions (I omitted)

2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese (I used mild cheddar)

small corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.