Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

When making these, don't cut back on any of the butter!  I was being lazy with cutting an extra tablespoon for the cookie dough.   So, it didn't spread out like the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies.  It took a lot of effort to smash the crumbs together as it wasn't as adhesive either.  Nonetheless, these were a hit with my coworkers at our company pre-fourth of July BBQ.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
slightly adapted from Brandy's Baking

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8" square baking pan with foil, allowing a little overhang, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust.

Using your hand to form clumps, distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple hours.

Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.  Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cherry Pie

When we were still getting rain the first weekend of June, out here in the Bay Area, we thought summer was never going to happen.  Now that it's officially here and hitting us with record high temperatures, we wish it would tone it down a notch or two.  Go figure!

Nothing more classic than a cherry pie to kick start my summer baking repertoire.  Last year, I went a bit crazy with the pies when I realized how satisfying it was to make one from scratch using seasonal fruits and a basic pie crust.  I made strawberry rhubarb, a peach and blueberry crumb, peach and raspberry crumb, banana cream pie, and banana pudding pie in a span of a few weeks!

I received the Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts cookbook for my birthday and this cherry pie was one of the many recipes I bookmarked.  The possibilities are endless now that I have this book in my possession.  I hope everyone is ready to eat a whole lot of pies this summer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Toasted Almond and Candied Cherries Ice Cream

This was one of the most time consuming ice creams I have made to date.   It involved making roasted almonds, almond milk, candied cherries, and then ice cream custard!  I wanted more of a cherry taste to the ice cream so I actually poured all the left over syrup from making the candied cherries into the ice cream as well.

Recipe from The Perfect Scoop

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Desserts for Work

Last week was my birthday; so I took the opportunity to share these mini strawberry swirl cheesecakes with everyone at work.  Turns out everyone in the office is a HUGE fan of cheesecake.  So these were an instant hit.  The crust was from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and the cheesecake were from Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook

Then, this week, the company held our belated Memorial Day BBQ and even though everyone loved the cheesecakes I made last week, I wanted to bake something different.  So, I remade the caramel filled brownies I made for the Cake4Kids bake sale two months ago but didn't get to sample.  However, I put a twist on these as I made the salted caramel filling from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.  The salted caramel filling set up like fudge!  I was expecting something more gooey.  Nonetheless, they were quite the crowd pleaser as well.
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