Before Thanksgiving, hearing Christmas music turned me into a Grinch. Even seeing a billboard for a radio station playing 24/7 Christmas music annoyed me. But guess what radio station I tuned into yesterday while on my usual daily commute? I caved, but don’t really enjoy the newer Christmas songs. I tend to prefer the classics or covers of the classics. What is your favorite kind of Christmas music?
However since Thanksgiving recently past, here’s another recipe that will help you use up any leftover cranberry sauce while transitioning into the wintry holidays with the flavor of eggnog – eggnog cheesecake with a cranberry swirl! Awfully pretty arn’t they? I was a little sad that the swirls cracked away from the cheesecake a little, so next time I would mix the cranberry puree with a little bit of the cheesecake filling first. This would result in a paler color but hopefully keep the swirls intact with the rest.
If you need some more help getting into the holiday spirit, head on over to Twitter and retweet my tweet for a chance to win a giveaway from Baker’s Secret!
— Erin (@thespiffycookie) December 2, 2013
One year ago: Hot Cocoa Blossoms
Last week I effectively defended and acquired my PhD. Today my friend and fellow labmate Stephanie is defending for hers! Not that there is any doubt about her passing and become at double doctor (she already has her PharmD), but to help alleviate her stress I baked treats for her captive audience and committee.
I’ve finally warmed up to the idea of fall despite the non-fall-like weather, and am attempting to will the changing of the seasons through baking seasonal things. I devised these with cozy fall flavors of apple butter mixed with cheesecake in order to impart warm and fuzzy feelings upon everyone.
After Stephanie’s grill session is over (during which I am sure she will blow them away) we are going out to celebrate both of our success! Now all we have to do is find jobs – what happened to the days when our parents were offered jobs upon graduation without even applying?
One year ago: Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls
By the end of today I will have sent my dissertation to my committee. Nothing like last minute edits! Then a week from today I get to stand in front of them, peers, friends, and family, and give a presentation after which my committee will grill me until my brain can no longer process rational thoughts. Since I am already a bit delusional after all that writing and now must prepare for whatever kinds of questions they will throw at me, I’ve got some more help lined up this week. I am sure none of you want to hear me blabber on and on about how freaked out I am every day.
Remember not too long ago when Zainab of Blahnik Baker shared a slab pie with you? Well she’s back for more. Would I turn down a guest post for another delicious dessert recipe? Heck no! Today she is even sharing a seasonally appropriate recipe with apples where a crumble apple pie and a cheesecake got together to make little bar-babies. Yes I just made reference to dessert inter-breeding and admit it, you liked it.
Two years ago: Baklava Mousse Cups
Hello again everyone! I am Zainab from Blahnik Baker and I’m very happy to be back celebrating Erin!
It’s a celebration because as you know it’s the start of her last week as a Ph.D. candidate. She has accomplished the hardest of all tasks and handed in her dissertation to her committee. Now she just needs to tell them all about it and brag about how smart she is in exactly a week from today. At the end of this session, we will be calling her Dr. Cookie. How cool is that?? Go Erin!!
The last time I was here, I was all about harnessing the last of fresh summer berries and made this mixed berry slab pie. But since then my friends the weather has turned in my part of the world, the days are cooler and the leaves are slowly falling off the trees. And happily, the orchards are blooming with apples and I am in full fall mode.
Today, I am sharing with you a new favorite fall dessert. These apple crumble cheesecake bars are an easy way to dress up the traditional apple crumble by adding a cheesecake layer underneath all that entire apple pie filling. The bars are a sweet combination of the warm spices of the fall and the delectable creaminess of cheesecake.
Happy National Cheesecake Day! After recently making mini cheesecakes, I decided to dig out that pan again for another variation. I actually made these for Kathy, in honor of last lab-lunch-outing before moving to Chicago. She will be missed dearly by all members of the lab, and we’re not entirely sure how we will function without her around.
Since she loves bananas foster I made little banana cheesecakes topped with that very thing! Sadly, two of them jumped to their deaths off the platter and onto the floor, but the remaining 10 each found a happy home in someone’s belly. These are best served when the cheesecakes are cold and the topping is still warm, so prepare the cheesecakes ahead of time if possible.
This month, Chobani introduced some new flavors to their already delicious lineup and they even sent several to me to try out. However, the labels were concealed and I had to guess the flavor with #wtflavor! Turns out the new flavors are Coconut, Key Lime, Orange Vanilla, Blackberry, and Apricot. The apricot was the hardest one for me to pin down but I thoroughly enjoyed them all, especially the blackberry.
Throughout July, Chobani has been celebrating a Month of Flavor at chobani.com/classified! And to do my part in the celebration I not only made delicious mini cheesecakes using their Key Lime Greek yogurt, but also have a giveaway for one reader to win a package of their new flavors! Make sure to enter for your chance to win using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post.
First we must discuss this cheesecake, or rather mini cheesecakes. I hadn’t used my mini cheesecake pan in awhile and after musing over what flavor to make I finally decided to dive into the cherry-lime combination that I’ve been pining over for some time. Chobani’s key lime Greek yogurt was used in place of some of the cream cheese in the cheesecake and then topped off with oven roasted cherries. There’s even a Biscoff cookie crust in case there wasn’t enough flavor going on for you already. Bite sized and dangerous.
One year ago: Nutella Swirled Banana Bread Snack Cake
This month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Finding Joy in My Kitchen. After digging through some delicious sounding recipes such as White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese, Zucchini “Pizza”, and Healthier Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Crumble Topping, I finally decided to make these sweet potato dark chocolate bars. It seems that I have not been able to get my fill of sweet potato lately.
These bars could have been made with pumpkins puree, which would have been easier because all I would’ve had to do is pop open a can. But I decided to go ahead and cook up some sweet potato and dig out my food processor to make puree. Was it worth it? Definitely. These bars are like sweet potato cheesecake, with a dense-cakey (almost sugar cookie-like) crust and a granola-dark chocolate topping. I have never used granola for a topping (only oats) and really enjoyed the extra crunch it added. I used one of my favorite store-bought granolas that has pumpkin seeds in it to complete the fall-ness of these bars.
Also, in the original post she wondered if this recipe would also work with a homemade yellow cake mix. So took up this challenge and went ahead and made my own homemade cake mix and used it in this recipe. Sure enough it worked! I’ll be sharing the recipe for the homemade mix tomorrow.
After frantically getting my hands on three jars of Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter during the grand opening in Knoxville, I then discovered that it is pretty much the same thing as Biscoff Cookie Spread. Apparently “Speculoos” is the type of cookie, and “Biscoff” is a brand of that cookie. Kind of made me feel like an idiot for going into the store three times looking for the restock, but I think it was at least a little cheaper than the Biscoff brand.
Regardless of which brand stocked in your pantry, you really should make these bars. With the use of the already spiced-up spread, cinnamon graham crackers, and even the Speculoos filled chocolate bars, these s’mores cheesecake bars are ready be to devoured. I made these bars a little thicker than the original recipe by baking them in a pan half the size as noted in the directions. But I think if I were to do it again I would’ve made them thinner because they were pretty massive bars haha.
In other news, you seriously need to vote for my nephew, Luke, in the Babiators Facebook contest. He rocks those shades, so vote HERE.
Oh I almost forgot to tell you. On Monday, my traffic court date went pretty smoothly despite walking through the pouring rain twice because when I got to security they wouldn’t let my camera in which is always in my purse (which btw was allowed in on Friday without any comment). Hopefully my string of bad luck has finally come to an end.
For those of you dying to know how my hap-hazard traffic court date went yesterday – it didn’t. Sure enough I showed up and they didn’t have my name on the docket for the day. So 45 minutes after paying $12 in advance for 4 hours of parking (because I had no idea how long it would take if they did take me in), I was told to come back on Monday. Joy! Let’s spend the weekend in a state of ignorance with some blissful peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake.
Here we are already in week three of NCAA football! Today my #12 Buckeyes play at home against California. Should be an interesting watch, although I have to admit I’m dying to get started on our conference opponents on Sept 29th. Especially since that game is against Michigan State – the team I think is going to win the Big Ten this year and therefore most likely beat us. But you never know! We managed to beat Wisconsin last year, despite losing to Purdue the week before. We’re a bit of a seesaw ride sometimes. But I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. Focus on the cheesecake Erin.
This is somehow only the second time I have made this cheesecake, and it was as delicious as the first. Brownie bottom, peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate ganache, and buckeyes on top? Yes, oh yes, yes, and definitely! It’s decadent and rich, just the way I prefer my desserts.
How often do you cook with cherries? For me it is a rare occurrence because the task of slicing open and pitting all those cherries is daunting. That was until I was given the opportunity to review OXO’s Cherry Pitter. The cherry pitter worked great and made the process of pitting the cherries for this recipe much more efficient. Every now and then a pit wouldn’t pop out right but it was fairly infrequent.
You could also use this pitter on olives, but since I don’t get along with olives (except when I mistake them for blueberries) I don’t foresee that purpose being fulfilled. Just keep the cherries coming! Heck, I would use this pitter for purely eating raw cherries despite my weird enjoyment of spitting the pits into a bowl.
But how about this cheesecake? Let me just tell you that it was exactly how I like my desserts – rich and decadent. It starts off with a brownie base followed by a layer of roasted cherries and then the cheesecake filling. Then you top it off with even more roasted cherries and even make a cream cheese whipped cream. I had no idea that you could add cream cheese to whipped cream, but I am totally sold on the idea.
Although I would have preferred the brownie layer to be a little thinner. I am an advocate of a larger cheesecake to brownie ratio in this situation. Oh and one more thing, don’t forget that the cherry on top is NOT pitted. I made sure to tell all the recipients of this fact so that no one bit into it and cracked their teeth. Of course I suppose you could be nice and pit it for them.