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Swirled Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars

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Swirled Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars

The holidays had ended. The family and their food had gone. Well, at least most of it. A big box of candy canes and four or five boxes of cream cheese still lingered around the kitchen. Since the cheese drawer was overflowing, I felt compelled to use it all. And what better combination way than to make cheesecake with peppermint and chocolate?

A full cheesecake seemed too daunting, so I decided upon cheesecake bars. I found a few recipes online  and added a few ingredients to make this recipe:

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars with Candy Canes and White ChocolateIngredients:


  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 6 oz. chocolate graham crackers, broken
  • 1 1/4 C. (1 stick) butter, softened and cubed
  • 3 Tbs all-purpose flour


  • 3 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 C sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbs white chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 Tbs. cream
  • 14 mini candy canes, or 6 regular, crushed

Directions for Chocolate Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine ingredients for crust in food processor. Pulse until moist crumbs form. Spread crumbs and press into 9×9 metal pan using a spatula or hands.
  3. Bake crust for 15-20 min. in oven until firm. Remove and cool on wire rack for 1 hr.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Recipe

  1. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, scraping bowl as needed. Slowly add sugar and then eggs one by one until well blended.
  2. Heat 2 Tbs. white chocolate on low in microwave until melted. Do not overheat. Pour into batter.
  3. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and continue beating for about 1 min.
  4. Combine chocolate chips and cream and melt in microwave on low. Stir every 15-20 sec until smooth and liquidy.
  5. With a small spoon drop spots of chocolate into batter then swirl with knife to make marble pattern. Continue until the chocolate is gone.
  6. Place pan with batter in oven and bake 20 min. Rotate pan and bake another 15 min. Remove pan and place on metal cooling rack.
  7. Crush candy canes and sprinkle over top along with 1 Tbs. white chocolate chips.
  8. Cool on rack for 1 hr. then cool in fridge for 1-1/2 hrs.

These smelled good and we hated waiting for them to cool. But we waited as long as we could, which was still only half the time needed. Oh well. It was worth the impatience. The tart peppermint blended with the smooth cream cheese and the chocolate crust supported it all. The crushed candy cane on top gave an extra texture contrast too.

Remember peppermint isn’t just for Christmas. It warms up winter in tea and chocolate. Plus, the red, white and pink colors also work well for Valentine’s Day treats.

So go find those forgotten candy canes and make something special with them!

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Inspired by Cookincanuck and Taste of Home

Odd Holiday Leftovers

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I found these dandies while going through my cookbook collection in anticipation of some new old recipes for next year. I’m not really sure what to say:


Meat Power PArty                          California Fruitcakes and Brandy

When Flower Power just isn’t enough,                         New meaning to California as the land of fruit and nuts     turn to Meat for a groovy time!                                              Sponsored by the Brandy Council of CA.

Plump Pumpkin Cookies Recipe

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Plump Pumpkin Cookies

When a friend first told me of mixing pumpkin and chocolate I was horrified. How could the bright orange venerable vegetable of fall invade the deep deliciousness of dark chocolate? It just didn’t seem fair to the chocolate. But then I tried his chocolate pumpkin truffles and realized a new level of flavor combinations had emerged.

So I got thinking about other pumpkin desserts besides pie and pumpkin roll (still great). Iced Pumpkin Cookies
I found a couple Libby pumpkin cookie recipes and played around with them until the cookies came out moist and pumpkiny. I brought out a more distinct pumpkin taste by warming the canned pumpkin in a pot, an America’s Test Kitchen trick. I added raisins and white chocolate chips with a cup of dark chocolate chips to give the pumpkin cookies a richer flavor with more depth. And for even sweeter cookies, I added a vanilla glaze.
These moist pumpkin cookies are now some of my favorite fall goodies. I made some and sent them to a friend as a Thanksmas gift [Thanksgiving doesn’t get enough credit and Christmas lasts a while so we blend them together]. Of course, I we ate our share of cookies too. Plus, there was leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving, so I had to make more!

 Pumpkin Cookies - reciperoadshow

Moist & Plump Pumpkin Cookies

Dry Goods:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps. pumpkin pie spice or 1:1 cinnamon and ginger w/pinch cloves and nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (may reduce if using salted butter)

Wet Goods:
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. raisins

Recipe Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.
2. Cream butter and sugar with mixer in separate bowl until ingredients well incorporated.
3. Add eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin to mixture.
4. Gradually beat in dry ingredients into the batter.
5. Mix in chocolate chips and raisins by half cups
6. Drop by rounded something-fulls onto cookie ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 min. at 375 F.
[I hate recipes that say drop by rounded tsps. I mean who really wants tiny little cookies? Pumpkins are big and round and plump, so why shouldn’t the cookies be too?]

Glaze (optional) – Adjust to your taste/consistency
2 c. confectioner’s powdered sugar
3 1/4 Tbs milk
1 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Add the wet ingredients to the sugar and stir until smooth.
2. Drizzle over cookies in zig zag patterns.

Note: The glaze will make the cookies softer, so if using you may want to bake cookies a minute longer. Cool completely before glazing and refrigerate use within a day to prevent glaze from setting in.

Makes 3 dozen or more, depending on size. As Linus from Peanuts would say, “Welcome, Great Pumpkin!”

Now onto more Thanksmas.


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Easy Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets Recipe

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Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Today was grocery day. This means I spent two hours wandering through the grocery store trying to find the right products to match with the right coupons amidst a sea of neon yellow sale tag sirens. And at the end of the race, I had to go home and unload all the groceries I had just put in the bags. After all that, I was tired. But the questions still loomed, “What’s for dinner?”
I scoured the recent mound of food in the fridge. There was a box of boneless chicken wings.  (How wings can be boneless, I don’t know. But who cares if they’re so good.) I also found crescent rolls and bleu cheese wedges. And as always, a bottle of hot sauce. So I came up with an quick, easy recipe for dinner: Chicken Buffalo Bleu Sandwiches or

Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Buffalo Chicken PocketsIngredients:
Can of refrigerated crescent rolls
Boneless chicken wings or chicken fingers
Spreadable Blue cheese wedges
Hot buffalo sauce


Quick & Easy Instructions:

1. Unroll half of the crescent roll dough into triangles according to directions on package.

2. Cut up the chicken wings or chicken fingers into pieces and place close together onto each sheet of crescent dough; leave 1/2″ border around edge.

3. Slice chunks of spreadable blue cheese wedges and place on top of chicken.

3. Place a second dough triangle on top of the boneless chicken wings and pinch top and bottom parts together. Trim ends of dough to cover seams if necessary.

4. Bake rolls according to directions on package. You may need another 5-10 min to cook filled pockets.

 Remove pockets and pour hot buffalo sauce across the Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets and serve.
My lovely wife gave them a hearty approval. I liked having the buffalo chicken flavor all together in a flaky crescent roll crust  like a calzone, pastie, or whatever you call a hot hand-held sandwich. Plus, Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets were less messy than regular buffalo chicken fingers –the roll contained the cheese and the fork could dip into the buffalo sauce as much as it wanted. And best of all, it was a quick and easy dinner.
At the end of the meal our mouth were burning hot but happy!


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Creepy Jello Brain Surgery

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Creepy Jello Brain


On Friday I became a brain surgeon. And a cannibal. In honor of Halloween and my anniversary of surviving brain surgery I made a Jello brain. The mold from Amazon showed all the bundles of squiggly wrinkles (non-medical term) that make up a real brain. The size was larger than a real human brain though, more like a hard hat. Gives new meaning to putting on your thinking cap.

Since Betty Crocker didn’t have jiggly brain recipes I searched the Web. After rejecting a few recipes for what seemed like giant Jello shots, I found a couple that gave some guidelines. I combined 3 boxes of peach Jello and 1 strawberry Jello box equivalent (three sugar-free boxes that offer less for more money) then added some lite sweetened condensed milk for opaque creaminess. Then it all sat in the fridge for 6 hrs after which my brave wife removed my brain and put it on a platter.


The fresh flesh was pink and gloppy. The color was redder than a real brain would be but still creepy enough to cause you to squiver. I did the honor of severing the hemispheres and performing a frontal lobotomy.



This brain was firm and cut well…not as jiggly as you’d expect. As I was slicing into it I felt an eerie out-of-mind moment. It seemed strange to think a doctor did this to me a few years ago to remove a tumor. But I’m glad it happened. My life has been much better since then.


I the served fresh brain sliced with Reddi-Wip. It didn’t have much taste though. But that didn’t matter much because it looked so cool and creepy.

Apple Cider & Cinammon Apple Waffles

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Apple Cider & Cinnamon Apple Waffles

Fall is here again. In Michigan that means apples: Applesauce. Apple Pie. Caramel Apples. Apple Cider. And of course, the fall favorite, Apple Cider Donuts. A crispy outside sprinkled in sugar and a soft inside full of apple and cinnamon flavor. I wanted to make some, but alas, donut making has been prohibited in our house due to past experiences with hot oil.

{However, it was a donut accident that helped draw my wife to me. When we were dating she once gave a heartfelt attempt to make  me peanut donuts. But the hot oil splashed up and burned her foot. When I saw it and asked what happened she told me the story. I looked in pity at the sight of donut stigmata on her foot and knew she really must love me.}

So instead of donuts I decided to make Apple Cider & Cinnamon Apple Waffles

Apple Cider Waffles

I followed the directions for waffles on the pancake box and added about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon into the mix. Instead of adding water, I added leftover apple cider in the fridge. I then peeled and cored a small apple into fingernail-sized pieces and threw them into the batter. The batter was a little watery; the solution was to decrease the cider by a few Tbs and add about only half an apple. Tossing the apple pieces in flour and freezing them for a few minutes before mixing into the batter seemed to help too. Because of the juicy apples and cider, the batter needed to bake longer and at a higher temperature than usual to obtain crispness.

When they came out of the waffle maker, I buttered them and sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar too. They also taste good with maple syrup or caramel sauce/dip.

While not quite the same as apple cider donuts,t hey ended up being sweet, crispy, and full of apple flavor, or “scrumptious” per the lovely wife.


  Apple Cider & Cinnamon Waffles Recipe

1. Follow waffle recipe on box. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to mix.

2. Substitute apple cider for water, minus 1-2 Tbsp.

3. Add to batter half of a medium apple, chopped into small pieces.
The consistency of the batter should be thick enough to poor; add more mix if too thin.

4. Bake on high on waffle maker to desires doneness.

Happy Fall!

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German Chocolate Cake Brownies & Frozen Hot Cocoa

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What makes German chocolate cake so irresistible? The sweet Baker’s chocolate? Or the gooey frosting full of coconut and pecans? While I like cake, I must say I can never have enough frosting….well almost.

One time in junior high Grandma let my sister, cousin and I stay up until midnight and do anything. So we decided to raid the kitchen. My sister made a tin foil funnel hat coated with cheese. My cousin had coffee grinds smeared on her head and face, and I had a beard made of coconut pecan cake frosting.  By the stroke of 12:00 when we had to revert to our normal selves, my beard had been eaten down to a goatee, and I was rather sick of the sweetness and stickiness. I had had enough coconut pecan German chocolate cake frosting for a while. But that didn’t last too long and I regained my taste for it in time for my birthday the next year.

All this leads to today’s creations and recipes: German Chocolate Cake Brownies and Frozen Hot Chocolate.

German Chocolate Cake Brownie Recipe

Since my wife loves brownies and I love cake, I decided to marry the two together into German Chocolate Cake Brownies.

Mix half a box of German Chocolate cake with half a box of brownie mix. You’ll need to calculate the right egg ratio; in this box mix combination it ended up being just 2 eggs. Otherwise, you can just mix eggs together and divide them. For richer flavor, you can substitute milk or even chocolate milk for the water in the cake. Baking time varies but will lean more towards the brownie directions. When cooled, frost with canned or homemade coconut pecan frosting. Makes 9-12 brownies based on pan size.

Frozen Hot German Chocolate Cake Cocoa

Next comes the illusive chocolate drink: Frozen Hot Chocolate! One summer in the mid 90’s Dairy Queen came out with frozen hot chocolate. Both creamy and icy, you could scrape off the flavor with a spoon. I wanted to recreate the flavor experience and add German Chocolate. The result is delicious, but definitely not nutritious! Warning: Do not feed to young children unless you want to become a ringmaster of a circus of jumping kids.

1/2 oz. German chocolate  OR 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate plus 1/4 tablespoon sugar                  Hot German Chocolate Recipe
2-3 tsp cocoa mix or 2 tsp cocoa
1 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
1/4 cup sweetened canned coconut milk OR 1/2 cup prepared coconut milk in carton
1 3/4 Tbsp sugar
2-3 cups ice (5-7 ice cubes)

  1. Combine both milks and sugar and microwave on low heat until it starts to dissolve.
  2. Add chocolate and cocoa to mixture. Stir every 30 seconds until they are incorporated. Cool.

  3. Take out ice cubes and let thaw slightly. Add prepare liquid to blender and gradually add the ice cubes. Use pulse  function to crush ice, then turn on milkshake/smoothie mode and beat until creamy.

  4. Pour into cup and place in freezer at least 4 hrs.

  5. Top with toasted coconut, pecans, and chocolate shavings, if desired.

If you’re really into the coconut and pecan taste, you can throw some into the blender along with the other ingredients.

Serves 1 person

All measurements serve as an estimate; you may want to add more sugar depending on taste. If you don’t know what you like, then just keep eating until you get it right ;-D

Let me know: Do you like frozen hot chocolate cocoa or other frozen drinks? How else do you use German Chocolate Cake mix or frosting?


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