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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:

Crust

  • 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

Batter

  • 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

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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

Add-ins:
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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