Sweet Repeats: holiday desserts

thanksgiving-table-setting

December 1st. What happened to January – November?! As I start on the last month of 2015, I’m shocked at how quickly this year has gone by. With a second thought, I reflect on how big of year it has been for me and how much I’ve accomplished. (Sounds like a good topic for another post!)  From getting my CPA licence, to moving (twice), getting a puppy, a promotion, kicking off Lactation Cookies and buying my first home, this year has been nothing short of exciting, scary, exhausting and educational!

These days I find myself going back to old recipes, reflecting on those memories of trying something for the first time and then comparing it to what they taste like today with slight modifications. For Thanksgiving, I brought back two old favorites: pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes and mint chocolate no-bake cookies.

Both are so delicious and fairly easy to make! Having a new home with a new-to-me (but oh so old) oven, I was extremely excited to make no-bake cookies. The thought of not having to figure out if the light on the oven means it is or isn’t preheated and figuring out what temperature is the right dial turn, made this recipe even more enjoyable.  <– first world problems are rough!  Here’s a link to mint chocolate no-bake cookies and no-bake mint fudge. Below is a summary of how to make them.

no-bake-mint-chocolateIngredients

  • 18oz chocolate – I love using dark, but any will work!
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz Oreos (about half a family size bag)
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  1. Crush oreos and mix in with Rice Krispies. Set aside
  2. Microwave chocolate on low heat stirring occasionally until melted
  3. Add in extracts and quickly mix in to Oreo mixture
  4. Drop by tablespoon on wax paper
  5. Top with powder sugar, let cool then enjoy!

The second sweet repeat recipe I made for the first time in my new home was pumpkin cheesecake cupcake <– why I started with a cheesecake is a mystery to me! This one was equally as delicious and the cook time was only 20 minutes in the oven  Read the full recipe here and also for tips on the perfect cheesecake!

pumpkin-cheesecake-cupcake

What are your sweet repeats you bring back for the holidays?

 

 

 

GF Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

GF cheesecake cover

I used to think that gluten-free couldn’t be good.  Well I’ve proven myself wrong (again).  Not only is peanut butter gluten-free, but so is chocolate (thank God for that!).  The good news gets even better – vino is gluten-free too!  (insert -> cassie’s happy dance)

My adventure to try new things bake more, led me to attempt a gluten-free peanut butter cheesecake.  My oh my – best PB cheesecake I’ve had in a really long time!  (I’m dreaming about Cheesecake Factory’s Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake…)  I love rich, creamy peanut butter cheesecake.  Then add a little chocolate and whipped cream… simply delicious!

Can’t make it to the Cheesecake Factory?  Try this sweet twist to PB cheesecake!

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Ingredients (makes 6 cupcakes)GF cheescake filling
Crust: 

  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Cheesecake:

  • 8 oz package light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream

GF cheesecake crust

I love Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs.  Something about the sweet graham crackers on the bottom of cheesecake is perfect.  However, graham crackers aren’t gluten-free so this cheesecake uses a flour crust.

Surprising, it turned out good amazing!

Step 1: Mix melted butter, sugar and flour in a small bowl.  Scope a spoonful in the bottom of 6 cupcake tins.  Press the crust into the bottom of the tins.  Bake the crust for about 10 minutes on 350 degrees until the edges are slightly golden.  Cool completely.

 

Step 2: Whisk whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until fluffy.  Fold the pb mixture into the cream.

GF cheesecake PB

The good stuff…

GF cheesecake batter

Plop (that’s how my mixture was at this point), plop the PB mixture in the cupcake tins and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours – or until you can’t wait any longer and the mixture has hardened.

The last part could be the clincher on this recipe – the chocolate.

GF cheesecake cupcakes

Melt1/2 cup chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  I prefer dark chocolate for this one.  Put in a plastic zip lock bag and snip the corner.  Use the bad to squeeze out the chocolate to make cool designs on top of the cups.  I had extra Reese’s around so I chopped some of these up and topped the cups with them.  Final touch – add whipped cream before serving!

Next time, I’m going to add some chocolate to crust to make it a chocolatey base. 🙂

Bon Appetite!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups

P Cheesecake cups

Some rules are meant to be broken…  Whoever said pumpkins were meant for the fall was obviously someone who never had pumpkin cheesecake!  Yes, I agree, carving a pumpkin, cooking pumpkin seeds and maybe even baking a  pumpkin pie are meant for the fall but there are so many other things you can do with a pumpkin or the extra 29 oz can of pumpkin puree in the pantry (yes, from the holidays)!!

So here’s the recipe for some not-so-fally Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups!  I must say, these turned out very good amazing!   The cheesecake is light and airy and crust is moist and sweet. (makes 24 regular sized cupcakes)

Crust:

  • 8 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

Mix all ingredients together. Scoop a heaping tablespoon into each cupcake tin and press down firmly to make the crust.

P Cheesecake crust

Filling:

  • 3 – 8 oz packages of reduced fat cream cheese
  • 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yoke
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs and egg yoke, greek yogurt, sugar and spices, scraping the sides of the bowl until fully combined.  Add flour and vanilla.  Pour mix into cupcake tins and fill almost to the top.  The batter may rise a little in the oven but will reduce back down while cooling.

P Cheesecake mix 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.   I actually lost track of time on this but I think 30 minutes was about when I stopped baking.  Here are some tips to knowing when cheesecake is done:

  • A cheesecake should have a slightly wobbly but still firm center. 
  • The temperature of the cheesecake should read between 160-165 degrees.
  • Soft, liquid centers are NOT done enough.
  • A cracked center is a sign the cake is overcooked
  • Perform the JIGGLE est to test how wobbly the center is. 🙂

If you decide to make this into a PIE and not cupcakes (who would do that!), the cooking time should be about 1 hour.

 P Cheesecake bake

Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes (if overcooked, remove immediately).  After 10 minutes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at last 4 hours.

P Cheesecake before after

Before serving, top with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar!

P Cheesecake cups2

Bon Appetit!