Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cappucino Cheesecake Bars

For all you coffee lovers out there -- here's a creamy cheesecake bar with coffee flavor baked into the crust and the cheesecake body. Mello it out just a bit with a dollop of whipped cream, this is sure to please!

Cappuccino Cheesecake Bars
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Butter an 11 x 7 inch pan

9 whole graham crackers ground up (1-1/2 cups crumbs)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) chilled/cubed
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Grind the graham crackers in a food processor. Add the butter, sugar and espresso powder. Pulse until the crumbs are uniformly moist. Then remove 1/2 cup of the graham cracker mixture and put aside in a pie dish. Press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust and the separated crumbs in the pie dish for 10 minutes until golden.

Cool 10 minutes. Maintain the oven temperature.

5 teaspoons of espresso powder
1 tablespoon of cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese - room temperature.
2/3 cup of sugar
1 large egg

Stir 5 teaspoons espresso powder with 1 tablespoon of cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in a small bowl until coffee dissolves.
Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add 2/3 cup of sugar and beat to blend. Beat in coffee mixture, and then the egg.

Spread filling evenly over crust in the metal baking pan. Bake until set: 20-25 minutes. Chill uncovered until cold and firm, for at least 2 hours.

Topping (optional)
Beat 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until firm peaks form. Cut cheesecake bars and transfer bars to a platter Put a dollop of whipped cream atop each bar and sprinkle with the crisp crumb mixture from the pie dish. Another option is chocolate curls or chocolate shavings

Suggestion for cutting the bars: Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 3 strips. Cut each strip into 6 bars.

Adapted from bon appetit October 2010 issue.

"Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on." - George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pineapple Cheesecake Squares

This recipe has been around for at least as long as the internet has, although I'm pretty sure I originally found it in the food section of a long defunct newspaper. A few years ago when my pile of recipes had become just a bit too messy, I sorted through them and typed up the ones I wanted to keep. This one made the cut.

Prepare: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter a 9 inch square pan

1 Cup flour
1/2 cup butter (softened just enough to work with)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl add the flour, butter,sugar, and vanilla. Stir and mix until it's crumbly. Press into a greased 9 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained

In a mixer bowl, or with lots of elbow strength, mix the cream cheese, and sugar till smooth. Then add the milk, egg, and vanilla and mix well. Turn off the mixer and gently fold in the crushed pineapple. Pour over cooled crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Take out and add the topping.

1 Cup of flaked coconut
1 tablespoon of melted butter

Combine the coconut with the melted butter and sprinkle all over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the coconut is lightly browned here and there.

Cool, refrigerate and cut into squares when it's cold.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lemon Bars

I want it, I need it, I gotta have it! Ever feel that way? If I had a Genie, I would have wished for these buttery crusted lemon bars. Since I couldn't find a lamp, never mind a Genie, it took an hour or so before I could indulge in these great lemon bars. They were easy to make, and I got to try out my new microplane grater.

While I can't say that these bars are good for you, they taste darn good, and have no chemicals or preservatives in them. You'll go to your grocery and produce retailers, not an industrial chemical supply house.

Let's get to them before your diet counselor makes you chicken out.

Lemon Bars

1 cup of unbleached flour
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest

3/4 cup of sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons of unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Sprinkle with powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all the crust ingredients in a bowl. Beat at low speed using the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8 inch square pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.

While the crust is baking combine all the filling ingredients at low speed, until well mixed. Scrape the bowl often. Pour filling over the hot baked crust. Continue baking for 20 minutes until the filling is set.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar while it's still warm, and again when cool. Cut into bars.

Lemon Bars on Foodista

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

This comes from one of those recipes my Mom and I came up with years ago in an experiment. It was in an old folder that was stashed away out of sight. I haven't made them since the early 90's, when I had settled on Chocolate Crispers as being my go-to chocolate fix. I thought they were due for another try. Cookies are a favorite thing to make around here.... so why not?! I'm happy to report that they came out absolutely great! I don't know if it's the improved quality of chocolate, or if my memory is just bad. Maybe I just didn't remember how good these are. You can be sure I won't forget them now!

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Sticks of butter
3/4 Cup of light brown sugar, packed
1 cup of fine granulated sugar (Sometimes called Castro Sugar or Bakers Sugar- just a finer granulation.) Regular granulated sugar can be substituted.
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking soda
12 ounces (1 bag) semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 to 3/4 chopped walnuts

Cream the butter with the 2 sugars until fluffy
Add vanilla
Add both eggs and beat well
Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda
Add to mixture and mix until just combined
Fold in chocolate chips and nuts
Refrigerate over night, or at least a couple hours

Take a rounded tablespoon of the batter (approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons)and roll it into your hands to make a ball.

Bake at 350 degrees on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper,
for 11-12 minutes. They'll look slightly underdone at that point but take them out of the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet a couple minutes before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack.

I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chips this time. 'Back in the day' I would have used Nestles Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips because that was all that was available to me. This time I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment. I didn't have that luxury before.