Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Peanut Butter Overload Cheesecake

For my brother's birthday cake, he had one request: Peanut Butter. Upon further questioning, he said a cheesecake would be acceptable. So, Mom and I set out to make it contain all the peanut butter that a sane person would want and maybe a little extra for good measure.

Now, just a fair warning... Not only is this cheesecake peanut butter-y, but it's so rich. This cheesecake lasted for a good five days with four people eating it. I think that might be a record...

Also, this was my first time making a cheesecake and it was so much easier than I thought it would be!

The Filling:
  • 32oz of cream cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 11/2 cups of brown sugar 
  • 1 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt

The Crust:
  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cups cocoa powder, unsweetned
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 pinch of salt
The Topping: 
  • Peanut butter
  •  12 oz peanut butter cups, chopped

I'll start with the crust.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Once they're combined, dump it in a spring-form pan. Add the butter to it and mix it around. You can form the crust when you're ready. You can go all the way up the sides or half way. I did it half way because I prefer most of the crust to be on the bottom.

When the crust is to your liking, bake it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then set it aside to cool. It's time for the filling.

In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and brown sugar. Mix them together until they're thoroughly combined.

Next is adding the peanut butter. Mix it together.

Now, this might taste good, but it's too thick for cheesecake. So, now we add the eggs one at a time. Add a egg, Mix it in. Add a egg. Mix it in and repeat. Once all the eggs are in, add the cream. Keep mixing it until it's nice and smooth.

Once it's all smooth, the filling is done. Pour about half of the filling into the crust. Sprinkle some of the peanut butter cups. Not a lot, just enough so that it's not all cheesecake. Then, pour the rest of the filling on top of that. Then you can bake it. 

Don't forget the water bath. we put it in ahead of time and I think that made all the difference. After the cheesecake had baked and cooled, it didn't crack!

After the cheesecake has cooled a bit, it's time for the final stage... adding the toppings. The topping is simple. Sprinkle the remaining peanut butter cups on it.

And then, put about 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter in a sandwich bag, microwave it for like ten to twenty seconds. Cut one of the corners and proceed to drizzle the peanut butter on the cheesecake. If you don't want to do this part, that's fine, but I think that the cheesecake needs the peanut butter... It's kind of a break from the sugar.

It looks great and tastes AWESOME! I think my dad may decide he wants something like this for his birthday this summer. Now I need to think about what kind of dessert I want for my birthday :-).

This gets 5 out of 5 cat whiskers!
This recipe is a M&D original!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cheesecake Cookies

I think the person who came up with this is a genius. I mean, cheesecake is good, cookies are good, why not bring those two together to create something awesome!?!?!?

Just look at it. Isn't it beautiful? It's pretty much a mini cheesecake. And it's delicious.

  • 1 1/4 crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  •  1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Raspberry or other pie filling (optional)

The first part is the cookie.

In one bowl, stir together the graham crackers, flour, and baking powder.

Then, in another bowl, you want to beat the butter and the brown sugar. Once those are combined, add the egg white and mix it until combined.

Butter, Bronw Sugar and the Egg White.

For the next part, you gradually add the graham cracker mix to the brown sugar mix. You'll know when its all combined together, when you can make a ball with it.

The second part is the cheesecake filling.

For this you beat the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla until its all nice and smooth.

The last part is bringing it all together into an awesome cookie.

The first step is to scoop the graham cracker dough onto a cookie sheet. I used an ice cream scoop.

Once they are all scooped, the second step is to shape them into bowls.

The third step is to add the cheesecake filling. Now, this could be the last step, if you want a nice  vanilla cheesecake cookie.

Or you can add a little raspberry pie filing before you put the cookies in the oven. We've had them both ways and I think everyone prefers them with the raspberry filling. It's up to you... why not try both?

The next step is to bake them. They bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden and the filling is barely set. Once they were cooled, we stored them in the fridge. This cookie really blows the boring cookies out of the water at parties, be prepared and bring a couple of copies of the recipe to share with others :-).


This recipe gets 5 out of 5 cat whiskers!
The original recipe can be found here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

I know... That title is so over-used. And yes, I know that you are more than likely skeptical  that they are the best chocolate chip cookies ever, after all, taste is subjective.  But seriously! These are the-best-chocolate-chip-cookies-ever!

Just look at it... Does that not look delicious? They are moist, soft and so chocolatey. These cookies are cake-like, but they aren't... They ARE so soft. And best of all, these cookies are fantastic fresh out of the oven and fantastic when they are cooled.

Would you like to know the secret? (I'm just going to assume you said yes!) It's cream cheese. Yes. That magical ingredient that makes bagels fantastic, eventually makes cookies magical too. 

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups of  flour
  • 2 1/4 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (it's optional)

In your mixing bowl, you want to combined the cream cheese, butter, egg, vanilla, and sugars. Mix them until it's light and fluffy.

Next, you add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.) You mix it until it's just combined. I forgot to take a picture of the next couple of steps.

After it's all combined, you add the chocolate chips! Then, you scoop the dough onto cookie sheets. But, it's not time to bake them. You let them chill in the freezer for a little while. The recipe said to let them freeze for at least 2 hours, but being the non-patient person I am, I let them freeze for a little more than an hour. They still turned out excellent! Perhaps next time, I'll investigate if they puff up more the longer they've been in the freezer.

Anyway, after they have been chilling however long you can wait, they bake in an oven at 350°F for 8 to 9 minutes. They are done when the edges are slightly golden.

This recipe gets 5 out of 5 cat whiskers! I found the recipe here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Homemade Vanilla Extract

It sounds hard, but it could not be simpler. All you need are:
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • An alcohol like vodka (and an adult to authorize you to use it/help you)
  • A bottle to store it in
  • A dark place to store the mixture for 27 weeks 

The first thing you need to do is to cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Don't scrape the vanilla beans, you want the seeds to stay in the pods.

Once the beans are cut, stick them in the bottle and pour the alcohol in.

After everything is in the bottle, you close it up and you let it brew for about 2 months in a dark cabinet. We did this around Thanksgiving and pulled it out a little while ago. This is the result!

This is the real deal! It smells and tastes fantastic! Whew who!!!!! This is only to be used in our favorite recipes! :-)