Monday, June 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

I’ve been on a little bit of a cheesecake kick the past week or so.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars

It started with these Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars that I made for People.com. And they were so good that I had to make another batch.

Reese's

But this time I swapped the cookies for peanut butter cups. The unopened bag sitting on my counter said they wanted me too. So I obliged.

Graham Cracker Crust

It all starts with a simple graham cracker crust…

Cheesecake steps

Cheesecake bars are super easy. No springform pan. No water bath. No fuss.

After you prepare the crust in an 8×8 baking dish, whip up the batter, mix in cut up peanut butter cups and bake away.

Then cool and cover with chocolate ganache.

Ganache

And top it all off with more cut peanut butter cups. It’s the right thing.

Peanut Butter Cups

Then, cut them into cute little squares and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Like yum!!!!! These were so good and the perfect sweet snack size.

And you know what… this cheesecake comparison made me realize that as much as I love peanut butter cups, I think I’m an oreo cheesecake girl. But, I kinda feel like I’m cheating on my favorite chocolate candy.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Servings: Makes 20-25 bars

Ingredients

  • Crust
  • 18 Graham cracker squares (1 wrapped package), crushed into crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 24 peanut butter cups, cut into pieces
  • Ganache
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 10-12 peanut butter cups, cut in half

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. To make the crust, stir graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until completely combined.
  3. Using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, firmly press mixture into the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, add cream cheese, sugar and flour to a large bowl. Using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat mixture until creamy and combined.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add egg and yolk, mixing until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Gently stir in broken candy cups pieces and pour batter in prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.
  7. To make the ganache, place chocolate morsels in a large heat-proof bowl and set aside. Add cream and butter to a saucepan and heat on stove at medium high. Remove just before boiling and pour over morsels.
  8. Let sit for a minute and then stir until completely combined. Add powdered sugar and beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled cheesecake and top with cut candy cups. Place cut side down on top of ganache in alternating directions. Try to arrange them to make it easy to cut into even bars without cutting through the cups. It may be easier to eyeball 4 rows of 5, yielding 20 squares. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Cut into bars and serve.
Source: Bakerella.com

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ice Cream Sunday

 

Happy Sunday! And Happy Father’s Day, too! I’m giving away something sweet to celebrate summer and of course ice cream.

You know, I think I could eat ice cream every day. It’s always my favorite go-to treat when I travel… but I never really get ice cream at restaurants. That just seems boring. Probably because it’s not as fun as going into a scoop shop and looking all the pretty creamy colors. And I always prefer eating ice cream out of a cup. I don’t like to eat it out of a cone because I’m way messy. So if I do get it in a cone, it’s just so I can snap a picture of it. Then I turn it upside down and dump it in a cup and eat it with a spoon – or better yet – I like to break up the waffle cone (never a sugar cone) and use it to scoop out the ice cream. I may be weird.

Okay, back to the giveaway.

Up for grabs is this Cuisinart 2 Qt. Ice Cream Maker and one of my favorite scoop shops new book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts. Yum! If you have her first book, you’ll want to get your hands on this one, too. It’s divided up into sections like ice cream parlor, bakeshop and sundae bar. So fun!

Here’s the sweet scoop for a chance to win them both:

  • To enter leave a comment on this post and share your favorite ice cream flavor and how you like to enjoy it. Cone, cup, bowl… barrel ; ) ?
  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm ET. SORRY, Time’s Up! Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Wednesday evening on this post.

Good luck guys!

I’ve been reading all your favorites for the last couple of days and now I need all the flavors! and a big spoon of course.

Okiedokie – it’s ice cream maker winner time!

The winning comment is #1216. Congratulations Angela – I hope you love making your own mint chocolate chip and butter pecan. YAY!

 

 

This giveaway sponsored by me. This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Melty! Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh my gosh I couldn’t stop eating these cookies! I gave a few to my mom and I was going to give the rest away too, but then… I opened the container they were in to have just one … and then I was like I’ll just have one more … and then there were just too few to give to anyone. Whoops. (wink) … So I kept the rest all for myself.

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread

The dough is kissed with a little salted caramel hazelnut spread. Oh yes!

Chocolate Wafers

But these jumbo chocolate wafers are what make them so irresistible. I love baking cookies with them. It means melty chocolate in every warm little … or big bite.

dough

Mix up the dough, scoop it onto baking sheets and then… sprinkle the tops with a little sea salt to finish them off.

Cookies!

And then bake…

Melty Chocolate Chip Cookie

Break…

Melty

and bite!

That’s it. I’m done! I just passed out. I think I’ll just need another melty cookie to revive me.

Melty Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Servings: Makes two dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate baking wafers
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt together with a wire whisk.
  3. In a mixer, cream butter, sugars, and hazelnut spread until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add flour and mix on low until incorporated.
  6. Stir in chocolate wafers. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Scoop dough onto parchment paper about two inches apart and sprinkle tops with sea salt.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy while melty.
  9. Note: The wafers are made by E. Guittard and the salted caramel hazelnut spread is made by Jif.
Source: © 2014 Bakerella.com

Update: I accidentally left out the step where you add the flour to the recipe. It’s in there now (#5). : )

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pick Your Mix!

What’s your sweet style? Cakes, bread, confections, cute? What do you guys love or want to learn how to bake?

Check out the 10 books below and pick a mix of your favorite five to be entered for a chance to win them! FUN!!!

 

Surprise-Inside Cakes
Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – with a little something extra inside
by Amanda Rettke
Photography by Susan Powers

These whimsical cakes are as cute on the inside as they are on the out. The step-by-step photos will inspire you to get creative with layers of cake.

 

Sweet Paul Eat and Make
Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You Will Love
by Paul Lowe
Photography by Alexandra Grablewski

If you love Sweet Paul’s blog and magazine then owning this book is a no-brainer. Beautifully photographed and full of comfort and charm, this one’s a real keeper.

 

 

 

Eat More Dessert
More than 100 simple-to-make & fun-to-eat Baked Goods from the baker to the stars
by Jenny Keller
Photography by KCB Photography

This book will make you want to fill your table with treats… and yes … eat more dessert! Jenny’s easy and adorable recipes are showcased in dessert tables like Spring Garden, Princess Tea Party, Down on the Farm, Vintage Baby and more.

 

 

Meringue Girls
Incredible Sweets Everbody Can Make
by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman
Photography by David Loftus

I love how many different ways a basic meringue can be used to create decadent desserts and colorful confections. I made these meringue kisses from the book last week and they were way too fun!

 

 

Glorious Layered Desserts
by Glory Albin
Photography by Gene Chutka

Layers of sweets in small jars. I’m in. Pina Colada Cheesecake Mousse, Peach Raspberry Almond Trifle, and Brownie Bottom Coconut Cream Dessert are just a few of the sweets to get you started or use her basic recipes to mix and match and make your own combinations.

 

 

The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook
Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival
by Alex van Beuren and Dixie Grimes
Photography by Ed Anderson

This book makes me happy inside. It’s divided up into Breakfasts, Main, Sides, Soups for every Season, Spreads and Sandwich Fixings, Casseroles and of course Southern Sweet Thangs!  You’ll enjoy making this Mississippi Grocer’s best recipes.

 

Trophy Cupcakes and Parties!
Deliciously Fun Party Ideas and Recipes from Seattle’s Prize Winning Cupcake Bakery
by Jennifer Shea
Photography by Rina Jordan

The famous Seattle cupcake bakery shares some of their most loved recipes along with basics for party themes and tips for entertaining.

 

 

Modern Pioneering
More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life
by Georgia Pellegrini
Photography by Georgia Pellegrini

Georgia is a friend of mine and she’s really outdone herself with her latest book. And while it isn’t focused on baking, it’s like an excite-o-pedia of fun projects and recipes to sharpen your skills. Besides red wine popsicles and beet marshmallows, there’s tips on gardening, making preserves, tapping your own watermelon keg and much more.

 

 

Pure Vanilla
Irresisible Recipes and Essential Techniques
by Shauna Sever
Photography by Leich Beisch

Okay, vanilla lovers, this book is for you. 80 recipes showcasing this beautiful flavor that usually takes a backseat to chocolate. You’ll fall in love with the Twinkie Bundt Cake, Vanilla Cloud Cake and I dare you not to make someone’s day with the Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts.

 

 

Josey Baker Bread
Get Baking • Make Awesome Bread • Share the Loaves
by Josey Baker
Photography by Erin Kunkel

This step-by-step book would be great for the beginning bread baker. Josey Baker … yes his real name… starts you from scratch learning the basics and takes you on a journey through different types of flours to inspire you to have fun with bread.

 

……………………………………………………………………

Pick Your Mix Giveaway for your favorite FIVE (5) books!

  • To be entered for a chance to win, just leave a comment on the blog with your favorite 5 books from the ones above.
  • That’s it. Easy peasy.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, May 29th at 7:00 pm ET. Sorry, Time’s Up! Winner Announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Thursday evening.

Good Luck!!!

* Amazon affiliate links included in this post.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Okay … it’s time to announce the winner.

P.S. – I loved reading all your picks. It’s fun to see what people wish for. I just wish I had an easy way to tally everything up. I get so curious about these kind of things.

And the baking books go to Maggie! Congratulations. I think you’ll have tons of fun baking this summer.

 

 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meringue Kisses

Meringue Kisses

So these were really fun to whip up. Cute. Colorful. Adorable.

And you only need two ingredients to make them. Unless you want to color them and then it’s only three. I like it.

I used the recipe from the New Meringue Girls Cookbook that releases in June, but you can preorder it now.  I received an early copy from my friends at Chronicle Books. I like sweet surprises.

Egg Whites

The Meringue Girls Mixture is super easy to remember. One part egg whites to two parts sugar.

(P.S. I’ve gotten used to photographing things one handed with my left hand turned backwards balancing the camera and holding ingredients in my right hand. I’m pretty proud of grabbing this one before the egg white dropped. I should use a tripod sometimes but I never do. I’m too impatient I guess.)

Superfine Sugar

Make the meringues with superfine sugar and heat the crystals in the oven for about 5 minutes so it will dissolve more quickly when added to the egg whites.

steps

Whisk away and then when ready for the sugar, add heaping spoonfuls of warm sugar one at a time to the whipped egg whites.

Meringue Mixture

Smooth and shiny.

You can leave your meringues marshmallowy white, you can flavor them and color them, too.

Making meringues

For stripes of color, turn a piping bag inside out and brush on stripes of food coloring.

Carefully turn it back and fill with meringue.

Striped Kises

Then snip off the end and pipe little kisses.

Kisses

Or for solid color kisses, gently fold the color into the meringue mixture until combined.

Meringue Kisses

Pretty and fun.

Just like the Meringue Girls.

Check out their videos below on how to make and color meringue. These two London girls are as cute as their confections.

Meringue Girls Mixture from Deneemotion / Denee Media Films on Vimeo.

Colouring & Piping Meringue Kisses from Deneemotion / Denee Media Films on Vimeo.

And here’s a peek inside the Meringue Girls Cookbook full of decadent desserts and colorful confections.

MERINGUE GIRLS

Meringue Kisses

Servings: three dozen kisses

Ingredients

  • 300 g superfine sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 150 g egg whites (from about 5 eggs)
  • food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, pour in sugar and bake for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees F until the edges just begin to melt.
  2. Meanwhile, pour egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure it’s clean) fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low allowing bubbles to form, increase to high and continue whisking until stiff peaks form and you can turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.
  3. Remove the sugar from the oven and begin whisking again at high speed. Add one big spoonful at a time, ensuring that the whties come back to stiff peaks after each addition. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for 5 - 7 minutes. You should be able to rub the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit from the sugar. You know it’s ready to use when it forms a smooth shiny peak on the tip of your finger.
  4. Decrease oven temperature to 200 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a dab of meringue on four corners of pan and press paper on top to hold it down flat.
  5. To stripe kisses, turn piping bag inside out and paint on 4-5 stripes of food coloring. Roll the bag so the painted side is inside and carefully spoon in meringue mixture so it is packed in tightly. Snip off the tip of the piping bag about an inch in diameter and pipe kisses on baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 200 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the kisses can easily be lifted off the parchment paper with bases in tact. Let cool completely. Meringues stored in an airtight container will keep for up to two weeks.
Source: Adapted from The Meringue Girls Cookbook, 2014 published by Chronicle Books
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