Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebrating my Blogiversary with Cheesecake Cakes!

3 years and 669 posts... Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me! :)

I can't believe that I have been blogging for 3 years! My blog has had ups and downs... sometimes I am posting daily, other times a week or two go by between posts. Regardless of how often I post I gotta say that I LOVE having this outlet. I still love trying new recipes and creating my own. I love cooking for my family and friends and I am happy to have this blog to share those recipes.

I decided to make these cheesecake cakes to celebrate. I had bookmarked THIS CAKE over a year ago and never made it. Then I bookmarked THIS CAKE back in March. Then, as if that wasn't enough, my best friend sent me the link to the chocolate/PB cake a few weeks ago. That sealed the deal... I was going to try my hand at a cheesecake cake!

There were two problems, though. I didn't want to make a huge cake and my husband and I couldn't agree on which one to make. My husband wanted the PB & Chocolate cake and I wanted to adapt a Lemon Blueberry Cake that I bookmarked into a cheesecake cake. The solution? Make minis and make both!

I am glad I made minis because I was able to make two different flavors. The lemon blueberry was AMAZING! I think that flavor combination works really well with the tanginess of the cheesecake. I put a thin layer of lemon curd in between the layers and loved the extra lemon flavor. The PB version was also great but I think the PB overshadowed the cheesecake. I think this one is definitely a cake that needs to be made full sized so there is a higher cheesecake to cake ratio. I am looking forward to trying it again one day!

Thanks for sticking around for 3 years and here's to another year of great recipes!!!

Inside of the lemon blueberry (this one wasn't frosted yet)
Inside of the PB/Chocolate

Recipe for the PB & Chocolate Cheesecake Cake can be found HERE.
Recipe for the Lemon Blueberry Cake can be found HERE. To adapt this cake into a cheesecake cake, omit the middle vanilla layer and subsitute the cheesecake from the PB cake. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Muffins

What happens when you are craving muffins and have lemon curd that you want to use? Well, if you are me, then you create a delicious muffin that uses the lemon curd! These are fantastic, lemony, and oh so delicious!

Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular

2 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup lemon curd
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (or could do half vanilla/half lemon extract for added lemon flavor)
2 TBSP poppy seeds

1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon

Mix flour through brown sugar in a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, combine eggs through poppy seeds. Mix wet into dry and stir to combine. Fill muffin tins.

Using your fingers, mix lemon zest into sugar. Sprinkle on top of muffins.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lemon Curd

If you've never had lemon curd, you are missing out. It is so fantastically lemony and delicious! Homemade lemon curd is so easy to make and it will keep in the fridge for 2 months so there is really no reason not to make it! I make it every so often and every time I do I am reminded why I love it so much! It is great with scones and biscuits, delicious in baked goods, makes a great filling for cake, and when mixed with whipped cream it makes an AMAZING fruit dip!

Lemon Curd
Recipe from Baking:From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/4 cups sugar
6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
Freshly squeezed juice from 4 lemons

Put all ingredients in saucepan and stir to moisten sugar. Put pan over medium heat and stir without stopping until butter is melted and mixture thickens like custard (about 4-6 minutes). It is cooked enough when you can run your finger along the spatula and the curd doesn't run back into the track you created.

Remove from pan and put in heatproof bowl or jar. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Peanut Buter Cup Brownies

Peanut butter and chocolate are always a good combination and these brownies were no exception. I threw them together when my hubby asked for brownies and I was out of my chocolate for my regular brownies. These didn't disappoint ad I will be making them again!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

Heat oven to 350.

Melt butter in saucepan; mix in cocoa. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add vanilla and salt. Mix in flour. Fold in PB cups.

Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Banana "Ice Cream"

So this isn't really a recipe and isn't even ice cream. But, it is a great way to use up bananas without having to turn on your oven.
I had 4 bananas staring at me in the fruit basket that I needed to use soon. As much as I love banana bread, I just didn't feel like turning on the oven. So I just peeled the bananas, put them in a Ziploc bag, and threw them in the freezer until I could decide what I wanted to do with them.
Then it hit me... why not just blend up the frozen bananas? I do it all the time for smoothies and I figured it would be thick enough and creamy enough to be an ice cream-like dessert. And you know what? It totally was! Creamy, cold, and delicious! You could even mix in chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, whatever makes you happy!
I enjoyed it, the kids enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Chicken

This is one of the BEST grilled chicken recipes that I have ever had! Seriously... fire up the grill and make this tonight!!!!
Bacon Wrapped Chicken
Adapted from Serious Barbecue
1/2 cup olive oil
2 TBSP oregano
2 TBSP black pepper
2 TBSP garlic salt
2 TBSP paprika
20 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 4 lemons
4 chicken breasts
1 lb bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Combine marinade ingredients in ziploc bag. Add chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 24.
Remove chicken from marinade and wrap in bacon. Wrap each bacon wrapped chicken breast tightly in saran wrap. Place chicken breasts in 9x13 pan and fill pan with 1/2"water. Bake chicken at 250 for 50 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and unwrap.
Place chicken over direct heat on grill for 5 minutes on each side. Remove to indirect heat, baste with glaze, and continue cooking until chicken is done.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Honey Lime Chicken Wings and Margherita Pizza

An easy and delicious pizza & wings dinner!

Honey Lime Chicken Wings
3 pounds chicken wings/chicken drummettes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

To prepare the wings in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the wings in a bowl with salt, pepper, minced garlic and olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until just cooked through, about 30 minutes.

To prepare the wings on the grill: Preheat a grill to high. Grill the wings until marked, 10 to 15 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the marinade to a saucepan and cook until slightly thick, about 8 minutes (you can do this on the grill as well). Drizzle the wings with the sauce and top with cilantro, if desired.

If you don't have a grill, you can use a grill pan indoors, bake them in the oven or saute in a little butter in a skillet until warmed through.

Make the sauce: Combine the lime zest and juice, honey, cumin, adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a bowl. Pour over the warm wings and let marinate at least 30 minutes.

Margherita Pizza
Recipe from Taste of Home
Pizza Dough (or pitas, english muffins, etc)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Thinly sliced fresh basil
Brush pizza dough with olive oil. Top with garlic, 1 cup cheese, tomatoes, and garlic powder. Top with remaining cheese and Italian seasoning.
Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with basil.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Sorbet

4 ingredients... Milk, sugar, water, and chocolate. 1 result... FANTASTIC!!!!! I will definitely be making it again!

Thanks to Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I stayed at the Henderson Park Inn in Destin, Florida for our 10 year anniversary. While there we had an amazing dinner and an even better dessert. The dessert was a bread pudding made with Krispy Kreme donuts. It had a subtle apple flavor and a delicious caramel sauce.

When we got home I knew I had to try and recreate it. This is what I came up with and it was SO good! Just a little note on preference... I am not a huge fan of bread pudding and prefer it to be a little crispier. My husband likes it to be softer. So, if you are like me, drizzle the sauce on top once it is served on your plate. If you are like my husband, pour the sauce directly on top of the bread pudding after removing it from the oven and let it soak in before serving. Either way, make sure you top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
8 Krispy Kreme donuts, cut into sixths

4 TBSP butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup apple juice

Mix sweetened condensed milk through cinnamon. Place donuts in large bowl and mix in wet ingredeients. Let sit for 15 minutes so the liquid can be absorbed.

Grease a 9" pie plate and fill with donuts. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

For sauce, melt butter and brown sugar together. While stirring constantly, add cream, corn syrup, and apple juice. Boil until slightly thickened. Drizzle or pour over bread pudding.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TWD: Chestnut Scones

Or not really. :) These scones call for chestnut flour which I didn't have and wasn't going to run out and get. I substituted cake flour for the chestnut flour and used hazelnut coffee creamer in place of the heavy cream. The scones were good but not what Dorie intended, that's for sure! Hopefully one day I'll try the recipe the way it was written!

Thanks to Andrea of Andrea in the Kitchen for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

I made these while I was in Georgia visiting my bestie and man were they delicious! I've had cheesecake brownies before but never CHOCOLATE cheesecake brownies. So rich and so delicious. Definitely perfect for when a chocolate craving hits!

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies
Recipe from Amanda's Cookin'

Brownie layer:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Cheesecake layer:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2.5 oz semisweet chocolate
8 ounces very soft cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter or spray a 9x9 baking pan.

Melt the butter and using a wooden spoon, mix in the brown sugar and cocoa. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla and mix to combine.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Combine with butter mixture, and spread evenly in the baking dish. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Place cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Add melted chocolate and process to combine.

Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over the brownie layer. Bake in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes. Test with a toothpick – at most you should only get a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before cutting.

Store in a sealed container, preferably in the refrigerator. Excellent cold or at room temperature!

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