Peanut Butter Cheesecake

december-066

MMM, I do love the combination of Chocolate and Peanut Butter and what better way to enjoy that combination than in a nice and rich, creamy cheesecake? I rarely make cheesecakes, they are not difficult but I find it hard to resist and end up eating way more than my waist and thighs can handle!

I needed to bring a dessert to a baby shower this past weekend and knew this would  be a hit (I had to grab a pic quick before serving).
This recipe is so quick and easy, it is based off of this recipe, my go-to cheesecake recipe.  After looking online for a tried and true Peanut Butter cheesecake recipe, I decided to make one  up on my own. I was very pleased with the end result. The batter was so thick and creamy with a peanut butter flavor that was not overwhelming.  It baked up beautifully and did not crack a bit!  After chilling for 24 hours I tasted this wonderous creation. So rich and creamy with a light Peanut Butter flavor that complimented the chocolate cookie crust perfectly. I loved the layer of Peanut Butter and Chocolate between the crust and the cheesecake and enhanced the flavors perfectly.  My only complaint is that the crust crumbled a bit more at the tips of the cut pieces than what I would want for serving company. It may have been my fault though because I pried up the cut pieces with a fork (possibly breaking the crust in the process). It still tasted wonderful, just not the best presentation.

Next time I might dress this up a bit with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a milk chocolate drizzle before serving.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
2 cups Oreo Cookie crumbs
3-4 TBS butter, melted
1 TBS sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter (slightly  melted until easily spreadable)
1 cup Milk chocolate chips
 
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.)  Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9-inch springform pan.
Fill an oven safe cake pan (I use a 9×9 pan) 3/4 full with warm water. Set on bottom oven rack while oven is preheating.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine Oreo crumbs and butter, stir to combine.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and increase oven temperature to 350.

Spread 1/3 cup softened peanut butter over the crust and evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the peanut butter layer. Set aside.

 In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sweetened condecember-063densed milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour, beat to combine. Add  eggs one at a time beating only to combine after each addition. When adding the third egg, also add the vanilla extract; beat until combined.

Gently pour batter evenly into prebaked crust, peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Watch carefully and do  not overbake.

Shut oven off and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 1-4  hours. Run a warm knife around edge of cheesecake after 1 hour.
Place in fridge to cool completely. (Remove the pan of water)
Allow to chill at least 24 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.

Mini White Chocolate Cranberry Oat Fudge Cups

november-004

Everywhere I look lately there seem to be recipes involving cranberries, this is one that caught my eye! I rarely bake anything involving fruit, not that I have anything against fruit (it is one of my favorite snacks), it just seems that most recipes that catch my eye involve chocolate, peanut butter, butter scotch or candy.

I am deciding what to make for goodie trays I will be making for the Holidays and thought that a recipe using cranberries would be perfect. I wanted something different from your typical cookie or bar recipe and hit the jackpot when this recipe caught my eye.

I changed the recipe a bit based on my preferences. The original recipe is baked in a muffin tin but because I am making these for holiday trays I used a mini muffin tin to make them bite sized (Plus I LOVE how cute they look). I also used finely chopped walnuts instead of pecans because I think their flavor better compliments the cranberries. I partially baked the oatmeal crusts before filling them with the white chocolate fudge but then baked the filled Fudge Cups for a few more minutes. The original recipe did not call for baking the cups after they are filled, so if you’re short on time you can always save a few minutes by not baking them after filling with the white chocolate fudge.  I am not sure what difference it will make in the final consistency of the white chocolate fudge, I chose to bake them because the filling is siimilar to the filing in this recipe in which you bake the fudge filled bars.
*I would recommend bakinnovember-006g the crusts for 2-4 more minutes before filling if you are not planning on baking the cups once you fill them.

I am very pleased with the end result! They are so cute and the specks of red cranberry in the crust make them perfect for the holidays.  The crust is slighlty sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and has a delicate nutty flavor which compliments the sweet and creamy white chocolate fudge filling. They are not overly sweet, but definately will satisfy your holiday sweet tooth. I think you could dress these up a bit after baking by garnishing with a dried cranberry or walnut halve on top and then drizzled with melted white chocolate. As is, they are definitely going to be a welcomed addition to my holiday goodie tray!

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Mini White Chocolate Cranberry Oat Fudge Cups
adapted from here
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups oatmeal (I used quick cooking)
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped fine
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped fine

White Chocolate Fudge Filling
2 cups chopped white chocolate
1 can Sweet and Condensed Milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray a mini muffin tin with PAM cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the oatmeal, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined. Add chopped cranberries and walnuts and mix until incorporated. november-007

Drop dough by tablespoon into the preapred wells of a mini muffin tin. Using a tart press or the back of a teaspoons press down on the crust mixture until the crust is formed into a small well.
Bake for 5-6 minutes.

While crusts are baking make the White Chocolate Fudge Filling:
In a small sauce pan over low heat, heat milk and chips until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Remove the partially baked crusts from oven (should not be brown). If needed, gently use the tart press or the back of a teaspoon to press the crust down to form a well (crust may puff a bit while baking making it difficult to fill the wells unless you press the crust down a bit).
Fill each mini crust with a teaspoon of White Chocolate Fudge being careful not to get any on the mini muffin tin or it will burn.
Return to oven and bake for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool at room teperature.
Chill for 20 minutes or until firm.
Using a sharp knife, gently pry the Fudge Cups out of the tin. They should pop out if you greased it properly and the cups are firm. (I had no problem getting them out at all)

Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cinnamon Chips

november-008

The holidays are approaching and I have been searching for some recipes to make for my goodie trays for Christmas. I have a ginger cookie recipe I love but decided to try out a new recipe and jazz it up a bit.  I had some cinnamon chips that I have been wanting to use for a while and thought that they would be perfect in this recipe and boy was I right!  I very loosely followed a recipe I found on a flyer in a kitchen outlet store in their spice aisle. 

Your mixer may get a workout because the dough is very dense and thick. My right arm got a little sore while folding in the cinnamon chips but it was sooooo worth it! These cookies bake up soft and chewy (not cakey) and the cinnamon chips complimented the flavors of the cookie perfectly. These cookies have a sweet crisp exterior thanks to a roll in sugar before baking. The interior of the cookies chewy with the perfect blend of cloves, ginger and cinnamon. The cinnamon chips do not overshadow the other flavors but instead enhance and compliment them. They are a welcomed surprise and the perfect way to ‘spice’ up a traditional holiday favorite cookie!

While yummy, I don’t know if the base recipe will replace my original ginger cookie recipe but I will definitely  be adding cinnamon chips the next time I make them! I havent’ made them in so long that I am anxious to bake up a batch and compare. Let’s just say that you can NOT lose with either recipe!

*If you can not find cinnamon chips in your grocery store, order some online HERE! DO IT!! They are great in muffins and pancakes as well!

* I do recommend to chill the dough for at least 20 minutes or they may spread a little too much while baking. If you want to bake right away, maybe bake a test cookie and if it spreads too much add a little more flour to the dough to help them retain their shape.

I rate these cookies an 8.5

Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cinnamon Chips
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup molasses (NOT blackstrap)
1 cup Cinnamon Chips
1 cup sugar (for rolling dough balls)

Preheat oven to 350. (if baking immediately)
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium size bowl stir or sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
november-010
In large mixing bowl mix together the butter and brown sugar until light. Add egg and vanilla, mix to combine. Slowly add molasses and beat to combine and mixture is creamy.  Add the flour mixture slowly  and mix until combined. Gently fold in the cinnamon chips.

Chill dough for 20 minutes (or you can bake immediately)
In a shallow bowl pour 1 cup sugar.
Form dough balls (I used my Pampered Chef Medium size scoop) and toss in the bowl of sugar. Roll to coat evenly.

Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets. Press middle down slightly for even baking.
Bake in preheated oven for 9-12 minutes until edges are set and light brown. Do  not overbake or cookies will be crisp. 
 Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes and then allow cookies to cool completely on wire rack.

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Once again this recipe comes from the hand written cookbook given to me by my grandma. I have to say that these cookies bring back many childhood memories. I remember helping my grandma make these cookies, I stand on a chair to reach the counter and would help by sifting the dry ingredients together for her being careful not to get flour all over the counter and myself.

I patiently waited while these baked, sneaking bites of cookie dough while my grandma was not looking. The ingredients in these cookies may turn many of you off. They use butter flavor Crisco and oil instead of butter as the source of fat. Typically I only bake with butter but the unique combination of the fats along with the use of cream of tartar give these cookies their unique texture. They have a more cake-like texture than other cookies I typically bake, which usually would be a bad thing, but for some reason I love these cookies like no other. They are so different in flavor and texture than my typical recipe that I feel these are a treat when ever I make them. 

While these cookies are soft and cake-like out of the oven and stored in a sealed container at room temperature, I have to admit that my favorite way to enjoy these cookies is frozen. Yup, you heard that right. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these cookies straight from the freezer. They have a light and crisp texture that can’t be beat! I think my love for these frozen cookies comes from my childhood memories. My grandma would bake these in huge batches and freeze the extras in tupperware containers in her big chest freezer. My cousins and I would sneak cookies from the containers and eat them before dinner whithout getting caught while we played Nintendo and Barbies.  Man, I could eat 4-5 of these frozen cookies at a time, still enjoy a dinner of meat and potatoes and was stick thin. Wish I still had that metabolism! haha.

Hot, room temperature or frozen, these cookies are a great alternative to your typical chocolate chip cookie when you are looking for something just a little different! Be warned though, they don’t have that  “butter” flavor that your typical cookie would have and may not suit the tastes of everyone.

I rate these cookies an 8.5

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup oil (use good quality vegetable oil)
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tesaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together in a large bowl the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and flour (you can whisk if you don’t have a sifter)

In a large mixing bowl cream together the oil and Crisco. Add the sugar and brown sugars and beat to combine. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat.

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix only until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough for 15 minutes.
Drop dough on parchment line baking sheets (I use my medium scooper).
Bake for 8-11 minutes or until the edges are beginning to turn light brown.
Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature, or if you are like me, store in a sealed container in the freezer.

Oatmeal Jumbos

I was wanting to make some cookies using up some oatmeal. Usually I turn to my favorite cookie recipe for Monster Cookies when I am looking for a yummy cookie to whip up quickly. Today, however, I wanted to try a new recipe.

Like my monster cookies these are loaded with oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate! What a winning combination? The dough to chocolate candy ratio is small so these cookies are not as sturdy as some but boy are they good! I used Old Fashion oats instead of quick oats in this recipe which created a chewier, softer and more fragile cookie. The higher ratio of brown sugar to sugar gives these cookies a nice depth of flavor and balances out the peanut butter and candy nicely without being overly sweet. You can cut down on the amount of candy and chocolate if you prefer to make them a bit sturdier and ‘healthier’. Either way they will be great!

If you are looking for a chewy cookie that is loaded full of your favorite candies than look no further! This recipe makes about 4 dozen average size cookies or 2 dozen ‘jumbo size’ cookies.

I rate these cookies an 8.5

Oatmeal Jumbos
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&M’s
1 cup Reese’s Pieces

Preheat oven to 350.
In mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and butter  until blended. Add the brown sugar, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.

Gently fold in the oatmeal, chocolate chips and candy.
For Jumbo Cookies: Drop dough by 1/4 cup balls onto parchemnt lined baking sheet about 5 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light brown. Allow to cool on sheet for 10 minutes before tranfering to rack to cool completely.
For average cookies: Drop dough by medium scooper on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown and just set around edges. Cool on sheet for 10 minutes before transfering to rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

This recipe is another one from the cookbook of my Grandma’s favorite recipes. She does not site a source for any of her recipes, but a quick google search brought up the same recipe at several sites, including this one. Because the original source is unknown, I am giving my grandma credit on this one unless someone knows where this recipe originated.  After searching a bit it seems that several people make these cookies and stick a Hershey’s Kiss on top of the baked cookie (while it is still warm). I had these several times as a kid but that is never the way my grandma made these.  You see, one of the qualities that makes these cookies irresistable is their crinkley top that gets hidden by the addition of a Kiss!

These are so simple to make and produce a cookie that would be a welcomed addition to any bake sale or holiday tray! They really do catch your eye and stand out from your typical Peanut Butter cookie recipe.  Their eye-catching crackly top is the produced by rolling the dough balls in powdered sugar and slightly flattening the tops of the balls before baking.  

Let me tell ya, the dough tastes phenomenal as do the finished cookies. They have a slighlty crisp (not crunchy) exterior but a soft and chewy interior. I did not find these overly sweet (even though they are rolled in powdered sugar) and they have a wonderful peanut butter flavor. These did not last longer than 48 hours in the house but kept in a tupperware container they did stay soft for those 2 days.

Next time I might press down a Holiday edition PB M&M in the center of a warm baked cookie to add a little pop of chocolate and more peanut butter! Plus, who doesn’t love the holdiay colored M&M’s???

I rate these cookies an 8.5

Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar (or more as needed for rolling)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchement paper.
Place powdered sugar in shallow bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Once combined beat in the white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a large bowl wisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently add to creamed mixture and mix until almost combined.
Chill dough for 10-20 minutes.
Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Genlty roll the dough balls into powdered sugar and place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Carefully press down on each ball with a glass to flatten tops slightly.
Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until top is crinkley and edges are set. Cook on sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to baking rack to finish cooling.

Intense Chocolate Shock Cookies

I am a firm believer that in order to have a trully ‘Chocolate’ cookie it should include melted chocolate in the dough and not just cocoa powder (a combination of both is also accepted).  While I love cookies and chocolate, I am not a huge fan of Chocolate Cookies (gasp! I know). I do however enjoy Chocolate cookies with a bowl of good old vanilla icecream. MMM good.

I found this recipe on a piece of paper taped to the back cover of an old church cookbook I bought at a yard sale last weekend. The paper was splattered with chocolate batter and had grease spots from melted butter. I knew these had to be yummy as the worn recipe was a sign that these were made often. I was sold (plus, I have a soft spot for old hand written recipes, blogs and the internet depersonalize (word???) so many family treasured recipes that whenever I find an old hand-written one, my heart jumps a bit. I feel like a highschool girl getting ready for her first date unsure of  how it will turn out. Wishing for the best but preparing for the worst. Knowing that either way, it will be an experience none the less).

I made these to take to a work picnic and they were very well received. The recipe underlines “Do not overbake” so I erred on the side of caution. The texture of these cookies were great! Once set they had chewey (not cakey) interiors with slightly crisp edges. The taste is not as tooth-acheingly sweet as I would have thought. I think the bittersweet chocolate mellows out the sweetness and provides a rich chocolate flavor. The milk chocolate chips I used balanced out the semisweet and bittersweet batter perfectly, though I am sure semisweet or dark chocolate would be equally as good.

Next time I make these I may add 1/2 tsp espresso powder to deeped the chocolate flavor more and maybe add some walnuts. As is they are very good, adults and kids both said how great they were. Four people asked for the recipe, so that is always a sign of a good recipe. I am not sure I would make these again unless I was taking them for others to enjoy. Like I said, I am not a huge fan of chocolate cookies. That did not stop me however, from enjoying four of these (not at the same time) with scoops of vanilla icecream.

I rate these cookies an  8.5

Intense Chocolate Shock Cookies
source unknown
4oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 oz.  semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 TBS butter, cut into chunks
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a microwave save bowl combine the chopped chocolate and butter. Heat in microwave stirring every 20 seconds. Heat until almost melted, stirring until smooth and melted. Do NOT overheat chocolate mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy (about 2-4 minutes).
Reduce speed to low and slowly add the melted chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. Add the flour mixture until and mix until just combined.
Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Allow dough to firm up for 10 minutes before baking.
Drop dough by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-13 minutes or until tops are shiny, center is soft but edges are set. Do NOT overbake.
Allow to cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transfering to rack to cool compleletly.