Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my go-to recipe for cream cheese frosting.


Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Cheesecake Cookies

Cheesecake + cookies has to be good, right? These smell heavenly when you make them because of the citrus zest. These are a very simple cookie, but I made them extra special by creating sandwich cookies filled with my favorite cream cheese frosting. I encourage you to do the same. :)



Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3 graham crackers, finely crushed (1/3 cup)

Directions:

1. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, lemon juice and vanilla, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour and mix until well incorporated.

2. Divide the dough in half, for each piece into a 10-inch log, and then roll in graham cracker crumbs. Cover each log (I wrapped mine gently in plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4. With a sharp or serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices. Place 1-inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets and bake until the bottoms are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough on cool cookie sheets.










Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.

Recipe Source - Recipe Boy

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Microwaved Baked Potatoes

Yes, I know this is a strange thing to post as a recipe. But, I usually don't cook baked potatoes in the microwave - I bake them in the oven (at 425 degrees for about an hour). This is more of a reminder for me when I do want to make one quickly.

Wash and dry medium sized potatoes. Pierce with a fork in several places.  Arrange on a paper towel at least one inch apart. Microwave on high as directed below. Turn potatoes once halfway through cooking time. Cook until potatoes just begin to feel soft when pressed. Wrap in foil. Let stand 5 minutes

1 medium potato - 3 to 5 minutes
2 medium potatoes - 6 to 8 minutes
3 medium potatoes - 9 to 11 minutes
4 medium potatoes - 12 to 14 minutes

4th of July Cheesecake Cake

When I decided to try this recipe, I was really nervous that it would be way to sweet and rich - you know, dessert overkill. But, it was AMAZING! The cheesecake in between the layers of vanilla cake topped with cream cheese frosting was simply divine. I can't wait to make it again and try it with chocolate cake. Yum!


Cheesecake Ingredients:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
concentrated gel paste food coloring - red and blue

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions:

1. Prepare the cheesecake layer: Place a 9x13-inch pan on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water. Place your other rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray, then line the bottom of the pan with parchment, then spray again. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan on the middle rack in the pre-heated oven. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).

2. Prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment; spray the parchment as well. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until just combined. Scoop half of the batter into another bowl and use gel paste (red and blue) to color the each half a deep hue. Scrape the batter into each of the prepared pans. Bake until firm to touch and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.

3. To make the frosting: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

4. To assemble the cake: Place the red cake layer on a cake plate and spread a small amount of frosting on top. Remove the (frozen) cheesecake from the pan and place the cheesecake layer on top of the red layer (be sure to measure it and make sure that it fits on top... you may need to place it on a cutting board and shave off some of the edge with a sharp knife to match the size of the cake layer). Spread a small amount of the frosting on top of the cheesecake layer. Add the blue layer on top. Scoop some frosting on top of the blue layer and cover the entire cake in a VERY THIN LAYER of frosting (you're just doing a "crumb coat.") Then place the cake in the freezer for a few minutes, just until the cake and frosting are a little bit firm. Then add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake, spread across the top evenly and down the sides. Sprinkle festive sprinkles on top, if desired. The cake should be refrigerated until ready to serve.



Recipe modified from Recipe Girl

Brownie Bottom Chocolate Lush

One of my family's favorite desserts is Chocolate Lush. Lately on Facebook I've seen people post a version that uses a brownie base. I adapted it and made my version for the boys. They loved it! It is definitely rich when you make it with the brownie bottom, but it's very yummy!






Ingredients:

1 box brownie mix (the kind that fits a 9 x 13 pan) and the ingredients called for on the box
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened (I use reduced fat)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 8oz. packages whipped topping (I use light)
1 3oz.  package instant chocolate pudding (I use sugar free)
1 3oz. package instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk (I use skim)

Directions:

In a 9 X 13 pan, make the brownies according to the package. Let them cool completely (after cooling on the counter for a while, I then put mine in the refrigerator to make sure they are completely cold).

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together the cream cheese and the powdered sugar. Fold in one container of the whipped topping.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled brownie layer.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the two pudding packages and mix in the milk. Pour the pudding over the cream cheese layer. Put in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes to let the pudding set.

After the pudding is set, spread the last container of whipped topping over the dessert. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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