Friday, November 27, 2009

Premier Cheesecake Cranberry Bars

Adapted from:

This are the best bars (and while we're at it, dessert) I've ever made. I credit these bars to getting me into baking a few years ago. That says a lot being that I'm a chocoholic. They're a staple around the holidays. I will have to say that they are a bit messy and fall apart easily but the best way to avoid that is lining the pan with foil. Before cutting, place them in the fridge for at least a few hours. Then you can take the whole dessert out with the foil and cut them into bars. Otherwise, it can be a crumbly mess and you will end up eating half of them before you even get to serve them! Trust me!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) White chips
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can (16 oz.) OCEAN SPRAY® Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. I find the way for these to be as neat as possible is to line the pan with foil and grease the foil. This way you can take the entire thing out of the pan and cut into bars when you're finished. Combine flour, oats and brown sugar in large bowl. Add butter; mix until crumbly. Stir in morsels. Reserve 2 1/2 cups morsel mixture for topping. With floured fingers, press remaining mixture into prepared pan. Beat cream cheese in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix until smooth. Pour over crust. Combine cranberry sauce and cornstarch in medium bowl. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved morsel mixture over cranberry mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover; refrigerate until serving time (up to 1 day). Cut into bars.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pineapple Casserole

I have been making this for years and it's super easy! It actually goes with dinner, though it tastes as sweet as a dessert. I also double the recipe and make it in a 13x9 pan and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes. Keep checking to make sure it's browned and not burning around an hour. This picture shows it is a LITTLE burnt, which is actually my husband's fault and not mine. ;) I asked him to check on it, he said it looked done and then left it in the oven until 15 minutes later I realized it was still in there. He almost ruined Thanksgiving ;)

1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
3 slices white bread, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons butter (If you double the recipe, you probably won't need 12 tablespoons - more like 8 or 9 for pouring on top.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 1 quart baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and salt.
Add eggs, pineapple and juice. Mix well.
Pour into 8x8 baking dish, top with bread cubes and dot with butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Gorganzola Fig Tarlets

Yes, I can do other things besides sweets! These tartlets were so good and very easy! It was great as a Thanksgiving appetizer (and I will probably end up making these for my parent's Christmas Party as well). I didn't have a 2" cookie cutter so I used a small glass we had that was about 1.75". Because of this I didn't need as many figs and baked them for 7 minutes. I also omitted the walnuts because 1 - I didn't have them and 2 - I'm not a big fan of them! I also was out of honey, which I think if it was drizzled on top would've made them even better!

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
6 dried figs or pitted dates, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (2 oz)
1 tablespoon honey

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll pie crust on flat surface. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut 24 rounds from pie crust, rerolling crust scraps if necessary. Gently press 1 round in bottom and up side of each of 24 ungreased mini muffin cups.
2. In small bowl, mix figs, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Spoon slightly less than 1 teaspoon fig mixture into each cup. Break up any larger pieces of cheese. Top each tartlet with slightly less than 1 teaspoon cheese.
3. Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove tartlets from pan to serving plate. Drizzle tartlets with honey. Serve warm.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I was told this cheesecake "might possibly" be the best cheesecake ever tasted by my brother-in-law, so I'm going to ahead and say this cheesecake was fantastic. However, the white chocolate was supposed to be melted - I burnt it the first time and didn't have the patience to try it again, so it was more of a white chocolate chip pumpkin cheesecake. I guess I didn't do that bad of a job on it since I got great reviews at Thanksgiving!

2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sleeves)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup white chocolate, melted
3 eggs-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons caramel sauce for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. For crust, combine graham cracker crumbs (I used a blender to crush them) with melted butter and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Mix together and press into a lightly greased 9-in. springform pan. Set aside.
3. For filling, mix cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, white chocolate, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice, and mix until combined. Pour into springform pan and place pan on in a shallow baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and drizzle caramel topping over the cake. Chill until ready to serve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Triple Espresso Brownies

Oh, how I love brownies from a box...they are better than any brownies I've ever made! This recipe uses boxed brownies (I used Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge since I couldn't find their "Rich & Moist Fudge Brownie Mix") and espresso. I also didn't have instant espresso powder so used instant coffee. I thought it still had a strong coffee taste but my husband said they didn't taste like coffee. (He also likes Starbucks where as I have to water it down!). All in all, these brownies from were very good and had the "brownies from a box" taste that I love so much!

1 (19.5-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Rich & Moist Fudge Brownie Mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I omitted)
12 oz. sweet dark or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/8 teaspoon instant espresso coffee granules
1 to 2 teaspoons milk or whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine all brownie ingredients; beat 50 strokes with spoon. Spread in greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 28 minutes. Remove from oven.
2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat 1/4 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg, 2 teaspoons coffee granules and 1 teaspoon vanilla; blend well. In medium bowl, combine walnuts and chopped chocolate. Add brown sugar mixture; blend well.
3. Spoon and carefully spread filling over baked brownies. Return to oven; continue to bake an additional 17 to 20 minutes or until light brown.
4. In small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat. With wire whisk, stir in 1/8 teaspoon coffee granules and enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm brownies. Cool 45 minutes or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

You can never go wrong with Chocolate and Peanut Butter - it's my favorite combination! These "brownies" turned out more like candy than a brownie but were still fabulous. I still have half of the batch in my fridge which may be dangerous when a craving kicks in... I found this recipe on Pillsbury's website.

1/2 cup dark corn syrup (I used light since that was all that I had)
1/2cup butter
6 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups chunky peanut butter (I didn't use chunky, just preference)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup whipping cream
6 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chips because I ran out of baking chocolate!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chopped roasted peanuts, if desired (I omitted)

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.
2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup, 1/2 cup butter and 6 oz chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, using wire whisk. Add flour, granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat with wire whisk until batter is smooth and shiny. Spread in pan.
3. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat peanut butter and 1/2 cup butter with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over brownies.
5. In 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream and 6 oz chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool 5 minutes. Spread frosting over peanut butter filling. Sprinkle with peanuts. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caramel Apple Bars

These were yummy apple bars as well, also from Recipe Girl ( There is more homemade sauce than the recipe says to add to the bars. You could either cut the ingredients down or use it for something else!

1 cup heavy whipping cream (I used half & half)
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
4 Tbs butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground pecans (again, I omitted)
2 cups rolled oats

3½ cups sliced apples (about 24 ounces)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup homemade caramel

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 9×13-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
2. Prepare caramel: Mix caramel ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until it reaches soft-ball stage (230-234 degrees). Remove from heat. (I'm not sure exactly what that means...I just heated it until it thickened up a bit!)
3. In a medium bowl, beat the brown sugar and the next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) until thoroughly combined. Mix in the flour, ground pecans (if desired) and oats until crumbly. scoop out 1 cup and set aside. Place the remaining crumbs into your prepared pan and press down firmly to coat the bottom.
4. Toss apples in a large bowl with the salt and cinnamon. Arrange them over the crust. Drizzle 1 cup of warm caramel over the top and the sprinkle with the remaining crumbs you set aside.
5. Bake 35- 40 minutes until bubbly and the apples are just tender. Remove and let cool until they are just warm to the touch. Cut into squares. Try and let the bars rest until the caramel has set before serving.

Apple Harvest Blondies

Wow, were these bars good! I wasn't expecting much from them, but they were fantastic. This was one of the apple recipes I tried on Thursday night, hoping to find something to add to the Thanksgiving desserts (or Christmas Party desserts...). I think I found it! They are from
**Edit - I orignally made a small batch of these and loved them - they tasted very buttery. I made them a second time in a 13x9 pan and they were much thicker and cakey. Not bad, but I feel in love with them the first time and they didn't turn out quite the same the second! (Maybe my calculations were wrong the first time! I'll have to find out what that was...)

2/3 cup unsalted butter
2¼ cups packed brown sugar (divided)
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
3 ounces cream cheese, frozen for 1 hour (I used more than 3 oz., probably 4)
2 ounces finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I omitted the nuts - not a fan of them in desserts!)
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 13×9-inch baking dish.
2. Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl (just until melted). Remove from microwave and stir in 2 cups of brown sugar. Mix well, then add eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Fold in apples.
3. Spread batter into prepared dish. Chop cream cheese into small bits and mix with nuts, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
4. Sprinkle over batter and bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Yield: About 24 blondies

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

I got this recipe from in my search for the perfect Thanksgiving recipe. It kind of tastes like Pumpkin Pie over cake - pretty good!


1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the cake: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Prepare filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey. Serve with fresh whipped cream.
*I tried to make a topping for this recipe as well - it looked like it needed something else - since I only did half of the recipe in an 8x8 pan, I took some of the extra cake mix and mixed with with butter and sugar. It definitely added to the goodness of the cake, but I think a crumbly cinnamon topping might be better.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

With the upcoming holiday season, I keep coming across recipes for pumpkin and chocolate, which seems like an odd combination to me. (I'm not sure why I would think that anything is odd with chocolate though!) I decided to try baking a Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I found this recipe from Magnanimity's blog ( She says it can make bread or cookies but I found the consistency too watery to form cookies. I also added more chocolate chips than the recipe called for. The bread was excellent! I plan to try more recipes with this combination.
Makes 3 (9×5″) loaves

3 cups sugar
1 T ground nutmeg
1–15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chips (I used regular semi-sweet chips and added about 1.5 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, optional (I omitted)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 T ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three 9×5″ loaf pans. (I only made one loaf and cut the recipe in thirds.) Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl; set aside. In large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil,water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in the dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips, and nuts (I omitted, not a fan of nuts in bread), if desired. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.
*Note: This bread should freeze well, half of it is actually in my freezer and I'll let you know how that is after Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 2, 2009

White Chocolate Ribbon Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze

This was actually supposed to be made as a full bundt cake, but I don't have that type of pan (some kind of baker I am!). I have mini-bundt pans, so I made mini cakes. ;) This picture is also before the maple glaze was added on top. I found this recipe from Cookie Madness (

3/4 cup white chocolate morsels or white chips or 4 oz white chocolate
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour (13.5 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 (15-16 oz) can pumpkin

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used sugar-free)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (imitation can be used too)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (I used half & half)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan or spray with flour added baking spray.
Prepare filling. Place white chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into melted chips. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs, one by one and continue beating on high speed of electric mixer for 1 minute or until mixture is light. Stir in pumpkin. By hand or using low speed of mixer, stir flour mixture.
Pour about one third of the pumpkin batter into bundt pan. Pour white filling over pumpkin batter, keeping white batter away from sides of pan as much as possible. Pour remaining pumpkin batter over white batter.
Bake for 55 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; Turn from pan. Let cake cool completely before glazing.
Prepare glaze. Stir together sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of cream and salt. Beat until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add remaining tablespoon of cream. Drizzle over cooled cake; Store cake in refrigerator.
20 Servings