Monday, April 5, 2010

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

This cheesecake was fantastic! Despite "the incident", it turned out rich and flavorful. I will describe "the incident" since I'm sure you're all curious. The directions below describe placing the cheesecake in a pan of boiling water and then baking it in the oven. Since my cheesecake pan is not airtight, I wrapped it in foil before putting it in the pot of water. Apparently, I was a bit lazy in my effort, since water seeped in and into the cheesecake. I could see it bubbling and mixing thorough the batter as I then declared that it was ruined. My husband said I was acting like it was his fault since he was the one who put the cheesecake in the pot (I didn't want to burn myself....but he could take that chance).

After FINALLY getting the cheesecake pan out of the pot, I decided to bake it as it was and prepared myself for an awful tasting cheesecake. While the cheesecake did crack (even though I left it in the oven for an hour after baking, then an hour on the counter to cool) it was fabulous. I love Ferrero Rocher candies and once I spotted this recipe I knew I had to make it. Maybe next time without so much drama.

Adapted from:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp cocoa powder

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I didn’t use it)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional (such as Frangelico, I didn't use it)
½ tsp salt
10 Ferrero Rocher chocolates cut into large chunks
3/4 cup Nutella
2 tbsp chopped roasted hazelnuts (I didn't put these on the top of the cheesecake)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and Frangelico and blend until smooth and creamy. Lastly add the chopped Ferrero Rocher.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. 5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Southern Peach Cobbler

I wanted to make something fruity and fitting for Spring, so I decided to try a Peach Cobbler...but not a regular one, but a Southern Peach Cobbler. It's more cakey and doesn't involve oats or crisps. I used frozen peaches since they are not in season right now, but next time would like to try fresh ones.
Since this recipe called for an 8x8 pan and I wanted to use my Baker's Edge pan for even cooking and easy scooping, I doubled the recipe. I don't think I needed to do that! I had to keep checking on it and pushing in the sides with a knife because it was about to overflow! The Baker's Edge website says it is equivalent to a 9x13 pan but I really think it's a little smaller. This recipe also originally said "1 tablespoon baking powder", which I followed but I do not think that is right. Something tasted a little "off" and I couldn't put my finger on it (no one else agreed with me)....I'm pretty sure that's what it was. Especially since I doubled it to 2 tablespoons! I changed the ingredient list to 1 teaspoon below. Other than that, it was fabulous! I paired it with vanilla ice cream.

Adapted from:

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 3 TBSP granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup milk
2 cups of sliced peaches, with or without skin(your preference)(some recipes used as many as 3 cups…I think I might do that next time)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Place butter into a pan. Let melt (2 recipes said to brown the butter and 3 said just to melt it…I just melted it). Place melted butter into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix together 3 TBSP sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon. In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon sugar mixture, baking powder and milk. Pour this on top of the butter and do not stir just leave it be. Place the sliced peaches evenly on top of the batter. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top of the peaches. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with ice cream or whipped cream.

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I made these cookies as a backup in case my cheesecake turned out awful. I didn't even know they were flourless until I finished mixing the ingredients and thought something was missing! These cookies were good, but not as great as I thought they'd be. Maybe because I burnt some of the bottoms! Apparently, I was having a really bad baking day. However, I did follow the baking times. I checked them at 10 minutes and they didn't look quite done, so I left them in for 2 more minutes. (The original recipe says 10 - 13 minutes). They may be worth trying again if I bake them correctly, but I feel as if there are so many other chocolate and peanut butter recipes I'd like to try!

Adapted from:


1 cup crunchy peanut butter (natural or national brand)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional, I used it)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
1/2- 3/4 cup chocolate and/or peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and water until smooth. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients, including cocoa powder and water mixture. Add chocolate chips at the end of mixing. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with a moistened finger. Bake for about 10-11 minutes at 350 F, until golden brown at the edges. Cool on pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cottage Fried Potatoes

Wow, I started this post back in February and forgot to finish it! My husband and I cooked dinner together for Valentine's Day and this was my contribution. I know what you're thinking - no desserts?? Actually, no I didn't make any. I thought I'd take a stab at making a side for our dinner, since I would end up being the one to devour whatever chocolate sweets I made anyway. These turned out really well, except that I think I should have sliced the potatoes thinner. It took much longer than the supposed 8 - 10 minutes. I also kept adding butter! At any rate, these potatoes were very good! There's an alternative way to make these in the oven with Parmesan cheese....maybe next time!

Adapted from: New Cookbook Bridal Edition, Better Homes and Gardens

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 medium potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

In a large skillet, melt butter. (If necessary, add additional butter during cooking.) Layer sliced potatoes in skillet. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 8 minutes. Add onion rings. Cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and browned, turning frequently.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cookies-N-Cream Cupcakes

My husband said these definitely have to make it on the "Make These Again" list. They were so yummy! The oreo on the bottom gave it a nice touch. (Though at first my brother-in-law thought that I burnt the bottom and was nice enough not to say anything until he bit into it and realized it was a cookie!) The icing was fabulous as well. It wasn't your typical cake icing and I think that's why I liked it so much. The amount of icing I made was much more than I needed to top the cupcakes, so my dad was dipping pieces of bread in the icing bowl! I guess he liked the contrasting tastes...
Cupcake Recipe adapted from:

24 paper liners for cupcake pans
30 Oreo cookies
1 pkg plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 and line the pans with paper liners. Count out 12 Oreos and separate the top and bottom wafers. Make sure each half has some icing on it. Place one wafer, icing side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. (I had a hard time opening them and getting frosting on both sides, so I just put the side with frosting in the cupcake paper and put the other side in a bowl to crush and put in the batter). Crush the remaining Oreos by any means you like. I put them in a Ziplock and smash them. Set the crumbs aside. Place the cake mix, oil, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and blend with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and beat again on medium about 1.5 minutes more. Measure out 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos and fold these into the batter. Set the rest of the crumbs aside for garnish. Fill your liners 3/4 full with batter and place the pans in the oven. Bake the cupcakes for about 18 minutes until they are golden and spring back when lightly touched with your finger. Cool in the pan on wire racks for about 5 minutes and then remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Icing recipe adapted from:


1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Crushed oreos (I couldn't tell you how much, I just used whatever I had left over!)

In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix with milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping until no streaks remain. Add crushed oreos. Spread evenly over cupcakes.