Friday, October 28, 2011

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Cream Cheese Blondies

Adapted from:

I found myself searching blogs for something different to make (don't I always?). Once I saw this combination of pumpkin and blondie, I had to try it. WOW. I've made snickerdoodle blondies before, but this recipe is much better than the other one. Also from now on, whenever I make something that is cinnamon/sugary, I'm going to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the bottom of the pan, as called for in this recipe. It gave the bottom of the bars a crisp sweetness that just perfected the dessert.


8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
3 ounces Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¾ tsp. cream of tarter
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar for coating (about 1/3 cup)

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup solid packed pumpkin
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 TBSP flour
½ cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar and move pan around to make sure that the bottom and sides are coated. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cream of tartar. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat for three minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the Mascarpone cheese and beat until fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds. On low speed add the sifted flour mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. This will be hard as it is a thick batter. It may easiest to just wet your hands a little and press the batter into the pan. Then even it out afterwards with a spatula.
Using a clean bowl, cream together on medium high speed cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat another minute until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and egg, and beat until incorporated. Add pumpkin pie spice and flour and beat until incorporated.
Pour on top of snickerdoodle batter. The best you can swirl it around, they are very different consistencies and so this will be hard to do. Don’t worry, you aren’t trying to show the swirl, just get it in there. You might have to move some snickerdoodle batter back into place. Just press down with a spatula.
Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top of the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, check your oven starting at around 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

Ok, I'm going to start tagging certain posts as "Laura's Favorites" because lately I've come across some pretty awesome recipes, this being one of them. A perfect fall dessert! Everyone raved about this one. It had a perfect layer of cinnamon apples topped with a cheesecake layer and then finally a whipped topping. (I omitted the pecans as usual since I'm not a fan.) I made this for a family get together at my house for no reason other than my husband made his infamous "puerco pibil", a Mexican pork dish. I had to show off my baking skills as well ! I also made Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Cream Cheese Blondies, another one I'm adding to my Favorites. :)



1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

½-¾ cup caramel

1 cup chopped pecans


5 tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced


8 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice


¾ cup heavy cream

3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

¼-½ cup caramel

Chopped pecans


To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the pan bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. Mix in the apple slices and toss well to coat. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 350° F. To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to overbeat.) Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans if desired. Slice with a long, thin knife to serve.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Adapted from

I saw this recipe and swore I heard angels singing.... For those of you that don't know, I am a huge fan of both chocolate and red wine. Most of the time when you're cooking with alcohol you can't really taste it in the final product. This cake TASTED like wine! It was a very dense cake that was very easy to make, a one bowl recipe (that's always nice!). I will definitely be making this again, next time picking up mascarpone so that I can make the topping!


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine, any kind you like
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

TOPPING (I did not make, but it sounds awesome!)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup chilled heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.
Make the topping: Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form — don’t overwhip. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. It can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pear Bread

Wow, I've really been seriously slacking on updating this blog! I have a considerable amount of recipes to post from the past few months. Hopefully I'll get a few done today. Here is a pear bread - courtesy of our "Free Fruit Tuesdays" at work. For some reason, there was a lot of fruit leftover at the end of the day (after I took my normal share!). I never grab a pear, but remembered wanting to try this recipe. So I grabbed a couple and got to baking over the weekend! Perfect for the start of fall. :)

Adapted from: www.

(I used half of the ingredients listed below and made one loaf, below yields 2 loaves)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans (original recipe uses walnuts)
3/4 cup butter, softened (may substitute 3/4 cup vegetable oil)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups peeled and finely grated ripe, firm pears
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9″x 5″loaf pans.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of this mixture and combine it with nuts to coat. Stir back into the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar, pears, and vanilla. Add the pear mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until flour disappears and batter is evenly moistened.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until bread is browned and firm on top. A pick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pan and place top side up on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Peanut Butter Cookies

If that isn't enough flavors for you, I don't know what is! I saw this unique recipe and just had to try it. And yes, I know they look kind of gross but in fact they were actually quite good. Definitely interesting, but pretty good. So, if you're looking to bring something that I'm sure no one has tried before, I'd go with these!

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (Yields 3 dozen cookies)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ cups salted creamy natural peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¼ cup blueberries

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda, set aside.
Using a mixer, in a large bowl beat peanut butter and sugars on high until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
Reduce speed to low and stir in flour mixture just until combined.
Stir in blueberries and chocolate chunks.
Use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to place cookie dough balls (about 2 TB each) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Note: the dough will be greasy, that is OK)
Bake for 11-13 minutes until cookies are brown around the edges.

Apple Cinnamon Cake with Whole Wheat

Ok, I know this cake looks awful, but it was actually fantastic. This is what I get for waiting to take a picture until the cake was practically demolished. I made this for my dad's birthday. I had looked for a relatively healthy recipe and since this had fruit, whole wheat flour and not a ton of sugar (I substituted about 1/4 cup with Splenda), I decided to go with it. Delicious... there was hardly any to bring home!

Adapted from:

Oats-1 cup, powdered (I put old fashioned oats in a blender)
Whole wheat flour- 3\4 cups
Cinnamon powder- 1tsp
Baking powder- 2tsp
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Butter- 5 tbsp
Sugar- 1 cup
Egg whites- 4
Milk-1\4 cups
Vanilla extract- 1\2 tsp
Apples- 2, peeled and chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking dish with oil and dust with flour. Mix flour, cinnamon powder, baking powder and baking soda together. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl till soft and creamy. Add egg white and mix well.
Add flour in this mixture spoon by spoon. Add milk. Add oats powder, vanilla extract and apples. Transfer the batter in the baking dish (I divided the batter in to two dishes). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (If you have the batter in to two dishes , then bake for 30-35 minutes) Remove from oven and let it be in the pan for 7-8 minutes. Take out from the pan and cool on a cooling rack. I also mixed low-fat cool whip with cinnamon to put in between the cakes. Since there was some left over, I added it to the top as well!

Lemon Berry Crumble Bars

These bars were nice to make because they were pretty versatile. Any type of berry could be used (I used raspberry) and I also only made half of the recipe in an 8x8 pan. They were quick and easy and pretty tasty!

Adapted from:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1 egg1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
In a separate, small bowl, beat together the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Using a pastry cutter or food processor, cut the butter and egg mixture into the flour to form a crumbly dough. Press half of dough evenly into prepared pan.
In two additional bowls, mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch. Gently mix blueberries into one bowl and raspberries into the other. Sprinkle berries evenly over pressed dough — I did half the pan with blueberries and half with raspberries, but you could alternate or even mix the berries if you’d rather. Crumble the rest of the dough over top of the berries.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until slightly brown. Cool completely (and even chilling a little helps to ensure they’ll hold together) before cutting into squares.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

These were really good. They had a creamy taste to them, much like strawberry shortcake. :) I rarely bake with strawberries since my sister is allergic to them. It seems I'm baking a lot for family functions so I avoid them at all costs! But I really love strawberries and baked these on a random afternoon with no intention of bringing them to my family's place. It worked out well!

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (Yields 3 dozen cookies)
12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling over the cookies

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and remaining sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until moist and fragrant.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the zest/sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Add the cream to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in the strawberry mixture.
Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool. The cookies are best the day they're made, but can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day.