Thursday, December 21, 2017

Caramel Brownie Cheesecake

A friend of mine always made this for her holiday party.  This Caramel -Brownie Cheesecake is so yummy - a great Southern Living recipe from one of their Christmas cookbooks.  I made it for my teachers this past week and I love it.  One of my daughters was home... and she thought it was amazing!  I highly recommend this - if you like cheesecake!

Caramel-Brownie Cheesecake (adapted from Southern Living)

1 3/4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz ) pkg of caramels ( I used an 11 oz bag)
1   5 oz can evaporated milk ( since less caramels, only used 4 oz of can)
2 cups coarsely crumbled cake-like brownies (purchased or homemade)
3   8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1   8 oz container of sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
garnishes - optional - caramel topping, whipped cream

Combine vanilla wafer crumbs and butter - stirring well.  Press mixture firmly in bottom and 2 inches up sides of a 9 inch springform pan.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Combine caramels and evaporated milk in a small heavy saucepan - cook over low heat, stirring often, until caramels melt.  Pour caramel mixture over crust.  Sprinkle with crumbled brownies.  Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Gradually add brown sugar - mixing well.  Add eggs, 1 at a time beating just until blended.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla.  Pour batter into prepared crust  Bake at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.  Remove sides and garnish if desired.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Buckeye Bundt Cake

As you know, I am a preschool director.  We had our Christmas dinner at a local Italian restaurant and then went back to my house for our Secret Sister gift exchange and dessert.  I loved it!  Food is my love language - especially desserts!

I don't normally try new desserts when I have guests .... but I went for it.  I had lots of little desserts... Oreo balls, Peanut Butter Balls, English Toffee, Caramel Puffed Corn, Molasses cookies, etc.

I made a Buckeye Bundt Cake.  I am not sure where the recipe came from.  I think I saw it later on Tip Hero on Pinterest.  I love peanut butter and chocolate! This is a pretty, yummy cake!

       A teacher captured a quick pic for me - cutting the cake!

Buckeye Bundt Cake

Peanut Butter Filling:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 egg beaten
3 Tbsp whole milk


1 cup water
 6 oz butter + 1 Tbsp for greasing the pan
1/3 cup cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp for dusting the pan
1 heaping tablespoon instant espresso powder (I used instant coffee)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Shiny Peanut Butter Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup cream peanut butter
4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan generously with 1 Tbsp softened butter. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder - swirl to coat the entire pan evenly in a layer of cocoa powder.  Pay attention especially to the middle tube and the bottom.  Please - do not skip this step.

Make the filling by adding all of the filling ingredients to a large mixing bowl.  Mix with a hand mixer until smooth and no streaks of cream cheese of peanut butter.  Set aside.

Heat the water, 6 oz butter, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, espresso (or instant coffee) and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk to remove any lumps.  When butter is melted and the pot just comes to a boil, take off the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar and baking soda.  Whisk in the chocolate and butter mixture, followed by the 2 eggs, vanilla and sour cream.  Whisk until there are no streaks of sour cream, but try not to overmix - a few lumps are okay.

Pour 3/4 of he batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Spoon the peanut butter/cream cheese filling evenly on the top of the batter  - trying to keep it from touching the sides or middle tube.

Cover the peanut butter filling with the rest of the cake batter.  Bake in the preheated oven for 50 - 60 minutes.  Cool the cake for 10 minutes.  Loosen the sides with a thin knife.  Invert the pan so it's resting cake-side down on a plate  - gently lifting the bundt pan away.  Allow the cake to cool.

Make the glaze by heating the cream, sugar, peanut butter and corn syrup to almost a boil.  Pour the heated mixture over the chocolate and let it sit a minute to start melting.  Whisk until smooth and shiny and our over the top of the cake.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Ranch Dressing/Dip for a BLT salad or any salad

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been trying to eat "cleaner" and low carb.  I wanted to try a "homemade" ranch dip/dressing without using a purchased packet of the dry spices. I found this amazing version at Barefeet in the Kitchen.

I made this for a Sunday school Christmas party - for a BLT salad.  I just tossed chopped lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes and crumbled bacon with this yummy ranch dressing!  I loved it! 

Best Ever Ranch Dressing (adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
3/4  - 1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp finely cracked pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste - approximately 1 - 3 teaspoons, adjust to taste

Whisk together the mayo, sour cream and milk... until smooth.  Add the spices and whisk until combined.  Add the lemon, whisking again.  Pour into a jar and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  This dressing will keep nicely in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Enjoy!

**Barefeet in the Kitchen frequently swaps plain white vinegar for the fresh lemon juice.  She says both acids work beautifully to add just the right about of "tang" to the dressing.  I used fresh lemon juice.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Lemon-Dill Green Beans

These are yummo!  We often roast green beans in the oven with olive oil and sea salt.  I needed a new idea.  I bought fresh dill at the store and was just going to roast them with fresh dill.  I decided to search and found this amazing recipe at Eating Well.  These were so easy and such a nice, side dish ... with our grilled chicken and BLT salad.

Lemon-Dill Green Beans - adapted from Eating Well

1 lb of fresh green beans - trimmed
4 tsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp minced shallots ( I didn't have so I used green onions)
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large pan, fitted with a steamer basket.  Add green beans, cover and cook until tender-crisp, about 5 - 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile..... in a bowl, whisk dill, shallots, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Toss with the warm green beans.  Let stand about ten minutes before serving, to blend the flavors.

Nutritional information from Eating Well

Serving size - 1 cup

Calories 73, 4 grams fat, 4 grams fiber, 10 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar, 163 grams sodium

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