Independence Day Cheesecake

Happy Independence Day America! I’m so grateful that this was a holiday weekend for two reasons: One: We just picked a bunch of fresh blueberries that needed to be used. Two: A summer holiday gives me an excuse to make cheesecake! This blueberry cheesecake is simply delicious, the fresh blueberries add just the right mix of tang and pizzazz. And because this dessert contains fresh fruit, it is instantly healthy and contains absolutely no calories! Sigh, in my dreams at least, not in the mirror….In the past I’ve found that some people like their cheesecake really sweet, others like it plain and simple, then there are those of us who have mastered just the right flavor balance between plain and sweet. A truly good cheesecake is one that is mildly sweet, and OH SO CREAMY…….May I just take this moment to relish in the glory of the Kitchen-Aid hand mixer? Yes? Thank you. I mean come on, that thing is one in a million. It makes this cheesecake dangerously creamy and perfectly smooth. There is nothing like having a good hand mixer, it is your friend, your comrade, and your all-around wonder tool. There is nothing it can’t do! Enough about kitchen tools, let us use them to create!

The Ingredients: 16 oz. softened cream cheese, 16 oz. softened whipped topping, 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1 stick melted butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup fine grain organic sugar, 1 cup fresh blueberries.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter with a fork in the bottom of a casserole pan or baking dish. Press it flat and make sure there are no lumps. Refrigerate while you make the filling. Add the softened cream cheese to a large mixing bowl, mix on high speed with your hand mixer until smooth. Gradually add in the whipped topping and sugar(s), mixing on medium speed between additions. Mix on high for an additional five minutes or so. When the filling is thick, smooth, and lusciously creamy, spread it evenly atop your crust and refrigerate for a few hours until chilled. Serves 8-10 (depending on who is serving it);).

Disclaimers: I know the flag isn’t perfect, only perfectionists can make a perfect flag. Ignore the many holes where fingers tasted the filling, they add character and a rustic flair. At least that’s what I tell myself. If I hadn’t decided to take this photo in the sunlight you never would have been able to see them.;)

And there she is! A perfectly imperfect cheesecake!

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Resurrection Rolls

UPDATE: Resurrection Rolls was supposed to be posted on Easter Sunday, however, because of an unreliable Internet source, it was not.

Happy Easter everyone! For me this Easter has been much more meaningful because over the past six months my faith has grown and changed for the better. I know that it is hard to come up with a food item that represents the true meaning of Easter, but sometime ago a true genius came up with the original recipe for Empty Tomb rolls. This has to be one of the best ideas that I have ever seen. Most people take the simple route by using refrigerated crescent roll dough, I have no problem with this and even considered doing it myself. However, we agreed that making the rolls from scratch would most likely taste better and mean more because of the work put into them. Anyway, here’s the skinny on the ingredient’s symbolism: The marshmallow represents Jesus’ body, and the dough represents the tomb. Putting the marshmallow inside the roll and sealing the dough around it is similar to Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus burying Jesus in the tomb and sealing it closed with a large stone. The cinnamon, sugar, and butter represent the linen and spices that were wrapped around Jesus’ body. The finished product (i.e. the cooked roll with a sweet, hollow center) represents the empty tomb that Jesus left behind after He rose from the dead. I hope that your family enjoys these as much as ours did!

The Ingredients: 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 pkg. instant dry yeast, 1 cup warm water, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 -3 tbsp. cinnamon, 4 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. salt.

Add the warm water and yeast to a large mixing bowl, let sit for five minutes. Now add the egg, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 2 tbsp. of softened butter, and the salt. Using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing until just combined each addition. Set aside and let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour. When the time is up, cut the dough in fifteen squares. Roll fifteen marshmallows in a mixture of cinnamon and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place one marshmallow in the center of each square of dough. Now form the dough into a ball around the marshmallow. Brush the rolls with melted butter, then bake at 375 degrees for about fifteen minutes.

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Double Chocolate Cookies

It took me forever to find a good recipe for homemade butter cookies, but when I did, ooohhhh boy…..were they good…..Anyway, I used said awesome recipe to create the Valentine’s Day cookies that I posted a little while ago. But then I got the hair-brained idea to make a chocolate version….let’s just say that dangerous recipes are my specialty. These Double Chocolate Cookies are not only good, they’re great! The chocolate to cookie ratio is just right. Creating a soft, gooey, irresistible, melt-in-your-mouth cookie sure to win over your family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers….random people walking down the street…..that nosy neighbor who spys on you….Sorry, it’s been one of those days. Because hey, who wouldn’t go crazy when their next-door neighbor is constantly staring at them…..Like I said, it’s been one of those days. Enjoy the cookies!

The Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups cake flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 6-8 tbsp. softened butter, 1 egg, 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and the egg for one minute. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips by hand. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour or until firm. Use an ice cream scoop or cookie cutters to form your cookies. If using cookie cutters, roll out the dough to a half inch thick. If not, simply fill the ice cream scoop and drop the dough onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for ten to twelve minutes.

Here they are! Feel free to decorate with your leftover Valentine’s candy!

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Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Cream-cheese Icing

Happy Valentine’s Day! Pink Velvet Cupcakes are my last, but not least, Valentine’s Day dessert. If you liked the Butter Cookie Hearts, you will love these. Now, there are two ways you can go about this. One: You can make cupcakes and icing from scratch and feel proud of your accomplishment. Two: You can unashamedly use a Pink Velvet cake mix and make homemade cream cheese icing to balance out your sin. I for one chose to use a cake mix as I have no desire to regularly make cakes and cupcakes from scratch. Someday I shall remedy this problem, but why start now? Anyway, I am including a recipe for cupcakes from scratch and cupcakes from a mix.;)

Homemade Pink Velvet Cupcakes: 2 sticks softened butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 cup buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1/4 tsp. pink gel food coloring,  1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt.

Using the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk, mix until combined. Add the second half of each and mix until combined. Lastly, add the food coloring and mix until the batter is pink. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cake Mix Pink Velvet Cupcakes: 1 Pink Velvet cake mix, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.

Add the vinegar to the coconut milk, let sit for five minutes. When the time is up, combine all of the ingredients, mix until there are no more lumps. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cream cheese Icing: 4 oz. softened cream-cheese, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 3 tbsp. softened butter, 2 tbsp. almond milk.

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor, pulse until smooth. Add the frosting to a ziploc bag, twisting it into the shape of a pastry bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag and decorate the cupcakes however you wish.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Butter Cookie Hearts

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This Valentine’s Day I am making two desserts over the weekend that are sure to become a holiday favorite in your home as well as ours. The first one will be butter cut-out cookies, these are great for kids and adults alike, in taste as well as production. Release all your pent-up creativity! Make designs that you never imagined possible! Make or buy wild icing colors that have nothing to do with Valentine’s Day! Ask yourself what is the real purpose of Valentine’s Day if you’re single (duh, you get to eat all the cookies and cupcakes)….oh, and be sure to use your favorite heart shaped cookie cutters.:)

The Ingredients: 1 stick softened butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2 cups cake flour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup choc. chips, vanilla or cream cheese frosting.

Cooking Tip: For these cookies, canned frosting works best. I used cream-cheese, but vanilla or chocolate is fine too.

Using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and egg in the bowl of your stand mixer for two minutes or until it reaches a mousse-like consistency. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until just combined. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes, this ensures that it is nice and firm for the cookie cutters. Using a small or medium cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. There should be fifteen to sixteen total. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, don’t be afraid to take them out early, these cookies harden as they cool. Remove from the oven, let cool completely. Frost and decorate with heart sprinkles.

Aren’t these too cute??? I just ate one and believe me, they are delicious, especially with chocolate chips!

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Crazy Christmas Chex Mix

It’s Christmas Eve! And what better way to celebrate than to post a dessert full of chocolate peanut butter goodness? A couple of months ago we got some store bought muddy buddies and they were really good. So I thought, if store bought is good, homemade will be even better! Crazy Christmas Chex Mix is a simple, fun dessert that your kids can help you make. I absolutely love this stuff, and the longer it refrigerates, the better it gets! Your kids will forever remember the Christmas that you taught them how to make chex mix, or maybe they’ll just remember how good the dessert tasted….

The Ingredients: 1 12 oz. box chocolate Chex cereal, 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 cup assorted chocolate chips (we used peanut butter, white chocolate, and semi-sweet). 1/2 cup assorted nuts (we used peanuts and cashews).

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl until just melted. Immediately add the peanut butter and stir until dissolved. Add the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, and chex cereal to a gallon size Ziploc bag, Shake until combined, add the chocolate hazelnut spread and the peanut butter mixture. Shake together in a large Ziploc bag until all of the cereal is thoroughly coated. Add the nuts and chocolate chips, shake three or four times to combine, refrigerate for several hours or until the muddy buddies reach the desired consistency.