Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and football.  Our friends have an annual Thanksgiving tailgate before the Texas A&M (my alma mater) game.  I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and every year: my wonderful husband, amazing family (and in-law family!), the best friends I could ever imagine, a great education, a job I love, and the cutest dog ever !  

I was assigned sweet potato casserole, and of course, dessert.  I wanted to make something fun for fall - and what better than Pumpkin Cheesecake?  I've never made it before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it is delicious!  It's also the easiest cheesecake I've ever made!  You can also taste the pumpkin! Perfect for fall!   

You'll need:
2 packages (8 oz) of cream cheese - ROOM TEMP!
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 graham cracker crust (I used a 10 inch)
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 pinches of cloves

1. Preheat oven to 325
2.  In your stand mixer beat cream cheese (must be room temp or you will get lumps), vanilla, and sugar.  Blend in 1 egg at  time.
3. Remove one cup of the batter and spread on the bottom of the crust.  Leave to the side.
4. Add pumpkin and spices to the remainder of the cream cheese batter until well blended.  Gently add over the batter already in the crust.
5.  Bake for about 45 minutes (your oven time will vary, especially if you use an 8 inch crust)
6.  Allow to cool and then put in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, or overnight.
7.  Add whipping topping, if desired at time of serving.

What are you thankful for? 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rich Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I've made and eaten probably over 100 different chocolate chip cookie recipes throughout my life.  It is probably my favorite dessert - a classic.  

My qualifications for a perfect cookie are rich, thick and chewy!  Here is my staple recipe because it makes a smaller portion, and is super delicious.  I decided to try a "remix" of the same recipe.
Seriously rich, thick, chewy!  The best!

You'll Need:
2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons of butter, melted (and slightly cooled)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 package of your favorite chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

You'll need to:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Line a 9x13 pan with foil, and spray with  nonstick cooking spray.
3.  Using your stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until well combined.  Once combined, add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  
4.  Mix the flour, salt, baking soda using a spatula.  Do not over-mix, just until the ingredients are combined is perfect.
5.  Fold in the chocolate chips  and spoon the batter into your pan.
6.  Bake for 25-27 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  
7.  Once cool, cut into 2 inch squares and serve.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

I love pumpkin bread from Starbucks - I'm pretty sure that is the only sweet on earth that I prefer over chocolate.

This easy recipe I made for my office Thanksgiving potluck.  I got several requests for the recipe :)

You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup of pumpkin puree  (you can add up to 1 1/4 cups if you LOVE the flavor of pumpkin, and prefer it to be less sweet)
3/4 cup of oil (I used vegetable oil, but canola works too!)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Butter/spray loaf pan (mine is 10x4)
2.  Combine flour, soda, powder, spices and salt in a bowl.  
3.  Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Add the pumpking and the oil - mix well.
4.  Add the dry ingredients until smooth. 
5. Pour into a prepared loaf pan.
6. Bake 55-60 minutes.  Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Mousse Cups!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post.  I have been so busy traveling for work, and long hours that my little blog has unfortunately been knocked off the priority list.  BUT I'm back!

This recipe I found from pinterest off of Erin (at the spiffy cookie) blog! It was awesome and easy!  I am loving these no-bake sweets!  

You'll Need:
8 oz of 2% vanilla chocolate chunk chobani greek yogurt
1/3 cup of sugar
2-3 teaspoons of honey (optional)
1/2 cup of cream peanut butter
8 oz lite cool whip
12 regular Reese's cups (chopped up)
*Note: If you do not like greek yogurt, substitute 4 tablespoons of cream cheese.  You can taste the greek yogurt in the final product, so if you are not a fan of this, it is best to use the substitution.  

1. Blend your yogurt and sugar using a mixer.  Add in the honey while it is blending. 
2. Place peanut butter in a microwave proof container and heat for 30 seconds until it's warm.  Add the peanut butter to the yogurt mixture and mix until all well combined.  
3.  Take the cool whip and slowly fold it in to the peanut butter yogurt mixture. 
4.  Chop up the peanut butter cups (I prefer them cut small - each cup cut into 8 parts)
5.  Spoon half the yogurt mixture into four jars, cups or ramekins.  Top with half of the chopped Reese's cups.  Then add a second layer, topping with the remainder of the peanut butter cups.
6.  Store in fridge until ready to eat!