Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cranberry Apricot Bars

Oh, these are good.  But to be fair, they are much better the next day.  I made these one evening for a work meeting the next day and they weren't cool enough to cut before bed.  However, they cut perfectly in the morning and were a big hit.  I made them again as part of birthday baking for my mom (she loves apricot) and when I tried cutting the after the recommended 45 minute cooling period, they just weren't the same.  You really need to wait for the honey glaze to harden up a bit and form a solid layer.  Everyone who had them on both days agreed they were better after waiting.

Another Betty Crocker recipe, I picked it because it looked easy to make and I had the ingredients on hand.  What can I say, sometimes my criteria aren't that impressive.  But they are delicious.  Perfect for fruit lovers and great for brunch or a morning snack.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I craved these when I saw them up for bid in the Bloggers Bake for Hope bake sale.  So when I was outbid, I decided to cheer myself up by baking up a batch.  They were just as good as I imagined.  Soft texture, but firm and lots of cinnamon flavor.  Snickerdoodles are one of Dave's favorites and he approved.  We served them as dessert for his parents, topped with vanilla ice cream and they were wonderful.

This recipe came courtesy of Lark's Country Heart, and she fetched $35 for these babies.  I changed nothing (and wouldn't) in this recipe, so they should turn out just as perfect for you.  These would be great to take to a cook out this holiday weekend.

Snickerdoodle Blondies


2 2/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and add brown sugar, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine butter mixture and flour mixture and stir to incorporate.  You'll end up with a thick, muffin-like batter, so just stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet.

Transfer batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch pan and spread evenly.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over the pan.

Bake at 350 degree F for 23-28 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly, but cut into bars while still warm.

Makes 24 bars.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brownie Pillows

I know you've been saving those brownies from the cheesecake, so these cookies are the perfect way to make them a little more interesting.  You know how much I adore cookies with a surprise inside and these are equally fun and delicious.  The trick is to use a lot of cookie dough (I could have used more on some of mine).  Granted, the cookies end up being huge, but that's not a bad thing.

I saw this recipe on both Bakerella and Picky Palate, but I opted to use my own cookie dough for the recipe.  I used both Chocolate Chip (from my Chocolate Chip Surprises recipe) and Classic Peanut Butter.   Since I used two flavors of dough, I used only about 1/2 of each dough.  You could just do one flavor and use the whole batch of dough.

Brownie Pillows

One might ask why I didn't take a single picture of my line up.  One would have to assume I lost my mind and forgot what I was doing.  One would be right.

1/2 batch Chocolate Chip dough (same recipe as Chocolate Chip Surprises)
1/2 batch Classic Peanut Butter dough
leftover Brownies from Brownie Cheesecake with Oreo Crust, cut into 3/4 inch squares

Prepare each cookie dough as instructed and set aside.

Cut brownies into squares.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop a ball of dough onto the top of a brownie square.  Repeat with another ball of dough on the bottom, sandwiching the brownie.

Mold the dough around the brownie so you can't see any bit of brownie.  Try to roll the dough into a ball.

Place dough balls on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  You'll probably only get 6 or 8 to a pan because these are big cookies.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 14-16 minutes.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.

Remove from oven and cool on pans for a 2 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough and brownies.

Makes 28 big cookies (14 from each dough).

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Candy Tarts

Perhaps it is a mild obsession with my mini muffin pan.  But I really wanted to try a twist on Peanut Butter Blossoms.  I actually made these for Dave's Easter basket when I found the Butterfinger and Crunch eggs.  They surprisingly kept their shape.  Unfortunately the Crunch eggs and the Butterfinger eggs look exactly the same when they are unwrapped, so I lost track of which were which flavor.   It was a fun surprise for Dave.  I also used what remained of the Reese's Cups after the bag sat on the counter for a week and I kept having "just one."

The recipe didn't really come from anywhere--but since it's a packaged mix, we'll say it was inspired by Betty Crocker.  You could use whatever candy you have on hand, but I the rounder the better.  They'll keep their shape and look cute in the little tart cups.

Peanut Butter Candy Tarts

1 17.5 ounce package Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie mix
3 Tablespoons oil, called for on package
1 Tablespoon water, called for on package
1 egg, called for on package
3 dozen chocolate candies (such as Reese's Cups, Butterfinger or Crunch eggs, or Hershey's Kisses), unwrapped

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie mix, oil, egg and water until a soft dough forms.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough into the cups of a greased muffin tin.  Using a tart shaper or shot glass, press dough into the bottom and up the sides of each mini muffin cup. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes.  Remove from oven and press one candy into the center of each tart.

Allow tart to cool slightly in pan, then remove to cool completely on wire racks.

Makes 3 dozen cookie tarts.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Brownie Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Holy crap I made cheesecake.  And it is delicious.

I've never made cheesecake before, but I saw this recipe and absolutely had to try it.  Having no experience making cheesecake, one might look at this recipe and think I was crazy since it technically has four parts and seems complicated.  But when you break it down, it's just a cheesecake, crust and topping, with some extras mixed into the batter--pretty much like any other cheesecake.

This recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker (Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake) and I followed it just as Michelle listed.  I even took her advice on doubling the crust, resulting in a thick Oreo cookie base for this amazing dessert.  For ingredients, I followed my guide, but I did use 1 brick of fat free and 2 bricks of 1/3 fat cream cheese.  I was pleased that the fat content didn't alter the taste or texture of the cake and I had no cracks or sinking.  And I used semi-sweet chocolate for the ganache instead of bittersweet.

Since this was my first attempt at cheesecake, and I did follow the double crust method, the "corners" of my cheesecake had pretty thick crust.  Next time I'll be more careful to even out the edges of the pan and guide more crumbs to the center.

Begin by making the brownies from scratch.  You could make your own brownies, brownies from a box, or even the Brownies I made a while back.  But these are so simple and perfect for this recipe. You won't use the whole pan, in fact you'll probably only use a quarter of the pan.  You'll have two options for what to do with the leftover brownies.  You can gobble up the rest or you can freeze them and wait a few days for me to tell you another fun dessert you can make.

Brownie Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Ingredients (for the brownies)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted.

 Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Stir in sugar.  Blend in eggs and vanilla.  Add flour and salt and mix well.

Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil, ends extending over the edges.  Spray foil with cooking spray.  Pour prepared batter into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out with fudgy crumbs from center.  Don't overbake.  Cool in pan on wire rack, then remove brownies from pan using foil.

Cool brownies completely and cut into 3/4 to 1 inch squares.  You'll use about a 1/4 of the pan to get about 2 cups of brownie squares.  Set aside squares for cheesecake batter and either eat remaining brownies or save for future use.

Ingredients (for the double crumb crust)

3 cups or 10 ounces Oreo cookies
10 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Finely crush Oreos in your food processor. You want fine crumbs, so if you don't have a food processor, a blender might work or the old fashioned way of putting them in a zip-top bag and going at them with a rolling pin or mallet.  Just make sure they are very fine.

Stir together Oreo crumbs, butter, sugar and salt until combined.

Press mixture into the bottom and up 1 inch of the sides of a buttered (or cooking sprayed) 10" springform pan.  Fill with filling (below) immediately or chill for up to 2 hours.

Ingredients (for the cheesecake)

1 8-ounce package fat free cream cheese
2 8-ounce packages 1/3 fat cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
(plus about 2 cups of the previously mentioned brownie cubes)

Beat together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.  After each addition, beat on low until each ingredient is incorporated and scrape sides of bowl between additions.

Gently fold in brownie cubes.

Pour filling into prepared crust in pan.

Place springform pan on a baking pan (to catch drips) and place in middle of the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.

Allow to cool completely.  Remove sides of pan, then slide cake onto serving dish and top with chocolate ganache (below).

Ingredients (for the chocolate ganache)

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Finely chop chocolate.  Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl.

In a saucepan, scaled the butter and cream (or microwave on high for 1 minute).  Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Whisk in vanilla and the whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.

Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm.

Chill cheesecake until ready to serve.

Makes 1 cheesecake with 16 slices (and extra brownies).

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess