Cake Batter Cheesecake with Blondie Crust

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I browned butter before it was even a thing. Not to brag. It was an amazing, life-changing experience. I would wear perfume that smelled like browned butter.

How do you take a browned butter blondie and make it even better? Add cheesecake on top. And add some cake batter to that cheesecake. Oh yes. I have learned that trying new baking and cooking projects on the weekend helps to de-stress me after a week of work. So, yes this is a little bit involved, but sometimes some time spent in the kitchen, away from the computer and work, is just what we all need. Or if you are not a baker, just find a friend who is and suggest this cheesecake in passing in a conversation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

CAKE BATTER CHEESECAKE WITH BLONDIE CRUST
Adapted from Teenage Taste & Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

For the Blondie Crust:
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk

For the Cake Batter Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
1/4 cup sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

For the Blondie Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until butter is golden brown. Pour into bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Whisk egg and egg yolk into brown butter. Pour on top of flour mixture. Stir together until just combined. Press into greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Cool completely.

For the Cake Batter Cheesecake:

In a large bowl whip cream cheese until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in sugar until incorporated. Beat in eggs, milk vanilla extract, and salt. Stir in yellow cake mix. Stir in sprinkles. Pour on to of cooled crust.

Place baking sheet in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Pour warm tap water about 3/4 inch deep into the larger baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours, preferably over night. Cut into bars and serve.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are only a few recipe sources that I always trust. 1) My mom, 2) Cook’s Illustrated, and finally Ina Garten.

When I was first learning to really cook, I was cooking dinners with friends once a week, and our meals typically featured Ina’s recipes. And they never turned out bad. As the years went on, I started cooking and realized that her recipes have a higher success rate than just the typical recipe you see.

I have enjoyed watching her new shows recently and am planning to check out her new cookbook as soon as I can get it from the library (#poorgradstudent). This treat can hold me over until then with her transformation of the classic PBJ to a dessert. PBJ has been my go to lunch at work for the past few months- would I loose any professional standing at work by eating these bars for lunch instead?

 

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY BARS
Slightly Adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces peanut butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4-1 cup jelly
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with aluminum foil and grease it.

Cream together butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Beat in egg, vanilla, and peanut butter until just combined.  Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder until just combined.

Press approximately 2/3 of the peanut butter dough in the bottom of the baking dish.  Spread jelly evenly over top.  Dollop the remaining peanut butter dough on top.  Sprinkle peanuts on top.  Bake for 25-32 minutes, until done.  Cool completely and cut into bars.

Fig and Walnut Empanadas

2-17 Fig and Walnut Empanadas

Food cravings- I get them all the time. Sometimes I crave a salad, or some veggies, and that is great- my body thirsts for nutrition when I deprive it too long. And sometimes I just need some chocolate, red meat, or salty potato chips. Fine too, a little snacking and indulgence never hurt anyone. But the worst cravings are when I crave food I ate in another city. I’m looking at you, beaver tails

Well, practically every time I head home to Houston, I stop at this amazing empanada place. In fact, last trip, it was the first stop in town. I was grouchy and “witchy” after a long drive home, but all that grumpiness melted away as we stopped and I took my first bite into my empanada.

But what’s a girl to do when she is grumpy at home with no empanadas to listen the mood? Well, make her own! The emapanda dough I use is quick to whip up, only takes a little chill time the refrigerator, and is very easy to work with. Cheese and fig may seem weird, but think of it as a warm cheese plate wrapped in pastry dough. It just works. Then dollop some of your favorite fillings, bake, and devour.

FIG AND WALNUT EMPANADAS
Inspired by Marini’s Empanada House

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:

1/2 cup water
5 ounces butter
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Empanadas:
3/4 cup fig preserves
1/2 cup chopped walnits
3-5 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded

DIRECTIONS

For the Crust:

In a small saucepan combine water and butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted.

In a bowl combine flour and salt. Slowly pour in butter mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a wet, oily paste forms. Pour dough onto a sheet of cling wrap. Wrap cling wrap around dough, forming into a disk. Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours, preferably 2 hours.

For the Empanadas:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Divide the dough into 20-25 small equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 4-5 inch circle. Place about 2 teaspoons of fig preserves in the center of each piece of dough. Sprinkle walnuts and mozzarella cheese on top. Fold over the dough tightly, forming a half moon shape. Crimp closed with a fork.

Place on lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly before eating.

**To reheat, I have found the empanadas still get a crispy shell when you bake as directed above, let cool and store at room temperature, and reheat for 5-7 minutes at 400°F.

Makes 20-25 empanadas.

Butterscotch Meringue Bars

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You know those people who can take a few bites of a dessert and then have to stop because it was too sweet? I am not one of those people. I am the type of person who can eat for dessert for lunch and dinner and be perfectly fine (I speak from experience here). I can handle my dessert but not my liquor.

And I am perfectly fine with that. I feel sad for those people who can’t eat more than a few bites. They would be missing out, especially when it comes to these butterscotch meringue bars. These bars are a buttery blondie base studded with your filling of choice (Snickers was my chosen poison here), and then they are topped with a sweetened meringue. They are then baked, cooled, cut into bars and become little bites of heaven. It’s gooey-ness like you can’t believe. Yum. These are wonderfully sweet but not overly so. Some people may be satisfied with just one bar, but I always want at least three.

BUTTERSCOTCH MERINGUE BARS Slightly Adapted from Cooks Illustrated via The Church Cook

INGREDIENTS

For the Butterscotch Base: 2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups butter, softened 1 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 egg yolks 1 tablespoon water 2 cups chopped Snickers* For the Meringue Topping: 2 egg whites 1 cup light brown sugar

DIRECTIONS

For the Butterscotch Base: Preheat the oven to 350°F.. Line a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with aluminium foil. Grease with butter. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamy. Beat in vanilla extract, egg yolk, and water. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Press butterscotch base into pan. Press chopped snickers on top. For the Meringue Topping: In a large bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Pour in light brown sugar and beat until uniform in color and glossy. Spread on top of butterscotch base. Bake for 32-40 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 2-3 hours before removing from pan. Cut into bars. *The original recipe used chocolate chips. Use any mix in you feel like!

Healthier Fig and Nut Blondies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hello? Hello? Anyone out there?

I know, I know I have been officially MIA for several months.  Life, man.  But it is the new year and time for a new start-up back here on Cinnamon Freud! Happy New Year’s!

So it is the New Year, the time when lots of people make resolutions to lose weight.  I understand well- Christmas and the holidays is a time of decadence. I myself have packed on some extra “warmth layers” since being in a relationship…in spring of last year (no one warned me about that perk or couple-dom).  So, eating healthier can benefit us all.

These “blondies” are a healthier way to help satisfy your sweet tooth.  Believe it or not, my sweet tooth has mellow out (this must be what people mean by adulthood), so these are the perfect dessert or snack.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

HEALTHIER FIG AND NUT BLONDIES
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

INGREDIENTS

6 ounces vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12-15 dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup nuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 inch by 9 inch baking dish with foil and grease.

In a large bowl mix yogurt, oil, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, and maple syrup together. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly stir the dry ingredients until wet, mixing until just combined. Fold in figs and nuts. Add milk as needed to thin the batter (I added about 2-4 tablespoons).

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely. Remove with foil and cut into bars.

Cocoa Brownies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well I come to you today to let you know that these brownies are a great way to soak up slightly warm beer from a plastic cup.

I celebrated the Fourth of July by playing beer pong with friends only to remind myself that I am a light-weight. But it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, it’s how you play the game.  And when you are playing the game while slightly tipsy, everyone wins anyway.

I have always been on the look out for a brownie recipe that is better than the brownie box mix.  One major obstacle was that most homemade brownie recipes require baking chocolate, usually of high quality.  Both my wallet and my desire to not have to get up from my couch and walk often prevented me from making these recipes.   So I tried many brownie recipes that were cocoa-based, but they often did not turn of chocolately or fudgey enough. So when I came across this brownie recipe that only used cocoa powder, I gave it another go.

Well, here it is.  A cocoa-based brownie recipes that tastes wonderfully chocolatey and fudgey.  Perfect for beer pong, obviously.

COCOA BROWNIES
Barely Adapted from Recipe Girl

INGREDIENTS

11 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
8 3/4 ounces granulated sugar (1 1/4 cups)
3 ounces cocoa powder (1 scant cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 ounces all purpose flour (1/3 cup & 1 tablespoon)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan. Set aside.

Place butter in a large bowl and melt over a double broiler. Stir in sugar, cocoa powder, and salt while still over the double broiler. Stir until completely mixed. Remove from double broiler and let cool slightly. Stir in vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time until fully combined. Add all of the flour. Stir to combine for 25-30 strokes. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-23 minutes, until a toothpick comes out slightly dirty. Let cool completely and cut into bars.

Raspberry Blueberry Crumble

If I had enough foresight, this picture would show a red, white, and blue dessert and be a perfect recipe to share on the Fourth of July.

But alas, my patriotic spirit was overcome by my desire to quickly take a picture and dig in to this scrumptious dessert.  Io I forgot to add the white ice cream to my red raspberries and blue blueberries,  But, when you do it at home, it will be a perfect dessert to celebrate the upcoming July holiday.  It’s so simple by so delicious: fresh berries, a little bit of flour and lemon to thicken and bring out the juices all topped with brown sugar, oatmeal, and butter.

RASPBERRY BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE
From My Mom

INGREDIENTS

2 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries*
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
Pinch of salt
4 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch size pieces
Ice cream, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, stir together raspberries, blueberries, flour, and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine light brown sugar, oats, salt, and butter. Process until crumbly and combined. In a large pie dish, spread the berries in an even layer on the bottom. Sprinkle crumble topping on top. Bake for 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and crumble topping is golden brown.

*Use any combination of berries that your heart desires.
Let cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream.

Microwave Cake: Secret Recipe Club

photo (2)

Sorry I have been a little MIA recently: real life stuff, go figure.  But I am back, and I am back to meet a need we all have: need for a quick cake fix.

Specifically, a quick cake fix with lots of frosting on top.

I often find myself with an intense yearning for something sweet and we need it in and around our mouths ASAP.  As I was browsing around Melissa’s food blog Melissa’s Cuisine for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I found my solution to this eternal conundrum: a cake you can make in the microwave in less than 5 minutes.

So I ran out to the store, bought cake mix (yum), and made myself a microwave cake.  Now sure, it’s not the same as a cake made from scratch and baked in the oven, but I tell you, my sweet tooth was quite satisfied.

MICROWAVE CAKE
Barely adapted from Melissa’s Cuisine

INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons angel food cake mix
6 tablespoons yellow cake mix
4 tablespoons water
Dash of vanilla extract
Sprinkles and frosting, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Mix together both cake mixes, water, and vanilla extra. Pour into two mugs. Microwave for 1 minute to 1 minute and 20 seconds (depends on the strength of your microwave). Garnish with sprinkles and frosting.

Makes 2 servings.
Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!