This week I made Graham Cracker Cookies, which I know sounds a little odd but are actually really delicious.
When I first read this recipe and I was 100% sold on it, it seemed a little strange. Mostly because it doesn’t have any flour in it, the structure is graham cracker crumbs. I was kind of afraid that they would come out like little pie crusts, which also sounds yummy. I didn’t think they would rise and be chewy like a good cookie but I was totally wrong.
The recipe calls for 2 cups of cracker crumbs and yes I’m sure you can grind your own but even when I’m making a pie crust I just go ahead and buy the boxed crumbs. They are just as good and you don’t have to spend time making them and you can get right to the baking, which gets you that much closer to eating. And that’s always a good thing in my book. I followed the recipe as is and my bake time was 9 minutes and then I let them cool on the pan for about another 2 minutes before moving them. I don’t like cooling my cookies on a cooling rack (cause I don’t like messing up the bottom of my cookies with ridges) so I cool mine on a freshly foiled table. And if you bake enough cookies you soon looks like you have a little cookie army, or maybe that’s just me.
In the end I would give these cookies a big thumbs up. They were super simple and fast to make and they are delicious. It’s like eating a soft, buttery, puffy graham cracker. This one will go into my most make these again folder.
In this week’s episode of what’s for dessert I give you the Zucchini Pie Bars. Now I know what you’re thinking but just go with me on this cause this is actually the second time I’ve used zucchini in a dessert. The first time was many years ago and I made a zucchini and pineapple cobble and it was pretty damn tasty so I thought I would give this recipe a go.
So, this recipe is basically a shortbread crust, zucchini filling and an oatmeal crumble…and I love a good crumble topping. In fact I’ve been known to just eat the crumble topping off things and leaving the rest of the dessert behind. But the crumble topping didn’t really sway me to a big thumbs up on this. I found that I was just okay with the outcome on this one. It was good but it didn’t blow my socks off or anything.
The recipe is pretty basic, easy to follow and the only addition I made was adding a little vanilla to the filling. Now in the recipe is says to drain the zucchini after you cook it and to add no additional liquid when pouring it on the crust. I think I should have thickened the mixture a bit and added it to the filling. I think it needed to have a little more of that (for lack of a better word) goo that is so yummy in apple pies. If I did make this again I would do that and I would probably add a little ginger to it as well. The filling just seemed to be lacking in the flavor department.
Do I recommend this recipe, not really. Like I said it was okay but not great. I like the idea of using zucchini in desserts but I think it needs other things with it to help boost the flavor. The shortbread was good and the oatmeal crumble was good but those things are really just basics that you can use with just about anything. So overall, just a meh this week, I’ll have to try again with something new next weekend. Oh the burden I carry!
This week I made Cinnamon Blondies and I’m just gonna say it, Damn these were good! I’m usually not a fan of blondies but the combination of brown sugar and cinnamon just made these so yummy and the texture was so perfect. After my first bite all I could say was, mmmmmmm.
The recipe is simple and very easy to follow. I didn’t make any adjustments to it at all. I will tell you that I was a little concerned about the fact that it has equal amounts of flour and brown sugar. I didn’t think it would have enough structure but they came out beautifully. My favorite part was the top. After cooling for a few minutes you brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar. It gave it this crunchy top that I thought just made the whole thing. The contrast of that crunch and then the soft brownie like consistency was great.
My only tip would be to make sure you watch your timing on this. The recipe called to bake for 40 minutes but mine was done in 30. I always rotate my pans halfway through and then I pull it early just to see where we’re at. Any longer and I don’t think they would have come out as well.
I can tell you that these were a big hit with Anthony’s coworkers and myself. Anthony thought they would be good with ice cream and I wouldn’t be against making another pan and trying them that way as well. And then maybe making another pan to just have again. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I give these a big thumbs up and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making these again in the future.
I love lemon! Also, I have a secret love of zesting lemons. There’s something about zesting a lemon or scraping seeds out of vanilla beans that makes me feel like a real chef. I know it’s silly but I really do get a kick out of it. So with this recipe I got to zest up a storm!
This week I made a Lemon Crumb Cake to take to a pot luck brunch. This cake was a very big hit. I didn’t think it was overly sweet and it had the perfect amount of zip from the lemon. Well, I think that cause I actually bumped up the lemon in the recipe. I told ya, I love zesting lemons!!!
The recipe was very easy to follow and like the recipe says, you should use a spring form pan. Don’t try to do this in a regular round cake pan. I followed the recipe for the most part, I only changed 2 things. The first was with the crumb topping. In the recipe it called for using melted butter. I have found that crumb toppings actually come out a little better if you cut cold butter into the other ingredients. I like to put the butter in the freezer for a few minutes before I use it, I think it makes the butter easier to work with and makes gives you those nice big chunks of crumb topping. Honestly, I could probably just be happy picking off the crumb topping on some things. The second change I made was with the glaze. I added the zest of 1 lemon to it. I wanted to give the glaze just an extra little bit of zip and it did!
Also, there’s a nice cream cheese layer to the cake that was just the right amount. Sometimes these kind of layers can get over sweet and make the whole thing to start tasting like cheesecake and I didn’t think that was the case here. Cream Cheese layer just added a nice richness to the cake.
This cake was super yummy and just perfect for a brunch or an afternoon snack or a dessert or a midnight snack…stop judging me! It’s good is what I’m trying to say and I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not much of a baker don’t let the several different layers intimidate you. Once you get into it you’ll see how simple it is. Now leave me be so I can go zest some lemons…stop judging me!
This week I got to make a friend of mine a birthday cake! We were having a good Southern Shrimp Boil for dinner so I decided to go a little southern with dessert and I made a Double Fudge Coca Cola Cake. This cake made famous by one of my favorite restaurants, the Cracker Barrel.
I have to start off by telling you that this is a very odd recipe and I had a few doubts going in. First you mix the flour and sugar, which is just about the opposite of most cake recipes, and then add the wet ingredients to that. But I followed the directions and the batter came out beautifully. Bake for exactly 30 minutes and the cake was perfectly done.
The “frosting” was also a little odd and I would call it more of a glaze than a frosting. You melt down butter, cocoa and milk and while that’s hot add the powdered sugar. Now this mixture was way too thin to be called a frosting as I know it. And the directions said to pour it over the warm cake. Well, I feel like that was a bit of a mistake. The frosting just ran all over and most of it ended up under the cake. Which as it turns out wasn’t all together a bad thing because when we ate it it was like their was a chocolate sauce under the cake.
Overall it was a yummy cake. I only got a little hint of the coke flavor but that’s okay with me cause I’m a Diet Dr. Pepper girl anyway. And I thought it was going to be overly sweet but I didn’t think so. I served it with French Vanilla Ice Cream on the side and it seemed to me like everyone enjoyed it. Would I make this recipe again…maybe. It was pretty quick and simple and sometimes it’s nice to have a sheet cake instead of layer cake. And I do like to mix things up like that. So, I give this recipe a thumbs up but I would have to put it in my maybe file for making it again.
This week I made Blackberry Pie Bars. Well, to be honest I actually made Triple Berry Pie Bars cause the frozen triple berry mix was on sale and raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are all delicious and I’m cheap so it makes for a good combination. And as it turns out it doesn’t hurt the recipe one bit to change-up the berries a bit. I’m actually glad I did cause this thing has a very thick filling and I think just having blackberries would have been a bit too much for me. I like the contrast that using multiple berries give it.
This is a pretty simple recipe and if making homemade berry pies scares you some I think you should give this a try since you don’t have to roll out a traditional pie crust. You just have to press this into the pan. Although a helpful hint from me here, whenever I do a crust like this I always freeze my butter for several hours first. It helps make it easier to cut the butter into the other ingredients and if you work quickly the butter won’t have time to melt.
The filling I found to be very interesting and tasty! It’s not a traditional berry pie filling. It has the addition of eggs and sour cream and I think it gives it a great richness and keeps the berries from being to sour. Sometimes when you’re making a berry pie it’s hard to know if you’re adding too much or not enough sugar to the berries. This addition of sour cream made the filling creamy and just rounded out everything nicely. The recipe said to bake for 50 min but I had to add another 15 to that. But all ovens are different so just keep an eye on it.
In the end I would highly recommend this recipe, it’s delicious. I cooled mine and then let it sit in the fridge over night so it would set up well. There’s nothing worse than cutting into a berry pie that hasn’t rested and the filling just runs all over the place. When I pulled it out this morning it sliced really well and then I just popped a piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds, topped it with vanilla bean ice cream and had the breakfast of champions! That’s right, pie bars and ice cream for breakfast…I’m hitting the proper food groups there…berries and milk! I’m not on trial here!!!!!
Cookies have always been one of my favorite things to bake. They were the first things I learned how to bake when I was little. Every Christmas we would make tons of cookies and give them out as gifts and I still do that now. I love nothing more than to see my kitchen covered in cookies. So, when I had a group party to go to this week I made cookies!
Since we were going to have a big group of people I went with 2 different kinds of cookies, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookies and M&M Chocolate Cookies. Plus, anytime I make something with peanuts or peanut butter I like to make something else since I want to make sure people with nut allergies have something too.
The banana cookies were basically banana bread with chocolate and peanut butter chips. I was a little surprised how much of the banana flavor came through because there was only 2 bananas used. I thought for sure the flavor would get lost but it didn’t. They were soft and delicious. I would make these again in a heart beat and they were a big hit with the crowd.
The chocolate M&M cookies were dense and very chocolatey. I would also make these again as well but I would change it up a bit. I would chill the dough next time so the cookies would be a little puffier. I was a little disappointed that they went a little flat after cooling. Also, if you look at the picture from the recipe you can clearly see the M&M’s and you can just kind of see them in mine. I’m pretty sure that they put M&M’s on top of the cookies before baking them so you can see them on top like that. I know it doesn’t do anything for the taste but you know what they say, you eat with your eyes first.
Now let’s talk chocolate chips. I am 100% a ghiradelli girl. I think they make the BEST chocolate chips. They are huge and even at room temperature they stay nice and soft. I love them! My favorite is their Milk Chocolate (which I used in the banana cookies) and I used the Dark Chocolate in the M&M Cookies. They’re going to cost you a little more but I think they are totally worth it.
And now I want milk and cookies….which I’m going to go get right now!
I know I probably shouldn’t have made back to back cheesecakes but I needed something to take to brunch on Sunday and well this has orange in it and you have orange juice for brunch so this is good for brunch. Or at least that’s what my brain said late at night when I was deciding on this. I’m not on trial here!
So anyway here you have the very delicious Chocolate Orange Cheesecake! Now I will say I’m not a huge fan of the chocolate and orange combination but as a cheesecake lover I was willing to give this a chance and I’m so glad I did. This is a beautiful and delicious cheesecake, that was fairly simple to make.
And yes of course, I made a few changes to recipe but I’m sure the original recipe would also be just as good. First, I didn’t use orange extract. I’m not a big fan of this extract as I find it can be a little over powering and I wanted a good hint of orange not have it take over the whole cheesecake. So instead I used the zest of 2 oranges and the juice of one. Secondly, the recipe said to use the extract before separating the mixture to make the chocolate layer but I didn’t add the orange zest or juice until after I removed part of the batter. I wanted the chocolate layer to be pure chocolate.
The thing I liked best about this recipe (and I’m kind of kicking myself for not thinking of this) is that it recommended freezing the chocolate layer for 15 minutes so it would be easier to smooth out the top layer. And in the heat I’m dealing with in my kitchen right now that piece of advice was a Godsend! I will be doing that with all of my layered cheesecakes from now on.
This was a delicious cheesecake and my friends really enjoyed it and that always makes me happy. The end result was one of the creamiest cheesecakes I’ve ever made and the chocolate and orange combination worked beautifully together. The only drawback and this has nothing to do with the recipe is that the weather did make the cheesecake go soft a bit but once it was back in the fridge it firmed right back up. So, maybe I need to lay off the cheesecakes until the weather cools a bit. Stupid Heat Wave!!!
Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cheesecake…go ahead and savor those words a little bit! I love making cheesecakes. I think I have a pretty solid handle on them and 9 times out of 10 can get them to come out beautifully. For that 10th time, I’m going to blame my oven for any less than stellar cheesecakes. You try baking in an oven that doesn’t have any temperatures on the knob. (Ah, the thrills of apartment rental living)
But this week I made, what I have to say, is probably one of the tastiest cheesecakes ever. Butterfinger would have to be in my top 5 favorite candy bars and so you add that to cheesecake and I’m sold! The recipe is a pretty standard peanut butter cheesecake with crushed Butterfingers added to it. The recipe recommends adding sour cream or yogurt to the base. I used sour cream, I like the little extra tang it gives to the mix. The biggest change I made to the recipe was with the crust. The recipe advised doing an Oreo crust but I thought it might be a little overwhelming for the cheesecake. Plus, sometimes I find Oreo crusts to be a little oily due to the cream in the cookies. This could just be me. So instead I made a traditional graham cracker crust. I thought the graham cracker crust gave it a good balance and helped put a little salty factor in the cheesecake. I also added the recommended peanut butter drizzle on top and yep it was super yummy. Although, as my friends and I were enjoying the hell out of this we all thought it could use a drizzle of chocolate as well. Next time I make this…that is so happening!
When I started slicing it I could see immediately that this is a super dense cheesecake that needs to be cut in smaller slices. When you put a slice on a plate and the plate dips…you know the piece is too big. So, start small on this one. Also, I served it with some whip cream but I think vanilla ice cream would also be amazing with this. And if you’ve never tried ice cream with cheesecake, you don’t know what you’re missing! Try it…trust me
So, in the end, Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cheesecake should be made and shared with friends. And eaten in the middle of the night while watching the Olympics. Or maybe that’s something only I do. Either way, this is delicious and you should give it a try.
There’s a reason why some things are labeled as “classic” and in dessert making a chess pie is one of those classic pies. I’ve been asked and I have also asked people why it’s called “chess” pie and I still haven’t been able to figure it out. The closest thing I’ve come to getting an answer is that in England something similar was referred to as a cheese pie and American’s messed up the name and called it chess. I don’t know if that’s right or not and if you know I would love an answer on that. Also, another mystery of the chess pie is whether it is a classic southern recipe as a cousin to the pecan pie or a New England recipe. Being from the South I think all yummy things started there so I’m going to declare it as Southern!
Now this weekend I made a Chocolate Chess Pie which I have to admit I’ve never made before. And now I’m kicking myself for not making one sooner. This recipe was simple and made one damn tasty pie. The next time I have to bring a pie to something this one will be at the top of the list.
I didn’t stray from the recipe one bit and I suggest you don’t either. I know some people might be tempted to add nuts or cookie pieces to this and while I’ll admit that that would probably be tasty try it this way to begin with. I served it at room temperature with a little whip cream and it was smooth and fudgy and really delicious. My favorite part is the very top layer that just gives the pie a little crunch on the top. I had to stop myself from cutting another slice immediately.
So, if you’re looking for a simple and delicious dessert I highly recommend this one. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now! So…go…go make one now!