I am so, so, SO excited to share this recipe with you guys. I was trying really hard to come up with a peach recipe that wasn’t a pie or crisp and man, was I having some serious inspiration issues on this one. I wanted something cheesecake-y but NOT baked…the less oven time in the summer, the better, you know what I mean? So I finally had an idea for something fresh and light and just overall yummy. I can honestly say that these peach cheesecake bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, if not THE favorite thing. Yeah. Good. Really, really, really, good.
The recipe started with this brilliant idea I had for a boozy peach sauce and then it evolved from there to include a buttery, crumbly (but not too crumbly!) shortbread crust and thick, creamy no-bake cheesecake filling. I have to say I could have stopped with the peach sauce…I literally was licking the spoon on this one. It has the perfect combination of warm spices, peach and citrus. Divine. Add in the no-bake cheesecake factor and this is pretty much the perfect summer dessert.
I can tell I will be making LOTS of trips to my farmer’s market this summer. 🙂
1½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 t. Pure Vanilla
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
7 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
4 oz. Whipped Topping (i.e. Cool Whip)
For the Peach Sauce
Make recipe as instructed previously for Champagne Soaked Peach Sauce (recipe was posted on May 30th), letting the peaches drain on a wire rack onto a cookie sheet. Make the sauce as instructed.
For the Shortbread Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting the foil hang over the edges to use as "handles". Grease the foil.
Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with a fork or your hands (I prefer to use my hands) until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until all ingredients are mixed together and then fold in the pecans.
Gently press the mixture evenly unto the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely. In the meantime, make the cheesecake filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling
In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Fold in the whipped topping.
Using the foil "handles", left the completely cool crust from the pan and gently place the crust on a large platter/plate. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the crust. Place the crust and filling in the fridge or freezer (I used my freezer) for about 10-15 minutes in order to allow the cheesecake filling to firm up slightly.
Remove from the fridge or freezer and top the dessert with the drained peach slices (as seen in the pictures) and cut into squares. Drizzle each square with peach sauce.
Guess what is showing up at our local farmer’s market right now? Peaches! Beautiful, soft, juicy peaches. This past Saturday I arrived at our local farmer’s market, Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks, at exactly 7:30 a.m. (yes, this is when they open and quite a few people had already beat me there!) to be sure I could get my hands on some before the crowds arrived. I made a beeline to the booth that had them and happily paid for my peck of peaches. I also managed to score some strawberries but barely, there were only a couple of pints left!
So I got what I came for and headed back to my kitchen…I had a plan for these peaches that involved champagne, brown sugar and lots of spices. I could hardly wait to get started. What resulted was one of the most delicious ice cream sauces I have ever tasted. My kitchen smelled like a cross between Christmas from all the spices in the sauce and summer from the orange zest and peaches. Pure. Heaven. If you are a fan of peach pie, this will remind you of just that…but without the crust! It is decadent and delicious over vanilla ice cream, especially homemade vanilla ice cream, which is exactly how we enjoyed it this past weekend. Next week I’ll have another recipe that involves this peach sauce that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Stay tuned!
In a small saucepan, bring the champagne, brown sugar, spices and 1 t. cornstarch to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add orange zest and let cool completely.
Place peaches in a shallow dish and pour the sauce over the peaches. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the peaches the next day and place in a bowl. Pour the sauce in a small saucepan again, whisk in 2 t. cornstarch and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Cool completely. Sauce will thicken as it cools (mine was VERY thick after being in my refrigerator overnight).
Yes, cupcakes. Again. People love them, there’s absolutely no denying that. When I first started researching for this post, I wanted to do cupcakes that were themed and decorated for New Year’s Eve but man, the selection and variety was abysmal! So instead of coming up with (and making) something cute and clever myself, I opted for Plan B: Boozy Cupcakes.
Are cupcakes and liquor a match made in heaven? Most certainly. I love any chance I get to throw alcohol into my desserts and these cupcakes are an absolutely legitimate excuse to do just that. So, for the guests at your New Year’s Eve party that love cupcakes and would rather eat their alcohol than drink it (or do both), whip up one or two of the cupcakes below…maybe create a cupcake “bar”?? I think that’s one bar-tending job I could handle!
Here are some great punch recipes that would be appropriate for either Christmas OR New Year’s. Any of these would be a nice change from the same old mug of cider or glass of champagne you’d normally serve. The coffee punch is soooo good…I will never forget the first time I had it at a bridal shower and thought “what IS this?!” I immediately obtained the recipe (as I’m sure everyone else at the shower did) and occasionally get the urge to make it for myself. Yes, just for me, no special occasion or party or whatever. But I haven’t done that…yet.