No Bake Oreo Cheesecake

No Bake Oreo Cheesecake Top

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, if not my all-time favorite.  I’ve made a few…Dark Chocolate Cheesecake, White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, Gingerbread Cheesecake, New York Style Lemon Cheesecake and one of my all time favorites and very first recipes, a layered Red Velvet Cheesecake cake.  Not to mention a few cheesecake filled cupcakes (here and here).  But I have never made a no bake cheesecake and honestly have always been skeptical of the no bake variety.  In my mind, it just NEEDS to be baked.  But this cheesecake proved me wrong…can you say divine?!  First of all, I actually LOVE the fact that this cheesecake didn’t need a water bath and an hour and a half in my oven!  And second, it is just as creamy and delicious as the baked variety.  Sure, there is definitely a different in texture but it’s not a bad thing at all.

No Bake Oreo Cheesecake Slice

 

No Bake Oreo Cheesecake Ganache

I chose to make this Oreo variation from Life, Love and Sugar.  The only difference was adding a bit more Oreos, homemade whipped cream and a ganache to top it off.  I took it to a family dinner and it was a huge hit, but cut the slices small because we all agreed it was VERY rich.  Perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tall glass of ice cold milk!

Enjoy!

No Bake Oreo Cheesecake
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 3 c. Oreo crumbs (about 36 Oreos)
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Homemade Whipped Cream (for filling)
  • 2.5 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 3, 8 oz. pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 c. Whipped Cream (or Cool Whip)
  • 2 c. Oreo crumbs (about 25 Oreos)
Ganache Topping
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
For the Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Let chill in the refrigerator to firm up.
For the Homemade Whipped Cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer (cream will whip better if bowl and whisk are chilled in freezer for 30 minutes), beat the heavy whipping cream until thick and holds shape. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside in the refrigerator to use for the filling.
For the Filling
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in the whipped cream. Gently fold in the Oreo crumbs. Pour into the Oreo crust and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
For the Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small pan over medium heat, bring the heavy whipping cream just to a boil and immediately pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for one minutes and then begin stirring until all the chocolate is melted. Let cool for a few minutes. While ganache is cooling, remove sides of the springform pan from the cheesecake. Pour ganache onto the middle of the cheesecake and down the sides. Let cool completely in fridge until ganache is firm. Serve chilled.

 

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4-Layer Brownie Bars

Choc Chip Cookie Brownie

So awhile back I made something that consisted of cookie dough, Oreos and brownies and put it in a muffin tin and baked it.  It had no name and still doesn’t!  Little did I realize that someone had already done these brownie/bar thingies (of course) and had named them Slutty Brownies.  Scandalous!  But totally appropriate.  These brownie/bars are amazingly rich, amazingly good and amazingly sinful.  Don’t think about the calories…it’s worth it.  I decided to revamp my original recipe and do them in a pan, which quite frankly makes a lot more sense than doing them individually in a muffin tin.  Duh.

Cookie Oreo Brownie

Now are you ready for the really good part?  I covered them in PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING.  I mean we just went from slutty to total whore (excuse my language).  Who doesn’t love brownies, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter frosting??  And altogether in one dessert?!  Divine.  And rich.  Yes, milk is a must for this one.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you want to save a little time on these bars, you could make both the cookie dough and the frosting ahead of time and just keep it refrigerated until ready to use!  Or you could even use a cookie and brownie MIX.  I highly recommend the Ghirardelli Double Fudge Brownies!

Choc Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie

Cookie Brownie Bars
 
Ingredients
Cookie Layer
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ⅓ c. Shortening
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1⅛ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Oreo Layer
  • 35 Oreos (will be slightly more than one package)
Brownie Layer
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ t. Instant Coffee Granules
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 6 T. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 5 T. Heavy Whipping Cream (or whole milk)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cookie Layer
  1. In a mixer, cream the sugars, butter and shortening until fluffy. Add egg, then vanilla. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Press evenly into the pan. Layer with Oreos.
For the Brownie Layer
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. Put the chocolate, butter and instant coffee granules into a medium bowl and melt in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely melted and smooth. Add sugars and whisk until completely combined. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Add 2 of the eggs and whisk until combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.
  4. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate. Pour the batter over the Oreos.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack and frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in one cup of the powdered sugar. Beat in half of the heavy whipping cream. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. Beat in vanilla. Spread over cooled brownie bars.
Notes
Makes 24.

 

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New Year’s Eve Eats – Dessert Dips!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip
Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip by Cookie Crazed Mama

Hey friends!  Man, I feel like I’ve barely recovered from all the Christmas baking and New Year’s Eve is staring me right in the face!  Ack!  I’m not gonna lie, at this point I’m not sure what I’m going to bake, if anything, and quite truthfully these no-bake dessert dips are looking pretty good to me right now.  Very short list of ingredients, no oven involved and just darn tasty.  So this is the direction I think I’m gonna go…because I actually want to enjoy my New Year’s and not drive myself crazy the next couple of days baking non-stop in the kitchen.  Just keepin’ it real people!

So what are your New Year’s baking plans?  Or do you have any??  I’d love to know!

P.S. Check out last year’s New Year’s Eve dessert inspiration here!

Cherry Cheesecake Dip

 

Cherry Cheesecake Dip

Pumpkin Pie Dip

 

Pumpkin Dip

White Chocolate Oreo Fluff Dip

 

White Chocolate Oreo Fluff Dip

Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip

 

Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip

Cannoli Dip

 

Cannoli Dip

Funfetti Cake Dip

 

Funfetti Cake Dip

Apple Pie Dip

 

Apple Pie Dip

Candy Cane Dip

 

Candy-Cane-Dip-and-Chocolate-Cookies

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

 

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

S’mores Dip

 

S'mores Dip

Pina Colada Fruit Dip

 

Pina-Colada-Fruit-Dip

Brownie Batter Dip

 

Brownie Batter Dip

Orange Creamsicle Fruit Dip

 

orange-creamsicle-dip

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

 

monster-cookie-dough-dip-words

Peanut Butter & Yogurt Dip

 

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Fruit Salsa Dip

 

Fruit Salsa

Nutella Yogurt Fruit Dip

 

Nutella Yogurt Fruit Dip

Caramel Cheesecake Dip

 

Caramel Cheesecake Dip

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Dough Dip

 

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Dough Dip

Snickerdoodle Dip

 

Snickerdoodle Dip

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Chunky Cherry, Oreo & Brownie Bark

Hey friends!  I have good news.  I had so many recipes that I wanted to share with you before Christmas that I absolutely couldn’t decide which ones to do and made the decision to do them all!  Yes, ALL.  Woo hoo!  So, one recipe every day this week.  I’m going to start with a super easy one today for this crazy good Chunk Cherry, Oreo & Brownie Bark.  This is inspired by a certain frozen custard creation that my husband likes to get at out local custard joint, Andy’s.  The combination of cherry, oreo and brownie in cool, creamy custard has become one of my favorites and I wanted to find a way to put it into candy form–hence, this bark!  I was pleased with how it turned out although I think I’d do a few more cherries next time, but that’s just my preference.  It would be great for any holiday party if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen and it’s definitely perfect for gift giving.  Just put it in a festive cellophane bag and voila!  Perfect foodie gift.

Enjoy!

Chunky Cherry Oreo & Brownie Bark
 
Ingredients
  • 2.5 lbs. Dark Chocolate Candy Coating (such as Ghirardelli or Wilton)
  • ¾ lb. White Chocolate Candy Coating (such as Ghirardelli or Wilton)
  • 1, 9x9 pan of Brownies (I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix and added a teaspoon of vanilla), cut into 1" sqaures
  • 5 c. Oreos (20 cookies), roughly crushed
  • 1 c. Dried Cherries
Instructions
  1. Melt both the dark and white chocolate candy coating (in separate bowls) in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each. Line your kitchen counter with a large piece of foil. In a large bowl, place the brownie chunks and gently stir in the melted dark chocolate candy coating. Be very careful to not break up the chunks of brownie as you stir. Quickly spread the brownies and chocolate onto the foil and immediately top with the crushed brownies and gently press them into the brownie/chocolate layer. Immediately drizzle with the melted white chocolate candy coating and sprinkle with the dried cherries. Let cool completely until chocolate is hard. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes about 3 lbs of candy.

 

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Pumpkin and More Pumpkin

I really enjoy finding recipes from other blogs to share with you guys.  The only problem is I find so many that it’s hard to choose which ones to include without the post being incredibly long!  So I managed to narrow things down to TEN pumpkin recipes.  All look drool-worthy and absolutely freakin’ delicious.  See if there is one you like and make it!  If you do, please tell me about it in the comments…I truly would love to know what you end up making and loving!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Pumpkin Butter

Mini Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecakes

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts with Rum-Cider Glaze

Pumpkin Candy Cups

Pumpkin Scones

P.S.  I guess I shouldn’t be worried about linking too many recipes–check out this blog!  LOTS of pumpkin going on on this page!  Wow!

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Cookie Monster Crockpot Cake

I struggle with some recipes…in particular, bread puddings and crockpot cakes.  Why??  Because they are so darn hard to photograph!  It’s a crying shame that a couple of the most delicious types of desserts (especially bread pudding) just look plain ugly in photos.  Delicious?  Yes.  Photogenic??  No.  So hopefully I can convince you to make this crockpot cake based on my simple review of this recipe!

To say this cake is AWESOME is an understatement…it’s actually FREAKIN AWESOME.  I was making a dessert for a family get-together and was a little stumped because I knew everyone wanted something majorly chocolate but I didn’t want to just do a chocolate layer cake or cupcakes.  And then out of nowhere I remembered this Rocky Road Crockpot cake that one of my former co-worker’s had brought to work for a party and how absolutely, incredibly amazing it was.  So I thought why not swap out the nuts for cookies and voila!  Cookie Monster Crockpot Cake!  If you like chocolate, cake, gooey marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies and Oreos, you may like and possibly even love this dessert.  Oh and do I even have to mention the vanilla ice cream??  That’s kind of a no-brainer.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Southern Living Rocky Road Chocolate Cake

Cookie Monster Crockpot Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (18.25 oz) Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz) Package Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • ⅓ c. Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3¼ c. Milk, divided
  • 1 (3.4 oz) Package Chocolate Cook-and-Serve Pudding Mix
  • 2 c. Oreo Cookie Pieces
  • 2 c. Chocolate Chip Cookie Pieces (I used Keebler Elf Soft and Chewy)
  • 1 c. Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 c. Miniature Marshmallows
  • Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 4-qt slow cooker or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix, next 5 ingredients and 1¼ c. milk at medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour batter into slow cooker.
  3. Cook remaining 2 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 5-8 minutes or until bubbles appear (do not boil); remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle cook-and-serve pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk over pudding. Place a towel over the slow cooker and place lid on top (this prevents condensation from dripping into the cake). Cook on LOW for 3½ hours. Meanwhile, mix chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips together in a large bowl.
  5. Turn off slow cooker or onto low if yours has that setting. Sprinkle with the cookie, marshmallow and chocolate chip mixture and let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted. Spoon into dessert dishes and serve with ice cream, if desired.
Notes
Serves 8-10.

 

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Kid-Friendly Valentine’s Day Treats

Most people think of romance when they think of Valentine’s Day but it’s also a great day to express your love to your kiddos!  And let them do the same to others!  I thought I’d share some easy, kid-friendly treats I found around the web.  Even as an adult with zero kids, I’m tempted to make some of these–they are just that cute!

Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats Hearts

Valentine Jelly Pops

Valentine’s Day Marshmallow Pops

Chocolate-Raspberry Hearts

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Sweethearts Bark

Valentine’s Day Candy Cane Hearts

Easy Valentine’s Day Brownies

Oreo Cakester Hearts

Valentine’s Heart Cookie Pops

Valentine S’mores

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Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies (aka homemade Oreos)

I am not the craftiest.  I have admitted this before but I just thought I’d state it again.  So when I spied these dark chocolate sugar cookies online, I knew I would make them but needed to come up with a way to make them cute that didn’t involve royal icing and piping and such.

So behold, the chocolate sugar cookie sandwich!  Also known as cutely shaped, cut-out homemade Oreos.  Really freakin’ amazingly good, never-buy-store-bought-again, homemade Oreos.  Yes, they are THAT GOOD.  I just cut out about 14, 4-inch cookies and then cut smaller shapes out of the middle of half of them.  If you don’t bake the small shapes like I did, you could reuse the dough and get about 16, 4-inch cookies.  Which is what I’d do next time because the tiny ones didn’t turn out terribly cute. But tasty!  And that’s what really matters, right??

Recipe courtesy of Sprinklesbakes.com

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies (aka homemade Oreos)
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies (aka Homemade Oreos)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 2 c. plus 1 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Dark Cocoa Powder
  • ⅛ t. Salt
Buttercream Frosting
  • ⅓ c. (5 T.) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 3 T. Heavy Whipping Cream (or milk)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ t. Almond Extract (optional)
Instructions
For the Cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until just incorporated. Do not over-mix at this stage or the cookies may spread while baking. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl. The dough will clump around the paddle attachment but that's ok, it's normal and a good sign your dough is the right consistency. With your hands, form the dough into a ball.
  4. On a clean counter-top, roll out your dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes from the cookie dough and carefully transfer to your baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through to endure even baking. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with frosting and decorate with sanding sugar, sprinkles, etc.
For the Buttercream Frosting
  1. Beat butter, sugar and milk about 5 minutes. Beat in extracts.
Notes
Makes 16, 4-inch Sandwich Cookies. Tip: These cookies are best eaten within 24 hours or the same day they are made. They are still very good but not be quite as crisp the next day.

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Christmas Cookie Exchange

Last week I got to experience my first every cookies exchange and it was SO much fun!  A sweet girl from our church, Monica, was gracious enough to host the event for a whopping 27 women!  Yes, 27 women…27 different kinds of cookies, candies, etc.  We made 12 dozen of the treat of our choice and swapped goods when we got there which meant we left with 12 dozen different goodies!  It was insane.  I was in sugar heaven.  I brought my famous Peanut Butter Balls (recipe tomorrow!) and had so much fun checking out and tasting everyone else’s homemade treats.  I can’t wait to do it again next year!  Here are a couple of photos of the bounty I brought home.

This is the platter…there was fudge, toffee, butterscotch cookies, chocolate cookies, buckeyes, Oreo stuffed brownies, ginger cookies, Nutter Butter Snowmen cookies, Oreo truffles, chocolate dipped candy cane coated pretzels, loaded oatmeal cookies and on and on it goes….

One of my favorites was the Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake.  Soooo good.

And my absolute favorite was this biscotti.  It had spices and orange flavor (at least I think it was orange..something like that), along with chocolate chips…it. was. amazing.

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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No-Bake One Pan Wonders

Things are busy this time of year.  You need something to be easy.  Like 5-minutes, DONE easy.  What about some desserts that require ZERO baking time and hardly any effort?  Maybe you need something for an office party or family get-together or ANOTHER ugly Christmas sweater party?  I’ve got a few recipes that are perfect and done in no time, all in one pan.  They will definitely impress!  And you will be alot less stressed.

Enjoy!

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

No-Bake Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake Brownies

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Chocolate Layered No-Bake Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake S’mores Bars

No-Bake After-Dinner Mint Bars

Nanaimo Bars

No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars

 

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Dark Chocolate Cheesecake for Christmas

I am more excited about this Christmas season than ever before!  And it’s mostly because I will be baking my way through the next 25 plus days and documenting every gloriously sweet moment on this blog!  Since there are so many awesome recipes I want to try right now, I’ll be posting a new one every Monday and Wednesday of the week from now until Christmas.  Most likely one will be something baked (cookie, cake, etc) and one will be unbaked (candy, party mix, etc).

I’ve decided to kick off all the festive baking with this amazing  Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Ganache.  This thing is decadent and rich and worth every single calorie you will have to burn on the treadmill the next day.  You really can’t go wrong bringing chocolate to a holiday gathering because seriously, who doesn’t love it??

The only problem (well, ok there were two) I encountered with this cheesecake is that the butter in the cookie crust started seeping out of my springform pan for some reason (I have NEVER had that happen before–weird!) so I had to put a cookie sheet beneath it to catch it all. And problem number two was that I didn’t realize how much volume adding two cups of melted chocolate chips would add to this recipe so my 9-inch springform pan got very full…TOO full!  I’d advise you to use at least a 10-inch round springform pan.  And don’t freak if the top gets kind of funky and cracked; your just going to cover it with ganache anyway.  I torted mine to give it a nice even surface before spreading the ganache over it and in the end it turned out perfect!

What are you most looking forward to baking this Christmas season??  I’d love to know!

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Ganache
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 2½ c. Oreos, crushed (I did mine in a food processor)
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ c. Whole Milk
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ c. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
Cappuccino Ganache
  • 9 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Instant Coffee (or 1 T. Espresso Powder)
  • ¼ t. Cinnamon
Instructions
For the Cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the crushed Oreos and melted butter and press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan, pressing the crust up onto the sides of the pan just a little.
  3. In a small bowl, melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk and then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream, vanilla, flour and cocoa until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate and spread evenly into the springform pan.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door closed for at least 1 hour (I left mine in for 3 but if I'm pressed for time, I take it out at about 1 hour...it's supposed to help prevent cracking, if you care about that). Let cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
For the Ganache
  1. Place the chopped chocolate and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. In a separate bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 3 tablespoons of the boiling heavy whipping cream and then add back to the rest of the heavy whipping cream in the saucepan. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly to barely warm and almost room temperature. Pour over cheesecake by starting at the center of the cake and with a spoon, slowly smooth it out toward the edges and slightly over. Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator. Decorate with shaved white chocolate, if desired.
Notes
Serves 12-15.

 

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The Butterfinger Bites Disaster

Homemade Butterfingers by Plain Chicken

My friend Joelle had been raving on her blog about how amazing these things were called Butterfinger Bites.  My favorite candy bar of all time is Butterfinger, so naturally I just HAD to make these.  The only ingredients are candy corn, peanut butter and chocolate.  And not only that, you make them in the microwave.  Awesome!

Supposedly these little chocolatey gems taste EXACTLY like a Butterfinger.  But I, for one, will never know.  Because I totally and completely screwed up this recipe.  How you ask?  That’s what I’m trying to figure out.  I followed the recipe and warmed the candy corn in the microwave for one minute.  They melted a little.  So I continued at 15 second intervals, stirring between each.  The candy kind of was kind of melting but it was also EXTREMELY hot and kind of starting to clump.  Uh oh.  I eventually got it into some sort of semi-melted blob and thought, ok, I’ll just throw in the peanut butter and see if it comes together.

No, it did not come together.  I could barely stir the mixture for all the clumps of candy corn in the peanut butter.  So I stuck it in the microwaved for a few seconds…and that kind of helped.  The clumps were turning into itty bitty candy corn bits.  So then I had the thought that I would throw it in my mixer and beat the crap out of it!  That didn’t help.  The tiny little candy corn pieces basically got distributed more evenly.  So I poured it into a pan and just stared at it for awhile.  There was no way this was solidifying or even tasting good.  So I threw it away.  Sigh.  So depressing.

I felt like a total failure, like I couldn’t bake at all!!  I mean, candy from a microwave?!  C’mon!  I went to the blog where the original recipe was posted to see if anyone else had issues with it…no, not one person.  Just me. So, I had to console myself by going back and looking at pictures of things I’ve made but never blogged about.  Yes, I was that depressed.  It actually cheered me up a little and reminded me that I’m not a total screw up.  Here’s my trip down memory lane…

Tons of homemade candy for the holidays…that was fun.  And I didn’t screw anything up!

14-Layer Cake with my baking buddy, Betsy.  We were pretty proud of that one.

A 1st birthday cake for a special little nephew.

Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake for a friend’s husband’s birthday.  Yum.

Maple Pecan and Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons, again with Betsy.  We got those right on the first try!  Woo hoo! Lots of high-fiving going on in the kitchen that day!

Buttered Pecan Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting for my sister-in-law Rachel’s birthday.  I think I need to make this one again…

Oreo and Cherry Birthday Cake for my friend Sarah Carter.  That was a fun one.

Ahh, I feel better.  Time to get back in the saddle!  Err, kitchen. Oh and YES, I most definitely will try to make the homemade Butterfingers again!

 

 

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Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

For the past year or two I’ve had a minor obsession with what I call “cheesecake cakes” and it all started when I made Jeremy this Red Velvet Cheesecake for his birthday.  He first had Red Velvet Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory and absolutely loved it.  I have to admit, it was awesome.  When his birthday came around I did my best to imitate their version and think I got pretty darn close.

After that, my brain couldn’t help but imagine all the possibilities of cheesecake cakes…I did a vanilla cheesecake and strawberry cake combo, a neapolitan with chocolate cake, vanilla cheesecake and strawberry cake…you get the picture.   While they are delicious to make, they can be somewhat labor intensive and difficult to transport.  So I finally had the bright idea to make it into a cheesecake CUPCAKE.  Brilliant, right?  So much simpler!  And that idea led to the glorious recipe offering I give you today…Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes.

I don’t think I need to say too much about these other than they are good ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.  The chocolate cake is a recipe I borrowed from My Baking Addiction and the cheesecake is a recipe from a friend.  I was a little skeptical about the cake since it used a cake mix, but it was actually quite good.  It had a more spongy texture than I was used to but was still very moist and had a rich chocolate flavor.  And the Oreos…I mean, how can you NOT put Oreos in these?  They just send them over the top and transport you directly into chocolate/cheesecake/Oreo heaven.

Make these and share them with the people you love.  They will love you back.  Promise.

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
Author: 
Category: Dessert
36
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) package Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Warm Water
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Cheesecake
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 (18 ounce) package Regular Oreos
Buttercream Dream Frosting
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. Shortening
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 lbs. (7.5 cups) Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 4 T. Very Cold Heavy Whipping Cream (or milk)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular size muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the Chocolate Cake: In an electric mixer, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, water and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. For the Vanilla Cheesecake: In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla, beating well. Beat in the egg and set aside.
  4. For the Buttercream Dream Frosting: In an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and combine well. Begin adding the sugar, one cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. After all the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold heavy whipping cream one tablespoon at a time, combining well after each addition. Beat on medium-high speed for three minutes to reach desired consistency.
  5. To assemble: Use a scant tablespoon full of chocolate cake mix and smooth into the bottom of the muffin tin (I actually used my (very clean) finger to do this). Spoon in just enough cheesecake to cover the chocolate cake. Press an Oreo into the cheesecake and cover the Oreo with cheesecake mixture–just enough to cover the cookie. Top with another tablespoon of chocolate cake and gently spread until even in the tin. (Be careful to do no more than a tablespoon each time otherwise your muffin tin will be too full and the cupcake batter will rise above the muffin tin and “mushroom”) Repeat with remaining muffin tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. Place on wire rack and cool completely. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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Emack and Bolio’s

This past Sunday Jeremy and I went out for a very special anniversary dinner…pizza and ice cream.  We’re classy like that.  We went to a place called Chicago Gyros and Pizzeria for some delicious Chicago style thin crust pizza.  It was half Greek and half Gypsy (gyro type toppings) and it was delicious!  We also split a gyro because we love theirs so much.  Yeah, we got full.

Now, because it was getting late and I wanted pictures of the ice cream place while it was still light out, we actually went to get dessert first.  We’re adults now, we can do stuff like that right?  So we headed just down the road to Emack and Bolio’s, a little ice cream parlor that is a teeny, tiny building across from a park.  They are only open during the summer months and since I pass them everyday on my way to work and always see people sitting outside eating massive waffle cones with like five scoops of ice cream, I had to try them.  Plus, my mother had just informed me a couple of weeks earlier that they had rum raisin ice cream which is one of my all-time favorites!

So we stopped in a decided to get what’s called a 3-scoop sampler for $3.95.  It’s supposed to be smaller scoops than normal but dear Lord, if they had been any bigger I would have been sick.  It was plenty of ice cream!  Jeremy chose White Pistachio which was an amaretto ice cream with pistachio pieces, Chocolate Addiction which was dark chocolate with dark chocolate chunks and Cookie Monster which was vanilla with Oreo pieces and cookie dough.

I choose Myers Rum Raisin (of course!), Bean Town Buzz which was espresso ice cream with chocolate covered espresso beans and fuge and Black-N-Tan which was vanilla with chocolate covered toffee beans, fudge and cookie crumble.  All of the flavors were sooooo good.  We decided our top three picks were the White Pistachio, Myers Rum Raisin and Chocolate Addiction.   I haven’t had such delicious hand-scooped ice cream in quite a while.  Our usual ice cream run is either a blizzard from Dairy Queen or a frozen custard concrete from Andy’s so it was nice to get something different.

It was a fun night and we made some good memories just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.  And we’ll definitely be going back for more ice cream before summer is over….

 

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Lola’s Pastries and Eatery

Jeremy and I recently had the chance to visit a restaurant, Lola’s Pastries and Eatery, in Nixa that I’ve been meaning to try out for awhile. I had heard that they have delicious, made-from-scratch desserts and that the food is quite good too so I was curious. On our way back from Branson a couple of weekends ago, we finally stopped in to see if the desserts lived up to expectations.

Lola’s is actually a former house that was converted into a restaurant and has a nice tea room feel to it. They have a pretty good breakfast and lunch menu and of course lots of desserts to choose from. We hadn’t had hardly anything to eat that day so we decided to split a BLT sandwich in hopes of curbing the inevitable sugar rush. The sandwich wasn’t bad but it was shockingly void of key BLT players…one half of the sandwich had ZERO bacon and the other had maybe 1 1/2 pieces. Like they forgot to put it on! It came with chips and we added a side salad which was small but tasty. We probably should have said something about the sandwich since it wasn’t cheap (about $7) but didn’t want to mess with it. I will say that the other sandwiches everyone else had looked quite “meaty” and tasty so I’m not sure what happened with ours. Anyway, enough of that, on to the main event–dessert!

There were alot of choices…strawberry cake, chocolate cake, coconut cream cake, key lime pie, carrot cake, Oreo cheesecake, no-bake cookies, monster cookies, cupcakes and more! It all looked mouth-watering but I knew for sure I wanted to try the strawberry cake since that’s kind of what they’re known for. Jeremy chose the carrot cake and we also got a piece of the Oreo cheesecake.

The Oreo cheesecake was really good, very smooth and creamy and not an overly sweet cheesecake at all. I didn’t think the Oreos were that noticeable though. The graham cracker crust was probably my favorite part, it was a little on the thicker side and had the perfect amount of saltiness to it to contrast with the cheesecake.

The strawberry cake was also very good and definitely made from scratch–no nasty strawberry Jell-O in this cake, just real strawberries! It was three (yes, three!) layers high with strawberry buttercream sandwiched between each layer and all over the top and sides. It was indeed delicious, just as people said. However, the strawberry buttercream was a tad too sweet for our taste. I think we prefer cream cheese frosting on our strawberry cake. But still a seriously delicious strawberry cake!

Jeremy’s choice, the carrot cake, ended up being our favorite. It was a massive three layer cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting between each layer and on the top and sides. The cake was super moist and very straightforward, no pineapple pieces or chunks of pecans or walnuts in the batter, just a moist, dense, perfectly spiced carrot cake. It did have chopped walnuts sprinkled on top which I thought were a nice touch. We loved it and will definitely be going back for more.

If you are in or around Nixa, check this place out!  The desserts do not disappoint!

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Fair Food

Jeremy and I went to the fair this past weekend.  We basically had one thing on our agenda while we were there:  FRIED OREOS.  Ok, so maybe it was more MY agenda but after getting a taste of those delicious fried chocolatey puffs last year, I’d been dreaming about them ever since.  And really, what is there to do at the fair besides eat?  I mean, you’ve got fried twinkies, funnel cakes, caramel apples, ice cream, fried Oreos, cheesecake wontons, cotton candy, fried peanut butter and jelly, chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick and even fried Kool-Aid!  And that’s just the sweet stuff!

So after a little searching, we found the fried Oreos and also decided on a fried PB&J.  We grabbed a spot near the karaoke stage to listen to the up-and-coming Springfield musical talent and do a little people watching while we munched down.

First, the fried PB&J.  Absolutely NOT good.  Jeremy and I both agreed that while in concept the idea is great, it just didn’t work this time.  The peanut butter tasted disgusting (perhaps because all I ever eat is natural peanut butter?) and it wasn’t really a peanut butter sandwich, it was one of those Uncrustable things that you get in the freezer section at the grocery store, fried in funnel cake batter.  So disappointing.  I’ve actually been wanting to purchase a deep fryer for home, so once I do, we are trying this again…with a REAL PB&J sandwich!

Now the fried Oreos on the other hand…absolute. fried. genius.  I just love these little things.  The Oreo is dunked in funnel cake batter which fries up nice and golden while the Oreo gets soft on the inside.  Finished with a touch of powdered sugar, these are Oreo HEAVEN.  They are fresh and warm and oh so delicious.  My only complaint is that they don’t serve them with milk!  Other than that, magic.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie

Get some milk.  Like, a gallon.  These are VERY rich but for some reason you won’t be able to stop eating them.  Maybe because it’s a chocolate chip cookie…and an Oreo…and a brownie…all in one, umm, cookie?   Brownie?  Cakelet?  It’s definitely not a muffin.  Kind of looks like one but it is definitely, DEFINITELY NOT a muffin.    And sadly, without that pretty swirl of frosting on top, it can’t pass as a cupcake.  Bummer.

Hmmm, what to call it.  Well, if you can think of anything let me know.  For now, just know that when you layer chocolate chip cookie dough with an Oreo and top it with brownie batter you pretty much have a trifecta of cookie awesomeness that is nearly indescribable.  Make these now!

P.S.  My husband suggested topping them with buttercream.  Where would he get such a crazy idea?!?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
48
 
Ingredients
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¾ c. Shortening
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2¼ c. AP Flour
  • 1, 12 oz. Package Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Directions
  • In a mixer, cream sugars, butter and shortening until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. set aside
  • Brownie Batter
  • 4 (1 oz.) Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Squares
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 c. AP flour
  • 3 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • Directions
  • Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted and smooth, stirring at 20-second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Whisk in flour and salt.
  • Oreos
  • Buy them.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a regular size muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Using a 2-inch scoop, drop a level scoop of cookie dough into the muffin tin. Gently press an Oreo into the cookie dough. Spoon a small amount of brownie batter over the Oreo. Bake for 15-18 minutes (15 for barely under-done and slightly gooey). Let cool completely in the muffin tin. Gently slide a butter knife along the sides of the muffin tin and carefully remove.

 

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New Year’s Eve Dessert Bar

This past Thursday night I had the opportunity to donate my baking skills to a New Year’s Eve benefit for a very good cause (more on that in a bit). Since I had about two and a half days to pull everything together, I basically went into super-adrenaline mode and baked like a mad woman from sun-up till waayyyy after sundown ignoring any and all distractions including my computer, my phone (hopefully I still have friends) and my very, very sick husband. Poor husband. Lucky for me he didn’t mind passing out on the sofa every night while I was up to my elbows in sugar and flour. By the time Thursday rolled around, I thought I might not get everything done and was literally frosting things up to the minute I had to go set-up. But I triumphed! And I must say, I think it turned out quite lovely and tasty. I even managed to color coordinate with the event–black and white!

Dessert BarCupcakes

The menu was vast and varied and included these delicious selections (Oh, and did I mention everything made was “mini”? That adds time exponentially!): Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Soft Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chai Cheesecakes, Chocolate Dipped Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Pops, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate and Oreo Buttercream, Raspberry Fudge Tassies with Almond Buttercream, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow “Stars”, Chocolate Covered Cherries and Cappuccino Truffles. Whew!

Sugar Cookies

Overall, the dessert buffet and the benefit was a success! All proceeds from the night when to a great organization, Pearl Alliance, dedicated to freeing young women and children that are enslaved in the human trafficking industry. It’s hard to believe that a horrible injustice such as this one even exists in the world we live in today–it not only exists, but is thriving. Check out their website for more information and see what you can do to help!

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