White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirl

I would suggest not trying to make a cheesecake at like 10 at night. They cook FOREVER! I made this recipe from Baker By Nature for the last family meal before Anna heads off to school and Ian and I head off to Tennessee and Kentucky. Our schedules are so busy that we had to do the meal five days before we actually leave. This cheesecake is by far the best cheesecake I have ever made. It was super smooth, the crust was just crunchy enough to add a different texture and flavor. the fresh berries cut down on the sweetness of the entire dessert. And, it was beautiful!

The recipe might look a little intimidating, but it was actually pretty easy to make!

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White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirl
Ingredients: 
For the crust:
24 Oreo cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling (bring all ingredients to room temperature):
3 packages cream cheese
1 cup sour cream (don’t get low fat)
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 oz white chocolate melted (I used Ghirardelli bars), melted and cooled slightly
For the Swirl (optional):
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
For the Garnish:
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz fresh raspberries
mint and white chocolate if wanted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap the outside of your springform pan with tinfoil to prevent leaks. If not using springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides.
Crush cookies to small crumbs and stir in butter. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese in mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides. Add sugar and beat until sugar is incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix. Everything should be completely smooth at this point. Scrape down the sides. Add eggs, egg yolks and vanilla and combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as often as necessary to get a perfectly smooth batter. Mix in the flour. The recipe I used said to fold in the following ingredients, but I just beat them right in. ūüėõ Add chocolate and lemon juice and mix until just together. DON’T OVER MIX. Spread evenly over crust.
Combine raspberries and sugar in a blender and blend until “smooth”. Strain out all the raspberry seeds. Drizzle over cheesecake. Swirl with a knife or toothpick.
Place springform pan into a deeper, larger pan (I used a hotel pan) and fill with about an inch of water. This is a bain marie or water bath. It cause more even baking and works amazingly for cheesecakes! I’ve never had a cheesecake top crack doing this method.
Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and let cheesecake set for 45 minutes inside closed oven.
Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before chilling. For best results, chill overnight.
To serve, beat cream and powdered sugar together until still peaks form. I have a whipped cream whipper which works wonderfully! Dip knife in hot water and dry blade. Make 1 cut and repeat. This gives the cleanest cut to the cheesecake. Top each slice with whipped cream, fresh raspberries and mint/chocolate if desired.

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Brownies- My new favorite

I knew from the moment I saw this recipe on Pinterest that it was a keeper. Perhaps it was the crinkly type top that I associate with boxed brownies, or the simplicity of the recipe. I immediately saved it, knowing it would probably fall into the Dessert board on my account and get lost with the 450 other dessert pins I think sound wonderfully amazing, but never get around to trying. Or not. During a week where three of my six siblings at home were gone, Jane (12) and I decided it was the perfect time for a small pan of something new. eeeditedIMG_7858

eeditedIMG_7831Reasons why I love this recipe:

1. They are super gooey (like almost raw in the middle), bursting with chocolaty flavor and with a tiny bit of crispy top.

2. There is no mixer needed. Sure the original recipe from Life Made Simple used a mixer, but I found a good old-fashioned whisk does the trick perfectly!

3. I can whip out the batter before the oven preheats! Seriously, it is that easy!eeditedIMG_7845

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An 8″x8″ between four of us didn’t last long and I wondered how the recipe would double into a 9″x13″. A test that I did the next day, sending the majority of the pan to the Arlington Fly-In where my siblings were working. That pan disappeared rather quickly too and in a few weeks, we’ve made these brownies at least seven times! Including two 9″x13″ pans today!editedIMG_7824I suggest using a hot knife to cut them. And if you’re me, a ruler, so your lines don’t turn out like this.

Better Than Boxed Brownies 

Ingredients: 
1 cup +6 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (Or more)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350¬į. Grease 9″x13″ pan (I like the straight edged pan for this recipe).

In a microwave, melt butter and sugar for about 1 minute (or until completely and kinda grainy). Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla and cocoa powder. Let cool for about 1 minute. Add eggs one at a time.

Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir just until there are no flour pockets. Add chocolate.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until edges are set. Brownies are supposed to be gooey inside.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Warning! This makes a massive pie (which isn’t necessarily bad). Peanut butter and chocolate must be one of the best combinations ever discovered! I recently did them in two ounce plastic dessert tumblers which worked beautiful.

Ingredients:
Crust:
3 cups chocolate cookies crumbs (or grahams with sugar and cocoa)
3/4 cup butter, melted
Mousse:
1 pound cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Ganache Topping:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
peanuts, toasted

Directions:
For crust: mix chocolate cookie crumbs with melted butter, pat into greased 9-inch tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom, patting 2 inches up the sides.  Freeze.
For peanut butter pie: mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer till sugar is dissolved.  Add peanut butter, mix well. Add butter, mix well.
Whip 2 cups heavy cream to medium stiff peaks.  Fold into peanut butter mixture.  Spread into pie crust. Chill for at least 4 hours
For chocolate ganache: bring cream to boil.  Add chocolate and stir till smooth.  Add vanilla.   Chill till cool.
Spread chocolate ganache over peanut butter mixture.  Pat toasted peanuts around edge.  Chill.

Auntie Lei’s Caramel Apple Dip

This caramel dip is one of the easiest, tastiest fall recipes I have. It’s super impressive tasting and there are never leftovers. It is best eaten with apples, pretzels, nuts, graham crackers, cardboard, fingers (or if you’re more civilized, a spoon). So, I would advise doubling this. Or tripling it…

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
apples (I like tart apples)
pretzels

Directions:
Place butter and brown sugar in microwave dish.  Cook on high for 2-3 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add butter and brown sugar mixture and combine till smooth.
Add in vanilla.

Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse

For those who were waiting for me to post this: sorry I took so long, I was out of town for a week and couldn’t get to it. ūüôā¬†
My new favorite dessert. I’ve only ever made them in tiny 2.2 ounce tumblers and eaten them with tiny spoons, for they are deliciously rich and intensely chocolaty¬†
Even though I made these for fifty-something people, I only partially used a recipe, so the measurements and quantities are still off. If you make these, you will probably have to much of one or two or the mixtures, but that’s not really a problem ūüėČ I’ll work on getting the recipe better and adjust from there!¬†

Ingredients:
Base:
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
Kahlua Mousse:
1 tablespoon kahlua, Or more if needed
8 -10 ounces dark chocolate
8 ounces cool whip or whipped cream (whipped)
Milk Chocolate Mousse
10 ounces milk chocolate
8 ounces cool whip or whipping cream (whipped)
Cream Cheese Mousse
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cool whip or whipping cream (whipped)
6 ounces milk chocolate chip
Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup cocoa powder, or more if needed
1/4 cup melted butter
Chocolate for garnish
Redi Whip

Directions:
In a small saucepan, whisk together cream, milk, vanilla and 1 teaspoon sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat. 
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour approximately 1/3 warm cream mixture into yolks, stirring constantly. Pour entire mixture back into the saucepan. 
Return to heat cooking, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Divide mixture in half. Add kahlua to one half and chill both halves till cooled. 
Mix crust ingredients and scoop 1 tablespoon per 2.2 ounce tumbler dishes (disposable) Press down.  
Melt chocolate in separate bowls and cool slightly. Add dark chocolate to the kahlua base and mix till smooth. Add whipped cream and fold till combined completely. 
Add the melted chocolate to the remaining filling. Fold in whipping cream until completely combined. 
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla till smooth. Slowly add melted chocolate and fold in whipping cream. 
Put each filling in a Ziploc bag and start layering! I did milk chocolate, kahlua/dark  chocolate and then cream cheese mixture on top of that. 
Before serving, top with Redi Whip and shaved chocolate 

Grandma Z’s Summer Cheesecake

This is by far one of the best summer desserts we make. This light cheesecake is delicious served with fresh fruit and try not baking the crust to keep the house cooler! Can be made in individual ramekins.

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
Filling:
8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pint whipping cream or large Cool Whip
Fresh fruit or fruit topping (cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple thickened with cornstarch, blueberry topping…)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. ¬†Mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. ¬†Press into 8″ X 8″ pan. ¬†Bake for 8 minutes. ¬†Cool.
Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Whip cream and fold into cream cheese mixture.  Spread over cooled crust.

Serve with fresh berries or sauce of choice.

Cadet Dessert

This has become a favorite around our place. It is so simple to make, just make sure to make it 12 hours before serving so the ice cream isn’t soft. Here’s a quote from the lady I got the recipe from:
“I served this to cadets during the 4 years we were stationed at West Point and it became known as “THE” dessert. Cadets would walk into our quarters and ask if I was serving “THE” dessert they had heard so much about form the previous cadet guests! There was never a single piece left over!” ~Susan Bowen



Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb.pkg Oreo cookies (about 40 cookies)
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (soften if spreading)
salted peanuts , optional
1 jar hot fudge sauce

Directions:
Crush Oreo cookies in Ziploc bag very well. ¬†Pour melted butter into bag and re-seal bag. ¬†Mix butter and cookies in bag with hands until thoroughly mixed. ¬†Pour cookie mixture into ungreased 9×13″ pan and press onto bottom of pan evenly.
Spread softened ice cream over top of cookies.  (Or take generic ice cream block, slice and layer over cookies.)  Cover and freeze for three hours.
Spread unheated fudge sauce over ice cream.  (Or fill pastry bag with cold fudge sauce and criss-cross over ice cream)
Sprinkle with peanuts.
Store in freezer.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bars

I think I like these bars because of how simple they are to make for how good they taste and how impressive they look. They’re great bars for over the holidays.¬†
Ingredients: 
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup  sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate
Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping: 
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup white chocolate 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
With an electric mixer, beat together melted butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla extract, beat gently. 
Combine flour, baking powder and ginger, beat briefly.  Add the cranberries and chips, stir just until incorporated. 
Spread batter into greased 15X10 pan.  Bake for 23-24 or until light brown.  Cool completely.
Blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and beat until frosting is fluffy and spreadable (adding 1 teaspoon of milk if needed).
Spread frosting over cooled bars.  Sprinkle with cranberries. 
Melt chocolate and drizzle over bars. 

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Peanut¬†butter and chocolate is probably the best combination, so these are some of the best bars ever!These can be turned into peanut butter cups, freeze beautifully and they’re no-bake!¬†

Ingredients: 
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter, smooth
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Directions: 
Mix graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar.
Melt butter.  Stir in peanut butter.
Mix graham cracker mixture and peanut butter mixture together. ¬†Press into greased 9 X 13″ pan. Chill.
Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave.  Spread over chilled bars.
Cut and serve.

Pumpkin Dip

It can’t be fall till there are fresh cooked gingersnaps and this deliciously creamy pumpkin dip. This dip would work well for unbaked tarts and frosting and could have anything dipped into it. We usually like gingersnaps, but pretzels, apples and¬†graham crackers work in a pinch!

Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
30 ounces canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Directions:
Combine sugar and cream cheese, beating till well blended.
Slowly bean in remaining ingredients. (if you dump everything in the bowl, trust me, it turns out with lumps of cream cheese and isn’t nearly as good)
Store in fridge.

Warning: this makes a lot!