Archive for February, 2013

February 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies…so soft and chocolatey that they melt in your mouth.
Last week my husband asked me to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. At the point of adding the chocolate chips to my batter, I realized I only had half a bag left. So I rooted through my cupboards until I found a couple of packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups… I chopped these up and substituted them for the missing choc chips. These were delicious by the way, even my picky daughter ate them, although she asked if I would omit the chocolate chips next time and just add more peanut butter cups.
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 /2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 small eggs
  • 2 cups +  2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 peanut butter cups, chopped (I used regular sized, not the mini’s. It was almost 1 cup after chopped)
  • 3/4 semi sweet chocolate chips, or more if you prefer.

 

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a couple of baking sheet with parchment paper.
    If you want soft cookies I suggest using baking sheets without edges so you can slide the whole sheet of parchment paper off when removing them from the oven. This allows cookies to stop baking immediately after removing them from the hot cookie sheet. They may not seem fully baked at 8 minutes but after these cookies cool they firm up and remain soft.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat all 3 sugars and margarine until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla and eggs, mix until well blended.
  4. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Stir in chopped peanut butter cups and chocolate chips.
  6. Use a small cookie scoop (1 5/8″) and place dough 2 inches apart on parchment covered baking sheet.
  7. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown.
  8. Immediately after removing them from the oven slide the entire sheet of parchment paper onto the counter. Leave cookies on the paper until cooled.

Store in a sealed container.  This batch made exactly 41 cookies using my small cookie scoop.

Enjoy,

Crystal

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February 25, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 butter, melted

Filling:

  • 4 packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs, large
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Strawberry swirl filling:

  • 2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Topping:

  • 1 can Whipped Cream or you can make your own.
  • container of fresh strawberries

Directions:

* Preheat the oven to 325° F.
*You will need a 8.5″ or 9″ Springform pan, lightly greased to stick a layer of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.

Making the Crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and mix until incorporated..
  2. Press the crust into the bottom of a springform pan.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes @ 325 degrees F.
  4. Remove from oven and set aside while you prepare the cheesecake batter.

Strawberry sauce/syrup:

Cook the frozen strawberries on low heat and add the cornstarch, mixing really well. Strawberries will liquify and you can crush them up with a wooden spoon. Cook for approx 5 minutes until they have broken down and the mixture has thickened. Remove from stove and set aside to cool.   *Optional: If you want to create a pretty design on the top of the cake, take half of the sauce and put it through a strainer, and then pour it into a piping bag and attach a small tip. Set aside. (you won’t decorate the cake until 8 hours after baking, so you can refrigerate it until it’s needed and then warm it up slightly before using.)

Cheesecake Filling:

  1. Cream together the first 3 ingredients (cream cheese, sugar & flour) until it’s fluffy with little or no lumps. (* To avoid having a lumpy batter, make sure that the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are all room temperature before beginning).
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time – mixing well after each addition.
  3. Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice, mixing well. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so the batter is mixed evenly.
  4. Pour half of the batter on top of the crust in the springform pan and even it out with a spatula.
  5. Using half of the strawberry sauce, drop spoonfuls into the batter. Then use a toothpick or knife to drag through it and create a swirl pattern.
  6. Add the remaining cheesecake batter.
  7. Using your strained strawberry sauce (in piping bag) drizzle it in rows on the top layer. Use a toothpick or knife to pull lines through the sauce and create a pretty pattern. (See picture example below).
  8. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour, 30 minutes @ 325° F. (if your oven runs hot, you can take 15 minutes off the baking time)
  9. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, take a knife and gently run it along the sides of the pan. Open and close the springform pan.
  10. Turn the oven OFF and place the cheesecake back into the oven with the door left open, for 1 hour.
  11. When finished, place the cheesecake on a cooling rack (still in the pan) and let it cool completely before placing in the refrigerator.
  12. It needs to cool and firm up in the refrigerator over night or at least 8 hours.
  13. Cross your fingers that your cheesecake doesn’t crack through the middle. Sometimes this happens to me and then I just decorate the top to hide the imperfections.
  14. Slice up some strawberries and whip up a batch of whipped cream and decorate to your hearts content.

Below are a few pics that might be helpful for you visual learners.    🙂

Strawberry Cheesecake Crust

Strawberry Cheesecake syrup

Strawberry Cheesecake filling

Strawberry Cheesecake filling swirl

Strawberry Cheesecake filling swirl

Strawberry Cheesecake

Enjoy!

Crystal

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