Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

I, like so many people, have always had a fascination with the Amish lifestyle. I call it a lifestyle because, while I have read a good amount about their religion and respect 9and even agree) with a lot of it, it seems to be more than JUST a religion, but a lifestyle also. Especially in this day and age where so many of the Amish are forced by necessity to interact in the modern world, yet still choose to stay true to a life that forbids many of the things we all take for granted. There was a time in my life when I seriously considered trying to find a way to gain entrance into their world, but I came to realize that while I’m far less “modern” than many I know, I’m still probably too “of the world” to survive happily living as they do.

That said, I do, however, love what is considered the typical form of Amish cooking. Is what we do out here that is called Amish 100% accurate? I’ll probably never know. But it’s easy to find some foods that claim to be of the Amish spirit, at the very least. Add that into that category. Homey and comforting, using home canned goods (preferably) like my Spiced Apple Butter, generally made to feed a lot of people, and delicious. This recipe covers all those bases ๐Ÿ˜€ I adapted an old Amish apple butter bar recipe I had and this is what I ended up with.

These bars are utterly delicious. You have a streusel style crust covered with a rich cheesecake style later, then topped with large dollops of apple butter and more streusel. You go from sweet and creamy to crunchy and nutty to tart and fruity in each bite of these. They are perfect for the family and after school snacks, perfect for a potluck or church dinner and great for a family dessert topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ˜€

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts, (10 minutes, 350 oven)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 sticks ( 1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups apple butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil and butter the foil or spray it with non stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, 2 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a wooden spoon or your clean hands to mix in the butter, combining until it is a crumbly mass and no dry flour mixture remains.
  3. Set aside 1and 1/2 cups of the streusel and then press the rest of the streusel firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the crust is just a light golden brown.
  4. While the crust bakes, make your filling- in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese together with the sugar until light and creamy. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and blend just until combined. Beat in the eggs just until well combined. Sprinkle the flour/cinnamon mix over the top and stir that into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. When the crust is ready, pour the cream cheese batter over the top of the crust and smooth. Evenly dollop the apple butter over the cream cheese filling, then use a spoon or butter knife to gently swirl it into the filling. Sprinkle the reserved streusel over the top.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely. You can cut if then, but I found it slices better if chilled. Either way, cut into squares and serve. Keep refrigerated for storage.

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Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Mile High Lemon Milano No Bake Cheesecake

Mile High Lemon Milano No Bake Cheesecake

Mile High Lemon Milano No Bake Cheesecake


No more rain!!!! I have now 8 children and 72 cats lost in the grass that we can’t cut because it’s too wet! And I don’t HAVE that many kids or cats here at any other time. The grass is starting to look like something out of a Stephen King novel. At night, I see eerie glowing eyes out there and I’m pretty sure I heard a satanic voice calling to me. Of course, I hear that same voice telling me to eat entire pints of ice cream, so that may have been my imagination. Plus, it’s Summer vacation now and my seven year old is home and it’s difficult to tell him to go out and play if 1) I’m afraid of him joining the eerie crowd, and 2) what can he do outside other than get wet and covered in ticks. The ticks are LOVING this weather. We can’t cut down their hiding places and every time the boys go out, we have to do a tick check when they come back in.

On topic, I have long had a steamy love affair with Milano cookies. Don’t leave me in the sameย state room with the chocolate orange ones them or I’ll finish them off before Cookie Monster can say “back away from the cookies!” I saw a recipe for cookies and cream cheesecake. It was the typical Oreo cookie type, which is of course wonderful, but I wanted something more Summery, more refreshing and bright. What better for that then lemon, right? So I grabbed some Lemon Milanos (gosh, I love those things!) and using that recipe as my inspiration, came up with this one. I used a store bought graham cracker crust because lazy is my hobby, but feel free to make a homemade one. This cheesecake is simple as can be, slightly tart and refreshing and has a mild crunch from the cookie pieces in it and on top. It’s nice and creamy but not overwhelmingly rich and man, does it fill a pie crust! On a side note,ย  I would imagine you could use any flavor of Milanos you want in this; just omit the lemon zest if it doesn’t go with the flavors.

You know the drill…. ๐Ÿ˜›

Mile High Lemon Milano No Bake Cheesecake

  • 1 9 inch graham cracker or cookie crust
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (cut this down to 1 1/2 if you’re using a different flavor of Milanos)
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely crushed Lemon Milano cookies, plus more for garnish (buy two bags. You’ll have some left over. Hoard those for yourself ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  2. In another bowl (preferably with the bowl sitting in the kitchen sink, unless you like being splattered to death with cream), on low speed with a hand mixer, beat the cream until slightly thickened, then turn the speed up to high and continue beating until firm peaks form.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then gently fold in the cookie
  4. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into the pie crust and smooth the top. yes, it is very tall and yes, that’s a lot of filling. ๐Ÿ˜€
  5. Cover the pie lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to over night.
  6. When ready to serve, garnish with more crumbled cookies. Cut this into small slices. It IS a tall pie, so you’re getting a lot in a small slice. You should be able to get 12 servings out of this easily.

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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake



Hey everyone. Sorry about the rather long hiatus from here. I’ve been ill. Nothing earth shattering. You’re not getting rid of me that easily. Just been having some “I had a stroke a few years ago and it likes to come back and bite me in the arse at times” issues. So you’re still stuck with me. I was just too drained to be cooking and couldn’t balance well, which could have caused trouble, lol.

I tried making a cheesecake anyway while I was down and oh my, talk about a disaster. I have been making cheesecakes since my oldest son, now almost 29, was an infant. SO I have a wee bit of experience. But oh….my….heavens. I put what was a delicious batter in the oven and it wouldn’t cook. It puffed and overflowed all over my oven. It was greasy, grainy, watery; you name the bad adjective when it comes to cheesecakes and that cheesecake wore that adjective proudly, like a badge of honor. Once it overflowed, I had hopes that it would at least be salvageable for the family, since it certainly wouldn’t work as a post. But…ummmm…no. Totally…and completely…disgusting. I scraped the sodden gritty mess into the garbage and tried not to whimper like a 3 year old denied a chocolate bar. Or a 50 year old who just had to trash about 12 dollars worth of ingredients *whimpers*

Then today I tried again. I think I turned the oven light on 72 times and peeked into the oven to see what was happening. And lo and behold, I haven’t lost my skills. WooT!! Yay for non disgusting cheesecake! So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge coffee drinker. When I drink it, it has to be highly flavored and creamed. I’m one of those “I like a little coffee with my cream and sugar” people. But strangely enough, I love coffee flavored desserts. Coffee ice cream, tiramisu, anything mocha flavored. I’m all over them.ย  So I decided to play with that flavor idea in the cheesecake. But I wanted a mild coffee flavor, not an in your face caffeine punch from cheesecake. So I made a raspberry mocha… in cheesecake form. ๐Ÿ˜€

This is a pretty wonderful cheesecake. Creamy, rich, but not heavy. It has a mild chocolate/coffee flavor on first bite. Then you get some of the raspberry preserves with those flavors and that explosion of tart berry. THEN some of the chocolate curls and fresh berries;so good! Talk about happily confused taste buds. ๐Ÿ˜€

Don’t freak at the long instructions here. It’s mostly me jabbering on with some cheesecake tips that will help ANY time you make a cheesecake.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ™‚

Mrs. Cupcake… who wants more cheesecake and then NEEDS five hours on my exercise bike.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

  • Crust-
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups vanilla wafers
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Filling-
  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 8 ounce package mascarpone cheese, room temp (can use another cream cheese instead, but the mascarpone is decadently creamy)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp also
  • 1 10 to 12 ounce package chocolate chips (I used bittersweetย Ghirardelli’s ), melted according to package directions
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or espresso powder (use a teaspoon or so more if you want a heavier coffee flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  • Boiling water for the water bath
  • Fresh raspberries and chocolate curls for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan in two layers of heavy duty foil, each layer going in a different direction to make sure the whole pan is well covered. Lightly grease the pan and place inside a large baking dish. In your food processor, pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Pulse until well combined. Alternately, you can crush the cookies in a ziploc bag and then combine the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Press the mixture over the bottom and a little bit up the sides. Bake at 325 for 8 minutes; just long enough to set the crust. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar. Beat at medium speed until creamy.ย  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in the melted chocolate and beat on low speed just until combined.
  5. Pour the instant coffee granules into the cream; stir to dissolve. Whisk the cream and the melted butter into the batter. Trust me on the whisk. You use the beater and you’re going to be wearing cream.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Microwave the preserves for about ten second, just enough to thin them out a bit. Dollop the preserves onto the top of the cheesecake batter. Use a butter knife to drag through the preserves, spreading the preserves decoratively through the batter.
  7. Place the baking dish with the pan in the oven and carefully pour boiling water around the springform pan, going about an inch up the sides of the pan. Carefully push the rack in, being careful to not splatter water into the cheesecake pan.
  8. Bake at 325 for between 65 to 85 minutes (I have gone to both extremes for some reason; cheesecakes are finicky). When it is looking set up to about midway into the cheesecake, stick a instant read thermometer carefully into the middle of the cheesecake. You are looking for a temp of about 150 degrees. If it is that, turn the oven off, prop the door open with a dishtowel or something, and leave the cheesecake completely alone to finish cooking in the turned off oven. The final temp needs to be between 160 to 165. Any higher and you will most likely end up with a huge crack down the middle of the cheesecake. Plus, letting it sit in the slowly cooling oven helps protect from quick temp changes which can also cause it to crack. When the oven has completely cooled, take the cheesecake out and let it come to room temp. Then chill until cold, preferably overnight. They slice sooooo much better that way.
  9. When ready to serve,ย  garnish with fresh raspberries and chocolate curls. Slice with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and dried in between cuts.

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Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

There are some foods that it is dangerous to leave me alone with. Set me in front of a dish of panna cotta and you’re likely to come back in 30 minutes and see that I’ve eaten mine, yours, everyone’s and am now sitting in a panna cotta stupor on the floor, grinning like a loon. Put creme brulee near me and I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Give me a bone in ribeye and some roasted brussel sprouts and soon enough, I’ll be that person moaning saying “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.

There are also some foods that aren’t quite as “normal” that I’m not safe around. I eat fries when I have a ribeye. I also set the baking sheet full of overly greasy fries back in the oven and eat them for breakfast the next day. Yes, feel free to gag.ย  Then there’s Cheetos. I shamefully admit that I have been known (in the past, in my weight loss defense) to polish off the majority of a large bag of Cheetos in one sitting while watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.

This cheesecake however, does not go into the not so normal category. It may go into the “omg, this is good!” category though. I have been making this cheesecake for years; more years than I care to admit. It originally came from yet another of those decades old paper Pillsbury cookbooks I have collected for…well, decades. Yes, I’m old. Fifty as of this past Tuesday, actually. *sobs just a little for lost youth, then gets over it and eats more cheesecake* Liiiiiike I said, I’ve been making this for years. I changed it some from the original but not enough to say it’s a totally different cheesecake, just added a few ingredients, took away almonds in the crust and bake it in a water bath to minimize cracking. It also originally had a sour cream topping and I do use that sometimes, but I prefer the topping I have here.

This is a wonderful base cheesecake to play with. You have a chocolatey, buttery crust, topped with a very creamy chocolate filling. I always add a touch of almond extract to the filling. It doesn’t make it taste almondy; don’t worry. It just adds that little something that makes people say, “what is in this?”. The filling is smooth, rich and creamy. Then I topped it this time with the worlds easiest strawberry sauce and dolloped it with a slightly tart cream and sour cream topping. In the past, I have also drizzled this with caramel sauce, cherry topping, peaches, etc. Like I said, this is a great base to play with. It’s also dam good on its own so try it like that first. This goes together quickly and if you bake it as directed, there will be little to no cracking on top.

You know the drill…. ๐Ÿ™‚

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

  • Crust- 2 cups finely crushed Oreo’s- about 21 cookies (I use my food processor)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling-
  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, melted per package directions and cooled
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Topping-
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, ice cold
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, ice cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Strawberry sauce-
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen strawberries, thawed, NOT drained
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Boiling water for water bath
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover a 9 inch springform pan with 2 layers of heavy duty foil, making sure it goes up about 3 inches on the sides. This helps prevent water from getting into the pan as the cheesecake bakes.
  2. Lightly butter the whole pan.
  3. In a large bowl (or your food processor), mix together the crust ingredients. Press them onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. I have found that using the bottom of a small glass is the easiest way to press any crumb crust in. It is much more even and firmly pressed in that way. Set the crust aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and extracts; beat well.
  5. Add in the cream and melted butter. You’re best off whisking these in because trying to beat the liquid into the batter results in a lot of splashing, even on low speed.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter to level it and help get rid of any air bubbles in it. Place pan inside of a deep baking pan. Slide into the oven and carefully pour boiling water around the cheesecake to a level of about one inch up the sides of the pan, being careful not to splash any water into the cheesecake.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes (large time gap, but I have had it go to both extremes.), until the cheesecake is set around the outer third but the center is still rather soft. It will set from residual heat as it cools.
  8. Cool for five minutes on a rack then loosen the sides and carefully slide off the outside of the pan. Finish cooling completely until room temp, then refrigerate until 30 to 60 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.
  9. About 30 minutes before serving, make the sauce and the topping. The sauce couldn’t be simpler. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and the sugar. Let sit for about 30 minutes so the sugar has time to dissolve.
  10. For the topping, in a large bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Beat at medium speed (careful of splattering) until the mixture is thick and creamy with firm peaks, about 4 minutes.
  11. Top each slice of cheesecake with some strawberries and topping. Eat. Curse me as you loosen your pants. Know that I’m over here giggling at you.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel bars2

I remember Thanksgiving when I was a kid. I’ve mentioned before that my mom was not much of a cook. In her defense, as I’ve said, she was a single mom who worked ungodly hours and even had she been home, it just wasn’t her passion. Thanksgivings that I remember were fairly rushed because her long term b/f worked as a train engineer and we always had Thanksgiving dinner at like 2pm so he could get to work. Always pissed off my brother, sister and myself. I think that, being the children of divorce, we wanted that whole Norman Rockwell ideal on holidays and that just doesn’t happen in real life. I remember a fairly dry turkey, stuffing that was actually pretty good, mashed taters, the ubiquitous sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows which I still love, (on a side note, I remember the year my brother wanted something different and made sweet potatoes with oj in them and no marshmallows. No one ate them lol. Sorry, Steve.), plus two store bought pies- pumpkin and pecan.

Nowadays, even before I blogged, I go a bit more all out. Holidays give me an excuse to make all those seasonal things that I’ve had tabbed in cookbooks and magazines for like 37 years. The end result is enough food to feed 478 people which was great when I had a ton of people at home, not so much now, especially this year when there will be only 5 of us here. But will that stop me? No. I’ll still make far too much and be grateful we are able to do so. That will include a pumpkin pie or two, a pecan pie and quite possibly this cheesecake.

One of the holiday-ish recipes I have had tabbed forever was this recipe. I found it in a 2006 issue of Bon Appetit, their 50th anniversary issue which was pretty awesome as magazines go.

Now, if you try this, like I told my husband, remember, this is a cheesecake, not a typical pumpkin pie. So it’s tangier and the texture is different. But trust me, this is NOT a bad thing. The crust and the topping are one and the same, just used differently. Both are crunchy, sweet enough to be a good foil to the filling and topping and just plain yummy. The filling is creamy, spicy, slightly tangy and nice and pumpkiny.ย  I doubled the recipe (because it used only a partial can of pumpkin and I HATE that) and added a good bit more in the way of spices as well as some vanilla plus the crust/crumbs didn’t have any spice at ALL which bored me so I added some there too. If you like pumpkin pie, if you like cheesecake, if you like “normal” pumpkin cheesecake, you need to try this one. It’s pretty yummy and I’m glad I doubled the recipe though I’m sure my thighs and hips aren’t so happy with me. For the record, I’m posting this in the quantities they used, If you want to double it as I did, it’s easy enough to do ๐Ÿ™‚

You know the drill…

This looks like it has a lot of steps and ingredients, but really, it all comes together quickly since the bulk of the ingredients are just the spices.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Bars

  • Crust/crumb topping-
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • Filling-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Topping-
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.ย  Butter a 9 inch square pan (or use something like Bakers Joy which is what I did) and set aside. Have ready a 9×13 inch rimmed baking sheet.
  2. To make the crust/crumbs, combine the flour, salt, brown sugar and spices. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until it resembles small crumbs. Stir in the pecans and oats.
  3. Press 3 1/2 cups of the mixture firmly into the bottom of the 9 inch pan to form the crust. Spread the rest of the mixture onto the 13×9 inch pan. Put both in the preheated oven.
  4. Bake the sheet pan for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice during baking. When it’s done, break it up into smaller bits and set aside. For the crust, bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and firm.
  5. For filling- Using a hand mixer, combine all the filling ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour onto the hot crust and return to the oven.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until it is set, looks dry at the center and is beginning to puff up around the edges.
  7. While it bakes, make the topping. Simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  8. When cheesecake is done, remove from the oven and spread the topping over it. Return to the oven for five minutes. Take out and set onto a rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. When it is totally cool, take the reserved broken up crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the cheesecake. Press down lightly to make them adhere. Chill the cheesecake until cold. To serve, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water to make clean cuts.

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New York Cheesecake With Triple Berry Sauce

New York Cheesecake With Triple Berry Sauce

New York Cheesecake With Triple Berry Sauce


I’ve always gotten a kick out of the regional competition between different parts of the country when it comes to food. Being born and raised in Chicago, I saw a lot of it there. Chicagoans will tell you that you can’t get sausage as good anywhere but there… and they would be correct. They will also tell you that the way they make hot dogs is the best… and they would, again, be correct. Then there’s pizza. While Chicago is known for deep dish, believe it or not, a native Chicagoan will tell you that Chicago is more known for thin crust pizza. And yes, it’s better there. I didn’t have deep dish pizza until well into adulthood. Go figure.

Other parts of the country will arguments over other foods, such as where in the south you can get the best fried chicken or the best shrimp and grits (both foods dear to my heart…and stomach), where the best bagels are available (from all accounts that would be New York but never having been there, I can’t say) down to even where you can get the best coffee (Seattle ostensibly but again, I couldn’t say)

One thing most people won’t argue about though is where one can get the best cheesecake. New York wins that. While, like I said, I’ve never been there (*sobs* I’m so travel deprived) I’ve tried enough cheesecake to be pretty certain which is the best. And a thick, dense, creamy New York style cheesecake is hard to beat. Though *she says with a sheepish grin* I DO have a liking for those creamy French style Sara Lee cheesecakes. Don’t judge!

You need to give this one a try next time you get a hankering (yes, I just said hankering…what of it? ๐Ÿ˜› ) for cheesecake. It is, as I mentioned above, thick (boy, is it thick), dense and creamy. Plus, with the quick berry sauce on top, it goes from wonderful to “omg, back away from this cheesecake cause it’s all mine!”.

This is fairly quickly put together. It takes a while to cook and then to chill but it’s worth the wait. Mine took longer than the recipe said it would by about 50% time wise but that could be my oven, who knows. This originally comes from Cooks Illustrated and I really didn’t chance much other than I added 2 tablespoons of flour (I have bad luck at times with cheesecakes that don’t contain a touch of flour so I just put a bit) and I added the lemon and orange zests. The berry sauce is also mine but there’s nothing fancy about it though it looks it. All it is is berries and some softened up jam. I prefer uncooked berry sauces over cooked because 1) they’re easier and 2) you don’t lose the fresh flavor of the berries by cooking them. I also opened the door for a minute at the stage of turning the oven down to 200 because when researching this recipe, I read a LOT of reviews saying that theirs burned but those who said they propped the door open for a minute didn’t have that issue. I love the mild citrus flavor they added but feel free to omit them if you’re more a cheesecake purist.

You know the drill… git to cookin’.

New York Cheesecake With Triple Berry Sauce

  • Crust-
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I used about 2 cause I like graham cracker crusts a bit sweet)
  • Cheesecake-
  • 5 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Triple Berry Sauce-
  • 4 cups fresh mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup good quality berry jam (I used Smuckers Triple Berry Preserves)
  1. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. To make the crust, combine the crumbs and the sugar. Stir to combine. Then pour over the melted butter and stir well until it’s evenly moistened. Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and using the bottom of a glass, press them onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes or so, until they are lightly browned. After you take it out, turn the heat up to 500 degrees (yes, you read that right)
  3. For the cheesecake- in a large bowl,ย  using a hand mixer (I have tried a stand mixer with this recipe and it simply doesn’t get the bottom of the bowl well enough and you end up with lumps of unmixed cream cheese), beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy with no lumps. Scrape the bowl once or twice during the mixing.
  4. Add in the sugar and flour and beat until combined, about one minute. Scrape the bowl again, then add the lemon juice,ย  zests, sour cream and vanilla. Beat at low speed until combined. Add the egg yolks, then beat until combined. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, and beat each time until well combined.
  5. Spray the cheesecake crust with cooking spray (yes, the crust… ), set the crust on a baking sheet (in case of drips) then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 500. Then turn the heat down to 200 degrees. Prop or hold the door open for about 45 seconds or so so heat goes down a bit quicker then close it back.
  6. bake at 200 degrees for about an hour and a half (like I said up there, mine actually took closer to 2 hours but that may be my oven so check yours at the 90 minute mark.
  7. You want this to come to 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer. It should be set except in the center 2 inches or so of the cheesecake. It’s ok if it is VERY slightly jiggly there. It will firm up during the cooling process.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Using a butter knife, run it along the edge of the pan between the crust and the pan. This will help loosen it up. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
  9. About an hour before serving, pour your berries in a medium bowl. Gently fold in the softened jam or preserves (you can soften it simply by giving it a good stir before using it). When ready to serve, either spoon the berries on top of the cheesecake or serve in a bowl alongside it.

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Mascarpone Lemon Cheesecake & Berry Parfaits

Mascarpone lemon Cheesecake & berry Parfaits

Mascarpone lemon Cheesecake & Berry Parfaits


Wow, that recipe name was a mouthful. But I wanted to get the gist of it across. I could have just said cheesecake parfaits but beyond the fact that that sounds completely boring, it doesn’t talk about the mascarpone and we all know that mascarpone creates a totally different cheesecake and mouth feel (hehehehe… I said mouth feel…{insert Beavis and Butthead voice here } yes, I am really 12 years old ) than plain cream cheese so it needed mentioning. And of course you see the berries but you can’t SEE the lemon so I had to mention it too lol.

Other bloggers know how difficult it can be to come up with a name for something you’ve made if it doesn’t already have one. I have seen some that are so ridiculously long that it turns me off of even wanting to make the dish. Fictitious example- “Lamb Burgers With a Garlic Emu testicle Aioli, Caramelized And Bruleed Llama Toenails Andย  Sauteed Red peppers Served On A Tapioca Flour Spelt Bun On A Bed Of Spicy Arugala”. If you read recipes, you KNOW what I’m talking about there. Then on the other extreme you have ones that give you no idea of what it is. You’ll see a photo that obviously has a handful of different components but all it will say is “Llama Rice”. But…but…but…WAIT!!! I see what looks like pine nuts there and sparrow wings and dried fruit and and and isn’t that a brioche it’s resting in???

Thus why I tried to be somewhat concise here. Because Mascarpone No Bake Lemon Cheesecake With a Graham Cracker Crumble, Lemon Curd And Berries made me cringe as a title. And Lemon Cheesecake doesn’t do this justice.

I was quite proud of this when I tried the final dessert. I had already tried a bit 75 spoonsful of each separate part and they were all fantastic. I could and possibly do eat lemon curd as my dessert just off the spoon. I may have made a double batch for this dessert just so that I would have a lot of leftovers hehe. The cheesecake filling was simple yet tasted rich and creamy. The graham cracker crumble was a wonderful sweet textural counterpoint to the creaminess of the dessert. And the berries?? Well, they’re berries… in season…with raspberry jam. What else can I say? ๐Ÿ˜€

This comes together easily but it is a little time consuming as you are layering it all. It also makes enough for 12 servings so either make this for a large gathering (think cookout, pot luck or picnic) or cut it in half. Whatever you do, enjoy and… git to cookin’.

Mascarpone Lemon Cheesecake & Berry Parfaits

  • Cheesecake-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 8 ounce package mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lemon Curd-
  • My recipe for lemon curd is here
  • Graham Cracker Crumble
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Berries-
  • 3 pints mixed berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jam (GOOD QUALITY)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

 

    1. Make your lemon curd first so that it can chill. When made, cover bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
    2. Make the cheesecake which couldn’t be easier as this is no bake. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Beat at medium high speed with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Pour in the condensed milk and beat until mixture is again smooth and creamy
    3. Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Beat at low speed just until combined. Pour mixture into a tupperware-ish bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
    4. Make your berries- In a medium bowl, combine the berries (make sure to pick off all the pesky leftover stems). Add in the jam (melt it a little and cool it if it is a very thick jam. You don’t want to have to stir so hard to mix that you crush all the berries) and stir to combine. Again, refrigerate for about 2 hours to give the flavors time to meld.
    5. Make your graham cracker crumble- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with foil.
    6. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
    7. Mix in the melted butter into the crumbs and stir well until is is all combined.
    8. Pour crumbs onto baking pan and bake at 350 for ten minutes or until the crumbs look dry and lightly toasted, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
    9. When the other ingredients have chilled, get out 12 4 ounce glasses (4 ounce canning jars work well if you don’t have a lot of glasses and they come in handy with the current trend towards desserts in jars plus it makes them portable if taking them out of the house)
    10. Layer the ingredients in whatever order strikes your fancy. I did it with cheesecake filling, crumbs, lemon curd, berries and then repeated one time.
    11. Chill parfaits until serving time.

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Berry Mascarpone Cheesecake Bars

Mascarpone Berry Cheesecake Bars-001

I have decided to build an ark. Yep. An ark. Because I am pretty sure it is never ever going to stop raining here in my part of Kentucky. Usually here in mid May, we are hovering around the 80’s and already worrying about drought. This year however, it has rained almost every day for almost 2 weeks and the temp, while pleasant, is most certainly not hovering near the 80’s. Right now it’s 62.

But!!! Being me, I will not be filling my ark with two of every animal. Nope. Noah already did that and I don’t want to be a copycat. There will be animals of course. I’ll have monkeys. I like monkeys. And cats. And platypus for comic uses. But no elephants unless one of you wants to offer poop scooping services. And you’d darn well better believe I’m leaving mosquitoes behind. And centipedes. Those things ick me out. They have got to be the most prehistoric bug ever. If some director wanted to make a killer horror movie, he/she would only need to have a few scenes with centipedes crawling over the tied up heroine. *shivers*

So what will my ark be filled with? Duhhhh man, this is ME. What do YOU think? CANDY!! Twelve (why stop at two) of every kind of chocolate, lemonheads and of course my current craze, fruity gummi candy. I may also throw some cheetos on the ark just cause.

But, if you’re one of those weirdos who wants their fruit with no preservatives and actually *gasps* REAL, try these cheesecake bars. I based them off of the ubiquitous blackberry pie bars that you can find everywhere online, including right here on my blog . The pie bars originally came from The Pastry Queen cookbook. These cheesecake bars are based on that recipe. They use the same crust but the filling is changed up. These are quite yummy. The crust is sweet and buttery and the filling is creamy, tangy and sweet all at the same time. Plus- they have crumbs on top. Butter, fruit, mascarpone and crumbs. Need I say more? They couldn’t be any easier to make so you know the drill… get to cookin’!

Berry Mascarpone Cheesecake Bars

  • Crust and crumbs-
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold
  • Filling-
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • ย 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed and drained well
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen blackberries, thawed and drained well
  • Fresh berries to scatter on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9 inch pan then line it with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  2. Combine the 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Set aside 2 cups of the mixture. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it is golden brown. Let rest while you prepare the filling.
  4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, together the mascarpone, cream cheese and sour cream. Add the sugar and beat just until well combined. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat well. Mix in the flour. Gently fold in the drained berries.
  5. Spoon the mixture over the prepared crust. Sprinkle evenly with the crumbs that you held back earlier.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees about 55 minutes. You want the top to be firm but still to have a little jiggle in the center third of the bars, just like with any other cheesecake. The crumbly top will be a nice light golden brown. This will firm up as it cools so don’t overcook it.
  7. Let this cool for at LEAST an hour or so before cutting, but it’s preferable to cover it and let chill overnight. Use a sharp serrated knife that you’ve heated under hot water if you want to get clean cuts.

Warning. This Is NOT Diet Food :-D

 

Lemony White Chocolate Cheesecake

You’ve been warned. As a matter of fact, I warned you when I came back to the blog that yes, I would be sharing some lower calorie/lower fat dishes (preferably dessert hehe) but that I would still be…well… ME and would continue sharing the type of goodies that make you have to get your fat girl (or fat boy as the case may be… and while I’m thinking of it, how come it seemed ok to say “fat GIRL” instead of woman but I had to stay an urge to write “fat MAN”? What’s up with that backwards “I must have been born in 1825” sort of thinking?) pants and make you sob uncontrollably when you get on the scale. Why? Because I enjoy torturing you. Heck, who am I kidding. I’M the one who has most of a creamy delicious cheesecake taunting me here. I suppose just burying my face in it and inhaling would be strange huh?

I think we all know by now that I love anything lemon. I don’t care if typically, it’s considered a Summer food and all the cuter, prettier and more popular bloggers *grins* have moved on to all pumpkin/maple/apple/cinnamon/elephant/cranberry/squash/turkey recipes. I’m a rebel! A rebel I say! Or I was just in the mood for lemon. Whatever. But really; I like lemon. Lots. I like These Lemon Crumb Bars , I like This Lemon Curd. A LOT., I like These yummy cookies and I also absolutely LOVE cheesecake as shown here . So give me a chance to combine the two and I’m one happy woman (notice I said woman and not girl :-p ) It uses white chocolate which my friend Bel says isn’t really chocolate at all, but that’s ok; I love her anyway. She loves pumpkin as much as I do so she can’t be ALL bad. White chocolate not being a flavor that shouts itself from the rooftop, it adds more of a creaminess and vanilla flavor to this rather than a pronounced in your face chocolate flavor. But creamy is never a bad thing. I like creamy. And lemon. And white chocolate. So yup, I like this cheesecake. Too much. Please come take it from me before I have to go back to my fat girl pants. Better yet, make it yourself, have no self control, eat far too much and then tell me about it so I can feel better. Misery loves company and all that rot.

This originally comes from Taste Of Home. I didn’t change much at all. I gave it a graham cracker crust cause I was feeling lazy and I added a touch more lemon juice. Otherwise, all Taste Of Home here.

Lemony White Chocolate Cheesecake

  • CRUST-
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • FILLING-
  • 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened (could use low fat, but I wouldn’t recommend fat free)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled (please don’t use “white baking chips”. It’s fine in cookies but you really need to use higher quality white chocolate when using it melted)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (could use evaporated milk instead)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • about 2 cups boiling water to put in oven for steam
  1. Combine crust ingredients and press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the rest of the filling ingredients except for the eggs. Beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Don’t add the boiling water please ๐Ÿ˜›
  3. Add the eggs, then beat on low speed just until combined. Remember, I’ve said it before, unless specifically instructed, you never want to overbeat a cheesecake batter. It adds air to the mix which can cause those unsightly cracks on top.
  4. Pour the batter into the crust.
  5. Put a pan (I just use a cake pan) into the bottom rack of the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into it.
  6. Put the cheesecake into the oven, middle rack. Bake at 325 for anywhere from 65 to 85 minutes. Mine took about 80 minutes. The sides should be set but the center of the cheesecake should still be jiggly.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for about ten minutes, then unlatch the side of the pan and let it cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting and to get good cuts, use a sharp knife dipped in very hot water.
  8. Serve with whipped cream and lemon peel garnish. Or just bury your face in it and inhale.


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Once Upon A Time

Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake

I remember when I first started trying to teach myself to cook. My mom wasn’t big on cooking; she was too busy supporting 3 kids to worry about it. She did however make really good lasagna, chili, chicken and dumplings and lemon meringue pie. But she just didn’t have the time to really get into it. So when I was about ten or so, I started playing with our food ๐Ÿ˜›

My brother or sister were usually the ones to make dinner for us when mom was at work but I liked playing around with baking. Thing is, I never used a cookbook. Strangely enough, I actually succeeded anyway quite a few times. I know now that what I was whipping up when I dumped butter (well, margarine. Mom only got butter at the holidays), sugar, vanilla and flour into a bowl and beat the living hell out of it was a basic pound cake, but back then I just thought I was a genius because I made a cake… all by myself. My brother and sister never complained. I guess even far from perfectly done cakes were ok. They were sweet after all and we were kids hehe. I also had quite a few failures with this basic dump and bake method. I recall many a cake coming out of the pan gummy, tough and undercooked in the middle. We ate those too. They were sweet and we were kids ๐Ÿ˜€

I still have problems with actually opening a cookbook and following a recipe. Anyone who reads this blog knows how often I completely destroy change a recipe I’ve gotten elsewhere. Usually it works. I get lucky. If not, hey, it’s sweet and I HAVE kids now. They don’t care. ๐Ÿ˜›

Sometimes though, I find a recipe that sounds yummy enough just the way it’s written that I don’t change much at all anything. The recipe I’m posting today is one of those rare creatures. I borrowed a Gourmet cookbook from the library recently. OMG, I love this book. I have so many paged marked (not literally) to make the recipes. When I saw this recipe for Mascarpone Cheesecake, I knew I had to make it. I had bought a tub of Mascarpone a few weeks ago when we weren’t completely broke (there is a reason you get so many inexpensive recipes lol) and was saving it for the “right recipe”. This one was it. The only things I changed was to add the zest of one orange into the filling and about half a teaspoon of orange extract. Not enough of either to actually make it taste orangey, just enough to give it that “ooo, what’s in this? I taste something but I’m not sure what it is” kind of oomph. Mainly, I wanted a reason to decorate the top of it with orange strips hehe. I also used a full 3 packages of cream cheese just cause it seemed silly to use two and a half of them ๐Ÿ˜›

So if you’re craving cheesecake, give this one a try. It’s rich and creamy without being over the top “I can’t finish a piece of this…it’s too much”. It has the most outstandingly wonderful smooth and creamy texture of any cheesecake I’ve ever tasted or made. Even my non cheesecake loving husband keeps going back and taking bites of the slice I cut for picture taking and my 15 year old says he is going to eat his piece really slowly to make it last lol. I was going to add a sauce to it, but it’s so good I didn’t. Maybe with the leftovers tomorrow.

Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake

  • Crust-
  • 70 vanilla wafers, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Filling-
  • 3 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used a full cup since I used extra cream cheese)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from one small orange
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Topping-
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350, making sure your oven rack is in the middle..
  2. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl and combine until you have a nice crumbly mixture.ย  Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes or until light brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  4. While it cools, make the filling. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the extracts, lemon juice and orange zest and beat at low speed just until combined.
  7. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
  8. Bake until cheesecake is barely set and still jiggly in the middle, about 30 minutes mine actually took more like 40. But, it should be set on the outside, wiggly near the middle inch or so. It will finish setting up as it cools. Cool slightly in the pan for about 20 minutes.
  9. Make the topping-
  10. Stir together the topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  11. Spoon topping over the still warm cheesecake and return to the oven for about ten minutes or just until the topping looks set and not runny.
  12. Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake to prevent cracking. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before taking the sides off of the cake. Best bet is to refrigerate it overnight.
  13. Use a knife dipped in hot water to make clean cuts. Or just grab a spoon and hide in the closet and eat this.