Thin Mint Cheesecake

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It’s Girl Scout cookie time!! Which means I brought home a bag full of Samoas (Caramel Delights) and Thin Mints last week… I may have over-ordered on cookies, but I never felt like I had enough Samoas last year after my last box mysteriously disappeared. (I probably ate them and just forgot… Whoops!) But this year I’m prepared, and a few boxes will be going into the freezer for later. 🙂

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I’ve been wanting to make things out of Girl Scout cookies for a while, but other things always seemed to hit at the same time (Pancake Tuesday, St. Paddy’s Day, etc.). But this year, I’m making two things using my two favorite Girl Scout cookies! The first is this Thin Mint Cheesecake, which has a crust made from an entire box of Thin Mints, minus the 2 that I nibbled while I was baking. 😉

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Instead of making an entire chocolate-peppermint cheesecake, I decided to divide the batter. I didn’t want a heavy cheesecake, as cheesecake is already rich and dense. So about two-thirds of the batter was dyed light green and flavored with just peppermint. The rest of the cheesecake batter was amped up with melted chocolate and swirled  into the peppermint batter.

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And wow, this cheesecake is amazing! I brought it to a party on Friday night, and it was devoured. Thankfully, I cut two pieces from the cheesecake to take photos, and saved them for the boyfriend and I to enjoy later! And those were the perfect after-dinner treat last night! 🙂

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

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Chocolate Pudding Cake

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Today, I want to share one of my family recipes: Chocolate Pudding Cake. This is one of the recipes that has been passed down through the generations from my great-grandmother, Nanny, although I made a few minor changes. I know I’ve mentioned it previously, but I come from a long line of amazing bakers on both sides of my family!

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This old-fashioned cake starts with a thick chocolate batter, and then you pour hot liquid (almost like hot chocolate) on top. As it bakes, a gooey cake forms, with a rich chocolate pudding underneath.

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The best part of this cake, besides the fact that it tastes amazing, is that it is incredibly easy to whip up! All of the prep work takes only about 15 minutes, and you don’t need an electric mixer. You also really only need one bowl and a large measuring cup, so dirty dishes are minimal (a big plus in my book!).

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So, if you’re looking for a quick and easy dessert — something for Valentine’s Day perhaps? — look no further! Grab some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for topping, and you’re good to go.

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Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Chocolate Pizza

A few weekends ago, I decided to try to make homemade mozzarella cheese. One of the blogs I follow (Love and Olive Oil) has been posing a monthly “Kitchen Challenge”, and June’s challenge was for homemade mozzarella. Since I’ve missed out on the timing for the last few challenges, I decided to give this one a try! And while I was at it, why not make homemade pizza dough? And, if I can make homemade pizza dough and cheese, why not go all the way and try for a dessert pizza?!

Well, the homemade mozzarella was a bit of a FAIL as I forgot to put the citric acid in the first batch, and the next 5 batches curdled. The last batch finally set up properly (I am less than enthused about the results), but by that time, I’d already given up on incorporating it in to this dessert…

So I switched gears slightly to use goat cheese instead of mozzarella, which ended up working out well. Cause this pizza came out amazing! Especially with the addition of my homemade Cherry-Bourbon Jam! And I was inspired to make two batches of homemade pizza dough: one regular and one chocolate. (The mini pizzas that the boyfriend and I made were adorable and super tasty! Check out a picture on my Instagram.) Overall, it turned out to be a fun challenge, and I can now add homemade pizza to my repertoire! 🙂

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Guinness & Chocolate Bread Pudding

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve dedicated my blog this week to everything Irish. This post is the second in a series about a seriously decadent dessert: Guinness & Chocolate Bread Pudding.

I first got inspiration for this recipe while watching Paula Deen, of all things, last week. The TV was on in the background while I was unpacking the kitchen, and I was immediately stopped in my tracks at the thought of a chocolate bread pudding. And, based on prior experience combining Guinness and chocolate, I decided on this year’s St. Paddy’s Day dessert.

The bread pudding starts off with cubed Irish Soda Bread, which I made the night before. (Check out yesterday’s post for the recipe!) The bread cubes are soaked in a Guinness and chocolate custard and topped with dark chocolate chips before baking. The result is a super-chocolately bread pudding, with an accent of Guinness.

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. Be sure to check back tomorrow to find out part 3 of this week’s series! (Teaser: it involves more Guinness!) And thanks for reading! 😀

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Nanaimo Bars

When I was a kid, there was always a very specific list of Christmas treats that my mom would bake up for the three of us to enjoy (my mom, my sister, and me). Usually, my mom hid the Tupperwares full of cookies and other desserts in the basement, so that the baking would last as long as possible. Our family sweet tooth is pretty strong, so sweets never lasted too long in our house…

My mom’s list primarily included traditional family recipes that had been passed down from my grandmothers and great grandmothers. We’d have shortbread cookies, gingerbread mans, mincemeat and marsipan tarts, and Nanaimo bars. This holiday, I decided to share my family’s recipe for Nanaimo bars with my readers!

Nanaimo bars are a traditional no-bake bar cookie that originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Many slight variations of the recipe exist, but the ingredients are primarily the same for all of them. The bars start out with a crust made from chocolate, graham crackers, coconut, and nuts. Then the crust is topped with a custard-flavored butter icing and covered with a layer of chocolate.

An important part of the butter icing is custard powder, which is not so easily acquired in the States. Traditionally, my mom always used Bird’s Custard Powder because it is the most popular brand. In the States, it can sometimes be found in specialty grocery stores in the International Foods section (usually the British-made version) or at international stores like World Market. If you can’t find custard powder, you can substitute it with an equal amount of instant vanilla pudding.

One quick warning, these Nanaimo bars are SWEET and heavy. Traditionally, my family usually cuts them in to 16 servings, but the recipe can easily be cut in to 25 servings if your sweet tooth is not as dominant as mine… 😉

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Happy Cookie Swap Day! The 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is officially over, which means that it’s time for me to post my cookie swap recipe. According to Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil, the swap raised over $4,400 for Cookies for Kid’s Cancer and more than 20,000 cookies were shipped around the world! I really enjoyed participating in this year’s swap, from coming up with my own cookie recipe to receiving other blogger’s cookies! And I look forward to reading some of the 576 recipes are being posted today!

For the cookie swap, I sent out a dozen cookies to three different food bloggers in Virginia and Georgia. In return, I received some really amazing cookies from other bloggers! (I’ll post links to the recipes next week!) The best part definitely eating and sharing the cookies that I received. Tho, I have to admit, one batch never made it home to share with the boyfriend. 😛

Looking back at my blog, this is only the second cookie recipe I’ve posted. I find that amusing because cookies were one of the first things I gravitated towards when I started baking. But now that I’ve rediscovered my love of cookies, look out for more cookie recipes in the future! 😀

This cookie recipe was inspired by chocolate covered cherries. The cookies are a rich, chocolate cookie dotted with brandy-soaked cherries and chocolate chips. I’m not sure how they lasted so long, but the last of the leftovers from my double-batch were devoured last night by me and the boyfriend. They’re really tasty and make a great alternative to more traditional holiday cookies!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Hello, my name is Emily, and I’m addicted to cheesecake. But I’m not necessarily addicted to eating cheesecake, just baking it… I love the simple elegance of a cheesecake, and the almost endless possibilities of flavors. Between crusts, fillings, and toppings, there are hundreds of options!  And after discovering the amazing combination of pumpkin and chocolate when I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, I knew that I needed to make a pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake!

I waffled between a few different options for this cheesecake, but I finally settled on an idea. (Thanks to my mom and grandma for their opinions. More chocolate = always better!) This cheesecake starts with a simple chocolate graham cracker crust. I use Teddy Grahams because I can never seem to find chocolate graham crackers in any of my grocery stores. Then pumpkin cheesecake is swirled together with chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake. The result is absolutely mouth-watering.

A few tips on cheesecake baking:

  • Do not over-mix your cheesecake. This will incorporate extra air in to the batter and could cause your cheesecake to crack.
  • Bake your cheesecake in a water bath to keep the air in the oven moist and allow the cheesecake to bake slowly and evenly. This will prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.
  • Your cheesecake is done when it is set in the center but still wobbly. If you jiggle the pan a little, the very center should wobble like gelatin.
  • Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for about an hour after it is done cooking to allow it to cool very slowly. (This will also help prevent cracking.)
  • Be sure to cool your cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 6 hours. This will make sure it has the right consistency for serving.

This cheesecake is perfect for a holiday gathering (Thanksgiving is coming up next week!) or company potluck or any other occasion where you want to pull out a stunning and impressive dessert. I may even make another one for the office potluck next week! 🙂

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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