Thin Mint Blondies

Thin Mint Blondies

Somehow these cookies have survived in our house for well over a month. I guess I was afraid to open these or something. I mean, these cookies only come once a year, and I’m known for eating these a sleeve at a time. I can behave when it comes to Tagalongs, but Thin Mints? Oh no. I had to ignore them…had to.

Then, this past Saturday, I opened my freezer and stared the Thin Mints down. Then, in my cheat day rage, I ran to Pinterest and looked over recipes using thin mints and stumbled upon these blondies. Of course I had to find a way to make thin mints less diet friendly. :-P

The wonderful thing about bars or brownies is they whip up so quickly. It’s kind of dangerous, but it’s also a good thing when you want to bake something for your coworkers after getting home from work, but also before you have to start cooking supper. :-) I had a small taste of these when I was cutting into them, and whoa. If I wasn’t counting my darn calories, I’d save half of the pan for myself.

If you happen to be one of the few with a box of thin mints stashed away, definitely give these a shot. You, or whomever you give these amazing bars to, will thank you a million times over. Just to note: The original recipe calls for Andes chips, but since I couldn’t find these in the store, I made them with a mixture of milk and white chocolate chips.

Thin Mint Blondies
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 box Thin Mint Cookies, cut or broken in half
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch pan and set it aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then, add in the white and brown sugars and whip the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes until everything looks light. Scrape the bowl down
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla and beat the mixture on low speed for about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl after adding each egg.
  4. Mix the salt and flour with a whisk separately in a small bowl. Then, add your flour mixture to your wet mixture with the mixture on low. Mix everything together until everything is just fully incorporated.
  5. Turn off the mixer, and using a spatula, fold in the milk chocolate chips as well as half of the box (one sleeve) of the Thin Mints.
  6. Spread the batter into your 9×13 pan. If it’s too thick to use your spatula, dip your fingers in warm water and spread the batter using your fingers.
  7. Bake the blondies for 20-25 minutes, until they are set in the middle.
  8. Once you take them out of the oven, working quickly, sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly on top of the blondies. Allow them to sit for a minute, and then gently press the other half of the Thin Mints into the top of the blondies.
  9. Allow the pan to fully cool on a rack before serving.

 

 

 

Easter Candy S’mores Cookies

Easter S'mores Cookies

I absolutely love seasonal candies. When it comes to Easter, it’s so dang hard to resist my favorite candies in pastels. It just makes them that much cuter. This doesn’t bode well for my thighs, since I’ve probably consumed about 45902 Cadbury caramel eggs this season alone. :-P When I was walking down the candy aisle earlier this week, I thought about baking with Easter candy just so I could have yet another excuse to buy another bag of candy. Then it hit me when I saw the Peeps: S’mores. I know I’ve seen s’mores cookies on a few food blogs before, so I grabbed a bag of Sixlets and Peeps (as well as another box of Cadbury caramel eggs…ugh).

When I got home, I thought that colorful sprinkles would make these cookies even cuter. I mean, why not? I ended up finding a bottle of rainbow (chocolate) chips by the sprinkles. I think that was fate, since the original recipe called for mini chocolate chips, which I didn’t have (whoops). So, with all of these colorful ingredients on my counter, I was pretty darn excited to make these cookies! In fact, when the first batch of cookies were done, I really didn’t wait long to pull one of these off of the cooling rack and devour it. And y’all, these cookies are just awesome. Not only are they super cute and colorful; they’re insanely addictive. This recipe also makes quite a few cookies for sharing. :-) I used my small cookie scoop to scoop these on the cookie sheet, but since this dough spreads a good bit, it still makes a decent sized cookie. In the end, I had enough cookies to share with both mine and H’s coworkers this time around. :-)

Easter Candy S’mores Cookies
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod, originally from Baked Perfection

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Wilton Rainbow Chip
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Easter Peeps (appx. the same size as mini marshmallows)
  • Easter Sixlets

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt, until well blended.
  2. In another bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat for about another minute.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add in the flour mixture slowly, and mix on low until just combined.
  4. Fold in the rainbow chips with a spatula.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop (appx. tbsp. sized), scoop the cookie dough out, giving about 2 inches between each cookie (like I said, these do spread). Bake for about 7 minutes and take the cookies out of the oven.
  6. Immediately add the sixlets and peeps, by pressing them gently into the cookie. Place the cookies back in the oven and bake them for another 3-4 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a cooling rack, and serve!

Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers bars are my diet nemesis. The candy bars are 280 calories each (yep), and I could seriously destroy one in a couple of minutes. Now that I’m calorie counting, 280 calories is a lot when you get under 1600 calories each day, but in my opinion, calories don’t count for one day of the year. Your birthday. I turned 28 on Friday, and since Snickers are my favorite, I decided to make these cupcakes to celebrate. Now, of course, I could buy a cake at a bakery and spend $30+, but heck, where can you find SNICKERS cupcakes? Not any place around here, that’s for sure!

The hardest thing for me was bringing home two bags of mini Snickers to make these bad boys happen. I totally ate about 10-ish mini Snickers that week, so I obviously don’t have any willpower against this candy….at.all. Oh, and when it came time to make these Thursday and cut the candy up for the filling….yeah, totally snuck a few tiny bites. Whoopsie!

I will admit, these cupcakes were more time-consuming than I thought, but it’s worth it to give these a try. Just don’t do it on a weeknight, like I did. :-P

If you’re concerned about me completely killing my diet, I’ll let you know that since I could have totally eaten all 20 of these cupcakes, I ended up giving most of them to H to bring to his coworkers. His coworkers absolutely loved these, and some of these actually wanted to know how much they would be for me to make them. So, I guess they weren’t a flop haha! My opinion? Heaven in a cupcake. Oh yes…if you love Snickers like I do, just make these cupcakes.

Snickers Cupcakes
Source: mildly adapted from Annie’s Eats, cupcakes originally from Martha Stewart, frosting originally from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. coarse salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the filling:

1 bag mini Snickers chopped into fourths (I found it easier to do this after the Snickers were in the freezer)
1/4 cup salted butter caramel sauce

For the frosting:

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted butter caramel sauce
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream

**To garnish the tops, you’ll need 20 mini Snickers.**

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix together until the ingredients are well-combined. In a smaller bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and hot water together until it’s a smooth liquid.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and sugar using medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove the mixture from the cook top and transfer the mixture to a mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment on the mixer, beat the butter/sugar mixture on medium-low speed for a few minutes, until the mixture has cooled (you don’t want to cook the eggs when you add them). Add in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating the mixture well and scraping down the side of the bowl after you add each egg. Add in the vanilla and the cocoa mixture and mix until well-combined. Then, turn the mixer on low and add in the flour mixture in two batches, and alternating with the sour cream. You want to beat the mixture until just combined (don’t overmix).
  3. Using a medium cookie scoop, add the batter to your cupcake pans (lined with cupcake liners) until each cup is about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes (rotating the cupcake pan once when the cupcakes are halfway done with baking), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes, and move them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  4. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone shape out of the center of the cupcakes using a paring knife. Using cooled caramel sauce, add 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce to your Snickers pieces and mix until the candy is coated in caramel. Then, add a spoonful of the filling to each cupcake.
  5. For the frosting, using a paddle attachment on your mixer, whip the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add in the confectioners’ sugar with the mixer on low speed, a cup at a time (to avoid a mess), until the mixture smooth and creamy. Add in the caramel sauce (which should be just a tad on the warm side for this), vanilla and salt on low speed, and mix until well-blended. Add in the heavy cream, and mix the frosting on medium speed for a few minutes until fluffy and smooth.
  6. To finish the cupcakes, frost the cupcakes to your liking (I used a Wilton 1B tip), drizzle on some caramel sauce, and place a mini Snickers on the center of each cupcake.

M&M White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

M&M and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Happy early St. Paddy’s Day y’all! When I was a kid, my family used to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New Orleans. The parades for St. Paddy’s Day aren’t anything like the ones at Mardi Gras. The prized throws are vegetables. That’s right, y’all. They throw vegetables at these parades. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes…you name it! I remember catching these things as a kid, and thinking that these were the most boring throws ever. Of course veggies are boring to a kid! The tradition is that you take home your catches, and then make a stew for your family for the holiday. :-)

The fun part for me was when some older men would walk in the parade carrying these huge displays of fake flowers, and they would hand them to the ladies and little girls. My sister and I used to compare bouquets at the end of the parade, and man, it was so much fun to get flowers as a little girl!

Sadly, I haven’t been to a parade in a long time, which really should be remedied next year, but the memories I have from my childhood just make me so psyched for the holiday. Not to mention, St. Paddy’s Day is the week of my birthday (as well as my sister’s)! Her birthday is actually today! If you’re reading this, Happy Birthday Sis!

As far as these cookies go, I’ve been wanting to make these M&M cookies for a while, and since I had a bag of Christmas M&Ms leftover from the holiday bake-palooza, I took a few minutes to take out the green M&Ms, add some white chocolate chunks and make these cookies finally happen. I have no idea how that bag of M&Ms lasted this long in our house, actually, but I guess I’m getting some willpower from the good ol’ diet. :-)

Strictly for quality control purposes, I had to try one of these bad boys. :-P It took a lot for me to not grab a second or a third, because I just LOVE M&M cookies! This recipe couldn’t be easier either, since it only requires one bowl. I’m all about doing less dishes, so these cookies are even more awesome because of that!

M&M White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Source: mildly adapted from Sing For Your Supper, originally from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup & 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1.5 cups M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment or Silpat sheets.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, for about two minutes. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix until well-incorporated. Add the egg and mix until blended. Scrape the bowl down, add the milk and mix again.
  3. Add the flour and beat the mixture until just mixed together. Do not overbeat.
  4. Using a spatula, lightly stir in the M&Ms and white chocolate chunks.
  5. With a regular cookie scoop, drop the cookies on your sheet, allowing 2 inches between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown and slightly browner along the edges. Allow the cookies to fully cool on the cookie sheet before serving.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I know that Valentine’s Day is really just a typical day where Hallmark and the flower shop make bank, but sometimes it’s fun to just give in and be gushy about the day. This past weekend, my husband and I decided to make our own Valentine’s Day dinner instead of wasting crazy amounts of money and time at a restaurant around here. We made an insanely indulgent dish (hello butter!) consisting of corn grits, crawfish etouffee and fried jump shrimp. I know…cheat day! Since H and I have been calorie counting for a couple of weeks now, it made us sluggish the rest of the day. I guess our bodies are getting used to this healthy thing.

So, today I figured I’d share with y’all something that would make your cheat day complete. :-P  The plan was to bring this dessert to work for a charity bake sale, so I knew if I made these, I could easily get them out of the house if they were too tasty and tempting. Thank goodness too, because in my quality control test (ha!), I found that these were extremely tasty! I hope they sell out, because I don’t want to bring any of these home! Or maybe I do, but MyFitnessPal might yell at me.

Just a note: I will say that one batch does not make many of these. I made a double batch for the sale, and ended up with 22 whoopie pies.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Source: found on Big Apple Nosh (cookie recipe originally from Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients:

For the whoopie pies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 of a  1-oz bottle red (preferably No-Taste Red by Wilton or Super Red by Americolor) food coloring

For the filling:

  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 lb confectioners sugar, sifted (you may not need all of it) 
  • pink food coloring (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well blended.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about two minutes until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and mix until well blended. Add in the egg, vanilla and food coloring and beat the wet mixture until everything is incorporated.
  4. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture a third at a time (alternatively), until the mixture is just mixed. (Don’t overbeat)
  5. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the whoopie pies on the baking sheet, giving about an inch in between each cookie for rising/spreading.
  6. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, until the tops of the whoopie pies are set. Allow all of the cookies to cool before filling.
  7. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and butter together for a couple of minutes until fluffy and light. Add the vanilla and optional food coloring. Then, in 1/2 cup increments, add the confectioners sugar until the frosting is fairly firm but still easily stirrable. (A good way to test this is to put an offset spatula in the frosting bowl. If the spatula remains standing, it’s firm enough.)
  8. Place the filling in a ziploc bag with the tip cut off and pipe some of the filling on the flat side of one cookie. Then sandwich that cookie together with another whoopie pie that isn’t frosted (where the flat tops meet).

Favorite Party Recipes

Part of me cannot believe that the Superbowl is Sunday. I mean, that’s the end of football season until next Fall. I have to wait at least six months to watch another game after this. Sad.  (If you know me, you know I’m being dead serious about how sad this is to me. Crazy football fan here!) A perk of Superbowl Sunday? Watching Millie run up to the TV when I randomly switch over to the Puppy Bowl.

To mourn celebrate the end of another football season, here’s some great recipes that will definitely disappear if you serve them at your Superbowl parties.

Queso Blanco
Restaurant Style Queso Blanco

Restaurant Style Salsa
Restaurant Style Salsa


Crawfish Pies


Crawfish Cheesecake

Jambalaya
Pork and Sausage Jambalaya

Berry Mash Bruschetta
Berry Mash Bruschetta

Sugar Cookie Bars
Sugar Cookie Bars

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

IMG_4426
Oreo Cupcakes

Oh, and if you have an occasional puppy bowl break, I’m pretty sure the dogs at your party would love you for these!

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

Pumpkin PB Treats

Cinnamon M&M Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon M&M White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

A couple of weeks ago, I was scouring Target’s 90% off post-Christmas sale. By the time that sale comes around, all of our Christmas stuff is put away in the attic, but I usually don’t have my sights set on decor at that point. I go to the 90% off sales for birthday wrapping goods. I know that sounds weird, but when you can buy bright colored curling ribbon, white or kraft tissue paper, and/or solid colored gift bags for pennies on the dollar, it’s completely worth it. Sometimes I also go in hoping to score some hidden treasures to keep Lane Bryant in business, like a bag of Ghirardelli holiday candies or in this case, a bag of cinnamon M&Ms.

When I originally saw these, I was hesitant to purchase them, because I didn’t know if these M&Ms were a subtle cinnamon spice or red hot cinnamon-like chocolate candies. I’m not a big fan of red hots, so I didn’t want to take a chance. Well, that is, until the bag was 90% off. Who can refuse a big bag of M&Ms for thirty cents?

So, I gave them a try one night and was pleasantly surprised. These M&Ms had just a hint of cinnamon spice, which proved to be a little addictive. So, before I ate the whole bag, I got to googling and saw these cookies on Picky Palate.

I thought my problems were solved. Bake up these cookies to bring to coworkers and use up all the M&Ms. However, the quality control side of me took over, and before I knew it, 3 of these cookies were gone. There’s nothing like a freshly baked cookie…just couldn’t help myself here…these were insanely good!

To prevent myself from no longer fitting in Lane Bryant (they have size limits, too haha!), I put these cookies away in a container to bring to coworkers. Thankfully, these cookies were so awesome that by the time I went back in the break room to heat up my lunch, my cookie plate only had crumbs remaining. I’d say these were a winner. :-)

Cinnamon M&M Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from: Picky Palate

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 1 9.90 ounce bag Cinnamon M&M’s

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar in a bowl for 2-3 minutes on medium to medium-high speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix for about a minute on low, or until well combined.
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together with a whisk. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Add the cinnamon, rolled oats and white chocolate chips and mix on low until the mixture is just combined.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. With a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place each cookie about an inch apart on the sheet since these cookies spread a little. Press the cookies down slightly, to just flatten them, and press 4-5 M&Ms on each cookie.
  5. Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes (I let them go for 12 minutes, which made them barely brown along the edges), and allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before moving the baked cookies to a cooling rack.

Just a quick reminder. Today is the last day to enter to win one of these four awesome cookbooks! Your chances are great, so check out this post to see how to win!

Grasshopper Cheesecake

Grasshopper Cheesecake

It’s 2012! Even though it’s really just a date, it’s cool to mentally have a new start at things. I’m not going to make BIG resolutions anymore, because I tend to let myself down. So, I have my 101 goals in 1001 days list to look to every once in a while, and I’m hoping to reach a few of those small goals sometime this year.

Every New Year’s Day, my Memaw holds a spaghetti and meatball dinner. No, we don’t have black eyed peas or cabbage. We have spaghetti and meatballs. Sounds boring, but trust me, this isn’t your average spaghetti and meatballs. Oh man. We only have it once a year, and the sauce is just the most divine, flavorful red sauce. I haven’t had a comparable red sauce, to date. It’s the best. ever.

This family meal was so much different than Christmas for us. Since we hosted Christmas last week, it was good to just sit back and enjoy good food and family time. I’m not saying we didn’t have a good time, but of course, when you host anything, it’s really hard to sit back and fully relax. ;-)

Whenever we’re invited to a meal or a party, I always offer to bring something. I’m usually told “no”, and I kind of was told “no” this year (oh well). Memaw mentioned, however, that she wanted me to find a recipe for her to give her at the party. Up until a few years ago, she used to order a grasshopper cheesecake (like the drink, not the bugs) from a company, but they discontinued making the cheesecake. She simply asked me to find a recipe for a grasshopper cheesecake, but I went a step further and brought her the cheesecake. That’s just how I roll.

Since my Memaw is diabetic, I used the Splenda baking blend in the filling instead of sugar. Keep in mind if you use Splenda to make this, you have to use 1/2 of the amount a recipe calls for. :-) Of course, I was worried about how the cheesecake would come out, since it’s a sugar substitute, but as you can see, the cheesecake came out just fine. In fact, my family could not stop eating this cheesecake and I had an empty cake stand to bring home, which always marks a good recipe.

I did mildly adapt a few things, based on comments I read on the recipe site. I also changed the crust to an oreo crust since I had some oreos to use up.

Grasshopper Cheesecake
Source: adapted from Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups of crushed oreos (cream filling removed…about 20 oreos)
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3- 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or 1/2 cup Splenda baking blend)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup creme de menthe liquer

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
  2. To prepare the springform pan for the water bath, wrap foil around the outside of the pan along the bottom and sides of a 9 inch non-stick springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix crust ingredients with fork until crumbly. Press the crust on the bottom and about 1 inch up the side of the pan.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Once the crust is baked, place the pan in the freezer to cool down while you make the filling.
  5. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the chocolate on high for 60 seconds and stir the chocolate. Microwave in 30 second intervals until just melted and smooth. Set the chocolate aside to slightly cool.
  6. In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down frequently. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth. Stir in liqueur on low. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cheesecake mixture.
  7. Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the rest of the filling evenly over crust.
  8. Stir the 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture into the melted (but cooled) semi-sweet chocolate. Drop 8 to 10 spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture randomly onto filling. With a knife or small spatula, swirl the chocolate mixture into the cheesecake mixture.
  9. Fill a roasting pan with about 1 1/2 inches of hot water to make the water bath for the cheesecake. Carefully place the springform pan in the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan in the oven. Bake for 70-80 minutes, until the edge looks set. Turn oven off and open door slightly (I just leave it open by placing a wooden spoon in the door). Cool cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the foil from the pan. Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow it to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. After it has cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake for 3 hours or overnight.
  10. To serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and enjoy!

 

Top 10 Recipes of 2011

Am I the only person who is shocked that Christmas just passed? I can’t believe it. Neighbors are taking down lights, and our tree looks SO empty without gifts under it. My favorite holiday is over, and crazy enough, it’s time for a new year. 2012.

Time to take the shrink wrap off of the new planner and get used to writing “2012” on papers/emails/etc. This is just crazy.

Also crazy…sometime in 2012, my 4 year blogiversary is happening and my 3 year wedding anniversary is happening too. WHAT?

It’s a lot to look forward to, but before everyone rings in the new year, I just wanted to share with y’all the top 10 posts of 2011. :-)

Yellow Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

10. Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream – This was my first time making SMBC, and I swear, if you haven’t tried SMBC before, just do it. Please?

Pecan Pie Macarons

9. Pecan Pie Macarons – Gotta love macarons. These were really a huge favorite for Thanksgiving, and the star shape (which was a happy accident) made them super cute and festive!

Queso Blanco

8. Restaurant Style Queso Blanco – This is it. The ultimate queso blanco. If you’re as addicted to queso as me, you’d understand how wonderful it is to FINALLY have a recipe for this!

Strawberry Cream Cake

7. Strawberry Cream Cake – I’m actually glad I compiled this top 10, because I sort of forgot about this cake. Since it’s currently strawberry season in Louisiana, I think I MUST make this cake again. Yum!

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

6. Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles – This is the recipe that made my year, basically. I still can’t believe I won that recipe contest, and I’ve been told by a few friends who made this that these little truffles were a hit at their holiday parties! So happy to hear that!

Banana Nutella "Ice Cream"

5. Banana Nutella “Ice Cream” – Two ingredient “ice cream”. It’s basically awesome and couldn’t be any easier. Your food processor does all the work!

Corn Grits

4. Grilled Corn Grits – I can’t be from the South, and not have a post about grits. I promise you if you make this, your hips may never be the same again, but your taste buds will tell you it’s completely worth it!

3. Easy Pasta Salad – My first (and so far, only) vlog. I might get the courage to make one again, since you guys seemed to like it so much!

Diet Cupcakes

2. Cooking For Kids – The infamous post. Yup, who’da thought that a soda cupcake would get so much response from you guys (both good and bad)…yikes!

Homemade S'mores

1. S’mores for a Shower – Nutella S’mores. I can see why you guys loved this one so much. I’m sort of craving s’mores right now, actually. :-P

I hope you have a wonderful New Year with your family and friends, and thank you so much for reading The Nifty Foodie! See y’all in 2012!

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

I absolutely love making holiday treats. You know it’s the holiday season in our house when our fridge has at least 5 lbs. of butter, 8-10 packages of cream cheese at any given time and 2 extra bags of flour and sugar in the pantry to ensure that I don’t run out of the essentials. :-)

The big bake-palooza (as I like to call it) is this weekend. There’s quite a few coworker and neighbor gifts to make this year, which has me super excited! This year’s packages are going to have some old favorites and new ones too, which I plan on sharing with y’all next week.

While this particular recipe won’t be with the gifts this year (since they need to be refrigerated), I wanted to share these truffles with y’all, since this is still a delicious recipe if you’re looking for something to include with your holiday parties. I came up with this recipe for a local recipe contest with the newspaper. I was actually torn between an eggnog inspired dessert and a peppermint bark inspired dessert. This recipe idea won out though, because after asking some friends, it seems like a peppermint bark inspired recipe would be more popular, since quite a few people hate eggnog. Fair enough.

The great thing about these truffles is that they come together pretty quickly. It’s definitely an easy dessert recipe to add to your holiday menu! Just keep in mind since the recipe involves cream cheese, these truffles can’t sit out for too long without needing to be refrigerated. They actually taste a lot better cold anyway.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering how these little truffles did in the recipe contest! I won first place! FIRST PLACE! I still can’t believe it. The prize was a big deal too… $1000 to a local furniture store! (I can’t wait to share with y’all what we used that generous prize on, but I’ll save that for another post once it’s delivered.)

I’m also supposed to be in the paper tomorrow. Crazy, right? I’m completely giddy about that! I’m sure I’ll buy multiple copies for family. :-)

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles
Source: an original

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 pkg cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 5 candy canes
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup (appx. 6 large) ground graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, chopped

For the coating:

  • 2 cups of white chocolate chips or almond bark
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 2 crushed candy canes

Directions:

  1. With a spatula, whip up the cream cheese to a stirrable consistency.
  2. Using a food processor, grind 3 of your candy canes to a powder. Stir the ground candy canes, powdered sugar and ground graham crackers into the cream cheese with a spatula until everything is well-incorporated.
  3. Place the last two candy canes in a quart sized plastic ziploc-type bag, and using a heavy bowl, crush up the candy canes into small pieces (not quite a powder, since you want these to add a bit of a crunch to your truffles). Add the candy canes, along with the chopped white chocolate to your cream cheese truffle mixture.
  4. Chill the mixture well, for four hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to assemble the truffles, divide the mixture into tbsp. sized balls and put the balls on a cookie sheet. By the time you’re done making the truffle balls, the mixture probably warmed up a bit, so place the cheesecake balls in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up.
  6. In the meantime, melt your white chocolate for the coating (either in the microwave or with a double boiler).
  7. Take your cheesecake balls out of the freezer, and individually dip each ball in the white chocolate mixture. Place the finished dipped balls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper for the chocolate to set.
  8. Once the white chocolate has set, melt your milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips and add a small amount on top of each truffle, along with some crushed candy canes for decoration.
  9. Enjoy these cheesecake truffles right out of the refrigerator and keep the truffles cold, since there is cream cheese in the recipe.