November 28, 2013

Pumpkin Bars


Happy Thanksgiving! Since I am not a huge fan of pumpkin foods, I was hesitant the first time I tried these bars. To my surprise, they were enjoyable since they weren't pumpkin overload! This is a Williams-Sonoma exclusive recipe :)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 package yellow cake mix, reserve 1 cup
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 jar Murihead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. milk [I used Almond Milk]
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • ¼ cup sugar [I substituted 5 packets of Stevia]
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon 
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13" baking dish.
  2. Divide cake mix into a bowl, reserving 1 cup. Stir in the melted butter and one egg until combined, then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. 
    Every girl needs a sparkly spatula, right!?


  3. In a bowl, mix the Pecan Pumpkin Butter, two eggs and milk; stir until combined. Spread the mixture over top of the pressed cake mix. 


  4. Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon; add the softened butter and mix together with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin layer. 

    This is the consistency you are looking for


  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy :) 


November 26, 2013

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Happy Thanksgiving week!
I had Pecan Pie Cheesecake around this time last year before I owned a Springform pan and knew it was something I had to make.
Preparing meals in the kitchen is something I genuinely enjoy and it gives me joy when prepared for others, like this dessert. I have so much to be grateful and thankful for in life. What are you thankful for this season?
Recipe from Heidi's So-Called Life.

INGREDIENTS

Crust
  • 1¾ cups Nilla wafers, crushed
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
Pecan Filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cheesecake Filling
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine Nilla wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter.
  2. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" Springform pan.
  3. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. 
Pecan Filling
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Pour into crust and set aside. 

Cheesecake Filling
  1. Reduce oven to 325°F.
  2. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Stir in cream and vanilla; Pour over pecan filling.
  4. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for an additional hour.
  5. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool.
  6. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving and enjoy :) 
Just out of the oven

November 24, 2013

French Toast Casserole


Office breakfasts are the best! It is fun to see the culinary side of coworkers, as it is not something frequently experienced. This casserole was very simple to prepare and is best made the night before. Recipe adapted from Paula Deen.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (16 oz.) loaf Cinnamon Raisin bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups fat free half-and-half
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe below
  • 100% pure Maple Syrup
PRALINE TOPPING
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Over your lowest heat setting on you stove, melt the butter, careful to not burn.
  2. Once melted, remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients. Stir until well incorporated.
  3. Store in a glass, ait-tight container overnight. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.
DIRECTIONS
  1. Slice bread into 1-inch cubes and arrange in a well greased 9x13" glass baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, fat free half-and-half, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly.
  3. Pour mixture over the cubes of bread, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. 
  4. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy :)

November 23, 2013

Oreo Cheesecake


With the holiday season approaching quickly, gatherings and get-togethers are sure to be on your calendar. This Oreo Cheesecake is sure to wow your family and friends, and believe me, it is worth every minutes of preparation!
Recipe adapted from CopyKat.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Standing Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes + 24 hours
Serves: 10-16 depending on what size you slice the cheesecake

Please note: For optimal flavor, this tastes best when you allow it to rest for 24 hours before serving.


INGREDIENTS
Crust
  • 1½ cups Oreo cookie crumbs (about 23 Oreos, finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 9-inch Springform pan, buttered on the sides and bottom
Filling
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. Plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • About 6 Oreos coarsely chopped for the batter
  • About 14 Oreos coarsely chopped for the top of the cheesecake 

DIRECTIONS
Crust
  1. Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs. Press mixture in a Springform pan, covering the bottom and going 1½" up the sides with the mixture, set aside.
Filling
  1. All ingredients need to be at room temperature before beginning. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting during the mixing and beating process. Gradually add sugar and continue beating cream cheese until mixed through. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended.
  3. Measure the vanilla, salt and flour; pour into the cream cheese and egg mixture and beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat well. 
  4. Turn off the mixer and stir in the 6 coarsely chopped Oreos with a spatula. Pour cream cheese into the Springform pan and place the remaining 14 coarsely chopped Oreos on top of the mixture. 
  5. Place pan on the top rack and in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for one hour. The cheesecake will be done when it jiggles slightly in the middle when the pan is gently shaken. If the cheesecake is very jiggily, then cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. When the cheesecake is done baking, prop the oven door open and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for an additional hour.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool enough to place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It is worth the anticipation-- trust me!
  8. 24 hours later, take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator and carefully take it out of the Springform pan. Slice into enough servings for your guests. Enjoy :)