Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

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Well, Christmas season is definitely here! My house is decorated, it snowed over the weekend, and Christmas party season is in full swing. In our winters here in Virginia so far, I’ve only seen us get 2 “snows” per year max, so maybe we can get away with this being our only snow for the season?!? (probably wishful thinking)

This dip is a sweet appetizer/dessert that I made to take over to my husband’s casual work Christmas party. This party is one of those where your meal is made up of different appetizers and dips people have brought over. I wanted something that I could make easily and would travel well (read – I don’t have to worry about keeping it hot getting it there), so this gingerbread cheesecake dip from Food, Folks, and Fun fit the bill. I’m not joking when I say you could have this ready to go in 10-15 minutes (with washing the mixer), and I know quick and easy is always appreciated this time of year. Just be sure to set out your cream cheese as it will mix much easier at room temperature!

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As far as the spices go, I noticed last minute that I didn’t have any ground ginger, so I subbed in pumpkin pie spice (which isn’t exactly the same but gets the same idea). Because of that swap, I decreased the amount of cinnamon I used down to 1/2 teaspoon.

To serve, I set out honey graham crackers and cinnamon-sugar pita chips, but you could certainly use other dippers such as vanilla wafers, gingerbread crisps, or even fruit such as apples or grapes. I topped it with some seasonal sprinkles to add some color, but this is entirely optional. As the original author said, if you are prepping this significantly ahead of time, wait until just before serving to add the sprinkles. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip
Adapted from Food, Folks, and Fun

Ingredients:
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 oz (1/2 pkg) of whipped cream
Dippers: graham crackers, cinnamon-sugar pita chips, cookie wafers, apples, etc.
Optional: seasonal sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the brown and powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Mix in the molasses and spices and lastly add and mix in the whipped cream. Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. If not planning to serve it immediately, cover and refrigerate until serving time. Add sprinkles, if desired, immediately before serving.

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Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake

pumpkin cheesecake with fork2

I am thinking I need to post a want add. It would go something like this – Needed. Recipe taste testers willing to help us eat all the things I want to make. I have SO MANY fall-themed recipes on my list to try, and truthfully, I haven’t really started on any of them. I am absolutely paralyzed by the list itself, and the ability for the two of us to have a managable amount of food. Anyone have some teenage boys they want to lend me for a couple weeks?? 🙂

This cheesecake is the only dessert we’ve tackled so far, and I can’t take any credit for it because the hubby made it.  He had a coworker that was leaving for a new job, so this was her parting gift. Not too bad of a gig if I do say so myself.

The recipe for this cheesecake comes from Food Network Magazine, and it really is one heck of a cheesecake. The hubby took this to work with some whipped cream, and not much of it made it back home. Our changes to the recipe were pretty minor – Greek yogurt rather than sour cream and cinnamon graham crackers for the crust. Crushed gingersnaps would make a great crust here too.

pumpkin cheesecake crust
pumpkin cheesecake close

Speaking of cheesecakes, does anyone have a better method for a water bath? Whenever I try to wrap the pan and bake it in water, I always end up with a leak, so my new method is just to place a pan full of water in the oven on a rack below the cheesecake. What I don’t know is if my new method actually makes a difference…Crack or no crack, cheesecake is still great in my book. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Almost-Famous Pupmkin Cheesecake
Slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2-1/2 cups cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
2-3/4 cups sugar, divided
salt
2 lbs. (four 8-oz pkg) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
whipped cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. 

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake, 15-20 minutes or until the crust just starts to brown. Cool completely. If desired, wrap the outside of the pan in foil for a water bath.

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining 2-1/2 cups sugar, and beat just until the mixture lightens. Beat in the sour cream. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Mix until just combined. Pour into the prepared crust.

Fill a large, rimmed pan (roasting pan) with warm water. If you wrapped the cheesecake, place the pan in the water and place them in the oven together. If you did not wrap the cheesecake crust, place the roasting pan (with water) in the oven on the rack below the cheesecake. Bake until the outsides of the cheesecake are set but the middle is still wobbly, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for at least 1 more hour, then place on a rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.

Chocolate-Chip Toffee Cheesecake

Delectable. Phenomenal. Decadent. 

I really wish that I could claim this one as my own, but my only claim to it is that it was made in my kitchen. The true chef behind this one – my brother. He stayed with us for a few days last week for an interview and decided to make dinner one day while my husband and I were both at work. We came home to homemade bread bowls, soup, and this cheesecake as dessert. I could get used to this!

Words aside, this cheesecake is definitely a show-stopper. I am not sure that any of these words can really describe how delicious it was. Decadent, but totally worth it. I am sure it would be well received to finish out any holiday party that you may encounter. Enjoy

(Printable Recipe)

Chocolate-Chip Toffee Cheesecake
Barely adapted from food.com

Ingredients: 
Crust:
1-1/4 cups chocolate animal crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling:
2 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups Skor English toffee bits (from 2 8-oz bags)

Topping:
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
caramel ice cream topping 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and butter. In an ungreased 9-inch springform pan, press the crumb mixture in the bottom and 1 to 1-1/2 inches up the side. 

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and the vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the toffee bits for garnish. Gently stir remaining toffee bits into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until set. Turn oven off; leave door open 4 inches. Cool the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. 

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Without releasing or removing the sides of the pan, run a metal spatula along the sides of the cheesecake to loosen. Cool 30 more minutes. Run metal spatula along the sides of the cheesecake to loosen again. Refrigerate uncovered until thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours.

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/2 cup chocolate chips and whipping cream uncovered on high 20-30 seconds or until chips are melted and can be stirred smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of toffee bits around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the middle of the cheesecake. Refrigerate until the topping is set, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Remove the sides of the pan and serve.

The Secret Recipe: Cinnabun Cheesecake

This is my second month participating in The Secret Recipe Club held by Amanda from Amanda’s Cooking. If you didn’t see my post from last month, each month members are assigned a participating food blogger secret santa style. We choose a recipe from their blog to make (keeping it secret), and everyone reveals their recipe and blogger on the same date. It has been a great way to meet different bloggers, and I think it is fun to see what someone else will pick from my blog. 

The blog that I had this month was Katie from Betcha Can’t Eat Just One. She has a great list of recipes and even began adapting some of her recipes to make them healthier while she was pregnant earlier this year. I had a hard time choosing between a couple of her recipes, but in the end, I decided on her cinnabun cheesecake. I have been working hard over the past month to study for my board exams and finishing something like that calls for some celebration. This cheesecake was a great way to do it! I still want to try her black bean brownies, so be looking for those in the future.

The cheesecake came together beautifully. I actually made it while I was at my parent’s, so I had my dad, our resident cheesecake chef, as help. We weren’t able to find any cinnamon cookies at the store, so we swapped them for cinnamon graham crackers. It was a little meticulous to spread the batter over each layer of crumbled cookies, but it was worth it to have little bits of the cinnamon mixture throughout the cheesecake. Mine turned into layers throughout the slice, and I liked the way it looked throughout the cheesecake. The graham crackers seemed to work just fine. I was a little worried that they might be more prone to be soggy than a cookie, but I did not notice that at all. 

My only complaint is that from the side the cake seemed to sink a little bit. It was a still quite warm when I moved it from the oven to the refrigerator, so I am guessing that is the reason. Other than the aesthetics (my fault completely), we really enjoyed this recipe. Thanks Katie! I really enjoyed your blog! 

(Printable Recipe)

Cinnabun Cheesecake
Adapted from Betcha Can’t Eat Just One and A Passion for Baking

Ingredients:
For the crust: 
1-1/2 cups cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Filling:
3 pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely crumbled cinnamon graham crackers
1 tsp. cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar
Caramel sundae topping 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. For the crust, mix the cookies, butter, and sugar together in a bowl and press into the bottom of the pan. 

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and whipping cream until smooth. Stop to scrape the bowl with a spatula often. Mix 3-4 minutes until very smooth. Mix in the eggs, flour, and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth for another 3 minutes.

Pour about a third of the filling on top of the prepared crust. Layer a handful of the crushed graham crackers and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with another layer of filling and crackers. You may have to spoon the filling over the crackers and spread it carefully to cover the previous layer. Top with the last 1/3 of the filling and a final topping of crackers and cinnamon-sugar. 

Bake 45-55 minutes or until the cheesecake only jiggles slightly in the middle when shook (I had to bake ours closer to an hour. Just keep checking on it and add a few minutes at a time). Do not take the cheesecake out of the oven. Turn the oven off and crack the door slightly. Allow the cake to cool in this manner for 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool further to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.


Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

blueberry swirl cheesecake slice

Wow. I was looking through my pictures, and I cannot believe how many recipes I have accumulated in almost a month back home! I just started putting together a weekly menu plan for us yesterday, and I may work towards sharing it on here once I get it more organized. I know that once I start my residency this summer that time will likely be a premium, and it will be nice to have dinner planned out ahead of time. One thing the menu plan made me realize is how many new recipes we’re making every week. It is no wonder I’m racking up food pictures, and I better get busy sharing them!

It’s been a couple months since I made this cheesecake, but haven’t been able to post it before this as the recipe was at my house. One of my Christmas gifts this year was a cookbook all about cheesecakes. My husband wanted me to test it out as soon as possible, so I made this cheesecake in early January before I left to go back to school. I thought it would be great to share now as berries start coming into season throughout spring across the country, and this cheesecake would definitely be a great way to showcase them! 

blueberry swirl cheesecake blueberry sauce
blueberry swirl cheesecake before baking

 The taste of the cheesecake was great. We love cheesecake here, and this one was no different. I was a little disappointed in the appearance of it as there are cracks all over the top. I think there may be one of two reasons for this. One – I will admit that I am usually a little lazy with my water bath in that I put a pan of water on a lower rack in the oven rather than wrapping the pan with foil and baking the cheesecake directly in the water. This method has worked well for me in the past, so I don’t know if this is my culprit. Two – The grocery store was almost out of regular cream cheese, so I had to substitute 2 blocks of Neufchatel cheese. In looking at the picture in the magazine again, the cheesecake in the photo is a little cracked, so maybe it just ends up that way.

blueberry swirl cheesecake

Other than my forced cream cheese substitution, the only thing I did differently from the recipe was to double the blueberry sauce so that we had extra sauce to drizzle over the individual pieces. I love fruit sauces and having the extra blueberry flavor was great. I’m excited to see what other cheesecake recipes this book will bring. I will certainly have to “test out” the next cheesecake recipe from it sometime soon. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake
Adapted from Taste of Home: Cheesecakes and More

Ingredients:
Blueberry Sauce:
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. cold water

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 16 squares)
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Filling:
3 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the berries are softened. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into the blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar, stir in the butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, flour, and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour filling over the crust. Drizzle with approximately half of the blueberry mixture. Cut through the batter with a knife to swirl. Return the pan to the baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a plastic knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Just before serving remove the outer edge of the pan. Serve with additional blueberry sauce. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Blueberry on FoodistaBlueberry

It’s Christmas: Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope that all of you have gotten to spend some wonderful time with your families this holiday season!  This is the last installment of my countdown to Christmas, so I also hope that you’ve all been able to enjoy some sweet treats this season. Tis the season for baking =)

These cookies are from The Way the Cookie Crumbles and they caught my eye because of the Oreos on the outside. The recipe has just a few ingredients, and leaves out an egg making it an easy thing to throw together if you’re getting low on baking ingredients. Without the egg, the final cookie ends up being more shortbready than cheesecake-like. This may or may not be a result of my baking as I  had a little bit of trouble deciding when the cookies were done baking. In the end, I went for the middle of the baking interval at 9 minutes. Regardless, the end result is definitely good. 

 Merry Christmas again and Happy New Year! 

(Printable Recipe)

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
From The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Ingredients:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour (I ended up adding at least 1/4 c. more)
1/2 c. mini-chocolate chips
1 c. Oreo crumbs (about 8 cookies)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat in the butter, cream cheese, and salt on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour and mix on low until completely combined. If needed, add a little bit of extra flour until the dough can be rolled into balls. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls of dough into the Oreo cookie crumbs and set on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to brown and the tops are set. Cool for a minute or two on the sheets, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

March Cookie Carnival: Mint Cream Cheese Bars

 

The cookie chosen for March’s Cookie Carnival was a Hershey’s recipe for Walnut Mint Bars. The green color of the bars fell right in line with St. Patrick’s Day, so these bars seemed perfect for March!

When making the bars, I left the nuts out of the crust layer – hence the name mint cream cheese bars. I like nuts on their own. I just tend not to be a fan of them in my food. In most recipes, they really aren’t an integral ingredient, and the same proved true here. The bars worked just as well without them.

Other than that, I stayed true to the recipe.  The verdict on the taste was alright. I’ve seen the blogs of a couple other carnivalers, and it seems that the mint flavor was pretty mild for many of us. I used the peppermint extract instead of creme de menthe, so I don’t know if that made the difference? 













Despite the mini-mint flavor, I really liked the idea of the bars. They came together really easily and seem like they would support other flavors well. I’m finding myself wondering what they would be like in a citrus variety with zest included in the crust layer? Head over to Tami’s blog in the next couple days to check March’s round-up and join up with us for April!

(Printable Recipe)

Mint Cream Cheese Bars
Hershey’s Kitchens

Ingredients:
1/2 c. (1 stick) plus 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1-1/2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed)
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. peppermint extract or 1 Tbsp. green creme de menthe
green food coloring (optional)
chocolate almond bark

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/2 c. butter in the microwave or on the stove top. Stir in crumbs, sugar, and cocoa. Press firmly on the bottom of an ungreased 9×13-inch pan.

Beat cream cheese, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and cornstarch in a small bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then the egg, and peppermint extract and food color. Pour carefully over prepared crust.

 Bake 25 minutes or until center is set. Cool. Melt 2 squares chocolate almond bark and decoratively drizzle over the bars. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator. 

Yield: 24 to 36 bars











White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

This recipe is actually one that my dad has adapted from a recipe here at allrecipes.com. My husband and I me made this over the holidays to take to a family Christmas but ended up not getting to take it due to an unfortuante incident while the cheesecake was cooling. It was really too bad because the dang thing didn’t even crack! In the end that meant more cheescake for me (not necessarily a good thing) because my husband left for a rotation out of town the following Monday.
Regardless of any incidents, this might be one of the best cheescakes that I have ever had. I even got to use my new food processor to make the crumbs for the crust when making it! The only thing that bothered me about the cheescake this time was that I had some trouble with the raspberry preserves sinking to the bottom. I’m not really sure why because I’ve seen my dad do it several times? If you’ve got any ideas, let me know. I don’t think I stirred it too much when swirling, but who knows.
I usually bake my cheescakes with a 9×13 pan with a little water in the bottom on the bottom rack of the oven. I find this much easier than trying to line my springform pan with foil and then hoping that it doesn’t leak somewhere. So far so good on preventing cracks!
Enjoy!
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Recipe from Paul Smolik
Ingredients:
1 c. vanilla wafer crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 pkg. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. half-and-half cream
3 pkg. (8oz each) cream cheese, softened (sometimes I will swap in 1 pkg. 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. seedless raspberry preserves
Process vanilla wafers in a food processor or crush in a plastic bag until crumbled into coarse crumbs. Mix together wafer crumbs, 3 Tbsp. subar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a microwave-safe bowl or on the stove-top, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half. If melting in the microwave, melt according to package directions for the chips (or in like 15-30 second incriments).
In the bowl of a mixer, beath the cream cheese and 1/2 c. sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half the batter over the crust. Spoon 3 Tbsp raspberry preserves ove the batter. Carefully pour remaning cheesecake batter into the pan over the raspberry preserves and spoon the remaining raspberry preserves over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refridgerate for 8 hours before removing outer portion of the springform pan.