baking

OREO CHEESECAKE BARS = TO DIE FOR

oreo cheesecake bars

A long, long time ago, I promised a certain someone that if they did me a favor that they could choose my next baking adventure.

Well he came through on that favor and dropped a hint that he was a big fan of Oreo cheesecake. Challenge accepted.

It took me way too long to hold up my end of the bargain, but I finally, FINALLY, made it happen. I whipped up these oreo cheesecake bars earlier this week and I have to admit, they are freaking fantastic. Like way too good. I wanted to eat them all, but I had already promised them to someone else. NEVER AGAIN! (kidding)

If you catch yourself drooling over this photo, don’t worry, these are super simple to make.

Shout out to Table for Two for bringing this into our lives.

Ingredients

For the crust:

23 Oreo cookies

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

6 tbsp. sugar

6 tbsp. sour cream, room temperature

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Let the sides of the parchment paper hang over the edge of the baking dish; you’ll use this to help you remove it from the dish.

2. To make the crust, pulse the Oreos in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add in the melted butter and continue pulsing until the cookies are moist.

3. Press the ground Oreos into an even layer over the bottom of your baking dish. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and then set aside. Don’t turn the oven off!

4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium high until light and smooth. Mix in the sugar until well-combined.

5. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Then, add egg and egg yolk until well-incorporated.

6. Stir in the chopped Oreos with a spatula.

7. Pour cheesecake batter over the crust and smooth out the top with the spatula. Bake for 40 minutes or until cheesecake is set around the edges but a little wobbly in the center.

8. Let cheesecake cool to room temperature (about 1 hour), then cover it and refrigerate until well chilled. If you want to be on the safe side, let it chill overnight, but a few hours should do it.

9. To cut the bars, lift the overhanging parchment paper from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Peel the paper away and slice into bars. Make sure you use a clean knife blade for each cut so you don’t mess up the cheesecake.

10. Devour. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve them. The creator of this recipe recommends keeping it in an airtight container for up to one week.

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baking

DARK CHOCOLATE & PISTACHIO COOKIES

dark chocolate/pistachio cookies

I’ve always been curious about pistachios, that cute little green nut, but never enough to actually try them. I knew the boyfriend was a fan and I’d heard friends and family rave about them, but you know me, I’m not one to try new things.

I pinned this recipe for dark chocolate chunk & pistachio cookies from one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas & Their Pod, months ago thinking maybe that could be my incentive to try them. When Jimmy’s birthday came around, I knew it was the perfect time to surprise him with these nummies.

Of course I let him be the first to try them, they were his birthday cookies after all. After he gave them the thumbs up I mustered up some courage to try them. And surprise! I like pistachios. At least, I like them when baked into a cookie with chocolate. I haven’t yet pushed myself to the point of trying a few out of the cannister I bought. Baby steps.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened/at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pistachios, shells removed
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

4. With the mixer on a slow speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Don’t over mix!

5. Stir in the pistachios and chocolate chunks.

6. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, form tablespoons size balls of cookie dough. Place cookie dought on your prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle sea salt over cookie dough balls.

7. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Enjoy!

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baking

THE BEST F#*!ING SUGAR COOKIES I HAVE EVER MADE

Easter sugar cookies

Sorry for the profanity, but I’m like way too excited about this.

I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect sugar cookie ever since I discovered my passion for baking. I wanted a soft, thick cookie that was sweet but not rot your teeth sweet.

I usually ended up with cookies that were too sugary and too crunchy, and any time I would try to cut thicker cookies they would just end up spreading out and looking like a blob. The cookies were never gross, and people seemed to eat them up, but they weren’t the perfect cookie I always wanted.

So I spent some time this weekend combing my favorite blogs for a new recipe to try out. I landed on this one from Bake at 350 (a new blog discovery that I’m loving). The recipe is appropriately titled “perfect every time sugar cookies.”

I figured I’d give it a shot. I had my doubts when the dough came out crumbly, which the recipe said would happen, but still. I’m looking at it like, I’ve made a huge mistake. But it smoothed out and I calmed down a bit. Then I cut the cookies out, stuck them in the oven, and nearly did a cartwheel when they held their shape.

Then a tried another new thing: buttercream frosting. I always heard it was the bomb, so why not go all out and throw some buttercream on my new and hopefully perfect cookies?

James taste tested the first cookie and he quickly gave me the thumbs up. So I grabbed a little piece of his and shoved it in my mouth and was like OMFG I DID IT! Well, obviously the credit goes to Bake at 350 for creating this wonderful cooke recipe and Wilton for the buttercream recipe, but clearly I NAILED them.

I brought the cookies into work and got so much love. Several people commented that it was the perfect amount of sweet, that the cookies were soft and, of course, incredibly yummy.

Like I said. nailed it.

And since I’m blogging about it, that means I’m sharing the recipe! You’re welcome (;

Ingredients

For the cookies:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 c sugar

2 sticks butter, cold & cut into chunks (I used unsalted, recipe creator used salted)

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk (I used whole milk)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line your cookie sheets with

2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium size bowl and set aside.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. * This is a key point. I recently read that you can beat/mix the wet ingredients all day long, but once you add the dry ingredients in you really don’t want to over mix. Stop as soon as the two are combined for the best results.

5. The dough will be pretty crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.

6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick and cut into desired shapes. * I also realized that over flouring my work surface = over flouring my cookies before baking which = dryer/crunchier cookies. Don’t over do it!

7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. I went with 10. The cookies were still a nice, pale color with the teensiest hint of golden brown on the bottom. Let the cookies sit a few minutes on the sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

8. Now it’s time for the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat in vanilla.

9. Gradually add the sugar,one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the sides and the bottom of bowl often. Once all of the sugar has been mixed in, the frosting will appear dry. Don’t panic, the next step will fix this.

10. Gradually add milk and beat at a medium speed until light and fluffy.

11. Spread the frosting in cookies using a small spatula or your finger. If you’re adding sprinkles, make sure to do it right after you get the frosting on the cookie. Otherwise it will harden up a bit and the sprinkles won’t stick.

If you’re a sugar cookie fan, give this recipe a try. I promise you will not regret it.

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