Recipe of the Month: Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

Oh, my. I love Snickerdoodle cookies so when I saw this recipe on Facebook, I knew I would have to try it. I still haven’t gotten the chance. (Maybe I’ll make it at Thanksgiving.) But, it is Snickerdoodles – what could be bad about that? This recipe comes from http://www.iambaker.net where they too love their Snickerdoodles. She even suggests her Snickerdoodle cookie recipe for the crust. She suggests 1/2 the recipe as you only need 12 cookies for the crust.

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 cups crushed Snickerdoodle Cookies (about 12)

2 T. melted butter

Cheesecake

2 – 8 o.z packages of cream cheese, softened

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup sugar

2 T. flour

2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Topping

1 T. sugar

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter well. (If using store-bought cookies instead of using the recipe above, you may need a little more butter to get the cookie crumbs to stick together.) Pour mixture into 9-inch springform pan. Pat them flat with your hand and then the bottom of a glass. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in eggs. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly.

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of cheesecake. Bake 40-50 minutes or until cheesecake is dark brown. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Cover cheesecake and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.

Recipe of the Month – BLT Pasta Salad

Up close side shot of easy BLT Pasta Salad recipe in a white bowl with one fork spearing pasta

I saw this recipe on Facebook. Oh, my, it looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. I’m not sure about the lemon chive dressing as lemon isn’t my favorite, but I’m willing to give it a try. This recipe comes from the Carlsbad Cravings website. They say it is great for a potluck. With Spring here and the nice weather outside, we will be getting out soon with friends and family. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

***

Ingredients

PASTA SALAD

  • 12 oz. mini Farfalle pasta (or other small pasta like medium shells)
  • 1/2 pound (½ bunch) asparagus tough ends removed then cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas thawed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 4 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce*
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. thick cut bacon cooked and chopped

LEMON CHIVE DRESSING

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (approx 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 tsp EACH sugar, dried oregano, dried parsley, pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives may sub 1 tablespoon dried

Directions

  • Whisk together all of the Lemon Chive Dressing ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.**
  • Cook pasta in generously salted water just short of al dente, then add the asparagus to the pot and cook with the pasta for 1 more minute. Drain the pasta and asparagus, rinse with cold water then toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking.

SERVING IMMEDIATELY:

  • Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Once pasta has cooled, add Lemon Chive Dressing and toss until evenly coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I like more pepper). Serve immediately.

MAKING AHEAD:

  • Add pasta, asparagus, peas, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl and toss with half of the dressing once the pasta has cooled. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Refrigerate the lettuce, bacon and Parmesan separately.
  • When ready to serve, add the lettuce, bacon and Parmesan and the remaining dressing and toss until evenly combined. Taste and add a splash more lemon if desired and salt and pepper to taste (I like more pepper).

Recipe of the Month – Fluffy Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse

Springtime is almost upon us. I was looking for a nice spring dessert, and found this one on a website called Tater Tots and Jello. I love strawberries and cheesecake. And these desserts look so good. Now I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe next week during Spring Break I will have time, but this looked too good not to share.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 T. white sugar
  • 3 T. salted butter, melted

Mousse

  • 2 1/2 T. lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 1/2 T. hot water
  • 1 1/2 t. unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • red food coloring
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 10 ounces strawberry jam (no seeds)
  • Minced strawberries

Instructions 

  1. Add graham crackers and sugar to a medium mixing bowl, drizzle hot butter over the top and mix well. Divide the mixture between 8 ramekins or dessert cups. Press the graham cracker mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the cups.
  2. Pour lemon juice and water into small bowl. Mix in powdered gelatin. Let it rest for 3 minutes. 
  3. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar into the whipped cream and food coloring if you are using it. 
  4. In a separate bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, mix strawberry jam into the cream cheese. Then add the remaining 2/3 cup powdered sugar and minced strawberries. 
  5. Whip the gelatin mixture until all of the lumps are gone. If there are still lumps, pour the mixture through a sieve. 
  6. Pour gelatin mixture into cream cheese mixture and whip with an electric mixer until all combined. Then fold the whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture. 
  7. Scoop the combined cream cheese filling into the dessert cups and let them set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can make this dessert the day before by covering the cups with cling wrap.

Recipe of the Month – Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball

The Super Bowl is this weekend, and that inspired me to find a recipe that could be served at your Super Bowl party (being mindful to keep your distance, wear your mask and all that stuff.) This cheese ball looks so delicious. This recipe comes from http://www.smalltownwoman.com. You can make this up to 5 days in advance – just leave the outer topping until about 20 minutes before serving.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boxes (8 ounces) cream cheese slightly softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (reserve ½ cup)
  • 10 slices crispy cooked bacon chopped (reserve half)
  • 2 jalapenos minced (reserve half)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions (reserve half)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a stand or hand mixer on medium speed beat your cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper until smooth and creamy.  Turn to low and mix in 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, half of the chopped bacon, half of the minced jalapeno, and half of the chopped green onions. Combine your reserved cheddar, bacon, jalapenos and green onions in a small zipper storage bag and store in the refrigerator.
  2. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a counter top.  Spoon the cheese into a ball shape and bring up the sides of the plastic wrap to cover the cheese ball.  Utilize the wrapping process to help shape the cheese into a ball.  Refrigerate the cheese ball overnight.
  3. Remove the cheese ball about 20 minutes prior to serving.  Spread your reserved cheddar, bacon, jalapenos and green onions on a cutting board or large plate.  Unwrap the ball and roll in the reserved toppings.

NOTES

  • Plan ahead and slightly soften your cream cheese.  You want it soft enough to blend but not so soft that it is difficult to form your cheese ball.
  • Use good quality cheddar cheese and grate it yourself.  It has much better flavor than the pre-shredded cheese.
  • Remove the stems, seeds and veins from your jalapeno using plastic gloves. Or at the very least being careful not to touch your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Make at least one day in advance.  This allows enough time for it to really firm up.

Recipe of the Month – Easy Candied Pecans

December is always a busy time so I wanted to find a recipe that was quick and simple. With only 5 ingredients and taking about 5 minutes, this recipe for candied pecans fits the bill. Oh, and the fact that I love pecans also played into my choice. My only complaint is that one recipe isn’t enough. These are so good you’ll definitly want to make more than one batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, water, vanilla, and kosher salt, stirring to combine (don’t worry that the sugar and salt won’t all be dissolved). Set this at-the-ready, next to your stove, as this recipe goes really quickly.
  2. In a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, toast pecans for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When you begin to smell a lovely, nutty aroma, they’re done.
  3. Quickly drizzle the sugar mixture into the pan, on top of the pecans, stirring the nuts as you drizzle. Stir constantly for about 15 seconds, until the pecans are thoroughly coated in the sugar mixture. Immediately remove from heat so they don’t burn.
  4. Spread the pecans on a piece of parchment to cool. Once cooled, you can break the nuts apart, if needed.
  5. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container. The pecans will be slightly sticky at first, but the coating hardens further within a few hours.