Navigate / search

Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake with Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_1202

For Christmas this year I thought I’d make something special and different for Christmas Day. It was easier to assemble then I thought it would be, so worth it and so delicious. This recipe is a winner and one I will use again. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a Happy New Year!!

IMG_1334

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. red food coloring

Directions for Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
  3. Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
  4. Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
  6. Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.
  9. Then make the frosting.

Vanilla Cheesecake Layer

Ingredients

  • 8oz package cream cheese, 1 cup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream

Directions

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined.
  2. Add the egg, beat well
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract
  4. Blend in the whipping cream well until the batter is very smooth. Using a rubber bowl scraper/spatula, scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl as well as the electric beaters/paddle and give the batter a final beating for 1 minute on a higher speed. This final step ensures that there are no lumps in the batter and introduces a little air into the cheesecake to make it lighter.
  5. Pour into a greased spring form. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.
  6. The cheesecake does not have to brown at all in order to be fully baked; the surface of the cheesecake should lose any shine when the cake is properly baked. It can still be slightly wobbly just at the center at this point.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Sift sugar and set aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla.
  3. Then, add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition.
  4. And frost away.

 

IMG_1134
IMG_1213
IMG_1212

Easy and Delicious Sugar Cookies that don’t spread

 I came upon this recipe and it claimed to be a non spreading recipe. It had an ingredient that I’d never tried in a sugar cookie before, so i figured i’d give it a shot. I’m so glad I did because I have now found my go to sugar cookie recipe. You use cold butter which  eliminates the step of chilling the dough (still completely optional if you want to) but sometimes when I get the baking urge I want to do it right then, not wait for my butter to sit for hours. This recipe is a non sticky, non crumbly dough. I rolled it out on parchment paper, then slid my parchment on the cookie sheet and baked it to perfection, without the mess on my counter and I didn’t even need any extra flour. I like to under bake my cookies a tad, the recipe called for 12 minutes but I was very happy with the outcome at 10 minutes. I used royal icing this time (recipe below) but buttercream would be equally as delicious. I hope this recipe becomes your go to sugar cookie recipe and I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Merry Christmas, Enjoy!!
 
IMG_1125
Sugar Cookies
quick, easy, and delicious, THAT DON’T SPREAD!
 
IMG_1011
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: about 30 cookies depending on the size
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together the cold, cubed butter, the granulated sugar, and the salt.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla (or other flavorings/extracts).
  4. Add all the flour and cornstarch, and mix on low speed, until fully incorporated and forming a ball.
  5. Roll out to a thickness of 3/8 inch, cut into shapes, and bake for 10 minutes.
IMG_1012

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients:

6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar

*If your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to make it tastier

Directions:

  1. In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
  3. Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
  4. Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
  5. Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
  6. Tint with food coloring or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.
IMG_1123
IMG_1124

  

IMG_1126
IMG_0992
IMG_1005

 

IMG_1007
IMG_1008
IMG_1009
IMG_1010

 

IMG_1013
IMG_1014
IMG_1017
AMAZING TIPS & TRICKS

1) No need to soften the butter

I like to use cold, cubed butter when I make the dough. It also saves the step of chilling the dough before baking, which is another trick a lot of bakers use to help their cookies keep their shape.  If you work quickly, the butter is still pretty cold when it goes into the oven, so the dough holds its shape better and doesn’t get all melty and spread.

2) DON’T use leveling

Now, you may notice that my recipe contains no leavening of any kind.  If you think about the purpose of baking powder in a recipe, it’s to help things puff up and spread out,and be light and fluffy.  Light and fluffy is great in a muffin or a pancake, but thats not what i’m looking for in a cookie.  They are meant to have a little bite to them.  Perhaps they are a little bit heavier, but in this instance, you kinda want that.  These are sturdier and less likely to break easily, so perfect for shipping to loved ones over the holidays.

3) Think Outside the Flavor Box

Flavor is what can make or break a cookie. Too plain, too much…But if your creative you might be pleasantly surprised. Think peppermint in a chocolate cookie, orange with gingerbread, lemon with vanilla…the possibilities are endless. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

4)  The Magic Ingredient

Corn Starch is the magic ingredient! It makes for a more shortbready cookie, but it’s absolutely perfect. Use it in every kind of batch, just sub out a little of the flour for cornstarch, in any recipe.  It’s like magic!

5)  Parchment paper is your best friend

I roll out the dough on the parchment paper, bake on it, cool on it and decorate on it. Less mess, less clean up.

6) Higher Oven Temperature

If you bake the cookies at a higher temperature, this allows them to set up quicker and hold their shape.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake a Cheesecake Factory Copycat Recipe

I love everything pumpkin!! Restaurants don’t always carry this, it’s definitely more a holiday thing, and now that we have 2 kids we don’t make it out to nice restaurants all the often, so if I want pumpkin cheesecake I have to make it. Which I don’t mind, but I want to have somewhere to go with it, otherwise I may eat the whole thing in one sitting. I feel that it is completely except able from October through January to eat pumpkin everything!!

The other day I went to Traders Joes and literally everything that said pumpkin ended up in my cart. Ofcourse a can of pumpkin was one of the items. I had to make dessert for my mother in laws birthday dinner so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with pumpkin cheesecake. I wanted to try a different recipe and when I saw this one that said Cheesecake Factory Copycat I knew I had to give it a shot. It does not disappoint. It has just the perfect amount of sweetness to it and everyone enjoyed every bite of it. I hope you all enjoy!

IMG_9171

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

Filling

  • 3- 8oz.pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream beaten to soft peaks
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Mix crust ingredients together, just till coated and crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 2/3 up the sides of an 8″ springform pan. Bake for 5 min. at 350. Set aside.
  2. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl and mix until smooth with an electric mixer.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggs, and spices, beat till smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour into the crust. Bake for 60-70 min. or till the top turns a bit darker.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate.
  6. After it has thoroughly chilled, remove the pan sides and cut. Serve with whipped cream and chopped pecans.
IMG_9181
IMG_9170
IMG_9169

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies: Cake Mix Version

DSC_0079

Nothing says Christmas more then candy canes. These chocolate peppermint cookies scream holiday time and are super easy to make, perfect for a cookie exchange. These are what I’m bringing to my annual cookie exchange and I’m planning on winning best looking cookie for the 2nd year in a row, so watch out French girls cause these are the 2013 winners!!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies: Cake Mix Version

Serves 48-60
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Pre-preparable
Occasion Christmas
Easy and delicious peppermint chocolate cookies. Perfect for the holidays or a cookie exchange. FrenchToasty.com has lots of cookie recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 box devil'd food cake mix
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • white chocolate buttercream frosting (recipe below or a store bought white frosting)
  • crushed candy canes (for topping)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2
In a large bowl combine cake mix, oil, eggs and peppermint extract until blended.
Step 3
Stir in chocolate chips.
Step 4
Roll into 1" size balls and place 2" apart on sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. (8 minutes for a fudge cookie and 10 for a cake cookie) let cool
Step 5
Mix crushed candy canes with frosting and frost cookies.

Tip: photograph before stacking the cookies…oops

Mexican Wedding Cookies

DSC_0005

I make these cookies several times every holiday season, they are my husbands favorite Christmas cookie. I have even make them in holidays past for the annual cookie exchange I go to every year. They are a super easy cookie to make, as they don’t require too many ingredients and most people have all ingredients already on hand. I have heard of other names for these cookies but I know them as a Mexican Wedding Cookie so that is what I’m sticking with. I could see kids calling them snowball cookies, but what ever the name they are delicious, and you will not be disappointed with this recipe, and neither will your family!!

I would love to hear what your favorite holiday cookie recipe is, so I can try them!

Mexican Wedding Cookie

Serves 48
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Pre-preparable
Occasion Christmas
These cookies are a traditional Christmas cookie. FrenchToasty.com has lots of cookie and holiday recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • powdered sugar (for rolling baked cookies in)

Directions

Step 1
Cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla.
Step 2
Whisk flour and salt together and then gradually add to butter mixture. Stir in chopped nuts.
Step 3
Form dough into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, slightly golden brown.
Step 4
Let cool slightly, while cookies are still warm, roll in additional powdered sugar until evenly coated. Cool cookies completely on wire racks.
DSC_0001
DSC_0009
DSC_0013

White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

I love something salty paired with something sweet, chocolate covered pretzels do just that. They are also easy to customize to the holiday. With these ones I choose tree shaped pretzels and added red and green sprinkles, the festive colors make them all the more appealing!

DSC_0037

My daughter loves pretzels plain and decorated so I knew she would have fun helping me with these. She was in charge with the sprinkles, some got a little HEAVY sprinkled but that’s what makes it more fun. I love, love, love having her help me in the kitchen and I can’t wait until my new little lady is old enough to come help us in the kitchen! Let the holiday excitement begin!!!!

What are your favorite holiday snacks and treats.

White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Meal type Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
Occasion Christmas
These chocolate dipped pretzels had a festive touch to any holiday. FrenchToasty.com has lots of holiday recipes and ideas.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet white chocolate chips
  • 6 cups pretzels (any shape you want)
  • sprinkles in color of your choice

Directions

Step 1
Melt white chocolate chips in microwave. 1st for 1 minute and then 30 second intervals after that until completely smooth.
Step 2
Dip pretzels in chocolate and then lay on a parchment lined sheet. Or lay on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath. Sprinkle with sprinkles and let air dry. Store in airtight container in a cool place.
DSC_0046

Pumpkin Cheesecake

DSC_0216

If you are like me you are on the hunt for your Thanksgiving menu recipes. I made this last Christmas and it was divine. I will be making it this Thanksgiving also so I had to share with enough time for you to drool for a few weeks before getting to bake. Hope this makes your Thanksgiving menu cut.

I love holidays, I love pumpkin and I love cheesecake. So why not pix pumpkin and cheesecake and make a creamy duo in one pie! I’m sure one day all holiday meals will be hosted at my house but right now I take them when I can get them. I was lucky enough last year to score Christmas Eve. Holiday time is no exception to skimp on the sweets so I made a classic Pumpkin Pie and this beautiful cheesecake. I only cooked for 8 this meal but 2 pies seemed necessary, I mean who doesn’t love to take home some leftover pie to nibble on as a late night snack or a special treat the next day.

When I was 12 we went to England and Ireland for 5 weeks and I made it my mission to try every cheesecake I came across. So my love of cheesecake started at an early age :) I guess you could say.

Your guest will not be disappointed with this creamy deliciousness, trust me!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Serves 12
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 8 hours
Total time 8 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • toasted walnuts (for pie topping)

Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (10 whole crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pie Filling

  • 4 packets cream cheese, soft (4 8 ounces bars)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Large eggs (room temperature)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
Step 2
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Step 3
Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not over mix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.
Step 4
Place spring form pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into spring form, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).
Step 5
Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Remove outer shell from spring form before serving.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Serves 2 cups
Prep time 4 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
This homemade whipped cream is great for all pies, or on top of cocoa. FrenchToasty.com has lots of sweets recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or 1/3 cup powdered sugar)

Directions

Step 1
Put whipping cream and sugar in big bowl or kitchenaid bowl. Mix for 2-3 minutes on medium until cream forms stiff peaks.
Step 2
Keep an eye on it you don't want to over whip it.
DSC_0219
DSC_0214

Sugared Cranberries

sugaredcranberries

I made these last year and they were delicious “healthy” candy :) I know you are thinking ya right healthy candy…well you are at least eating a delicious fresh cranberry and maybe it is coated in sugar but hey it’s the holidays so give yourself a little break. These are delicious to have out for your company to much on or you can package them up and give as little gifts.

Enjoy!

Sugared Cranberries

Serves 10
Prep time 10 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable
Occasion Christmas, Thanksgiving
Website My Recipes
These sugared cranberries are perfect for the holidays. FrenchToasty.com has lots of yummy holiday recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups superfine sugar

Note

If you don't have super fine sugar then add some granulated sugar to a food processor and pulse until it's super fine. You could also add orange zest to the sugar before placing in the food processor to add extra flavor.

This goes great paired along a cheese and cracker platter or just as a snack.

They also travel well!

Directions

Step 1
Drain the cranberries in a colander and pick out stems and any mushy ones. Set aside.
Step 2
Combine granulated sugar and water in a small pan and heat over low. (making a simple syrup) Mix consistently until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Do not boil the liquid.
Step 3
Once the liquid isn't SUPER hot stir in the cranberries and pour into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours-overnight.
Step 4
Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, to reserve liquid if wanted to use in something else.
Step 5
Place superfine sugar in a bowl or shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat.
Step 6
Place cranberries on a cookie sheet at room temperature for 1 hour until they are dry.
sugaredcranberries

So delicious to just pop in your mouth!

sugaredcranberries