Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

There’s something about cheesecake. I know, I’ve written about this before. But it’s worth repeating. So many people speak of it reverently.

A few years back, I made a cheesecake for friends who invited us to their house for dinner. (I can’t seem to ever go to dinner empty handed.) Ever since then, whenever I run into the wife, she mentions that cheesecake. So, when she and her husband invited us for a Labor Day cookout, she didn’t have to say what she wanted. I knew. I complied.

She took a bite and her eyes rolled back into her head. Well, not exactly, but you get the idea. I almost felt guilty because it’s so easy to make. Try it out. You’ll see.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 ready-made chocolate pie crust

Preheat your oven to 350°. With a mixer, beat your cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.CheesecakeBatter

Toss one cup of the chocolate chips with the flour and stir into the cream cheese mixture.ChocolateChipWithFlour

Pour into the crust.

CheesecakePre-Oven

Bake for 35 minutes or until the center springs back when you lightly touch it. Cool then top with the glaze.

To make the glaze, combine ½ cup of the mini chocolate chips with ¼ cup whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds and stir until smooth. It may take a little longer, depending on your microwave. Spread over the pie and refrigerate. FinishedChocolateChipCheesecake

Then sit back and let the compliments wash over you like an ocean wave. J

 

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

There are many things to love about fall:

  • Wearing cuddly sweats
  • Playing in the leaves
  • Drinking warm cider
  • Snuggling in front of a fire
  • Watching football games

And then there’s the plethora of pumpkin. Pie. Cake. And cookies.

Have I got another recipe for you.

Pumpkin cookies. They meet the baker’s trifecta: They’re freakin’ delicious. They’re easy to make. They don’t require any funky or out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. Just look.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, mixing on low speed until well blend. Scrape the bowl occasionally to make sure it’s mixed well. PumpkinCookieBatter

Drop a heaping tablespoon of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet. You’ll want your cookies about 2 inches apart so they don’t squish together.PumpkinCookiesPreOven

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.PumpkinCookiesDone

Eat them. Love them.

My two favorite little people really loved them. Oh, and my favorite big person loved them, too. GrandkidsAndPumpkinCookies

Oreo Cheesecake

Cheesecake. That one word can send food chills up some people’s spines. If they don’t spontaneously shiver, they’ll roll their eyes in imagined culinary ecstasy and/or emit a guttural “mmm …” Think I’m kidding? Try it out.

So, imagine what your family and friends will do if you actually make one. And this is a super easy one to make.  They’ll love you. Or, they’ll come to a long and probably dull meeting if you bring cheesecake along. Or, they’ll do you a favor in the future they might not have otherwise considered.

In other words, making cheesecake for people gives you some culinary collateral.

I’ve made this recipe several times with different types of Oreos, including mint. However, the ones that my family, friends and co-workers seem to like best are the cheesecakes made with either regular Oreos or Golden Oreos.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (I lb., 2 oz.) Oreo cookies, divided
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 packages (8 oz. each) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 325°. Place 30 cookies into a food processor and process for 30 to 45 seconds or so until they’re finely ground. Add butter and pulse a few more times until thoroughly incorporated. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

MakingCrust

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition and just until blended.

AddingEggs

Chop remaining cookies. (I just break them apart with my fingers.) Gently stir 1 ½ cups of the chopped cookies into your cream cheese batter.

MeasuringOreos

Pour over the crust and sprinkle with remaining chopped cookies.

Bake 45 minutes or until the center is almost set. In my oven, it takes 50 minutes. Cool then refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

FinishedCheesecake

Note: The package sizes for Oreos have changed since I started making this, so to get the right amount, you’re going to have to buy a bag of what they call Family Size; the regular size package won’t give you enough cookies.

Bag Of Oreos

Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Last week, I professed my love for basil, shared with you a recipe for pesto and promised to give you something this week you could use with that pesto. I have five words for you: Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto.

You’re going to take that delicious pesto you made – you did make it, right? – and use it to gently coat some pan-friend gnocchi.  Again, this recipe comes from the Two Peas & Their Pod blog.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (1 lb.) package potato gnocchi (Or, if you have the time, make homemade gnocchi)
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving.

Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain completely. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes.

GnocchiInPan

You’re going to be tempted to take a peek at them – I was – but don’t. Let them be. After three or four minutes, turn the gnocchi and cook, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 3 more minutes.

BrownedGnocchi

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pesto. You might have leftover pesto. Serve warm and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired. As you can see, I also made a salad to accompany my beautiful pesto-kissed gnocchi.FinishedGnocchi

Wow. This was so delicious. But don’t take my word for it. Ask He Who Must Be Fed. He won’t steer you wrong.