October 26, 2014

(GF) Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin. It makes just about everything better, don't you think? This is a Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe that I tweaked ever so slightly to be gluten free. I didn't do the caramel topping, but I bet it's delicious. The cheesecake is very rich on it's own, so I don't think it's really necessary. But, then again, sometimes you might just need a little caramel...

(GF) Pumpkin Cheese Cake
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 38 or 1 1/2 cups (gluten free, optional) ginger snaps, finely crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 pkg (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 25 caramels (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1.  Heat oven to 325 degrees. Chop 1/4 cup nuts finely; place in medium bowl. Add ginger snap crumbs and butter; mix well. Press onto bottom of 13x9 inch pan.
    Crush cookies in a food processor, or just smash with a rolling pin.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice, and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
  3. Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  4. Optional topping: microwave caramels and milk in microwaveable bowl on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Spoon over individual servings of cheesecake. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.
  5. Serve with whipped cream. 
Makes 12 Servings

October 5, 2014

Mocha Shortbread Cookies

Yes, we are still alive. You may have been wondering, since we haven't posted in quite some time. Actually, Amber hasn't been doing so bad, but I surely get an F for posts in the last year or so.

In fact, when I went to use my stand mixer today, it literally had cobwebs in it. Yes, in the literal sense of the word literal. Sadness!

But, we're back in business. I've actually made a few things in the not-so-distant past, but I just haven't been posting. I'm hoping that will change, starting today!

I love shortbread (maple pecan shortbread), and this was an interesting twist. It was actually a plan B recipe, but it turned out great. Simple, tasty, and not too sweet. Would've been perfect with some homemade whipped cream... and some hot chocolate... or ice cream!

Mocha Shortbread
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality instant espresso powder (Starbucks VIA is a good one, but use less)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • Dash of cinnamon (optional for a Mexican mocha shortbread)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch round cake or springform pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in espresso.
  3. In an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until pale and creamy. Add confectioners' sugar and beat well. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed until well combined.
  4. Pat dough evenly into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until puffed at the edges and dark all over the top. Remove from oven, and let sit 5 minutes; then cut into wedges. Let cool completely on a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
Makes 8 cookies. Can be stored up to 1 week.