November 16, 2014

Cranberry Bliss Bars

These were called White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies when I found them, but they looked like Cranberry Bliss Bars to me!

I added the white chocolate drizzle and then the cranberries, which does not look as pretty as if you do it the right way--cranberries first, THEN white chocolate drizzle...Oops.
Normally blondies would have me responding, "Why blondie when you can brownie?!" But, I mean cranberry bliss bars are obviously in a category of their own.

These are super sweet and decadent, but the tangy cream cheese and cranberries help balance out the the white chocolate.

As I'm sure you know, these are the perfect holiday treat!

Cranberry Bliss Bars
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted.
  • 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 oz. chopped white chocolate (or chips)
  • 5 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. chopped white chocolate (or chips), melted.
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  1. For bars: Grease a 8 in. square baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix melted butter with brown sugar. When it has cooled to room temperature, mix in egg and vanilla. 
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Gradually stir dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix in 1/4 cup cranberries and 3 oz. white chocolate. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spread batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted
    near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. For frosting: beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate and beat until blended. Frost the bars. Sprinkle with chopped cranberries and drizzle with remaining white chocolate. Cut into wedges and store in the refrigerator.
Note: This recipe easily doubles to fit a 13"x 9" pan. In that case, 1 package cream cheese (8 oz) will do. 

November 2, 2014

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

I love pumpkin. (See links below.) I love that in the fall you can find a pumpkin version of almost everything (especially at Trader Joe's). This Food Network recipe is a fun and easy twist on a classic. It's only subtly pumpkin-y. The original recipe calls for cheese tortellini, but I think a butternut squash or other type would be great as well.

Related recipes:
Milnot Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with White Chocolate Mascarpone Filling
Molasses Cookie and Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches
(GF) Pumpkin Cheesecake

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
  •  Kosher salt
  • 2 9-oz packages of cheese (or other flavor) tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft (about 2 minutes). Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring 1 minute. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I found myself adding quite a bit.)
  4. Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Divide among bowls and top with more cheese and  parsley. 
Serves 4