Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

If you like peanut butter cups, this recipe is for you.  I came across this cheesecake recipe on Brown Eyed Baker and made it for my sister’s birthday and it is beyond any peanut butter lover’s wildest dreams.  Rich, yes – delicious, yes – diet, no… but, once in awhile, who cares!

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Mini Pecan Tarts

This dessert is my sister’s specialty around Christmas time and my mother’s favorite.  Since these tasty little treats are bite-size, it makes them seem kind of guilt-free. 

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup margarine, room temperature
  • 1 cup flour

FILLING

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (plus more for topping)

HOW TO MAKE IT

DOUGH

  • Mix together the ingredients using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, if you’ve got one (you could also just use your hands)
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
FILLING
  • Break the egg, but do not beat, and then add in the sugar, melted butter, salt, vanilla and pecans – mix well
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER…
  • Place a small ball of dough into an ungreased mini muffin pan and press up and along the edges with your fingertips to form the crust of the tart
  • Place a spoonful of filling inside the crust and smooth it out – then top it off with a whole pecan
  • Bake at 325°F for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is slightly golden brown along the edges
*This is a small recipe – it only yields about 17-18 mini tarts

Lois’s Pumpkin Cake Roll

This recipe comes from a dear friend of mine… she loves making this around Halloween and has even made a low fat* version that tastes just as good!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin or squash
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
  • 1 cup confectionary sugar
  • *6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (use low fat cream cheese, if desired)
  • *4 tbsp softened margarine (or butter), room temperature (you can use as little as 1 tbsp, if desired)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Beat the eggs on high speed for 5 minutes
  • Gradually beat in the sugar
  • Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice
  • In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture on low speed until all of the ingredients are well blended
  • Line a greased 15 x 10 x 1 in. cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper, too
  • Spread the batter evenly onto the pan
  • Sprinkle with nuts, if desired
  • Bake at 375ºF for 15 mins
  • Lay out a dish towel (preferably not a terrycloth towel) and sprinkle it with powdered sugar, this will help the cake from sticking to it
  • Turn out the cake onto the sugared towel and remove the parchment paper
  • Roll up the cake with the towel inside and let it completely cool
    • While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese filling…
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
    • Beat all of the ingredients on low speed until well blended
  • Unroll the cake and spread the filling right up to the ends of the cake
  • Now, roll up your cake without the towel
  • Wrap the pumpkin roll up in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze it – when you’re ready to serve it, slice it into slices of desired size

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This cheesecake is the ultimate fall treat.  It’s decadent and has just the right amount of sweetness.

INGREDIENTS

CRUST
    • 1  cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 3/4 cup gingersnaps, finely crushed (put about 20 in a food processor and process until they’re fine)
    • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 stick butter, melted

FILLING

    • 3 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin
    • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
    • 1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp cloves
    • 2 tbsp flour
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

HOW TO MAKE IT

CRUST

    • In a medium bowl, combine the graham and gingersnap crumbs, sugar and cinnamon
    • Add the melted butter and mix well
    • Press the mixture down into a flat 9 in. springform pan – make sure the crust comes up along the sides of the pan
FILLING
    • Beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth
    • Add the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and spices
    • Add the flour and vanilla and mix together until well combined
  • Pour the filling into the crust and spread it out evenly
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 325°F (wrap the spring form pan in aluminum foil and bake it in a water bath – here are some more tips)
  • After 45 minutes in the oven, turn the oven off and leave the cake in there for another hour
  • After the hour, take the cheesecake out and let it cool on the countertop covered with an inverted large plate/platter – this will slow the cooling process down and prevent cracks
  • When the cheesecake is room temperature, place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours
  • Top your piece off with some whipped cream and enjoy!

Cornbread Muffins

This recipe is great baked as muffins or in a square pan.  It’s super moist, unexpectedly savory and really easy to make.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 packages of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and softened cream cheese and whisk together until smooth
  • Add in both cans of corn and mix in the beaten eggs
  • Stir in the corn muffin mix, cheddar cheese and chives – mix well
  • Pour into greased muffin pans or a greased square pan
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes for muffins and 40 minutes if you’re making it in a pan

The Ultimate Cheese Ball

Anyone who knows me knows that I only like cheese two ways: if it’s melted or spreadable.  This spreadable cheese is the perfect appetizer when entertaining a group – definitely beats cubed cheddar.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 18 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (try not to use pre-grated cheese)
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • Scallions (3-4 chutes) or chives, chopped
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans, for rolling
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (optional)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic and scallions/chives in a food processor
  • Process the ingredients just until they’re well blended; be careful not to over process – this will make the mixture too loose
  • Scrape the cheese mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour
  • When the mixture has solidified, form it into one ball or two, depending on which size you desire (I usually make two smaller cheese balls out of this recipe)
  • If you want to roll the cheese ball in a nut and parsley mix, blend these ingredients and pour a layer of the mix onto a flat dish
  • Make sure the surface of the cheese ball is smooth and then roll it into the nuts
  • Once the ball is totally covered in the chopped nuts, wrap it in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to preserve the shape of the ball and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve