• Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating

    How to make Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    Tempered chocolate (tutorial here)

    OR

    Melting, decorating, or dipping chocolate, melted (should contain NO cocoa butter)

    Directions

    For piped designed:

    Use a printable guide inserted into a sheet protector or placed under semi-translucent parchment or wax paper to get started, if desired.

    Transfer the tempered chocolate to a squeeze bottle or small piping or ziptop bag with a small hole snipped in one corner. Hold bag about 1-inch above the sheet then gently squeeze, tracing the designers. Squeeze with even pressure but stop before you think you should as the chocolate will continue flowing.

    Fill any gaps with the tip of a toothpick. Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.

    For shard or shaped designs

    Scoop chocolate onto a small sheet of parchment paper and spread out evenly with an offset spatula, keeping about a 1-inch border on all edges. Pick up and gently drop the parchment on the counter a few times to spread out evenly and release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with sprinkles, decorations, or finely chopped candy.

    Allow the chocolate to set just until it’s dry to the touch but still flexible. Use a knife to square off all the edges. Make cuts into the chocolate into shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could also use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the cookie cutter is sticking, allow the chocolate to set and harden for a few more minutes before continuing with the shapes.

    Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.

  • The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1/2 cup boiling water
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons white vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the frosting:

    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 large egg whites
    Pinch salt
    12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and at room temperature
    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with foil or paper liners.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

    Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.

    Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

    Make the frosting:

    Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 1-inch of gently simmering water. Whisking gently and constantly, heat mixture until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened and foamy and registers 150°F on a candy thermometer or a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes.

    Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks curdled, that’s okay. Just keep beating until it becomes smooth.

    Add chocolate and vanilla and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

    Frosting can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm frosting in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until creamy again before frosting cupcakes.

    Frosting can also be transferred to a ziptop bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight then rewhip in the stand mixer until light and smooth.

  • Maple Bacon Mini Cheesecakes

    How to make Maple Bacon Mini Cheesecakes

    Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    FOR THE CRUST:

    4 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    1 sleeve (9 cookies, 4.8 ounces) graham crackers
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    FOR THE FILLING:

    12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon flour
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon maple extract
    1 large egg

    FOR THE TOPPING:

    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon maple extract

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12 cup mini cheesecake pan with nonstick spray.

    FOR THE CRUST:

    Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Pour off the bacon fat and set aside. Sprinkle the sugar over the bacon and cook, stirring, until the bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a resealable container and set aside.

    Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter along with 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this).

    Bake the crusts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.

    FOR THE FILLING:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and flour and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity.

    Bake for about 18 minutes, or until set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

    FOR THE TOPPING:

    Once chilled, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle each cheesecake with the glaze. Top with the reserved candied bacon. Serve.

    Inspired by The Food Network

  • How to Make Belgian Liege Waffles

    How to make Belgian Liege Waffles

    Yield: 10 waffles

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
    1/3 cup water, lukewarm
    3 teaspoons instant yeast
    2 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    2 tablespoons honey
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon fine salt
    3 2/3 cups (16.5 ounces) bread flour
    2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) pearl sugar (or sugar cubes, broken into pieces)

    Directions

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk, water, yeast, eggs, honey, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined.

    On low speed, add in all but 1 cup of flour and mix until combined. On low speed, add the butter, one cube at a time, thoroughly kneading in each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed before adding in any more butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the remaining flour and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

    Remove the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch the dough down, cover again with plastic, and place in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.

    When ready to cook, heat up a Belgian waffle iron. Remove the dough from the fridge and knead in all of the pearl sugar. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

    Place first ball of waffle dough on grid and cook according to waffle maker’s instructions. Cook until deeply golden all over, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer with tongs or a fork to baking sheet.

    Keep waffles warm in a 200°F oven if you plan to eat them right away. These waffles must be served warm or the pearl sugar will harden. Freeze any leftover waffles and reheat in a 200°F oven until warmed through.

  • Churro French Toast

    How to make Churro French Toast

    Yield: about 10 slices

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cream cheese glaze:

    4 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    4 tablespoons milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the cinnamon sugar:

    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    For the toast:

    6 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon good honey
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 large loaf challah, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
    Unsalted butter
    Vegetable oil

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 250°F.

    Make the glaze:

    In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat all the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Remove to a zip top bag and set aside.

    Make the cinnamon sugar:

    In a wide shallow bowl, combine all the cinnamon sugar ingredients.

    Make the French toast:

    In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large saute pan or griddle over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until well browned.

    Remove the French toast from the pan and immediately dip in the cinnamon sugar, turning to coat completely. Remove to a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven until ready to serve. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it’s all cooked.

    Remove the warm French toast slices to plates. Snip a small hole in the corner of the zip top bag filled with the cream cheese glaze. Drizzle over the French toast and serve immediately.

    Adapted from Damn Delicious

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  • How to Make Butterscotch Sauce

    How to make Butterscotch Sauce

    Yield: about 3/4 cup

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook: 5 minutes

    Ingredients

    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 to 2 tablespoons dark liquor, optional

    Directions

    In a medium heavy saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, salt, and cream and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a bubbling simmer for three minutes. Be careful not to boil too long, or you’ll end up with chewy butterscotch candies instead of a sauce.

    Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stirring in the vanilla extract. Pour into a resalable container, preferably glass. Don’t scrape the sides of the pan into the container or you may end up with gritty pieces of undissolved sugar.

    Serving and Storage: The sauce should be served warm. It can be stored in a jar, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Reheat the butterscotch sauce in a saucepan over low heat.

  • Brown Butter Dulce de Leche Cookie Cups

    How to make Brown Butter Dulce de Leche Cookie Cups

    Yield: 48 mini cookie cups

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Find prepared Dulce de Leche in the Latin section of most grocery stores.

    Ingredients

    1 1/2 cups (6.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups (6.6 ounces) bread flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk at room temperature
    1 13.4-ounce can prepared Dulce de Leche
    Flaked sea salt, for finishing

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 24 mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

    In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. It should become foamy with audible cracking and popping noises. Once the crackling stops, continue to swirl the pan until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Once the bits are amber in color, about 2 to 3 minutes after the popping stops, remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl.

    While the butter is still hot, stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Let cool before adding in the vanilla and the eggs and yolk, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

    Press a 1-tablespoon sized ball of dough into each muffin cup. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and using the end of a wooden spoon, make 1-inch wide indentations into the center of each cookie.

    Spoon a teaspoon of dulce de leche into each indentation. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool completely before serving.

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

    How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

    Yield: 12 muffins

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    3 large ripe bananas
    3/4 cup (5.3 ounces) granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1/3 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
    1/2 cup (4.75 ounces) peanut butter
    1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) white whole-wheat flour
    1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup (1.75 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 375°F and position a rack in the center. Line a muffin tin with baking cups and set it aside.

    In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher then mix in the sugar, egg, applesauce, and peanut butter until combined. Stir in the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder over the banana mixture. Mix lightly with a rubber spatula to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. The batter should be just moistened but still a little clumpy. Don’t overmix!

    Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or spoons, divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and bake them for about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer them to a rack to cool. Store muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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  • The Best Peanut Butter Brownies

    How to make The Best Peanut Butter Brownies

    Yield: 9 large or 16 small brownies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 40 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
    1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1/2 cup peanut butter
    4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup (3.3 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    9 full-size peanut butter cups

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, butter, peanut butter, and unsweetened chocolate. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute then stir. Continue heating in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until the mixture is melted and smooth but not scorched. Remove from the microwave and let cool slightly.

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and salt, folding gently until combined.

    Pour half the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place the peanut butter cups on top then cover with the remaining batter. Bake until a tester comes out with moist crumbs still attached, 35 to 40. Do not overbake. Let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature.

  • diy Cookie Butter

    How to make diy Cookie Butter

    Yield: about 14 ounces

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 0 minutes

    Grind cookies in a food processor or high powered blender until very fine ground. Remove any fillings (such as Oreo crème) before processing.

    Ingredients

    Method 1:

    2 cups (8 ounces) cookie crumbs
    2 tablespoons granulated or brown sugar
    1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more if desired
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

    Method 2:

    2 cups (8 ounces) cookie crumbs
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
    1/4 cup evaporated milk
    Cookie filling (such as Oreo crème), if any

    Directions

    Method 1

    Stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, cream, and butter until well combined. This can be done in the bowl of your food processor or blender. Add more cream for a thinner, more pourable or dippable consistency.

    FOR CRUNCHY BUTTER: At this time feel free to add in larger chunks of cookie crumbs for a crunchier texture.

    At this point you can remove the cookie butter to a mason jar and store in the fridge for up to 14 days. Let sit at room temperature until softened.

    Method 2

    Place the cookie crumbs in a large heat-safe bowl.

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cookie filling, if any. Cook until melted. Remove from heat and pour about 1/2 cup into the cookie crumbs. Stir with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the liquid mixture very gradually to the cookie crumbs just until it is wet enough to hold its shape.

    At this point you can remove the cookie butter to a mason jar and store in the fridge for up to 14 days. Let sit at room temperature until softened.

  • Gingerbread Doughnut Waffles with Maple Glaze

    How to make Gingerbread Doughnut Waffles with Maple Glaze

    Yield: 18 doughnut waffles

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the doughnut waffles:

    1/3 cup dark brown sugar sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teapsoon ground nutmeg
    1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup molasses
    1 1/2 cups (6.8 ounces) all-purpose flour

    For the maple glaze:

    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
    8 tablespoons pure maple syrup

    Directions

    To make the waffles:

    In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together. Add the egg and yolk, melted butter, milk, and molasses until just combined. The batter will be thick.

    Preheat your waffle iron. Place a tablespoon of batter in each waffle cavity and cook for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and repeat for the remaining batter.

    To glaze:

    In a small bowl whisk together all the glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle or dunk the slightly cool doughnut into the glaze. Let sit until set. Doughnut waffles are best served the day they are made.

  • Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 18

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 35 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:

    1 3/4 cup flour
    3/4 cup cocoa powder
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup hot water

    For the Icing:

    5 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

    For the Topping:

    1/4 cup Mallow Bits
    Whipped cream

    Directions

    For the Cupcakes:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin with baking cups.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix flour, cocoa, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk, eggs, vegetalbe oil, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Scrape bowl as needed. With the mixer on slow speed, add the hot water and mix until combined.

    Use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup to fill baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    For the Icing:

    Place butter, cocoa powder, and milk in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth.

    Working one at a time, dip the tops of each cupcakes into the icing and immeiately sprinkle half the cupcake with Mallow Bits. (If the icing in the pot starts to dry and set up, just set it back on the stove for about 20 seconds while whisking until it thins again.) Let the icing set before adding the whipped cream. Serve immediately. (Wait to add the whipped cream until ready to serve. If you pipe the whipped cream on you’ll need to store the cupcakes in the fridge.)

  • Chocolate Coconut Cookies

    How to make Chocolate Coconut Cookies

    Yield: 24 cookies

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

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  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Mousse Pie

    How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Mousse Pie

    Yield: 1 9-inch pie

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    20 Oreo cookies (regular-stuffed, filling intact)
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade

    For the peanut butter whipped cream:

    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Additional caramel sauce, for drizzling
    Additional peanut butter, melted, for drizzling
    Additional semisweet chocolate, melted, for drizzling

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

    Place the Oreo cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and set. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

    Make the filling:

    In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate on high in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted and smooth. Let cool.

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the cream until soft peaks form. On medium speed, gradually add the caramel and continue whipping until medium-stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the cooled melted chocolate until combined. Pour into cookie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

    Make the topping:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the cream until thickened. Add the peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

    Spread the cream evenly over the mousse layer. At this point you can refrigerate overnight if desired.

    Just before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce.

  • Mini Turtle Cheesecakes

    How to make Mini Turtle Cheesecakes

    Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 18 minutes

    Toast the pecans in a small skillet over medium-high heat or in a 325°F oven until aromatic and slightly darkened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    1 sleeve (9 cookies, 4.8 ounces) graham crackers
    3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 large egg

    For the topping:

    Salted caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
    1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted*
    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12 cup mini cheesecake pan with nonstick spray.

    Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this).

    Bake the crusts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.

    Make the filling:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, cream, salt, and cinnamon and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity.

    Bake for about 18 minutes, or until set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. At this point the cheesecakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Make the topping:

    Once chilled, top each cheesecake with a spoonful of caramel sauce, just enough to cover but not too much that it completely overflows. Press pecans into the caramel.

    Place the chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted. Transfer to a small ziptop bag and snip a small hole in one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the caramel and pecans. Return to the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

  • Loaded Leftover Mashed Potato Balls

    How to make Loaded Leftover Mashed Potato Balls

    Yield: about 24 balls

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    You may need to adjust the ingredients depending on the consistency of your leftover mashed potatoes. If the mixture looks too dry and isn’t holding together, add one more egg. If it looks too wet, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it comes together.

    Ingredients

    3 cups chilled leftover mashed potatoes
    2 tablespoons chopped green onions
    2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    4 strips crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled into 1/2-inch pieces (you can also use cubes of leftover ham!)
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten and divided
    3 tablespoons flour
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
    Salt, for sprinkling
    Sour cream, for serving

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, green onion, cheese, bacon, 1 egg, flour, pepper, and garlic powder until combined.

    Roll into balls roughly 1 1/2-inches in size. Place the beaten egg in a shallow pan. Place the panko in a shallow pan. Dip each potato ball in the egg then cover completely in bread crumbs. Place on a greased baking sheet and spray briefly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.

    Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crisp on the outside. It may not brown very much but will still get crispy.

    Serve alongside sour cream garnished with additional chopped green onions.

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  • Easy Cookie Icing

    How to make Easy Cookie Icing

    Yield: enough icing for 1 batch of cut out cookies

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 1 day 20 minutes

    The iced cookies will need to dry for 24 hours before they can be safely moved or packaged.

    Ingredients

    For the border icing:

    1 cup (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons water or milk
    Food coloring, if desired

    For the flood icing:

    1 cup (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 tablespoons water or milk
    Food coloring, if desired

    Directions

    For the border icing:

    In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. Beat in the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until colored to your liking. The mixture should be very thick but still pourable.

    Transfer the border icing to a squeeze bottle using a funnel. You can also scoop into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. Before you begin icing any cookies, take a few moments to practice on a piece of parchment paper to get the feel of the icing.

    Holding the bottle or bag tip directly over one corner of a cookie, begin tracing an outline of the cookie, squeezing gently and using both hands if needed to maintain consistent pressure. I prefer to allow a little slack in my icing line as I go. If you mess up, simply wipe the icing off and start again. Allow the icing to dry slightly before continuing with the flood icing.

    For the flood icing:

    In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. Beat in the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until colored to your liking. The mixture should still be pretty thick, but will drizzle more freely than the border icing. If needed, add additional water or milk to loosen until the consistency is pourable. Pour the flood icing into a squeeze bottle or into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip.

    Prepare as many batches and colors of flood icing as you need to decorate your cookies.

    Begin filling the interior of the border drawn on each cookie with the flood icing, being careful not to add too much that it overflows the border icing. Use either the nose of the bottle or a small toothpick to push the icing evenly over the cookie and up against the corners.

    Leave the iced cookie to dry for 24 hours. The cookies are dry when the surface is completely smooth, dry, and resists smudging when touched. Store the dried cookies between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

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  • Banana Dulce de Leche Pie
  • Oreo Truffle Cheesecake

    How to make Oreo Truffle Cheesecake

    Yield: 20 servings

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 5 hours 40 minutes

    Use this Oreo Truffle recipe for the topping and make the following changes: cut the recipe in half and remove the peppermint extract and crushed peppermint. Drizzle with melted white chocolate, if desired.

    Ingredients

    FOR THE CRUST:

    30 Oreo cookies
    5 tablespoons butter, melted

    FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:

    32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    5 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    20 Oreo cookies, quartered

    FOR THE TOPPING:

    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    Oreo truffles

    Directions

    FOR THE CRUST:

    Preheat the oven to 325°F. In the bowl of a food processor, process the cookies until they are finely ground crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch nonstick springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Maintain oven temperature.

    FOR THE FILLING:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Add in the sugar, cream, and vanilla and beat until combined. Be careful not to overbeat. Stir in the Oreo cookies.

    Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Bake for about 1 hour, or until set and the top looks slightly dry. If the middle is slightly wobbly, that’s fine. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking. Cool the cheesecake completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate.

    FOR THE TOPPING:

    Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. Let cool slightly until thickened. Pour over the cheesecake, allowing to drip down the sides. Top the cheesecake with the Oreo truffles. Serve or cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  • German Chocolate Cookies

    How to make German Chocolate Cookies

    Yield: 24 cookies

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 40 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cookies:

    1 1/4 cups (5.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
    3/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 large egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    For the topping:

    1/2 cup evaporated milk
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg yolk
    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 heaping cup sweetened shredded coconut
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

    Directions

    For the cookies:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. On low speed gradually add the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

    Using a medium spring-loaded cookie scoop, drop the dough by 1 1/2 tablespoon rounds onto the prepared baking sheets

    Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

    For the topping:

    In a small saucepan set over medium heat combine the milk, sugar, egg yolk, and butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Let cool until thick enough to spread on top of the cooled cookies.

    Drizzle the melted chocolate all over the cookies. Let everything set for at least 15 minutes before serving. Cookies are best served the day they’re made.

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  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

    How to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

    Yield: 24

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 4 hours 12 minutes

    Enjoy two desserts in one with Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars!

    Ingredients

    For the Cookie Layer:

    3 cups flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup butter, room temperature
    1 Tablespoon molasses
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 eggs, room temperature
    1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

    For the Cheesecake Layer:

    2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

    Directions

    For the Cookie Layer:

    In bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream sugars and butter together for 3 minutes. Mix in molasses and vanilla. Beat in the eggs until smooth and creamy. Add in the dry ingredients while mixing on low. Mix until almost combined. Fold in 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Place cookie dough in fridge while you make the cheesecake layer.

    For the Cheesecake Layer:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with heavy duty foil and grease with cooking spray.

    With an electric mixer (standing or hand), beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until fully combined. Set aside.

    Assembling:

    Use your hands to press half the dough (maybe slightly more) into the bottom of the pan. Pour the cheesecake batter on top. With the remaining cookie dough, dot the top with tablespoon size scoops. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and then bake for 40-42 minutes until cookie dough is golden. Remove from oven and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight before cutting and serving.

  • Thanksgiving Recipes
  • Best Ever Focaccia Pizza

    How to make Best Ever Focaccia Pizza

    Yield: 4 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 2 hours 45 minutes

    You can use the same amount of active dry yeast in place of the instant yeast. Simply allow the active dry yeast to proof for five minutes with the water before adding in.

    Ingredients

    For the dough:

    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm (110-115°F) water
    1 teaspoon instant yeast
    1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    2 1/2 cups (11.3 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

    For the toppings:

    1 (15 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    4 ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced
    Fresh basil
    Pizza toppings

    Directions

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar, and half the flour. Stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on low speed add in the remaining flour, salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour. OR place the dough in a large plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe.

    Coat a 9 by 13-inch pan with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the pan and begin pressing it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the entire pan, or just about. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough.

    Cover the dough with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.

    In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush the focaccia with the olive oil on the pan. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough. Reserve the remaining sauce for another use (it freezes pretty well). Top with the cheese and other desired toppings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

    Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.