Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chili Cheese Dip

Our local grocery store sells a lot of pre-made food items – one of which is this chili cheese ball that is to die for. We used to get them all the time for the office to share for potlucks and such. The not-so-great thing about them is that they are something crazy like $6. So, being the cheap-skate that I am, I decided to try to recreate it and got pretty close.

I left it as a dip and served it with Fritos. You could certainly roll it into a ball and then roll the ball in a paprika, cumin, chili powder mixture. Sorry – no pictures of this one!

Chili Cheese Dip

12 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked spanish paprika
1 3/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp season salt

mix and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Basil Pesto Brie

I don’t have a great photo of this one because it just did not photograph well – but it was AMAZING. I bought a jar of pesto at the store the other day – maybe I’ll make my own one day, baby steps – and wanted to try making a cheesy pesto appetizer for Christmas Eve. It turned out really good except that there was an oil slick in the dish. I mopped up most of it with a paper towel. If I had made my own pesto, I would have just cut waaaaay back on the olive oil and it would have been fine.

Baked Brie with Pesto


1 8oz Brie wheel
Crackers or Bagel chips for dipping


Preheat oven to 350
Cut the rind off the top of the brie wheel. Top with about 1/4 – 1/2 inch pesto
Bake for 20-30 minutes

Serve with a plain bread or cracker. Something with little to no flavor, as the pesto/brie combo is pretty amazing on its own.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Orange Coffee Cake

I saw Paula Deen make this on TV a while back and book marked it to try. It really was delicious - and pretty too! I am copying her recipe exactly, because I didn't make any changes.

Orange Coffee Cake

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 count)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, pecans, and zest; set aside.

Separate the biscuits. Place about 3/4 teaspoon cream cheese in the center of each biscuit. Fold each biscuit in half over the cheese, pressing the edges to seal. Dip the biscuits in melted butter, then dredge in the granulated sugar mixture.

Place the biscuits, curved-side down, in a single layer in the hollows of a lightly greased 12-cup bundt pan, spacing them evenly (do not stack). Place any remaining biscuits around the tube, filling any gaps.

Drizzle any remaining butter over the biscuits, and sprinkle with any remaining sugar mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Immediately invert the cake onto a serving platter. Combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, stirring well; drizzle the glaze over the warm cake. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

One word. YUM. I wanted to make a special dessert for our Christmas with my husband's family. I searched blog after blog until I found this recipe for a brownie cheesecake. It did not disappoint. The brownies were amazing, the cheesecake was just right - not too sweet, and the ganache on top covered the cracks!

There are a lot of steps to make this, but don't let that intimidate you. It really comes together pretty fast. I did find that I needed more crushed cookies than the recipe called for. Also, be sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature, you don't want it lumpy. I have copied her recipe exactly because I did not make any changes. Enjoy!!

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

For the brownies:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup butter
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 cup flour

For the crust:
1 ½ cups finely ground chocolate cookies
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar

For the ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, cut into two pieces
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil, leaving the ends of the foil overhanging the sides of the pan. Grease the foil and set aside.

Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl on high for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add salt and flour; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs (do not overbake). Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cool brownies, then cut into ¾ – 1” squares for use in the cheesecake. Set aside 2 cups for the recipe, and will have many extra brownies left over.

To prepare the crust, combine all crust ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.

For the cheesecake, preheat the oven to 350°. Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until well combined.

Fold in brownie cubes very gently and pour mixture into cookie crumb crust. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. Allow to cool completely.

To make the ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil, the pour half of the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Working with a whisk or rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motions. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be. Let sit until it thickens to desired consistency. Then pour on top of cooled cheesecake and spread evenly. Chill to set.

Source: brownies, crust and cheesecake adapted from Smitten Kitchen, ganache from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan